Miami's great economic savior: wealthy Brazilians. The South Americans are visiting the area in droves and buying up everything in sight, including empty condos, fancy clothes, and fast cars. Though, one has to wonder why they prefer coming from their sun drenched, subtropical, Latin-flair cities to ours. The New York Times uncovers one major reason: Miamians may be rough by American standards, but we don't go around chopping off people's arms just to steal their watch.
"In Miami, they can come here and wear expensive watches and drive their convertible cars, and nobody will cut your arm for a piece of jewelry, like happens at home," Alexandre Piquet, a Brazilian lawyer, tells the Times. "Here we don't have to worry about kids crossing the street and getting kidnapped, some of the issues we still face down there. It's the reality."
So, please Miami thief, don't go getting any arm-amputating ideas. Just let the Brazilians keep spending at this rate and soon enough we'll all be flush in enough cash again to be wearing Rolexes on each of our intact arms.
In fact, in the first nine months of 2011, 1.1 million Brazilians came to Florida and they spent $1.6 billion dollars. While most of the rest of the Western economy sits in a doldrums, Brazil is flourishing. Their unemployment rate is a jealousy inducing 5.8 percent, their middle class is booming while ours is going extinct, and just this week Brazil toppled Britain to become the world's sixth-biggest economy.
Sure, the fact that they can buy goods here cheaper than they can in Brazil certainly fuels their attraction to visiting America, probably even above the idea of keeping both their arms.
And businesses are noticing. The Times reports that stores in Miami are now hiring Portuguese-speaking clerks to cater to Brazilian tourists. Meanwhile, real estate companies are popping up to help Brazilians buy investments properties and tackle their client's needs including everything from home decorating to tax issues.
Maybe there is actually such a thing as trickle down economics, because Miami certainly seems to be lapping up the drippings of Brazil's growing wealth. So lets just make sure they all keep their arms.