Crime pays 1

Would you like to have free health care and a pension? Here’s a way to get them simply by sitting for three years in a secure environment. Oh – and by hurting some Norwegians.

They’ll pay you to do it.

That’s right. Go to Norway and commit a serious crime. The rest is gravy.

The story by Rita Karlsen comes from FrontPageMag:

Criminal foreigners who serve more than a year in jail will henceforth automatically qualify for welfare. After three years in prison, they will have a right to a government pension and to health coverage. This will be the case even if they have come to Norway illegally. In other words, it pays for foreigners to come to Norway and commit serious crimes – and the more serious the crime, the greater the reward.

The word ”shocking” is hardly sufficient. Indeed, some news is so shocking that one hardly believes what one is hearing. This new development falls under the category of things that you just can’t imagine a country’s leaders ever coming up with. But I am not making this up. You can read all about it on the website of the newspaper Aftenposten: in order to qualify for welfare, foreign criminals will have to commit crimes that are serious enough to put them behind bars for a year or more. But if they are found guilty of even more serious offenses, so that they are sentenced to at least three years, they will also have the right to a basic government pension starting at age 67.

According to Aftenposten, a person who has spent three years in the can will receive a so-called 3/40 basic pension, which amounts to 455 kroner ($80) a month. I assume this means that somebody who has served seven years will get a 7/40 basic pension, and so forth. It is impossible to imagine a policy that would more clearly reward people for breaking the law. And unfortunately, this isn’t all. Because if the same criminal foreigners are citizens of countries belonging to the EU or the European Economic Area, such as Lithuania, Poland, or Bulgaria, they will also have a right to Norwegian pensions even if they have moved out of Norway. We can thus expect that in the years to come, the Norwegian welfare system will find itself paying out considerable amounts in health and pension benefits to felons living abroad.

We can also expect that the Norwegian “goodness industry,” as I like to call it, will soon be telling us that this new policy is discriminatory: why shouldn’t criminals from countries outside the EU or EEA have the same rights as criminals from Europe? For under Norwegian law, citizenship is not predicated on one’s land of birth: if a man is a Norwegian citizen, all of his children have the right to Norwegian citizenship as well, regardless of whether they are born in Norway, Lithuania, Pakistan, or Somalia, and regardless of whether their mother is wife #1 or wife #33. As Human Rights Service has noted repeatedly, if this is called equality under the law, there is something wrong with the law.

There is also something wrong with a law that encourages people to pursue lives of crime, and that in fact amounts to a gilt-edged invitation to come to Norway to commit serious crime. …  As of January 2010, 1,001 foreign citizens are in Norwegian prisons….

Don’t be surprised, Norway, if before long there are millions. Better start building more prisons. You may soon be recognized as the most attractive little country in the world. And the least safe. And one of the poorest.

We do so enjoy the idiocy of the left. Can’t help laughing as we cry.

Posted under Commentary, Economics, Europe, Socialism by Jillian Becker on Friday, January 8, 2010

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Romancing the criminal 2

One of the sentimental theories dear to the leftist heart is that poverty causes crime. It is plainly untrue: most poor people are not criminals. Ideological levelers use it as an excuse for forcing whole societies into egalitarian straightjackets. Because the theory, or piety, is useful to them, they hang on to it however often and thoroughly it’s shown to be wrong. If they were right, crime would sink wherever poverty is alleviated by welfare provision, but what happens is the opposite: crime rises with the rise of welfare dependency.

What really does reduce crime – though socialists find the fact so intolerable they will continue to deny it in the teeth of all evidence – is the capture, conviction, imprisonment and punishment of criminals.

Heather Mac Donald, always clear thinking and accurate in research, demonstrates this in an article in the Wall Street Journal. The only thing she says that we would politely correct is that the theory arose in the 1960s (which was indeed a source of many stupid theories). Actually, it was big with ivory-tower intellectuals in the early twentieth century, and probably dates from even further back than that.

She writes:

The recession of 2008-09 has undercut one of the most destructive social theories that came out of the 1960s: the idea that the root cause of crime lies in income inequality and social injustice. As the economy started shedding jobs in 2008, criminologists and pundits predicted that crime would shoot up, since poverty, as the “root causes” theory holds, begets criminals. Instead, the opposite happened. Over seven million lost jobs later, crime has plummeted to its lowest level since the early 1960s. The consequences of this drop for how we think about social order are significant.

The notion that crime is an understandable reaction to poverty and racism took hold in the early 1960s. Sociologists Richard Cloward and Lloyd Ohlin argued that juvenile delinquency was essentially a form of social criticism. Poor minority youth come to understand that the American promise of upward mobility is a sham, after a bigoted society denies them the opportunity to advance. These disillusioned teens then turn to crime out of thwarted expectations.

The theories put forward by Cloward, who spent his career at Columbia University, and Ohlin, who served presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Carter, provided an intellectual foundation for many Great Society-era programs. From the Mobilization for Youth on Manhattan’s Lower East Side in 1963 through the federal Office of Economic Opportunity and a host of welfare, counseling and job initiatives, their ideas were turned into policy.

