Public enemy number one

From the AP:

Leading mayor says property taxes ‘public policy enemy No. 1’

A leading New Jersey mayor calls New Jersey’s highest-in-the-nation property taxes “public policy enemy number one.”

In doing so, he beseeches New Jersey lawmakers to reject Gov. Jon S. Corzine’s plan to slash state aid for towns and cities.

East Orange Mayor Robert Bowser plans to testify Wednesday before the Assembly Budget Committee that nothing is more important than property tax relief.

“Every state policy, and especially the state budget, has to be viewed from that perspective,” Bowser said.

Local officials claim the proposed 10.5 percent cut in municipal aid would boost property taxes that are twice the national average at $6,800 per homeowner.

Corzine’s $33 billion budget plan seeks $2.7 billion in spending cuts to try to fix state finances plagued by deficits, high debt and taxes and sagging revenues.

It proposes cuts in state funding for property tax rebates as well as aid for municipalities, hospitals, colleges and universities and nursing homes.

“It is hard to get away from the fact that these are lean times, in addition to the structural problems we have as a state,” Corzine said.

Corzine’s municipal aid cuts would hit smaller towns hardest — sharp decreases for communities with 5,000 to 10,000 people and nothing for towns with less than 5,000 people. Those towns could get grants to help share services or merge with neighbors.

Property taxes rose 5.4 percent last year statewide.

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285 Responses to Public enemy number one

  1. grim says:

    From the Times Trenton:

    Suit up for worst of times

    Bear Stearns employs 14,000 people worldwide, with about 10 percent of its work force in New Jersey.

    In the wake of the investment bank’s stunning collapse and sale earlier this week, how many are looking for a way out?

    “I don’t think there’s anybody at the firm who’s not considering their alternatives,” said Paul Heller, president of executive search firm Cromwell Partners, which focuses on the financial services industry.

    Trading and sales, as well as back office functions such as accounting or technical support, aren’t as valued as Bear Stearns’ prime brokerage or wealth management divisions, recruiters said.

    “Right now we’re in a cost-cutting environment,” Heller said. “Basically, Wall Street is more overstaffed than Corporate America is today.”

    Lehman Bros. has laid off about 4,500 employees in the past year. Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch and Citigroup have either cut jobs or are said to be planning reductions.

    Bear Stearns owns five office buildings in Whippany on about 65 acres, which was assessed last year at $62.2 million, according to Morris County tax records. Compliance, personnel, accounting and data processing work is done there. The site also houses the company’s disaster recovery center.

    Deirdre MacCallan, a principal with the Mahwah recruiting firm Butterfass, Pepe & MacCallan, said she suspects at least half of Bear Stearns’ work force might be looking for new jobs. She likened the situation to what happened in the early 1990s when investment bank Drexel Burnham Lambert fell into bankruptcy.

    “You suddenly have a whole lot of people from one industry and one company (looking for jobs) at a time when there probably isn’t going to be a lot of hiring,” MacCallan said.

  2. grim says:

    From the WSJ:

    Fannie, Freddie Lending Power May Rise
    March 19, 2008

    The regulator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is expected to announce a plan this morning that will give the government-sponsored mortgage investors more scope to prop up the home-mortgage market.

    The plan involves a reduction in capital requirements for the companies and a promise by them that they will each raise several billion dollars of capital this year, likely through a sale of preferred shares, according to several people familiar with the situation. As a result, they are expected to be able to provide additional funding of as much as $200 billion for home mortgages and related securities.

    James Lockhart, director of the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, or Ofheo, has called a press conference for 9 a.m. today with Fannie Mae Chief Executive Daniel Mudd and Freddie Mac chairman and CEO Richard Syron to announce the agreement. The deal came together this week amid prodding from the Treasury Department.

  3. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Check out these charts US looks an awful like japan.

  4. grim says:

    From the Star Ledger:

    State asks high court to end Abbott school arrangement

    Attorneys for New Jersey yesterday asked the state Supreme Court to end the Abbott vs. Burke school funding lawsuit, saying Newark and 30 other needy communities no longer require the billions of dollars in special state aid they were awarded through the court rulings in the case.

    The court orders, designed to meet special needs in poor communities and ensure the needy communities have as much to spend on their schoolchildren as the state’s wealthiest towns, are not needed since lawmakers enacted a new school aid formula earlier this year, the state argues.

    “It is time to abandon this process and refocus, as the School Funding Reform Act does, on providing a thorough and efficient education for all New Jersey children through a unified funding formula,” the state’s 80-page legal brief says.

    Attorney General Anne Milgram filed the motion with the Supreme Court late yesterday.

  5. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Quote of the Day

    “No one is debating the fact that this economy has slowed way down. We feel it, we know it, the American people know it.” – Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. (, Mar. 17th)

    You got to love Paulson he’s right on top of the pulse of America,really ahead of the curve. SARCASM OFF

  6. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Where does the mayor of East Orange think the state gets the money to give to his town the tooth fairy.(It’s not like their the fed).If they don’t get you on property taxes they’ll just find anthor way to take your money.

  7. grim says:

    From Bloomberg:

    Dollar Falls on Speculation Housing Slump to Swell Bank Losses

    The dollar fell against the euro, erasing most of yesterday’s gains, on speculation the worst U.S. housing slump in a quarter of a century will swell credit-market losses.

  8. BLB says:

    Somewhat OT: USA Today names Larry Yun one of the most accurate economic forecasters for accuracy.

    Larry Yun!

    Is he the same guy who produced the NAR’s outlandishly optimistic house sale forecasts? Or was it the prior guy?

  9. SG says:

    To some extent I do agree with this OP-ed piece,

    I have predicted in past as well, that home prices will stabilize at about 2004 (may be 2003 in not so good areas) level in NNJ and CNJ areas.

    Having said that most who bought in 2005 or 2006 are up-side down on mortgage. They need to live in that house for at least 10 years to break even.

  10. grim says:

    From MarketWatch:

    Mortgage applications fell 2.9% last week: MBA

    Applications filed for mortgages fell a seasonally adjusted 2.9% last week even as interest rates on fixed-rate mortgages declined, the Mortgage Bankers Association said Wednesday.

    Application volume dropped an unadjusted 3.7% compared with the same week in 2007.
    Applications for mortgages to purchase homes were down a seasonally adjusted 1.0% in the week ended March 14 compared with the week before. Refinancing applications dropped 4.6% on a week-to-week basis.

  11. DB says:

    I hate to say it, but I’m with Corzine on this. You can have cute little historical towns without having-and-paying-for cute little historical town councils. Merge merge merge.

  12. grim says:

    From CNBC:

    Mortgage Applications Fall to 2008 Low

    Applications for U.S. home mortgages last week fell to their lowest since December despite a sharp drop in borrowing costs, according to data from an industry group on Wednesday.

    The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage application activity declined 2.9 percent to 652.0 in the week ended March 14. It was the lowest since the last week of December.

  13. grim says:

    From Bloomberg:

    Subprime Mortgage Meltdown Renews Urban Blight: Gene Sperling

    There is no shortage of regret over the failure of regulators and the Bush administration to heed the warning signs about the extent of the subprime housing crisis.

    A new regret is on the horizon: The failure to take action to prevent the descent into disrepair, economic distress and crime of revitalized urban neighborhoods across the nation.

    Consider Lawrence, Massachusetts, a majority-Latino city that by 2005 had at last recovered from the 1990s real-estate bubble, ridding itself of the stigma of being known as New England’s “arson capital.”

    Andrea Ryan of Lawrence’s Community Development department told the Boston Globe, “It was so exciting for the city to see people buying homes and investing, and neighborhoods becoming economically stable.” But by this October, the Globe told of a dozen vacant properties being robbed and stripped under the headline, “As foreclosures widen, a neighborhood erodes.”

    “They’ve seen a lot of prostitution in the area, vagrants wandering in and out of the empty houses, and drug activity,” Atlanta police officer Dakarta Richardson told the AP. “Some people that I talked to are afraid to walk out of their homes at night.”

    Sarah Gerecke of Neighborhood Housing Services of New York told a House committee that several neighborhoods in New York that had come back from the blackout of 1977 were now at risk of spiraling down due to foreclosures.

    She pointed to such neighborhoods as Bushwick in Brooklyn and Williamsbridge, an African-American section of the Bronx, where the Village Voice newspaper reported that 155 notices of foreclosure were filed between December and February. Interviewed by the New York Times, hardware store owner Khemraj Ramprasad said “Everybody’s scared.”

  14. grim says:

    NJ employment data for February due out this afternoon.

  15. 1987 Condo Buyer says:

    #(..broken record, bought Belleville condo in 1987 for $132,000, and seeing them sell in the $70,000 range through the 1990’s I sold in 1999 for $92,000. Holding for 12 years was not enough…of course they shot up in the early 2000’s!!!!

  16. 1987 Condo Buyer says:

    #9..broken record, bought Belleville condo in 1987 for $132,000, and seeing them sell in the $70,000 range through the 1990’s I sold in 1999 for $92,000. Holding for 12 years was not enough…of course they shot up in the early 2000’s!!!!

  17. grim says:


    You wouldn’t believe how many people have told me outright that the 90s real estate crash was a myth, it didn’t happen.

    “Prices just flattened out.”


  18. thatBIGwindow says:

    I can’t help but think – with the amount we put down and paid for our house -if we waited a few more years to buy, we could probably have ended up in a Ridgewood Victorian opposed to where we are now :-/

  19. x-underwriter says:

    grim Says:
    You wouldn’t believe how many people have told me outright that the 90s real estate crash was a myth, it didn’t happen.

    This house has been for sale for months and months on the street where my parents live and I grew up. In 2006, this place would have gone in hours for close to $800k. My dad remembers the same thing happening back in the early 90’s when property values declined $200,000. It’s no myth and its happening now.

    MLS ID# 2471094

  20. SG says:

    The big difference between 1987 and 2005 in NNJ and CNJ is lack of new supply. The republican towns (primarily in counties like Somerset, Morris, Mercer) were not as restrictive in zoning. They are today.

    Unless you have large scale un-employment or Baby boomer outward migration, NNJ and CNJ will always has supply side limitations. This situation will get worse as due to downturn, builders are not interested in building and towns are not willing to approve as they fear increase in school going kids increasing their school budgets (not sure that is true, as there are no published studies reported).

  21. Willow says:

    Does anyone know if towns that already share services, but have less than 10,000 residents, will still only get half the state aid? If cutting aid is supposed to force towns to share services and merge, it would make sense that those that already share services would meet some of the criteria.

    One problem I see with the merging of towns is that bigger towns, whose aid isn’t cut in half, won’t want to merge with smaller towns who might have higher taxes/less of a tax base.

  22. thatBIGwindow says:

    What if towns that shared school systems (i.e. River Edge/Oradell) merged their town services?

