The New Jersey city that became the poster child for yawning budget deficits and high crime during our look at how the crisis could play out in your hometown… has now voted to disband its police force.
America’s most violent city, Camden, N.J., will lay off its entire police force, breaking all prior contracts, and begin to rely on a county-run force instead. Starting anew, the plan’s advocates say, will allow the city to add 130 more pairs of boots on the ground to respond to rampant crime.
“Camden Mayor Dana Redd and Frank Moran, the city council president,” The Huffington Post reports, “say the city cannot afford its current contract with the police department, which includes generous pension and health care benefits and perks like longevity pay.
“Shifting to a county-run force allows the city to negate the current contract and start from scratch with lower salaries and less benefits for officers.”
The Camden “plan is unproven, untested and unstudied,” one detractor told the HuffPost. “They’re playing mad scientist with people’s lives.”
“Camden, N.J., used to be the home to the entire Campbell’s Soup factory,” we wrote early last year, “It was home to RCA and the world’s first color television. They invented the drive-in movie theater. With almost full employment, innovation and massive manufacturing output, the mayor once proclaimed the place ‘the city of contented industries.’
“But just like what we’re seeing play out right now, they eventually got in over their heads…”
At the time, city leaders had already been forced to lay off a quarter of the city workers — including nearly half of the police force and one-third of the firefighters.
“The fear quotient has been raised,” said Rev. Heyward Wiggins, pastor of the local church. His fellowship once held choir practice on Thursday and Friday evenings. He canceled those. Members are simply too afraid of being out after dark.
Fellow Camden resident George Watson feared for his life… and home. He told the local news that “[Criminals will] be coming into the houses… they know you can’t call the cops. There won’t be any cops to call.”
And with the current plan, help is even further away.
In sharp contrast, manufacturing jobs will continue to grow by 5 million over the next decade, according to the Boston Consulting Group (BCG).
With ongoing worldwide labor riots, rising global wages and equalizing expenditures, the cost advantages for American companies to produce goods overseas are shrinking. And according to BCG, a mass migration of jobs back to the United States will be, and already is, taking place.
According to BCG’s “Made in America, Again” report, in less than three years, the US will have a cost advantage superior to Germany, Italy, France, the UK and Japan in several industries including machinery, chemicals, transportation equipment along with electrical and appliance equipment.
Overseas, the Chinese and Venezuelans have agreed to develop one of the world’s largest gold mines, together.
Last year, Venezuelan president for life Hugo Chavez recalled 200 tons of his gold reserves from the hands of “mafia and smugglers,” in a plan to end the “dictatorship” of the US dollar.
Chavez then announced an oil deal with China, allowing the Middle Kingdom to secure oil supplies in exchange for low-interest loans.
Yesterday, they announced they’re joining forces to mine Las Cristinas. In typically humble fashion, Chavez describes the mine as, “one of the biggest resources of gold that exists — not only in Venezuela, not only in Latin America… but in the world!”
The mine will be taken over by China International Trust and Investment Corp. (Citic).
So it goes.
for The Daily Reckoning
Addison Wiggin is the executive publisher of Agora Financial, LLC, a fiercely independent economic forecasting and financial research firm. He's the creator and editorial director of Agora Financial's daily 5 Min. Forecast and editorial director of The Daily Reckoning. Wiggin is the founder of Agora Entertainment, executive producer and co-writer of I.O.U.S.A., which was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, the 2009 Critics Choice Award for Best Documentary Feature, and was also shortlisted for a 2009 Academy Award. He is the author of the companion book of the film I.O.U.S.A.and his second edition of The Demise of the Dollar, and Why it's Even Better for Your Investments was just fully revised and updated. Wiggin is a three-time New York Times best-selling author whose work has been recognized by The New York Times Magazine, The Economist, Worth, The New York Times, The Washington Post as well as major network news programs. He also co-authored international bestsellers Financial Reckoning Day and Empire of Debt with Bill Bonner.
Last year I made a wrong turn, left into Camden, on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. I live only 25 minutes away, but had never seen the hidden residential underside of the city in broad daylight. The scene was something you know exists in your mind, and yet the reality is stunning anyhow. Young adolescent prostitutes, people asleep on the sidewalks, truly crumbling buildings like something out of a Dickens novel. Idle adults crowded onto every set of front steps and without exaggeration, every eye followed me, and not with friendly interest. The place looked like pictures you see of war somewhere else. And yet, I have trouble seeing it as a sign of the times. Camden’s been a place no sane person visits for 40 years. It is a great example of how those kinds of problems can’t be solved by throwing money at them though. You can drive over the Ben Franklin and count the dollars both public and private, that have been “invested” there, millions and millions and millions, in the name of “turning the city around” and yet, things remain the same.
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