Why is violent crime so rare in Iceland? – BBC News 05-16-13

Salient to Investors:

Iceland is 15th in the world in legal gun ownership – 90,000 in a country with just over 300,000 people – yet violent crime is virtually non-existent, with a homicide rate between 1999-2009 never above 1.8 per 100,000 in any year versus between 5.0 and 5.8 in the US, according to the UN’s Global Study on Homicide.

In Iceland there is virtually no difference among upper, middle and lower classes.

The  University of Missouri found only 1.1% of study participants identified themselves as upper class, 1.5% saw themselves as lower class, and 97% saw themselves as upper-middle class, lower-middle class, or working class.

Bjorgvin Sigurdsson says equality was the biggest reason for the relative lack of crime – here the tycoon’s children go to school with everyone else, while Iceland’s social welfare and education systems promote an egalitarian culture.

Gun ownership includes a medical examination and a written test, and the police are unarmed.

There are few hard drugs in Iceland. Iceland has a tradition of preempting crime issues before they arise.

Read the full article at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22288564

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Fareed Zakaria GPS – CNN 05-05-13

Salient to Investors:

Fareed Zakaria said:

  • A recent Pew survey found that only 51 percent of Americans think it’s essential to act on immigration reform this year, versus 70 percent who demand a deficit reduction deal this year, despite the wealth of data that shows that immigration reform will lead to deficit reduction.
  • The economy looks good driven by the private sector.
  • People genuinely don’t care where you’re from in America because there’s a sense in which everyone comes from somewhere.

Richard Haas at the Council on Foreign Relations said the US has to:

  • Fix long-term entitlements are the cancer hole hanging over the American body politic.
  • Fix infrastructure: it takes very little money to do it through public-private partnerships. Pass immigration reform; that is the driver of innovation and jobs.
  • Resist the temptation to get pulled into the Middle East.

Joe Klein at Time said our smartest young people should be making things instead of making deals, and American need to understand that investing in our people is investing in our future.

Anne-Marie Slaughter at New America Foundation said the US needs to build an infrastructure of care that guarantees that people can both earn an income and care for their loved ones: with better schools, better health, affordable daycare, paid family leave, flexible arrangements – essentially we leave no one behind.

The Center for American Progress said immigration reform is a very simple way to increase tax revenues, expand GDP and create jobs all at the same time. Legalizing undocumented workers brings them into the formal economy where they have to pay income taxes, Social Security and health care taxes etc and gives them access to many more jobs and at higher wages. The gains to the economy would be:

  • Scenario 1. All of America’s 11 million, undocumented immigrants are immediately granted citizenship then over the next 10 years GDP would expand by an additional $1.4 trillion, 203,000 additional jobs would be generated on average every year, and tax revenues would increase by an additional $184 billion.
  • Scenario 2. Undocumented immigrants are granted legal status and it takes 5 years to become citizens, then GDP gains an additional $1.1 trillion over the 10-year period, jobs and tax revenues increase as well.
  • Scenario 3. Undocumented immigrants are only granted legal status and not citizenship during the ten years, then GDP expands by an additional $832 billion, 121,000 extra jobs on average are added every year, and tax revenues grow by an additional $109 billion.

Douglas Holtz-Eakin said immigration reform could raise the pace of economic growth by nearly one percent in the near-term and increase GDP per capita by $1,500.

Rana Foroohar at Time magazine said:

  • If you strip the public sector out, US growth is 3.1 percent and mostly down to the American consumers, who have done a good job of balancing their budgets, getting out of credit card debt, and are now able to dip a little more into savings.
  • Political gridlock is going to make it hard to come up with the kinds of spending that would actually be useful, like infrastructure and education. The US is the prettiest house on an ugly block.
  • After the German election, there will be an increasing realization that Germany has as much to lose if not more than any other European country if there is a fracture in the Euro zone – a lot of their trading partners are in the Euro zone.
  • American manufacturing is back though the jobs have not returned in mass yet because of the big, complex supply chains in places like India and China. Many CEOs are complaining about how risky these supply chains are now. Companies have lost billions in recent years in reputation, and coupled with rising energy prices, it has become more cost-effective to bring production closer to home, helped by the need for quick, customized products.

Gillian Tett at The Financial Times said:

  • Consumers have managed to adjust to the new normal, with credit card debt down to a 10-yr low.
  • Ireland, Greece, Italy and Portugal are absolutely fed up at being told by the Germans and the IMF that they need more austerity. An entire generation is essentially being thrown into the garbage can and the problem is they are not spending, not stimulating the economy.
  • Bangladesh’s fire, social media, demonstrates how quickly consumers can turn on a dime and cause serious brand damage very quickly. American wages are becoming more competitive on global standard, while the cost of moving things around the world is high, so we could see more localization.

Salman Rushdie said many immigrants to England came from very poor agrarian communities, not from the urban middle class, and were much more traumatized in Western industrial urbanized culture; while immigrants to the US are more middle class and therefore more easily adjustable to urban life in America.

Watch the video at http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/category/gps-episodes/ or read the full transcript at http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1305/05/fzgps.01.html

Durable Goods Orders in U.S. Rise More Than Forecast – Bloomberg 06-27-12

Salient to Investors:

Joseph LaVorgna at Deutsche Bank Securities says the economy is muddling through, while concerns about the collapse of manufacturing are grossly overblown, and we’re in a housing recovery.

Britons repaid more mortgage debt than they borrowed in May for the first time in at least 15 years.

Manufacturing in the Philadelphia area shrank in June at the fastest pace in almost a year, while New York-region factories expanded at the slowest pace in seven months.

Millan Mulraine at TD Securities says housing is finally on the mend.

Predictions:

Michael Feroli at JPMorgan Chase  expects manufacturing to slow in the middle of the year.

Jennifer Lee at BMO Capital Markets expects moderate U.S. growth.

Read the full article at http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-06-27/orders-for-durable-goods-in-u-s-rise-more-than-forecast.html