  23. Essex says:

    19…I like it….except for the wallpaper and outdated kitchen. The den is gorgeous with that stone work. I suppose that if Gary would have posted this property he would have had a rant to accompany it. Denville is an interesting town…some flood zones…overall a great little area.

  24. Essex says:

    18….sucks to covet a town that you are not in…when you sunk money down into a place you didn’t really want to own in. Back in 02 we looked at Ridgewood and didn’t bite. In those train towns you are competing with the NY dollars….and we didn’t need a direct line in to NYC. I did the NYC commute from Morris County once….never again.

  25. Sean says:

    re (21) Willow the process of merging towns or services won’t happen without blood shed. You can’t even get the municipal, county, and state employees to except a $5 co-pay without rioting.

    In the end I forcast the legislature will capitualte and allow Corzine to sell the Turnpike and Parkway to allow the state to go into further debt to finance the unfunded liabilities such as the huge pension shortfall.

  26. Essex says:

    Pensions are paid into by state employees….it is not a give-a-way…and the money that the state was suppose to contribute to the pension….robbing peter to pay Paul was diverted to other areas and lied about….criminal charges anyone? Fraud?

  27. x-underwriter says:

    Essex Says:
    Denville is an interesting town…some flood zones…overall a great little area.

    That street is on the very edge of Denville and is actually closer to the center of Morris Plains than to Denville. It’s very close to Shongum Lake area in Randolph. Growing up in the 70’s and 80’s, those were the McMansions of the day. It’s a very nice area and I’m really suprised that this thing is sitting for so long.

  28. grim says:

    The big difference between 1987 and 2005 in NNJ and CNJ is lack of new supply.

    I agree, although the decrease in permits isn’t as sharp as we might imagine it to be. According to the WNJPIN site, NJ granted 51,462 construction permits in 1987, compared to 38,588 in 2005, roughly 25% fewer. Given the chatter about supply constraints, I’d have expected a much lower number.

  29. Essex says:

    27 it looks like a fantastic place in many respects….I like the space that area gets you and the peace and quiet….not to mention the schools are pretty good. Taxes are lower usually. Not sure why it sits other than to say it is in price range that creates competition for limited numbers of buyers….(?)

  30. SG says:

    According to the WNJPIN site, NJ granted 51,462 construction permits in 1987, compared to 38,588 in 2005, roughly 25% fewer.

    JB: Do you have link to this? I would like to know if there is county wise breakdown. I would like to confirm, if there is significant increase in New Permits in South Jersey or not. If SNJ have much higher permits, then you have significant reduction in NNJ and CNJ.

  31. John says:

    This market is still crazy. ING taxable one year cd is like 2.5%, one year Fed bond that is taxable is like 1.75% while a one year NJ tax free bond is 3.265%. People must still be selling munis for margin calls or the auction rate stuff is still scaring the fixed rate munis, either way strange days and a good place to park short term downpayment money.

    PORT AUTH N Y & N J CONS BDS 2001 124TH 04.00000% 08/01/2009 SER
    Basic Analytics
    Price (Ask) 100.960
    Yield to Worst (Ask) 3.265%

  32. njpatient says:

    “Sarah Gerecke of Neighborhood Housing Services of New York told a House committee that several neighborhoods in New York that had come back from the blackout of 1977 were now at risk of spiraling down due to foreclosures.”

    Hey Doyle – we still have a date for 2017?

  33. Joeycasz says:

    Quote of the Day

    “No one is debating the fact that this economy has slowed way down. We feel it, we know it, the American people know it.” – Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. (, Mar. 17th)

    believe this was on Good Morning America. Diane Sawyer kept asking him if he thinks we’re in a recession and he kept avoiding the question. She called him out on it asking him if he was afraid of the word…

  34. x-underwriter says:

    Essex Says:
    Not sure why it sits other than to say it is in price range that creates competition for limited numbers of buyers….(?)

    I guess with the new credit guidelines, fewer and fewer people can get a jumbo loan these days. Anything under $400 flies off the shelf. Anything over $550 sits. Denville also isn’t one of the “prestige” towns, not that there’s anything wrong with it. That neighborhood was built in the heyday of AT&T in Morris county. Back then, there were a lot more execs working in the area. Lately, many of the corporate jobs seem to be migrating east towards the city and BC or down to the Princeton area.

  35. njpatient says:

    20 SG

    You’re simply making an argument that inventory isn’t as high relative to demand as it was in the early ’90s downturn. I’m in the car, so I can’t really check that, but put me down as doubtful.

  36. Sean says:

    re: (26) Essex the SEC and the Federal Pension regulators have been looking into it for sometime now. The issue is very political and spans the last 10 years of so as our elected officials past and present schemed to divert pension contributions for their pork.

    The state’s Division of Pensions and Benefits was contacted in late April of 2007 by the SEC regarding a “confidential, informal inquiry” into New Jersey’s retirement fund. State officials have handed over thousands of pages of documents in response to requests by U.S. investigators conducting the probe, and the office of the U.S. Attorney for New Jersey Chris Christie is involved.

    The shortfall developed since about 2001, as the collapse of the DOT COM Bubble drained $22 billion from the funds. State Lawmakers compounded the problem by using accounting gimmicks to skip required annual payments into the funds and to cover billions of dollars in additional costs from increased retirement benefits they granted to public employees.

    I believe the State Pension funds have lost an addition 4 billion lately do to the collapsing Housing bubble.

    Make no mistake about it, local taxes will go up on the municipal level since the State will be asking for large contributions this year from each municipality to make up for this shortfall.

  37. James Bednar says:


    Proportion of total permits issued by county
    County 2005 1987
    Atlantic County 5% 8%
    Bergen County 8% 7%
    Burlington County 4% 7%
    Camden County 4% 5%
    Cape May County 6% 4%
    Cumberland County 2% 1%
    Essex County 8% 2%
    Gloucester County 5% 4%
    Hudson County 12% 3%
    Hunterdon County 1% 3%
    Mercer County 3% 3%
    Middlesex County 8% 8%
    Monmouth County 7% 8%
    Morris County* 6% 5%
    Ocean County 8% 14%
    Passaic County 2% 2%
    Salem County 1% 1%
    Somerset County 3% 7%
    Sussex County 2% 3%
    Union County 3% 2%
    Warren County 1% 2%

  38. Mike NJ says:



    That is a lot of house for the $$. I have heard nice things about Denville but the one glaring negative is that a lot of people put the 1 hour train ride as their max. I know I did when I looked for the commuter town. At 1:16 to the city, it is a tough sell for the NYC commuter. These types of extended commute towns will see drops the quickest, although I expect all towns across the board to take a 20% haircut eventually.

  39. 3b says:

    #9 SG I think it is too early to talk about stabalization in prices, in north/central Jersey, when they have not fallen enough yet.

    Me personally I think we get back to 02, possibly early 03 prices.

  40. grim says:

    So while permits issued were most certainly lower, 25% lower, I don’t think permits were skewed from a geographic standpoint.

    Some standouts are Ocean in 1987, and Hudson in 2005.

    There was a sizable boom in Middlesex construction earlier than 1987, that should be taken into account.

    (1986 versus 2005 would probably be a more accurate comparison, although the dynamics of the earlier boom make a comparison difficult. The 80s boom was sharp and narrow, compared to the 00s which was a bit more broad)

  41. 3b says:

    #20 SG: I think that is mythical thinking. There is tons of supply on the market now, in all of the areas you mention.

    It is always differerent this time in our area for whatever reason. However, in the end it never is different.

  42. 3b says:

    317 grim: I lived it too. Bought first hosue in 1987 sold it 10 years later for $2500 less than I paid for it, and never mind the renovations I out into it. Got none of that back either.

    The only good thing since we were stuck there, we rapidly paid the mtg off.

  43. kettle1 says:

    regarding Mikes comment in #3,

    We have a long way to drop yet. Look at the chart (Ratio of OFHEO house price index to personal consumption expenditures on rent) in mike #3 link to the seeking alpha article. Look how out of the balance the rent to buy ratio is. The housing market will not return to normal until we at least approach the historical average. And dont forget that over the next 10 yrs we will probably see a glut of home starting to it the market as the baby boomers move out of homes. That only reinforces a return to the historical average.

  44. grim says:

    From MarketWatch:

    Ofheo allows Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac to raise more capital

    OFHEO, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to increase liquidity

    Ofheo move provides $200 billion in mortgage liquidity

  45. 3b says:

    #22tbw: RE and Oradell would fight that to the end I believe.

    Probably Oradell more than RE, as Oradell would feel that they would lose their cachet. Plus RE has a lot of rental apartments, and Oradell has almost none.

  46. grim says:

    From MarketWatch:

    Carlyle Capital liquidators say fund is insolvent

    Carlyle Capital the bond fund affiliated with private equity firm The Carlyle Group, said Wednesday that its liquidators have found the fund’s “substantial liabilities” are likely to exceed its assets and it’s therefore considered insolvent. A preliminary assessment by the liquidators who were appointed on March 17 found that substantially all its residential mortgage-backed securities assets have been subject to enforcement by lending banks following the fund’s defaults on loans. The fund also has “extremely limited cash assets,” the statement said. The fund also repeated an earlier warning that there is legal uncertainty regarding the right to any shares transferred after March 17.

  47. grim says:

    From Bloomberg:

    Money-Market Rates Rise as Fed Fails to Stem Crisis

    The cost of borrowing in dollars, euros and pounds rose, in a sign that the Federal Reserve is failing to instill confidence in money markets.

    The London interbank offered rate, or Libor, for three- month loans in dollars rose 6 basis points to 2.60 percent today, the first increase since Feb. 26, the British Bankers’ Association said. The euro rate climbed 1 basis point to 4.67 percent, while the pound rate also added 1 basis point to 5.98 percent, both the highest this year.

    Money-market rates are rising as banks hoard cash on speculation financial institutions will reveal more losses. Bear Stearns Cos. had to be rescued by JPMorgan Chase & Co. this week after a run on the bank. HBOS Plc, Britain’s biggest mortgage lender, said today it has “ready access” to funding after the company plunged as much as 17 percent.

    “The market is concerned about another Bear Stearns-type event unfolding in Europe,” said Richard Bryant, a bond trader at Citigroup Global Markets Inc. in New York. People are “on edge yet again,” he said.

  48. njpatient says:

    38 grim

    Wow – look at Hudson

  49. njrebear says:

    Fannie, Freddie can purchase $2 trillion in mortgages

  50. 3b says:

    #24 Essex: ironically as someone who lives in a train town, I can tell you that most people who live in train towns doe not use the train to get to work. In fact most perople who live in north Jesey, work in Jersey.

    I think the whole train town thing having a major impact on prices is over blown.

