Switzerland Topples the U.S. as Most Competitive Economy: WEF Study

Switzerland has knocked the United States off its position as the No. 1 most competitive country in the world as the U.S. banking system crash left the country more exposed to some long-standing weaknesses. A report released by the World Economic Forum showed economies with a large focus on financial services such as the USA, Britain or Iceland were the big losers of the crisis. The US slipped to second place for the first time since the introduction of the index in its current form in 2004. It is important to note that the study found trust Swiss banks have also declined, but in terms of soundness, it ranked 44th. The U.S. fell to 108, right behind Tanzania. Wow. That’s a major fall.

The WEF bases its assessment on a range of factors, key for any country to prosper. The index includes economic data such as growth but also health data or the number of internet users. The study also factors in a survey among business leaders, assessing for example the government’s efficiency or the flexibility of the labor market.

The WEF applauded Switzerland for its capacity to innovate, sophisticated business culture, effective public services, excellent infrastructure and well-functioning goods markets. The Swiss economy dipped into recession last year, too and had to bail out its largest bank UBS. But its economy is holding up better than many peers and most banks are relatively unscathed by the crisis, which drove U.S. banks into bankruptcy.

The WEF said the U.S. economy was still extremely productive but a number of escalating weaknesses were taking its toll. Concerns were growing about the government’s ability to maintain distance to the private sector and doubts rose about the quality of firms’ auditing and reporting standards, it said. Source: Reuters

It is interesting to note that the report showed the leading emerging markets Brazil, India and China improved their competitiveness despite the crisis. Of course, that doesn’t come as a surprise, especially where China and India are concerned, since they have been the biggest recipients of outsourcing from the U.S.

City of Gary, Ind. Paid $5,000 in Airfare for Joe Jackson, Seven Others to Attend Tribute for the Late Michael Jackson

Gary, Indiana Mayor Rudy Clay and Joe Jackson
(Tasos Katopodis, Getty Images)

Once again, Joe Jackson, the father of the late Michael Jackson, has shown that he has no class. Rudy Clay, the mayor of Gary, Indiana, said his cash-strapped city paid $5,000 to fly Joe Jackson and seven other people out from Los Angeles to attend a memorial for his son in July. It seems like Joe Jackson, Latoya Jackson and Jermaine Jackson just won’t go away and grieve in private like the rest of the family.

While city money helped pay to fly Jackson, the musical group the Chi-Lites and security from Los Angeles to O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, Clay said donations already made or promised to the city will cover all of the memorial’s expenses.

He said Gary is currently about $2,000 short of breaking even on the memorial’s costs, though he could not provide the total cost for the tribute held at a minor league baseball park.

Clay said Joe Jackson never asked for help to pay for the trip to the city he moved his family away from in 1969 after the Jackson 5 recorded their first album.

Instead, Clay said he offered to pay airfare for Jackson as well as the Chi-Lites so that the group, whose lead singer Marshall Thompson is launching a new record label with Jackson, could accompany the Jackson family patriarch. Source: Breitbart

The last thing this city needed to spend its scarce resources on was a trip for Joe Jackson and his “posse” to visit Gary. I am appalled at the mayor for making such an offer, but not surprised that Joe Jackson, who shamelessly plugged a new record label on the red carpet at the BET Awards days after his son’s death, would even accept such an offer. Sorry, but that $5,000 could have been used to service some of the needs of the city.