Let it sink into the swamp

From the Record:

Xanadu may get $180M from state

Meadowlands Xanadu developers, after more than a year of looking for new investors, may soon add an important new partner: you, the state taxpayer.

Three sources familiar with a proposal under serious consideration by the Christie administration said that taxpayers — via a provision of the state’s Economic Stimulus Act of 2009 — could, in effect, invest about $180 million in the long-stalled project. That money would come in the form of an annual diversion to the developers of 75 percent of the state sales tax revenue generated by the project after it finally opens — for as long as 20 years, or until the $180 million cap is reached.

That figure is based on an estimate of $900 million in additional capital needed to finish off a 2-million-square-foot retail and entertainment project on which developers already have spent about $2 billion.

The plan is likely to draw heavy fire both from conservatives and liberals, who may consider the incentive program as “corporate welfare.” But the law creating the incentive was sponsored by state Sen. Ray Lesniak, D-Union, and signed by Gov. Jon Corzine, a Democrat, last summer. An amended version of the law that Lesniak said prevents voter referendums for projects linked to state economic stimulus programs — such as the Xanadu proposal — was signed into law by Governor Christie, a Republican, in May.

“If some help doesn’t come quickly, that project will be dead,” Lesniak said. “We don’t need white elephants around that generate no revenue and no jobs. When we signed this bill into law, I said it would be the most powerful economic development tool anywhere. This [use of the EDA program for Xanadu] would be proof of that.”

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214 Responses to Let it sink into the swamp

  1. grim says:

    From CNBC:

    Report: Manhattan apartment rents stabilizing

    Apartment rents in Manhattan continued to decline in the second quarter, but demand improved with the number of empty apartments falling sharply, according to a new report.

    The report issued Thursday by Prudential Douglas Elliman, one of New York’s largest real estate brokerages, shows the median rent for a Manhattan apartment fell 3.2 percent in the second quarter to $3,000. It was $3,100 in the same period a year ago.

    However, the number of rentals during the quarter more than doubled to 5,659 units from 2,346 units a year earlier. And the pool of available apartments for rent tumbled nearly 32 percent to 4,972 units from 7,290 units in the prior-year period, the firm said.

    Meanwhile, the amount of time it typically takes to rent out an apartment fell to about 53 days from 83 days last year.

    Taken together, the trends suggest the apartment market is improving, said Dottie Herman, Prudential Douglas Elliman’s president and chief executive.

    “Renters are now paying closer to asking rents than they have in several years, and landlords have been able rely less on concessions to manage their vacancies,” Herman said.

  2. grim says:

    From the Examiner:

    N.J. reports largest increase in first-time unemployment claims

    Unemployment claims fell in the week ending July 3, according to today’s report from the Department of Labor. Claims dropped to 454,000, a decrease of 21,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 475,000.

    Of all 50 states, New Jersey saw the largest increase in first-time claims, up 7,951. Why did the Garden State rank so high for the week ending June 26? Increases in school closings, as well as layoffs in the construction, service, transportation, warehousing, and public administration industries were major contributors.

  3. grim says:

    From the Star Ledger:

    Christie administration recommends massive privatization of N.J. services

    New Jersey would close its centralized car inspection lanes and motorists would pay for their own emissions tests under a sweeping set of recommendations set to be released by the Christie administration today.

    State parks, psychiatric hospitals and even Turnpike toll booths could also be run by private operators, according to the 57-page report on privatization obtained by The Star-Ledger. Preschool classrooms would no longer be built at public expense, state employees would pay for parking and private vendors would dish out food, deliver health care and run education programs behind prison walls.

    All told, the report says, New Jersey could save at least $210 million a year by delivering an array of services through private hands.

  4. grim says:

    Worth the repost, hat tip cobbler

    Biggest Defaulters on Mortgages Are the Rich
    By DAVID STREITFELD
    Published: July 8, 2010

    LOS ALTOS, Calif. — No need for tears, but the well-off are losing their master suites and saying goodbye to their wine cellars.

    The housing bust that began among the working class in remote subdivisions and quickly progressed to the suburban middle class is striking the upper class in privileged enclaves like this one in Silicon Valley.

    Whether it is their residence, a second home or a house bought as an investment, the rich have stopped paying the mortgage at a rate that greatly exceeds the rest of the population.

    More than one in seven homeowners with loans in excess of a million dollars are seriously delinquent, according to data compiled for The New York Times by the real estate analytics firm CoreLogic.

    By contrast, homeowners with less lavish housing are much more likely to keep writing checks to their lender. About one in 12 mortgages below the million-dollar mark is delinquent.

    Though it is hard to prove, the CoreLogic data suggest that many of the well-to-do are purposely dumping their financially draining properties, just as they would any sour investment.

    “The rich are different: they are more ruthless,” said Sam Khater, CoreLogic’s senior economist.
    ………..