  51. gary says:


    Actually, that Denville house is nice and at least it’s in the ballpark of a real asking price. And since it’s been sitting, one might be able to hammer this one. This one doesn’t fall into “the seller’s an idiot” category. :)

  52. 3b says:

    #53 gary: See who said you cannot be nice and reasonable. I do not know why some people misunderstand you.

  53. grim says:

    What happens to the midtown direct cachet when midtown direct service is extended to the northern lines over the next few years?

  54. Victorian says:

    Paul Vocker Interview on Charlie Rose:

    Rose: Has [the economy] bottomed out, or have we seen the worst?

    Volcker: Look. The basic economy is not irretrievably damaged in any way, shape, or form. We had to go through an adjustment, which is tough. It’s happening much quicker. You’d rather have it happen gradually. But I’m optimistic that, okay, we’ve got to get the consumption down, we got to get spending in line with our capacity to produce. I think that’s going on. And that process is going to take a while. If we can stabilize the financial market, we ought to come out of this. Then we’ve got a lot of work to do about what we do with the regulatory system, the supervisory system, what the role of the Federal Reserve is, what the role of the Treasury and the government is, because this is a different financial market.

  55. grim says:


    Don’t short Clifton just yet, we might become the next Short Hills once we get the midtown train.

  56. John says:

    U.S. unveils plan to provide up to $200B in liquidity for troubled mortgage market by loosening rules on Freddie, Fannie. More soon.

  57. thatBIGwindow says:

    grim: does that mean Passaic will become the next East Orange, and Montclair the next Chatham?

  58. gary says:

    3b [54],

    lol! Amen.

  59. danzud says:

    When is Clifton line getting a line into NYC?

  60. pretorius says:

    It is true that it is very difficult to earn entitlements to build homes in New Jersey. The NIMBY sentiment is intense here.

    According to an Ivy Zelman’s 2006 report titled Wonder-land, “public builders that operated in New Jersey universally cited it as their most challenging entitlement market, requiring five to seven years to gain approvals.”

    The same report stated that the average entitlement period was 72 months in New Jersey, compared to 15 months in Nevada gas and 20-something months in other housing crash markets of California, Florida, and Arizona.

    The good news is that the overhang of new supply isn’t extreme in New Jersey. This is one reason why I don’t expect the price decreases here to mirror what is happening in the true housing crash markets of Nevada, California, Florida, and Arizona.

    The bad news is New Jersey’s slowing household formation means it will take longer to absorb the inventory that is currently on the market here.

  61. SG says:

    Well some more interesting data. My above comments were anecdotal, so I wanted to put some number behind that commonly held argument on new housing supply. See the aggregated data at,

    Well, I have to take back my words to some extent after looking at this data. It appears that Norther NJ counties are allowing new Permits at the same rate as in 1980’s.

    But there is definitely about 30% reduction new permit approval in Central NJ counties.

    Also on the contrary to common belief, Southern NJ counties are not approving larger housing permits, in fact number are less (but not as much as CNJ).

    Also it seems new permit slowdown really happened in 90’s but picked up again back since 2000, in NNJ and SNJ.

    Central NJ is special though.

  62. gary says:

    grim [57],

    That’s “prestigous” Clifton. ;)

  63. Bloodbath in Winter 2007 says:

    Know we’ve been down this road before, but i’ll ask it anyway.
    House goes on the market in July 2007.
    Lowers price 20k in Oct.
    Lowers price 10k in Nov.

    UNLISTS in March 2008.
    RE-LISTS in March 2008 (no price change).

    HOWEVER, on the website, there is this big tag, NEW THIS WEEK.

    It’s NOT new. We are somewhat interested in the house (not for now; we’d buy it a year from now), but haven’t even seen it. Worth calling the realtor to ask WHY they bother put that NEW bullspit up?

  64. grim says:

    When is Clifton line getting a line into NYC?

    As soon as they finish digging.

  65. scribe says:

    From Bloomberg:
    Subprime Eyed by Blackstone, Goldman for Contrarian Hedge Funds

    By Bradley Keoun and Tom Cahill
    Enlarge Image/Details

    March 19 (Bloomberg) — Hedge fund manager Steve Moyer joined 4,000 realtors and bargain hunters at a five-hour Southern California housing auction in February. As the tuxedoed barker peddled foreclosed homes for hundreds of thousands of dollars below their previous sale prices, Moyer took notes — research that may help him make money from the biggest housing collapse in 26 years.

    Moyer, who helps oversee $7 billion at Tennenbaum Capital Partners LLC, is part of the rush of more than 70 hedge funds — including those run by Blackstone Group LP and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. — to snap up distressed mortgages and securities from banks battered by the subprime meltdown.

    “The risk is getting in too soon, before all the losses are flushed out,” says Moyer of Santa Monica, California-based Tennenbaum, which is considering investments in securities linked to the housing market. “It’s really just hard to call the bottom.”


    Goldman, PIMCO

    Hedge funds have raised at least $20 billion to take advantage of the housing recession. Goldman Sachs, whose $10 billion Global Alpha fund fell about 40 percent last year, created two distressed-debt pools with a combined $4.5 billion in assets. Pacific Investment Management Co., manager of the world’s biggest bond fund, has raised $3 billion.

    Even Bear Stearns Cos., the U.S. securities firm that had two mortgage-related hedge funds blow up last year, tried to get its hand in the pot. The firm hosted a Feb. 14 conference in New York at which 11 firms looking to buy mortgage-related debt made pitches to about 150 potential investors.

    Last week, Bear Stearns itself became a distressed asset. Clients withdrew $17 billion from accounts at the firm on concern it might run short of cash, and investors became reluctant to place new trades with it. JPMorgan Chase & Co. on March 16 agreed to scoop up Bear Stearns for $2 a share, 90 percent less than its market value two days prior.

    For hedge funds pursuing mortgage-backed securities, raising money is proving to be easier than spending it.

    Fair Prices

    Most banks haven’t begun to dump the securities because they can’t get prices they consider fair, says Dan Castro, chief credit officer of the structured-finance business at GSC Group, a Florham Park, New Jersey-based hedge fund firm with $22 billion under management. It’s raising $500 million for distressed debt.

    Some hedge funds won’t buy until prices fall enough to provide returns of as much as 30 percent, Castro says, while others may pay more to avoid sitting on investors’ cash.

    U.S. home prices, which declined in 2007 for the first time on a year-over-year basis since the Great Depression, may determine when the market for securities takes off. Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. economists say home prices in the 20 biggest metropolitan areas will fall 20 percent from their 2006 peak through the trough at the end of 2009.

    $200 Billion in Writedowns

    For Citigroup Inc., Merrill Lynch & Co. and other banks that have already taken more than $200 billion in writedowns and credit losses, additional housing woes would likely inflict more pain and prompt a sell-off of the securities to raise cash, says Louis Gargour, chief investment officer of London-based hedge fund firm LNG Capital LLP.

    “There’s an enormous amount of mortgage debt that will be washing around secondary credit markets in the next 12 months,” says Malcolm Perry, chief executive officer of London-based Prytania Group, which manages about $500 million and started a new fund for distressed credit. “This represents a tremendous opportunity if you can tell the difference between the baby and the bath water.”

    HFH Group LLC is now trying to do just that. The New York- based $1.8 billion hedge fund firm hired three Ph.D.’s to spend a year plugging formulas into spreadsheets to simulate how home loans perform under various economic and market conditions. The software program, which runs on 12 servers, takes an hour to analyze the 5,000 loans in a single mortgage bond.

  66. C Dawg says:

    The property tax problem is simple to solve: just reduce property taxes to zero and increase other taxes to offset the difference. That way, people pay lower property taxes and no money is lost.

  67. kettle1 says:

    68 C Dawg

    I actually think that is exactly what should be done!
    there are many problem with property taxes, they are a farce at best and state sponsored property right theft at worst

  68. SG says:

    So while permits issued were most certainly lower, 25% lower, I don’t think permits were skewed from a geographic standpoint.

    JB: There are definitely large geographical variations.

    Somerset County: 1,977 in 80’s, went down to 904 since 2000. That’s 50% reduction. Morris, Monmouth and Hunterdon County have about 35% reduction.

    In fact in Northern NJ, Hudson has 100% increase in permits. But Essex has 34% reduction.

    I am comparing Averages for period of 1980’s with current one from 2000 onward. These both period represent Bull run. 1990’s were different environment, i.e. hangover from Bull.

  69. grim says:


    As a mature market, we’ve shifted towards infill as the main source of new construction. The public builder sentiment is right on, we no longer have the vast tracts of land necessary to develop the communities that these builders specialize in.

    The large public builders simply can’t compete with the smaller developers who can profit handsomely on infill and redevelopment.

    Every day on my way to work I pass a small project, a small builder purchased a lot, tore down a larger old Victorian in poor shape, 3 new homes are going up on that lot.

    So from 1 we get 3, a net of 2 homes added on an already existing plot of land.

    We don’t need open tracts of land to be able to develop and add units. Just look at Hoboken.

    Once we run out of land on the Gold Coast, we’ll simply start filling in the Hudson and making brand new land to build on.

    Not to mention the ability to build upwards.

  70. RentininNJ says:

    I agree, although the decrease in permits isn’t as sharp as we might imagine it to be. According to the WNJPIN site, NJ granted 51,462 construction permits in 1987, compared to 38,588 in 2005


    At the same time, we are not adding population like we were in 1987 either. In 1987, NJ grew by 48,580 people, in 2005 it grew by 27,271.

  71. scribe says:

    From CNBC on the FBI probe:

    The FBI’s criminal probe of the mortgage lending industry has grown to 17 firms, involves large companies, and could take years to conclude, bureau officials said on Tuesday in a Reuters interview.

  72. PGC says:

    Rumor, don’t know if its true.

    GS is making heavy real estate related investments. Someone in GS thought it would be prudent to
    make investments when the market is low and bet on a surge later while holding on to inventory
    (they should have enough staying power for the long haul !). The request was for 5B. After some review
    they thought the idea has enough potential and sanctioned 105B

  73. John says:

    If you count the bodies buried in the meadowlands swamps NJ added at least another 3,000 people in the last ten years, in fact they are digging a hole in the swamp right now for sammy the bull.

    RentininNJ Says:
    March 19th, 2008 at 9:57 am
    I agree, although the decrease in permits isn’t as sharp as we might imagine it to be. According to the WNJPIN site, NJ granted 51,462 construction permits in 1987, compared to 38,588 in 2005


    At the same time, we are not adding population like we were in 1987 either. In 1987, NJ grew by 48,580 people, in 2005 it grew by 27,271.

  74. 3b says:

    #62 pret The bad news is New Jersey’s slowing household formation means it will take longer to absorb the inventory that is currently on the market here.