If crime was a rational response to income inequality, the thinking went, government can best fight it through social services and wealth redistribution, not through arrests and incarceration. Even law enforcement officials came to embrace the root causes theory, which let them off the hook for rising lawlessness. Through the late 1980s, the FBI’s annual national crime report included the disclaimer that “criminal homicide is largely a societal problem which is beyond the control of the police.” Policing, it was understood, can only respond to crime after the fact; preventing it is the domain of government welfare programs.

The 1960s themselves offered a challenge to the poverty-causes-crime thesis. Homicides rose 43%, despite an expanding economy and a surge in government jobs for inner-city residents. The Great Depression also contradicted the idea that need breeds predation, since crime rates dropped during that prolonged crisis. The academy’s commitment to root causes apologetics nevertheless persisted. Andrew Karmen of New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice echoed Cloward and Ohlin in 2000 in his book “New York Murder Mystery.” Crime, he wrote, is “a distorted form of social protest.” And as the current recession deepened, liberal media outlets called for more government social programs to fight the coming crime wave. In late 2008, the New York Times urged President Barack Obama to crank up federal spending on after-school programs, social workers, and summer jobs. “The economic crisis,” the paper’s editorialists wrote, “has clearly created the conditions for more crime and more gangs—among hopeless, jobless young men in the inner cities.”

Even then crime patterns were defying expectations. And by the end of 2009, the purported association between economic hardship and crime was in shambles. According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports, homicide dropped 10% nationwide in the first six months of 2009; violent crime dropped 4.4% and property crime dropped 6.1%. Car thefts are down nearly 19%. The crime plunge is sharpest in many areas that have been hit the hardest by the housing collapse. Unemployment in California is 12.3%, but homicides in Los Angeles County, the Los Angeles Times reported recently, dropped 25% over the course of 2009. Car thefts there are down nearly 20%.

The recession crime free fall continues a trend of declining national crime rates that began in the 1990s, during a very different economy. The causes of that long-term drop are hotly disputed, but an increase in the number of people incarcerated had a large effect on crime in the last decade and continues to affect crime rates today, however much anti-incarceration activists deny it. The number of state and federal prisoners grew fivefold between 1977 and 2008, from 300,000 to 1.6 million.

The spread of data-driven policing has also contributed to the 2000s’ crime drop. At the start of the recession, the two police chiefs who confidently announced that their cities’ crime rates would remain recession-proof were Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton and New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. As New York Police Commissioner in the mid-1990s, Mr. Bratton pioneered the intensive use of crime data to determine policing strategies and to hold precinct commanders accountable—a process known as Compstat. Commissioner Kelly has continued Mr. Bratton’s revolutionary policies, leading to New York’s stunning 16-year 77% crime drop. The two police leaders were true to their word. In 2009, the city of L.A. saw a 17% drop in homicides, an 8% drop in property crimes, and a 10% drop in violent crimes. In New York, homicides fell 19%, to their lowest level since reliable records were first kept in 1963.

The Compstat mentality is the opposite of root causes excuse-making; it holds that policing can and must control crime for the sake of urban economic viability. More and more police chiefs have adopted the Compstat philosophy of crime-fighting and the information-based policing techniques that it spawned. Their success in lowering crime shows that the government can control antisocial behavior and provide public safety through enforcing the rule of law. Moreover, the state has the moral right and obligation to do so, regardless of economic conditions or income inequality

The recession could still affect crime rates if cities cut their police forces and states start releasing prisoners early. Both forms of cost-saving would be self-defeating. Public safety is the precondition for thriving urban life. In 1990s New York, crime did not drop because the economy improved; rather, the city’s economy revived because crime was cut in half

It should always be remembered that the only absolutely necessary function of government is protection: of the nation by armed defense against foreign attack, and of individuals by means of the law.

A soft spot for thugs 0

 Expect a big rise in crime under an Obama presidency.    

Obama, who would as president have the power to pardon criminals, isn’t a big fan of U.S. laws in general, at least not as currently written. He thinks they are racist, along with the courts.

"We have certain sentences that are based less on the kind of crime you commit than on what you look like," he told Howard University students last year. "It’s time to seek a new dawn of justice."

"Laws are sometimes malleable," he wrote two years ago, and he plans to "fix" what he sees as a "broken" criminal justice system. And he favors judges with the "empathy to understand what it’s like to be poor or African-American."

That worries some legal analysts. "If Obama wins," warns Northwestern University law professor Steven Calabresi, "we could possibly see the abolition of capital punishment and mass freeing of criminal defendants."

In fact, Obama in the 1996 questionnaire responded "no" to supporting capital punishment. His website now calls for unspecified "reform" of the death penalty, which he contended in his book "does little to deter crime."

Obama will, however, get tough on "hate crimes." He plans to pack the criminal section of Justice’s Civil Rights Division with African-American prosecutors, and make "hate crime a priority." …

 Suburban employers won’t be safe from Obama’s race cops, either.

"Anyone who thinks that such enforcement is no longer needed should pay a visit to one of the suburban office parks in their area and count the number of blacks employed there," Obama complained in his 2006 autobiography. …

It’s plain where Obama’s priorities lie.

"Jesus has a soft spot for thugs," preaches Rev. Otis Moss, the "wonderful young pastor," as Obama described him, who took over the pulpit from retired Rev. Jeremiah Wright at Obama’s longtime church in Chicago.

Apparently so does Obama.

Read more in the Front Page Magazine article here.

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Monday, November 3, 2008

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