    And that means that housing prices will continue to fall in NJ, because we are having a crash here as well, although not as extreme as Arizona, Nevada etc. at least not yet.

    Because many of the same extremes that were witnessed in those markets were seen here as well.

    In addition house prices in our area are simply not affordable, for the average NJ wage earner which is one of the reasons they are not selling, coupled with the fact that people now need excellent credit and a down payment to qualify for a loan.

    In addition we are also in a recession (although for some bizzare reason we cannot use that word yet,expect to be using it by June.)

    We will also of course continue to have layoffs on Wall St, including all the Bear employyes who will be looking for jobs in an industry that by and large not hiring.

    We must also keep in mind that house prices fell dramatically before.

  75. grim says:

    At the same time, we are not adding population like we were in 1987 either. In 1987, NJ grew by 48,580 people, in 2005 it grew by 27,271.

    I suppose we should correct for population growth.

  76. Clotpoll says:

    grim (17)-

    I still hold the deed on a Class A office building, bought at an RTC auction for .05 on the dollar.

    For anyone who thinks that crash was an illusion or myth, I’d be happy to provide the particulars.

    The best part of the whole RTC thing was picking up a property for practically nothing…yet still having somebody at the auction tell you that you overpaid.

  77. C Dawg says:

    Actually, New Jersey could just pass a law allowing school boards to come into your home and take whatever property they feel is appropriate to fund their operations.

  78. Clotpoll says:

    sx (26)-

    Christie Whitman should be the first indicted.

  79. Clotpoll says:

    Hell, up until about nine months ago, I thought there was no way any RE collapse could top the early ’90s.

    Boy, was I wrong.

  80. syncmaster says:

    grim #71,

    I see that in middlesex county a lot too. Old homes being torn down and replaced with 2-3 new homes. Near where I live, in Middlesex Boro, an ugly old duplex was torn down and replaced with two ugly new duplexes on the same lot. Where 2 families lived, now there are four.

  81. Clotpoll says:

    3b (54)-

    I think Gary is on Thorazine now.

    I like the old Gary better.

  82. SG says:

    njpatient: You’re simply making an argument that inventory isn’t as high relative to demand as it was in the early ’90s downturn. I’m in the car, so I can’t really check that, but put me down as doubtful.

    Inventory is important, but I dont think it is the only factor. I do agree that since inventory has almost doubled since 2004 and Sales have halved, the prices have to come down.

    But at the same time, whether we like it or not there is new supply equation. If not in numbers, in Psychology. This just becomes one of the argument in Sellers mind not to reduce price quickly enough. The new supply just fastens the speed as Builders would definitely have to get rid of inventory as quickly as possible. The trouble with existing home seller is how much of increase in supply that we see is real (that is must sell) and how much is just I will sell if I get good price.

    Among existing home sellers, you have 2 kind, upsizing and downsizing. The question really is what is the breakdown. If downsizing crowd is much bigger, we would see faster drops.

  83. 3b says:

    #83 clot: I think Gary bought one of those soothing waterfall things that you plug in. That together with listening to the new Enya CD, has done wonders for his mindset.

    I also believe he is taking yoga classes 2 nights a week.

  84. Rich In NNJ says:

    From MarketWatch


    Ofheo loosens capital rules on Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac
    Morgan Stanley’s net falls, but tops expectations
    Commentary: Less aggressive U.S., more aggressive U.K. action needed
    Mortgage applications fell 2.9% last week: MBA
    BOE’s Gieve, Lomax cancel regional visits to monitor events
    U.K. lender HBOS drops sharply
    Bear’s run-up sets the stage for epic clash
    Fannie, Freddie Lending Power May Rise
    Bernanke Bucks Rate Calls, Avoids Rattling Investors
    `Big Rally’ for Stocks to Continue, Jim Rogers Says

    Details to headlines at link above

  85. kettle1 says:

    GRIM 77

    Also consider that according to that recent rutgers study on NJ population trends, that the majority of those people coming into the state and average to below average wage earners. We are not talking about 20K wall street brokers.

  86. Rich In NNJ says:

    Do the permits consider units or buildings?

    Meaning, a single family home is one unit.
    Is one building containing 4 condo units (or 2 townhouses) counted as one building permit or four (or two)?

  87. grim says:


    Those numbers are total units.

  88. SG says:

    C Dawg & Kettle1: Property Tax solution can only be solved by reduced spending at local level. I am appalled at wasteful spending at local school districts. The only thing required is County level school district. The local towns can still take care of things like garbage disposal, approvals etc…

    There is so much synergy in doing things at County level compared to every district doing the same thing at the same time and paying 10 time more money. Also it easily takes the sting out of my town’s school district is better argument.

  89. grim says:

    From MarketWatch:

    Fannie, Freddie get OK to buy more mortgages

    The federal government loosened Wednesday the strict capital requirements on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, allowing them to inject billions of dollars into the sagging mortgage market by buying more loans.

    The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight said Wednesday it is reducing Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s 30% capital surplus requirement to 20%. The companies will be allowed to invest the freed-up capital in mortgages and mortgage-backed securities.

    The move is expected to add up to $200 billion of immediate liquidity to the market for mortgage-backed securities. Wednesday’s move by Ofheo, combined with other actions, should allow the two companies to buy or guarantee about $2 trillion in mortgages this year.

  90. 3b says:

    #90 SG it will nevr happen, at least not in Bergen Co. The state has to force it. Leaving it up to local official and the voters is just stupid.

    The voters are too uninformed, they will vote as instructed by their lcoal officials, who will always vote against merging/consolidation.

  91. RentininNJ says:

    But at the same time, whether we like it or not there is new supply equation. If not in numbers, in Psychology.

    However, in 2005 and 2006, there were more building permits issued than people added to the population.

    Also, one of the psychological factors in play today but not in play in 1987, is the idea of a state in crisis, a property tax emergency and an exodus from NJ. You have many people afraid to buy because they don’t want to be locked into a runaway tax bill that they can’t do anything to control.

    If you can actually get a realtor to level with you, most will have stories about buyers who have shopped for homes, got disgusted with how little they could get for their money and moved to another state.

  92. syncmaster says:

    3b #92,

    The state has to force it.

    Any day now………….

  93. SG says:

    3b: It can be done if there is referendum done at County level. I agree that it has be initiated by State.

  94. House Hunter says:

    #80 Clot…right on…it was Christine from the start. How is what she did any different than robbing a grocery store, atm or a bank? Those folks go to jail and she gets a pension.

  95. C Dawg says:

    It is basic human nature (and anyone with a kid will know this) that it’s a lot harder to take something away from someone than to force them to go without in the first places. Burgeoning budgets have gotten governments used to ever increasing pots to draw from. Taking that away through reduced budgets and spending will be painful and very difficult.

  96. House Hunter says:

    Clot, JB, 3b and all. Can you give me one or two lines to get my husband out of his funk this week? 3b’s #76 is good…My hubby says it is over, the bailout is here and we will never get a home. I say by May-June we will all have a better view, and if Katrina is any forcast as to how the gov’t responds to a crisis we still have chance…
    I also reflected upon the late 80’s and he won’t listen..this is much bigger then the S&L..what am I missing, he thinks housing is getting the provervial floor put under it and it is hopeless….what am I missing in my case back to him?

  97. syncmaster says:

    So Katrina… gives you hope?

    Would an effective government response to Katrina have been heartbreaking?


  98. skep-tic says:

    regarding for sale supply issues: seems to me one good way to compare the late 80s housing dowturn to today’s is to compare for sale supply to household formation. The late 80s were still peak boomer household formation years– thus demand would naturally be higher. We don’t have anything close to that demographic situation today

  99. njpatient says:

    93 renting

    “However, in 2005 and 2006, there were more building permits issued than people added to the population.”

    Yes, but that’s not really the relevant equation. Not all the new people added to the polulation are home-buyers (some of them are children, for instance).

    What this really comes down to is people trying to approximate some odd sort of proxy for supply and demand. Why do that? It’s not really possible, for one thing, and more’s the point: we already have numbers for inventory and velocity. Why not look there?

    When pretorius says “[i]t is true that it is very difficult to earn entitlements to build homes in New Jersey” my initial thought is “so what?” That’s just a minor variable in the question of how much housing stock is being added. The answer to the question lies simply in the number of new units added.
    (compare new units added 2000-2005 to new population).

    But even that doesn’t matter. You need to know more than just rate of new unit construction. Other variables include rate of old unit division/renovation, rate of population change, change in population mix, rate of income change, ratio of debt to income/amount of disposable income, etc., but again, these are all proxies for determining supply (inventory) and demand (velocity), both of which WE ALREADY KNOW.

  100. njpatient says:


  101. grim says:

    I’m surprised the Fort Monmouth/BRAC decision doesn’t spur more discussion here.

    The Ft. Monmouth closure will result in a direct loss of 5,000 jobs, and a loss of approximately 22,000 jobs in total.

    The redevelopment of the base will add 1,500 new homes to the area.

    Some number of those 22,000 will pick up and move, putting additional pressure on inventory, and downward pressure on prices.

    $3.2 billion will be lost from the state economy due to the closure.

    Personally, I have doubts we can attract the jobs to fill those lost positions.

    What does this mean for the Monmouth/Ocean region?

  102. njpatient says:


  103. SG says:

    House Hunter: Point to him this chart.

    The trend is not supporting Buy at this point at all.

    Though I argued earlier about new home supply debate, but I am ardent believer of downturn.

  104. grim says:


    I’ve talked to lots of builders who survived the 90s downturn (I even have one in my family), and most say the same thing.

    “Sure, we built like crazy in the 80s, but people could actually afford what we were building.”

    The question is, are we currently adding to affordable housing stock, or unaffordable housing stock? And if there is a shift, what does it mean for future inventory and prices?

  105. syncmaster says:

    Have there been any informal surveys of where njrereport posters live? I’m guessing it’s mostly Bergen, Morris and Hunterdon. Maybe that explains the lack of interest in Monmouth/Ocean?

  106. njpatient says:

    103 grim

    “I’m surprised the Fort Monmouth/BRAC decision doesn’t spur more discussion here.”

    There’s a good reason for that. The NJ-is-near-NYC-and-NYC-is-immune-because-of-big-Wall-Street-bonuses-and-therefor-NJ-is-immune theory assumes away the existence of the sorts of jobs held at Fort Monmouth. Those folks will always be able to afford $400K for a double-wide in Colts Neck, because you can afford one of those even if you’re on an unemployment check.

  107. 3b says:

    #98 houshunter: If your husband is refering tot eh Fed brokered Bear deal, and their cut yesterday in the FF’s rate. These efforts were carried out in hopes to stabalize the financial system.

    Noen of this is going to stop the housing decline. This does absolutery nothing to stop house prices from falling.

    The economy is in severe trouble because Americans were on a debt/consumption binge, fueled by housing.

    That has to be disgorged, and the only way that happens is prices decline. It really is IMO as simple as that.

  108. njpatient says:

    107 sync

    Plenty of Union dwellers too, it would seem.

    And at least one in Essex.

  109. House Hunter says:

    99 sync, maybe a misunder standing…I meant look at how long it takes them

  110. SG says:

    JB was looking at Sales Inventory overlay chart. Can you point me the link to actual data spreadsheet.

    What I notice is that, In most years March normally has higher sales than February. If that is true, this month’s sales would be critical to note. If they don’t go above Feb’s # of sales, we are breaking away from seasonal pattern. The RE market is truly dead in that case.

  111. John says:

    In a bid to stem this cascade, Thornburg Mortgage reached a deal with its lenders, including Bear Stearns (BSC, Fortune 500), Citigroup (C, Fortune 500), Credit Suisse, Greenwich Capital, RBS (RBS) and UBS (UBS).

    Thornburg will grant its lenders options to buy 47 million shares, or more than a quarter of the company’s stock, at a penny per share.

    The company will also pay off $680 million in debt, in addition to $500 million already paid off.

    Thornburg will sell $1 billion in bonds bearing an interest rate of 12%. These bonds can be converted to Thornburg stock at a rate of 75 cents per share. The investors who buy these bonds will also be entitled to buy Thornburg stock representing 5% of outstanding shares at a penny per share.

    Thornburg will suspend its dividend, maintain a $350 million “liquidity fund,” and allow lenders to collect some of the payments on the bonds held as collateral.

    If Thornburg meets these conditions, its lenders will grant a one-year reprieve from margin calls, which the company hopes can give it enough time to manage through what Chief Executive Larry Goldstone called “this highly volatile and uncertain mortgage market environment.”

  112. grim says:

    Billy Joel, 2010

    Well we’re living here in Eatontown
    And they’ve closed the military base down
    Out in Tinton Falls they’re killing time
    Filling out forms
    Standing in line

  113. 3b says:

    #95 SG Even then I do not see it.All sorts of silly committes will be formed, like Save our Towns, Preserve our Heritage, and every boogy amn excuse out there will be used to prevent towns from merging.

    The only hope I see is if the state threatens, in other words the state need to tell towns find a partner to merge with, or we will force a marriage.

  114. House Hunter says:

    thanks b3…that is the big point I emphasize. The party has to end at some point, you can’t keep spending. Credit cards, auto loans, home equity all of that will not have the same qualifiers going forward Thanks

  115. syncmaster says:

    House Hunter #111,

    I know what you meant :)

  116. njpatient says:

    “I’ve talked to lots of builders who survived the 90s downturn (I even have one in my family), and most say the same thing…”

    Same here (OK, so mine was just my best man and godfather of one of the Little Patients, but that’s close enough). I’ve mentioned him before – he does 80% of his work in Manhattan and Brooklyn, the rest in NNJ, and he’s planning to be in an all cash position by May, holding just income-generating properties and just doing renovations for hire for a period. They did well in the ’80s, but not nearly as well as in the is past bubble. I should note that this guy is an eternal optimist who was of the “what bubble?” pursuasion as recently as November and of the “Manhattan is different” pursuasion a mere 4 weeks ago.

  117. House Hunter says:

    thanks SG

  118. John says:

    We have an early Easter this year so no open houses this weekend. Weather iffy anyhow. April and May will be the balls against the month do or die time for housing before Memorial Day hits and the summer dull drums. I think it will be a wipe out and the fence sitters will have wished they sold in the winter of 2007/2008. However, their unwillingness to sell at a reduced price won’t stop the bottom from happening, they just are stretching the bottom out to 2010-2012 which is an annoyance to the apt. dwellers and people waiting to trade up. That crowd can wait and wait as we are not the ones with a 5K mortgage and a pink slip.

  119. House Hunter says:

    107 sync I live in Mercer Co

  120. njpatient says:

    109 3b

    “It really is IMO as simple as that.”


  121. skep-tic says:


    “The trouble with existing home seller is how much of increase in supply that we see is real (that is must sell) and how much is just I will sell if I get good price.”

    Most of these people are empty nesters approaching retirement. Yes, they would like to sell now if they can get their dream price, but the truth is their retirement depends on some kind of cash out from their big old house, so they will be selling sooner or later. My parents are in this exact situation and they will definitely sell within the next 5 years. There is a massive wave of people just like them

  122. Victorian says:

    From Krugman:

    “Liquidity trap watch

    With all the furor over the possibility of a high-speed financial meltdown, it’s been easy to forget that we still have the problem of a weak real economy, and a Fed that is having a hard time getting traction.

    And as I’ve pointed out before, we’re quite close to liquidity trap territory: the point at which open-market purchases of Treasury bills, the normal way monetary policy operates, don’t have any effect because the T-bill rate is near zero.

    So, today’s morning update: as of 8:49, the one-month T-bill rate is 0.539, the 3-month rate 0.728.”

  123. njpatient says:

    123 skep

    Yes – and that wave will be growing during the next 10 years.

  124. grim says:

    “The trouble with existing home seller is how much of increase in supply that we see is real (that is must sell) and how much is just I will sell if I get good price.”

    I have a hard time believing that this is a new phenomenon. In fact, I’m inclined to believe that this group respresents the norm, if not the most rational position.

    The only people who *need* to sell are dead, divorced, or forced. Everyone else is in the “want” position.

  125. Bru says:

    Re: Fort Monmouth

    I know someone who works there; he has made frequent trips down to Aberdeen, and there’s no way he’ll move there. It’s a town that got super excited that an Applebee’s opened there.

    He believes most will make the move, however.

  126. njpatient says:

    “Why wait until the entire banking sector looked as stupid as it actually was?”

  127. njpatient says:

    grim – help at 128?
    (a little comic relief)

  128. grim says:


    The decision won’t be easy for many.

    1) Move and have a job.
    2) Stay and look for one.

    I have a hard time believing that the local economy can absorb even a fraction of those employees. What then?

    How many even have the luxury of being able to make that decision?

  129. njpatient says:

    “If you tax us, we’ll just go abroad. And that’s not just an idle threat – we can go and wreck somebody else’s financial system.”

  130. njpatient says:

    “a chap comes along and says ‘would you like to buy this house before it falls down, and why don’t you let me lend you the money?'”

    “it gets transferred to Wall Street, and then, somehow, this package of dodgy debt stops being a package of dodgy debt and starts being what we call a Structured Investment Vehicle”

  131. njpatient says:

    oops, I did it again.


  132. RentininNJ says:

    I’m surprised the Fort Monmouth/BRAC decision doesn’t spur more discussion here.

    The Ft. Monmouth closure will result in a direct loss of 5,000 jobs, and a loss of approximately 22,000 jobs in total.

    What’s to talk about?
    I just assumed they would all get jobs on Wall Street.

  133. chicagofinance says:
  134. njpatient says:

    Did anybody see Jim Rogers on Bloomberg this morning?

    Was in rare form.

  135. syncmaster says:

    When a former employer of mine asked its IT people in Long Island and New Jersey to either get laid off or relo down south, about 10% took the relo.

    I don’t know if that’s a typical rate for accepting relo offers. I also don’t know if corporate employees and government employees (Fort Monmouth) behave the same way. So, FWIW.

  136. grim says:

    How about the impact on supply from the Encap development (if it happens, of course).

    Originally, Encap was to provide a total of ~4,000 units.

    Trump came out a few days ago saying that he wants the development to be substantially larger.

    5,000 new units for Northern NJ? 6,000? Even more?

  137. grim says:

    Anyone have a current count of how many units are still in the pipeline for JC?

  138. Bru says:

    Judging from what my friend has told me, maybe at most 60% of the Fort Monmouth work force will be moving to Maryland.

    My friend works for a contractor (as do quite a few people on the base), so there is the possibility that he will remain employed by the contractor, which could very well send him to another job in the state (maybe Picatinny Arsenal, if DoD doesn’t decide to close that as well).

    Also, there will be some people retiring once the base closes, or else they would just rent in Maryland for a couple of years and then retire.

    I think what may be holding some people back from moving to Aberdeen (aside from Applebee’s being the pinnacle of fine dining there) would definitely have to be the fear of selling their homes at a loss. But things can change in three years.


  139. 3b says:

    #139 grim: In my small town, a developer bought a piece of land with 2 houses on it.

    Tore one down, had to keep the other (historical), he built 7 condos, and rehabiliated the other house. Now there are 8 houisng units where there used to be 2.

    All have been sitting empty since last summer.

  140. chicagofinance says:

    OT: I am still hearing Delgado is done. Anything hard center-in from a righty he cannot touch….

  141. syncmaster says:

    3b #141,

    The two new duplexes I referred to in post 82 were occupied within weeks of them being ready. They were all rentals. Anything for sale seems to sit on the market forever but a good rental gets snapped up quick!

  142. galgon says:

    MLS# 2486429


    I hated the place at 359,000 but at 354,900 I will certainly have to take another look.

    A $5000 decrease in price!?! Are they kidding? Thats less than 2%. Why even bother?

  143. njpatient says:

    142 chifi – i was wondering what happened to the Delgado predictions

  144. Victorian says:

    how long before the bears start dancing again?

    The fundamentals in the economy have not changed. This market is so rigged.

  145. syncmaster says:

    gaigon #144, i love the tire!

  146. grim says:

    From the Star Ledger:

    Expert: State pension bill to jump $167M this year

    The financial bad news continued to mount for state and local taxpayers today, as an expert revealed the bill for government worker pensions is scheduled to jump by $167 million this year.

    The report, the latest in a string of analyses to show that New Jersey’s public pension funds are dramatically underfunded, elicited an epithet from one exasperated board member.

    “That’s an actuarial term,” Ned Thomson, a member of the Public Employees Retirement System trustees board said, after cursing at the report’s conclusions.

    Overall, the retirement fund for state employees contains only 68.8 percent of the amount needed to meet the benefits promised to its members, while the fund for local government workers has 81 percent of the amount needed, said Janet Cranna, the actuary who presented the report to the trustee board this morning.

    Those shortfalls grew during the past year, despite near-record investment returns and a 10 percent boost in the contributions workers must make to their own retirement benefits.

  147. kettle1 says:

    Vic, 146

    You are well on your way to joining the dark side ( i.e clott and perhaps myself). Its only a few logical steps from your current location to deciding that nothing will change without revolution

  148. kettle1 says:

    I see gold is back down to about $940. hope everyone enjoys the roller coatser ride

  149. galgon says:

    sync (147):

    They consider the tire to be one of the household improvements. They would have had to lower the price of the house another $50.00 without it.

  150. SG says:

    CF: Awesome interview link of Paul Volker.

  151. Victorian says:

    ket –

    where do i sign up for the rusty grenade launcher party?

  152. syncmaster says:

    galgon #151 yeah I thought the photo of the tire was amusing!

    The house looks like crap on the outside but the interior looks nice. JMHO.

  153. galgon says:

    Euro-Zone Exports to the US Fell 3 Percent Last Year on Weak Dollar

    BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) — Exports from the euro area to the United States fell 3 percent last year as the weak dollar made products such as German cars and French champagne more expensive for American shoppers, the European Union said Wednesday.

  154. kettle1 says:

    grim 148

    This articles illustrates a fundamental flaw in our political system. There is no incentive for long term planning or actions. Correcting the pension deficit will have very negative short term consequences but great long term benefits. No politician will ever fix this until the systemc ollapses because from the point of view of a politician you will only ever be around for the negative impacts. so it is actually in your best interest as a politician to not fix the problem and maintain the status quo to keep people happy.

    Volker was a prime example. he was able to combat inflation because he was not elected. There were protests on wall street and he was hated by a large portion of the population. Turns out he was right.

    How to fix this, i do not know, but this functional oxymoron of a political system we have running is not working.

  155. kettle1 says:


    We usually hold the Rusty Grenade Launcher (TM) party at my bunker, clott brings the grenade launcher and 3b brings his thompson. Feel free to bring any subject related toys :)

  156. syncmaster says:

    Anyone see the movie Arlington Road? It’s about a history professor who suspects his neighbor is a domestic milita member.

    Sometimes, when I read some of the posts here, I wonder the same thing.

  157. kettle1 says:

    would you like to join sync???? it only requires a brief water boarding to be initiated.

  158. Clotpoll says:

    Hunter (98)-

    There is an old saying on Wall St: the Fed never bucks the market…at least, not for long. Take a look at LIBOR today (not good) and the inversion between FFR and 3-month Treasuries (not good). There’s what Mr. Market thinks about the Fed’s “brave”, “innovative” solutions.

    What is happening now is akin to the little Dutch boy at the dike: as soon as one hole in the economy is plugged, another appears. Pretty soon, all the temporary fixes will be used up, and whatever is going to happen will happen. The incipient breakdown in our economy is not contained to housing or CDO’s; it has now reached the level of systemic failure.

    Trying to rig an economy- or rig an economic outcome- inevitably fails. Roosevelt’s New Deal reached for the stars; yet the fact remains that only the industrial/military rampup necessitated by WWII pulled the US out of a Depression. Even when economic jerry-rigging ostensibly succeeds, as in Japan, the result is a decade-plus zombie march through a minefield of deflated currency, zero growth and a decimated banking system.

  159. Victorian says:

    156, ket – excellent argument.

    maintain the status quo to keep people happy.

    “Solution” (although very improbable) lies here – educate the people and make the debates transparent so that they would actually see where their tax dollars go.

    But then, when will they dial IDOL 8?

  160. njpatient says:

    161 clot

    That first para. Yeah.

  161. Clotpoll says:


    That’s not a reprieve for Thornburg; that’s a kill shot.

  162. Clotpoll says:

    vic (153)-

    It’s a mindset, not a formal organization. :)

  163. JIM says:


    Grim how long before pension fund goes belly up, 3 years?

    If fed takes it over,pensioners will get 25% of value, and no more 100% healthcare for teachers.

    I think it is too late for pension reforms, blood in the streets?


  164. Clotpoll says:

    Funny how many posters here today have reached the “armed revolt” conclusion.

  165. 3b says:

    #149 kettle: Hey do not leave me out. I consider myself a charter memebr of the dark side. Not becasue I want to or enjoy it, but simply because there is no other choice.

    Either there is a complete reformation of the system in this country, from economic,political, from local level all the way up, or we are going the way of the Roman empire.

    All the patriotic cheerleading such as hey we are America, we are the best, we are the economic envy of the world, we have the can do attitude and perpertual optimisim, everybody should be like us, etc. etc. will not change that fact.

  166. 3b says:

    #143sync: In my example, the developer is trying to rent them too. Still no takers. Still empty.

  167. House Hunter says:

    Thanks Clot!…exactly what I am thinking, more systemic and a lot deeper that what the news/spin says today or next week. I am not all doom and gloom, although there is going to be pain. I see it as a opportunity to make ourselves stronger and wiser in the long run, just wondering if we can. In response to post #167, I was around in the sixties when there were riots in Trenton. I also paid at least half of my time paying attention in history class. Things can potentially happen that will shock people.

  168. grim says:

    More jobs lost in February, unemployment up.

  169. grim says:

    From the Star Ledger:

    NJ loses 1,700 jobs in February

    New Jersey payrolls fell by 1,700 jobs in February, a stark contrast to January’s revised 8,600 job loss.

    In February, New Jersey’s unemployment rate edged upward to 4.8 percent and now matches the national jobless rate, the State Department of Labor and Workforce Development reported today.

    Job losses were concentrated in trade, transportation and utilities (2,800) manufacturing (1,100) and construction (500). Government payrolls grew by 400 jobs in February.

    Private sector employment categories that gained jobs in February included: professional and business services (600); education and health (1,400) and leisure and hospitality (800).

    “The slowing of our national economy has affected new Jersey business and impact our state’s job market,” said Labor Commissioner David Socolow.

  170. Confused In NJ says:

    166. 30% of the current State Pensions would align them with Private Sector (1% per year). That is exactly what ex Governors Byrne & Kean were discussing last week. Anything more is excessive and not sustainable.

  171. Confused In NJ says:

    167. Lock & Load.

  172. Clotpoll says:

    Hunter (170)-

    That’s good. The gubmint doesn’t want people to know history. That’s a great way to keep people stupid, and it’s no accident that most Americans have no understanding of basic history, or even geography.

    In the absence of knowing history, people will accept the statements of “experts” as fact.

  173. grim says:

    The unemployment rate chart on the last page of the press release is a bit disconcerting.

  174. njrebear says:

    IF 0.5% increase in unemployment rate indicates a recession, NJ is in one right now.

  175. 3b says:

    #170 house: I paid atttention too in history class. Actually it is my first love.

    People who know American history, will know that the founding fathers, fought furiously during the formation of this country.

    The only thing they all agreed on was that Franklin as much as he was loved by many of them was a wacko.

    The founding fathers thought it was their patriotic duty to argue and disagree, and all the rest. Dissent was encouraged.

    A far cry from that cabal we have in D. C. today.

  176. MT says:

    #9 SG
    “I have predicted in past as well, that home prices will stabilize at about 2004 (may be 2003 in not so good areas) level in NNJ and CNJ areas.” I disagree.

    #40 3b
    “Me personally I think we get back to 02, possibly early 03 prices.” I agree.

    I tried 3 lowball offers in 02 price so far. The results were :
    First Offer : 08/2007 Immediately declined. the house is still on market.
    Second Offer : 10/2007 lost in bidding war. 8 offers came in and the seller took the highest. It was 2004 price.
    Third offer : 02/2008 Outbid. 2 offers came in. Both offers were 2002~early 2003 level. The seller took the higher.

    See! 02 price is coming, coming….

  177. SG says:

    From Businessweek,

    The Fed’s Too Easy on Wall Street

    The Fed should insist on its prerogative to strictly regulate financial institutions in boom times, not just to bail them out when it all goes bad

    by Chris Farrell

    Here’s a staggering figure to contemplate: New York City securities industry firms paid out a total of $137 billion in employee bonuses from 2002 to 2007, according to figures compiled by the New York State Office of the Comptroller. Let’s break that down: Wall Street honchos earned a bonus of $9.8 billion in 2002, $15.8 billion in 2003, $18.6 billion in 2004, $25.7 billion in 2005, $33.9 billion in 2006, and $33.2 billion in 2007.

    Those years were the heyday of the hedge fund pirate, the private equity buccaneer, the 9- and 10-figure-salary quant jock, and other financial creatures who created all kinds of complex securities and highly leveraged transactions, many of which are now coming a cropper, from LBOs to CDOs.

    To be sure, not everyone has escaped unscathed. Nine months ago, Bear Stearns stock sold for $150 share. JPMorgan Chase (JPM) bought the beleaguered investment bank for $2 a share over the weekend, wiping out much of the wealth of the firm’s employees.

    So far that financial hit seems to be more the exception than the rule. After all, when Stanley O’Neal lost his job as head of Merrill Lynch (MER), he retired with more than $160 million in benefits and stock while Charles Prince, former CEO of Citigroup (C), left with a walk-away package worth almost $70 million.

    “if the regulators now say that investment banks have a line to the Fed in bad times, then the Fed has to have monetary authority over the investment banks in good times, too,” says Rajan.

  178. John says:

    Remember back in the days of Honest Abe home prices fell for close to 40 years. I think 2046 will be a buying opportunity.

  179. 3b says:

    #180 MT Thanks for the update. I too believe 02 prices are coming. Even if sellers have to be dragged kicking and screaming to those levels.

  180. SG says:

    MT: Good to know your experience.

    The problem unfortunately, is the sales volume has gone so low, it is just not possible to gauge prices. What I see is selectively deals may be happening, but a large number of listing is just expiring.

  181. Artemis says:

    SG – this has been mentioned before but in my opinion the issue above all else is affordability. There are just not enough people with high income stable incomes (not to mention the perfect credit and down payment) to afford homes at these (or slightly less than these) prices.

    There could be only one house for sale left and if no one can afford it the most anyone can do is drive by it and wish evil tidings on the sellers.

  182. RentininNJ says:

    New Jersey payrolls fell by 1,700 jobs in February,…Government payrolls grew by 400 jobs in February.

    In other words, we now have 2,100 less private sector employees to share the burden of 400 more government employees.

  183. Essex says:

    185….government jobs provide ‘tax free’ wages? Private sector jobs are ‘better’ than a job with the government? Government people get a ‘free ride’ and contribute nothing to their pensions? Uh sure thing. Put it this way…a job created is still a job. A chance for someone to pay taxes and support their families.

  184. skep-tic says:

    armed revolt by citizens I guess has a certain romatic appeal for some people, but the most likely revolutionary scenario in this country is a military takeover once the public loses faith in elected officials. Not too far fetched to imagine an American equivalent to Caesar (or Putin) should elected officials appear incapable of dealing with a real crisis (dollar collapse?).

  185. Jill says:

    cf #142: Uh-uh. You made a fool of me last time with this claim; I’m not buying it again. (:-P)

  186. Jill says:

    This one’s for Mitchell: Parents Magazine ranks NJ the 3rd safest state for kids, just behind CT and RI. NC placed 14th.

    Linky linky:

  187. Victorian says:

    Bush on Homeownership in 2002
    June 2002
    President Reiterates Goal on Homeownership

    An excerpt-

    The third problem is the fact that the rules are too complex. People get discouraged by the fine print on the contracts. They take a look and say, well, I’m not so sure I want to sign this. There’s too many words. (Laughter.) There’s too many pitfalls. So one of the things that the Secretary is going to do is he’s going to simplify the closing documents and all the documents that have to deal with homeownership.

  188. 3b says:

    #1186 Essex: The point is how can the state/local government still be hiring people, when the state is in such a fiscal mess.

  189. Bru says:

    Upthread EnCap was mentioned …

    Remember Equinox 360, the luxury condo tower planned across Route 3 from Giants Stadium? I wonder if construction halted not just because of the market, but because there were few buyers (who’d want to live in the middle of a dirty swamp?).

    Likewise – who’d want to live on top of a landfill, no matter how “covered” it is?

    I remember when the banks of the Hudson were coated in industrial waste; I’m curious how the residents’ health will fare 40 years down the line.

  190. Sybarite says:


    Yeah, I noticed that too. I was surprised to see that given the Fed’s recent action. Maybe 100 bp cut was priced in, and BB undercut them? Wonder if this is a good buy-in time, or if the bubble is leaking?

  191. Sean says:

    Humm, there goes a nice chunk of yesterdays gains. All Red across the board.

  192. Artemis says:

    #189 – Jill, color me unimpressed with the criteria used to create that list. They used existence of various safety laws (like fireworks restrictions) as proxies for safety but nowhere do they include environmental hazards.

  193. John says:

    SIX FLAGS INC SR NT 8.87500% 02/01/2010
    Basic Analytics
    Price (Ask) 67.130
    Yield to Worst (Ask) 34.240%

    When is the bankruptcy filing? I would not buy a season pass!

  194. kettle1 says:


    sorry man,

    you and confused are welcome at the bunker anytime! there is plenty of room and there is beer and pizza in cold storage!

  195. RentininNJ says:

    They used existence of various safety laws (like fireworks restrictions) as proxies for safety

    So it really becomes a measure of who has the biggest nanny state.

    If it were my choice, I’d take fireworks and a lower spot on the list.

  196. grim says:

    I wonder if construction halted not just because of the market, but because there were few buyers (who’d want to live in the middle of a dirty swamp?).

    Didn’t stop Edgewater

  197. kettle1 says:


    i’m a financial idiot, but i do not see that bubble deflating just yet, just more volatility on the way up.

  198. grim says:


    Merrill Files Suit Against SCA Unit to Maintain CDO Insurance

    Merrill Lynch & Co. sued XL Capital Assurance Inc. over default protection on $3 billion of collateralized debt obligations that the bond-insurance unit of Security Capital Assurance Ltd. is seeking to void.

    “We filed suit to make clear that XL Capital Assurance Inc. is required to meet its contractual obligations for credit default swaps it agreed to,” Mark Herr, a Merrill Lynch spokesman in New York, said in a statement sent by e-mail today.

  199. grim says:

    Fool me twice?

    John Meriwether’s Bond Fund Loses 24% on Credit-Market Plunge

    JWM Partners LLC, the investment firm run by ex-Long-Term Capital Management LP chief John Meriwether, lost 24 percent in its $1 billion fixed-income hedge fund this year through March 14, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

    Meriwether’s Relative Value Opportunity fund was hurt as bond managers such as Peloton Partners LLP and Carlyle Capital Corp. were forced to sell securities to meet margin calls, said the investors, who asked not to be identified because JWM doesn’t publicly disclose returns. The Greenwich, Connecticut- based firm, which is selling holdings to reduce borrowings and lower risk, didn’t have any loans called, they said.

    “There’s been a lot of forced de-leveraging,” said Benjamin Sarly, head of marketing at Sanno Point Capital Management in New York, a relative-value credit fund.

    Meriwether declined to comment.

    JWM Partners opened a year after Russia’s 1998 default resulted in almost $4 billion of losses for Greenwich, Connecticut-based Long-Term Capital. The Federal Reserve orchestrated a bailout by its 14 lenders.

  200. kettle1 says:

    Skeptic 187

    A military coup is not an impossibility, but i think that it is one of the least likely events. The US military is quit different from most militaries around the world. In the US military you have a 3 tier structure, the grunts, the NCO’s, and then the officers. Most militaries are structured so that orders go directly from the officers to the grunts and all decisions are made by the officers. In the US military the officer determines the goal and how they generally might like things done, and then the NCO’s often lead the actual mission, . This is a very simplified view, but the main idea is that our army is not a one headed beast. Decisions can be made at every level.

    The implications of this are that a standard military coup where a few generals order the troops to take control and they all listen is unlikely in the US. Even if a few high ranking officers tried to pull a group together its likely that the middle level of command would end up revolting against the coup. i think i rambled a bit but hopefully you get the idea,.

  201. schabadoo says:

    Does anyone know if towns that already share services, but have less than 10,000 residents, will still only get half the state aid?

    From talking to a town councilman in that situation, I believe they only get half.

  202. skep-tic says:


    Kettle– interesting point. I am thinking of a situation where the military leader in question (could even be the president) is quite popular so that coercion of officers is unnecessary. Someone like Putin who convinces the public that he alone is best equipped to make decisions unilaterally and then uses the military to make certain that no opposition can emerge later. I’m sure many people might see a similar inclination in Bush but unfortunately for him he is not nearly popular enough (or extreme, in my view) to pull it off. I’m not trying (and do not want) to turn this into a Bush debate, BTW

  203. 3b says:

    3197 kettle: I’m there!!!

  204. chicagofinance says:

    njpatient Says:
    March 19th, 2008 at 12:23 pm
    142 chifi – i was wondering what happened to the Delgado predictions

    jill & patient: same source stands behind the rumor….watch him if you can….there are subtle references to it …..

    from Mets website
    I sense the Mets will give Delgado every opportunity. Their financial commitment to him can’t be discounted. He is owed $20 million — $16 million in salary and $4 million in buyout — at this point, and it’s not that he has become inept. He could match his production of last season, but it’s when that production comes that is the question. There are enough weak-sister pitching staffs in the league that an experienced hitter can produce numbers. And those games must be won. Whether Delgado can be the hitter to beat John Smoltz’s slider or Jake Peavy’s fastball in a critical instance is another question.

  205. chicagofinance says:

    Delgado….middle-in fastballs…..

  206. kettle1 says:

    Skeptic, i dont take it as a bush debate.

    From my experience, there is/was enough varied outlooks and opinions at all levels of the military that makes me believe that the scenario you suggest is unlikely. Even if you have a small group of determined officers and NCO’s, an actual coup would be suicidal as a significant portion of the military would most likely oppose you.

    The more likely scenario is that a small group of determined officers and NCO’s could/would get access to WMD (bio/chemical/nuke) and use them. I agree that a determined segment of the military could cause serious problems/damage but it would be very difficult for them to actually take control.

  207. John says:

    Is middlesex NJ where McGreevy’s wife was in the middle with his romps with his gay lover or is it named for some other type of sex act?

  208. kettle1 says:


    Another thought…

    In my opinion any military action involving US soldiers vs US citizens on US soil would be a disaster for the military. Look at iraq. guerrilla warfare has historically been fairly successful against significantly larger and better armed militaries. The insurgents in iraq have been able to inflict a heavy toll on our army. In the US you have a large number of people who have better knowledge of hoe the various aspects of the US military function and the weaknesses of the equipment used. In top of that you are guaranteed that segments of the army would go rouge and support the civilians. It would be a bloody mess. literally. A 2 billion dollar stealth bomber is next to useless against an insurgency. Our weapons systems are designed for fighting other superpowers and become much less effective is other roles.

  209. Sean says:

    kette1 – especially when all the grunts are stationed overseas.

  210. Hehehe says:

    Time for the 3:45 Miracle Rally?

  211. PGC says:

    I think I found this link here. According to the cyle, we should start an upswing to April 2009 before we have the big drop to the bottom in June 20011.

  212. hughesrep says:

    Time for the 3:45 Miracle Rally

    Looks like Delgado is leading off.

  213. kettle1 says:

    Someone please correct me if i am wrong but aren’t about 2/3 rds of the total mortgage resets yet to come? in 09/2010 i believe. Even if the FED can stabilize things now, who says that they can manage to contain another significant hit to the markets. They are blowing all of their ammo on the current crisis.

  214. jlx says:


    that was brilliant. only mets fans may agree, however.

  215. grim says:

    Geez, 75 bps doesn’t go as far as it used to…

  216. Hehehe says:

    One day pop, one month drift, one day pop, one month drift

  217. jlx says:

    my prediction for the average bergen town is a 20% decline in prices within three years…

    that is why i’m gonna wait it out…

    what does everyone else think?

  218. schabadoo says:

    I know someone who works there; he has made frequent trips down to Aberdeen, and there’s no way he’ll move there. It’s a town that got super excited that an Applebee’s opened there.

    Don’t say things like that. We’ll have to listen to sales pitches involving topless coffee shacks in the middle of the woods.

  219. SG says:

    FNM Saying on CNBC, Average home prices will decline 3% to 7% this year. Larger declines in coastal areas. Says FNM will start securitizing Jumbo loans.

  220. schabadoo says:

    I know someone who works there; he has made frequent trips down to Aberdeen, and there’s no way he’ll move there. It’s a town that got super excited that an Applebee’s opened there.

    Don’t say things like that. We’ll have to listen to sales pitches involving bawdy coffee shacks in the middle of the woods.

  221. Essex says:

    191….deficit spending….the new American Way.

  222. SG says:

    OFHEO Director James Lockhart on CNBC now.

    Plan to raise additional $200 billion capital for Fennie and Freddie.
    According to him, they have now proper risk management in place.
    They should help in loan modifications.
    It will take a while for liquidity to restore.
    Today’s action will help in reducing mortgage rates.

  223. njpatient says:

    220 jlx


  224. njpatient says:

    “Plan to raise additional $200 billion capital for Fennie and Freddie.”

    Raise WHERE?

  225. Rich In NNJ says:

    SLD 360 CARLTON TER $1,100,000 8/30/2006

    ACT 360 CARLTON TER $949,900 2/3/2008
    ACT* 360 CARLTON TER $949,900 3/11/2008
    U/C 360 CARLTON TER $949,900 3/19/2008
    Est Close Date: 5/15

  226. galgon says:

    Odd Day.
    Dow drops 2.3%
    Oil drops almost $5 to 101
    Gold drops 42 to $945
    And the dollar ends higher.

    I did not think such a day was possible in this market.

  227. Confused In NJ says:

    211. Not true, if Clinton is President, Stealth Bombers would create an infinite number of WACO’s.

  228. Clotpoll says:

    Your legislature, working hard for you:

    TRENTON, N.J. ( — A New Jersey lawmaker wants the NCAA to investigate the Rutgers-Tennessee women’s basketball game won by the Lady Vols amid a dispute over whether the clock paused, allowing a foul and game-winning free throws.

    Nicky Anosike sank two free throws with two-tenths of a second left as then-No. 1 Tennessee rallied for the 59-58 win over then-No. 5 Rutgers in a rematch of last season’s national championship game.

    Sen. Robert Singer’s nonbinding legislation calls on the NCAA to investigate the game played at Thompson-Boling Arena.

    “It looked a little strange,” Singer said Wednesday. “It was done on their own home court that way. You know, I thought from watching the game that time had run out.”

    Yeah, this is definitely worth a NJ legislator’s valuable time…

  229. 3b says:

    #225 Today’s action will help in reducing mortgage rates.

    Sure it will, sure!!!

  230. Hehehe says:

    All part of their eventual nationalization.

  231. bairen says:

    #220 jix,

    I think you may be right.

    I also think I need to move from NJ.

    With 2 kids our discretionary spending/savings has been pretty much wiped out.

    We now have the choices of

    1) Having an hour plus commute to live in a nice area with good schools.

    2) Or I could work in NY to make more money and spend 3 plus hours a day commuting and hardly see the kids during the week.

    3) Or move to another state.

    4) Or stay and not save for the kids college or our retirement, live on credit cards thinking “something will work out” like lots of other NJ families are thinking.

    One of my friends called today saying he commuted from Monmouth county to lower Manhattan for a week and it “only” took him 1.5 hours each way. How nice

  232. 1987 Condo Buyer says:

    I hope the folks here chatting about coups and armed revolts and how unhappy they are have impeccable voting records… I trust you are all very active participants in our representative democracy….otherwise you are scaring me a bit.

  233. Clotpoll says:

    3b (233)-

    But, Suzanne told me mortgage rates are at historic lows!

    Today is the first day of Fannie’s official new purpose: to become the Fed’s stealth bailout/bankruptcy vehicle.

  234. Clotpoll says:

    ’87 (237)-

    I never miss an election.

    Increasingly, I also now vote for myself a lot. If nothing else, I get the pleasure of making some geriatric lizard assist me in the write-in process.

  235. schabadoo says:


    Vermont’s nice. 3b2b in Rutland for $129k:

    There’s always townhomes 45 minutes out of Charlotte. Could you put up with a HOA? They seem required down there.

  236. IVV says:


    It’s the best sign yet for the economy.

  237. Hehehe says:

    Yep Clot,

    Instead of Benny taking the crap off their books for 30 days at a time Fannie and Freddie will take it, hold it, get nationalized and all us taxpayers will be paying that crap off along with the entitlement programs. Sucks to be the middle class in this country, or what’s left of it!

  238. Confused In NJ says:

    Actually Clinton’s proposed “Mandatory Universal DeathCare Plan” will also mandate that you follow doctors Well Care Prescriptions for Chinese Adulterated Drugs which should control most of the populace. Obama refuses to mandate, what a wuss.

  239. Clotpoll says:

    HE (242)-

    Here are the countries I’m considering:

    Chile (decent soccer, lots of good wine)
    Argentina (deals with my soccer jones)
    Costa Rica (beautiful, bad soccer)
    Dominican Rep (horrible soccer, good cigars)

  240. Clotpoll says:

    Just give me a hit of heparin right now, and let’s get it over with.

  241. Hehehe says:

    I am thinking tax havens like the Caymans. My Spanish are non existent.

  242. Clotpoll says:

    HE –

    Apparently, so is your English. :)

  243. Clotpoll says:

    I think to live in a place like the Caymans, you have to renounce your US citizenship.

  244. bairen says:

    #240 Vermont is nice but my wife wans to move someplace warmer than NJ is we relocate.

    You can get a pretty nice place in Charlotte for 200k to 250k. I’ve been to Charlotte a few times and I’m starting to think it will look like a new Edison/Piscataway in a few years (and I hate Edison)

    We’re going to go to Austin, TX area this summer and look around. I have family out there already.

  245. kettle1 says:

    NEW YORK (Reuters) – Investment banks Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE:GS – News), Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc (NYSE:LEH – News) and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS – News) are testing a new program that allows investment banks to borrow directly from the Federal Reserve, according to people at the banks.

    Goldman Sachs plans to test the program sometime this week, a spokesman said. Morgan Stanley Chief Financial Officer Colm Kelleher said his bank has already tested the program, and a spokeswoman for Lehman said the investment bank has also done so.

    test eh???? thats an interesting way of saying your broke!!!

  246. bairen says:

    #244 Singapore rocks! Great food! It’s always hot! They speak English and value education!

    Bad part is it is the size of Ocean County.

    My backup plan is Taiwan. I’m learning Chinese (badly and slowly). But it has great weather, good food, it is affordable. Cons earthqakes, typhoons, and China might attack.

    What’s worst Communists or our own politicians?

  247. kettle1 says:

    good thing i bought property in dominica!

    already have an escape route

  248. Clotpoll says:

    vodka (249)-

    Here’s the test:

    1. Poop on a plate.

    2. Take it to the window.

    3. Exchange for US Treasury notes.

  249. Clotpoll says:

    bairen (250)-

    You don’t look at random canings as a possible crimp in your style?

    I hear you can get caned if you chew gum in public.

    Also heard there are surveillance cameras everywhere (is that true?).

  250. Confused In NJ says:

    WASHINGTON – U.S. health officials have identified a contaminant in batches of the blood thinner heparin associated with 19 deaths and are trying to determine how the chemical got into the drug.

  251. Sybarite says:


    I bet there’s big money to be made in the upcoming years developing some kind of “Safe” certification for Chinese goods. Some independent body which can audit chinese manufacturer’s and issue a “declaration of un-adulteration” or something to that effect…if only I knew chinese…

  252. njpatient says:

    “#244 Singapore rocks! Great food! It’s always hot! They speak English and value education!”

    And if you chew gum, no need to ever go to the Vault again!!

  253. njpatient says:

    clotpoll beat me (no pun intended) to it already.

    Should have guessed.

  254. kettle1 says:

    i still saw we develop the offical NJ Report estate in costa rica on a quiet 100 acres or so

  255. Confused In NJ says:

    255. Safest way is the Old Poison Taster. Doctor can’t prescribe a Drug, he/she doesn’t take themselves in your presence. If they don’t keel over, after several doses, you give it a try. Actually the Legislators who don’t do anything good anyway, would be good Drug Testers. Plus it would guarantee turnover and new ideas.

  256. grim says:


  257. Sean says:

    Singapore – two former employees of mine were from there. They still own property there, several apartments in high rises. Small island with lots of ex-pats from China, bad thing is they arrest you for littering and make you perform community services like picking up garbage and you must attend littering counseling.

    I like the Dominican Republic, places like La Romana are great but their beaches are mediocre and you cannot get a decent burger anywhere, believe it or not there are a few good Italian places on the island.

    By the time I retire I hope Cuba will be open for business.

  258. Confused In NJ says:

    In addition, at least 3,988 U.S. personnel have died in Iraq and 29,395 more have been wounded, according to Department of Defense figures.

    “No one would argue that this war has not come at a high cost in lives and treasure,” Bush said. “But those costs are necessary when we consider the cost of a strategic victory for our enemies in Iraq.”

    I don’t even understand the objective?

  259. bairen says:

    #254 Clot,

    I’ve been to Singapore twice. Loved it both times. One time I was walking down the Orchard St (like their 5th Ave) and saw government workers scrubbing the inside of garbage cans. No wonder there streets are so clean. Singapore’s Chinatown is a bit creepy. Pick pockets hang out there.

    I think they’ve lifted the chewing gum ban. And if Spitzer had gone to Singapore for his fun he would not be in trouble since it is legal over there.

  260. schabadoo says:

    I don’t even understand the objective?

    Read his quote. We’re reduced to foiling our enemy’s strategic victory.

  261. gary says:

    Interesting. This one just dropped the price from $999,000 to $799,000. That’s a 20% drop in the asking. Well, go f*cking figure.

    So, the price went from nosebleed to just plain “too high”. Another 10% should just about do it.

  262. Pat says:

    kettle, after a day in the cancer ward at HUP, I laughed, too. Needed that.

    It wasn’t the patients. It was the TV set on CNN.

  263. PGC says:

    #264 barian

    I’ve had a few Slings in Raffles over the years.

  264. bruiser says:

    Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson: “No one is debating the fact that this economy has slowed way down. We feel it, we know it, the American people know it.”

    …we just don’t give a damn

  265. 3b says:

    #266 gary Breathe deep, turn on your waterfall,listen to Enya.

  266. 3b says:

    #237 1987: I am/or was, trouble was I was usually the only one ever at a meeting. One of the reasons I joined the dark side.

  267. 3b says:

    #241 IVV: It is? If you say so.

  268. Confused In NJ says:

    265.schabadoo Says:
    March 19th, 2008 at 6:55 pm
    I don’t even understand the objective?

    Read his quote. We’re reduced to foiling our enemy’s strategic victory.

    So, we created an enemy which didn’t exist before in Iraq, and our objective is to contain an enemy of our own creation? The justification then is to contain them in Iraq and Afghanistan, lest they come here. As long as we provide Americans for them to kill there, they have no need to incur the extra expense of coming here, because we are like Dominoes Pizza, we deliver.

  269. Clotpoll says:

    schab (265)-

    GWB’s abject stupidity is only surpassed by that of those who surround him. You’d think by now that there’d be mass protest resignations. They’ve brainwashed themselves into believing the line of garbage they spew to the world.

  270. bruiser says:

    Clotpoll, 232

    Senator Singer is a few weeks late, and is pretty pointless (no pun intented). The tourney starts Saturday, with the Lady Knights ranked #2.

  271. njpatient says:

    273 Confused


    It is to weep.

  272. njpatient says:

    “You’d think by now that there’d be mass protest resignations. ”

    keyword “mass”, given there actually have been a fair number (not nearly enough) of protest resignations. they tend to get ignored, even the folks who write books (O’Neill).

  273. still_looking says:

    #274 Clot…

    Omigod… channeling me again? My thoughts exactly. Atleast Reagan knew what he didn’t know. He did know to surround himself with razor sharp minds and talent.

    That F*ing Shrub has done such frightening damage to our country that I really am worried.

    Where is our technological edge? Our innovative edge? We import more scientists and enginees (look at the colleges.)

    And worse? This election wants me to tear up my voter card. and I have voted religiously since I have been able to vote.


  274. still_looking says:

    above. Makes me want to tear up my voter registration card.

    Engineers…. not ees.

    ugh. Angry. And going to bed now.


  275. HEHEHE says:

    “Clotpoll Says:
    March 19th, 2008 at 5:52 pm
    I think to live in a place like the Caymans, you have to renounce your US citizenship.”

    Where’s the problem?

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