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/09/business/economy/09rich.html?hp

  5. Final Doom says:

    Someone needs to shoot Lesniak. He is a criminal on the run.

  6. Final Doom says:

    Coming soon to a Montclair near you:

    “In what will likely be the first major municipal bankruptcy of the New Normal, Harrisburg is likely about to shut the gates. In an interview conducted with restructuring site Debtwire, the City’s controller Dan Miller said Harrisburg would be better off filing for Chapter 9 than trying to restructuring finances under Act 47, the Financially Distressed Municipalities Act. He added that the latter has never solved the problems of any municipality that entered the program and the institution of a commuter tax in Harrisburg to avoid a Chapter 9 would be unworkable. On the other hands, “when reached for comment, long-time opponent of a Chapter 9 filing for the city, PA governor Ed Rendell said Harrisburg officials have not given him any indication that they will seek Chapter 9 protection. Rendell said he hopes that the city “will either sell assets or seek Act 47″ before making a Chapter 9 filing.” Alas, it appears the nearly bankrupt city has run out of options.”

    http://www.zerohedge.com/article/harrisburg-chapter-9-imminent-controller-tells-debtwire-bankruptcy-best-option

  7. freedy says:

    who’s going to buy the James home in Akron?

  8. Shore Guy says:

    Freeday,

    I hear they are going to turn it into a traitors’ museum.

  9. Shore Guy says:

    Maybe Chrissie needs more space?

  10. Final Doom says:

    Who the fcuk cares?

  11. Final Doom says:

    The NBA will collapse within five years.

  12. Shore Guy says:

    From last night:

    ” A Flat Tax just means the middle class subsidizing the rich. Unless of corse you are going to add in unearned income ”

    The flay tax treats all citizens the same. Anything less is a redistribution of wealth. If that is one’s goal, that is fine, just admit it tavarish. One of the biggest problems we face is politicos doing something for one purpous and than lying about why they did it in order to prevent a voter backlash. Heck, if something is good policy, and one knows it is neceddary to do despite public opposition, take an honest stand and take the lumps.

    As for treating all income the same, bring it on. I will willingly pay the same rate on the first dollar earned in dividands and cap gains as long as my last dollar is taxed at the same rate as everyone elses first dollar.

    A fair tax system treats everyone the same. Until everyone who earns is a taxpayer, there is little incentive for most people to demand lean and responsible public spending.

  13. Shore Guy says:

    “The NBA will collapse within five years”

    I remember in the 70s when the NBA championship was not broadcast live. How I miss those days.

  14. 30 year Realtor says:

    Think about this for just one moment. If you had 180 million to invest, would you invest in a retail and entertainment venue in the Meadowlands? This would be the worst government bailout since the bubble burst.

    Project would have been an eyesore even if completed. A monument to excess. Perhaps they can make it the museum of excess. Fifty years from now our children can tell their grandchildren about how spoiled society was. I can just see it now…and son these people were such gluttons they built an indoor ski slope…

  15. Shore Guy says:

    For the ERISA crowd here:

    Correct me if I am wrong but, I recall that state pension plans are creatures of state law and are outside ERISA. Also, state employee bargaining rights are creaatures of state law, not the Wagner Act. Ergo, states may enact legislation that changes both the structures of their pension plans. And, they may change the laws concerning bargaining over pension rights.

    Any state government that really wants to can revamp the system anytime they want. All it takes is a will to act.

    I will leave it to others to decide whether public pension plans should be modified:; however all this handwringing over an inability to do so is just not accurate.

    As a last resort, every legislature has recourse to amend their state constitution and that would eliminate all barriers to action.

    Act or don’t act but don’t say “we can’t act, the law won’t let us.” You write the blasted laws, change them if you need to.

  16. Shore Guy says:

    “Project would have been an eyesore even if completed”

    Ter it down and sell the scrap metal. A paved parking lot would be more attractive.

    The case for finishing it, “we spent $2B so far so we might as well spendanother $1B” sounds like a gambler who has lost, lost, and lost, but is convinces if they just bet a bit more the will win it all back.

  17. Shore Guy says:

    “Project would have been an eyesore even if completed”

    Ter it down and sell the scrap metal. A paved parking lot would be more attractive.

    The case for finishing it, “we spent $2B so far so we might as well spendanother $1B” sounds like a gambler who has lost, lost, and lost, but is convinces if they just bet a bit more the will win it all back.

  18. Nomad says:

    For all the finance folks: is there any legislation that will force the banks to write down the value of their mtg portfolios? Mark to market if you will? I assume that this would be a significant / near death blow to many of these institutions.

    Thanks,

  19. Simply Ravishing HEHEHE says:

    Oil Dispersant Video Interview re BP Oil Spill – I am glad I don’t live down there:

    http://cryptogon.com/?p=16328

  20. Final Doom says:

    shore (12)-

    If you remove the massive entitlement class, the whole US is turned upside-down (or, more accurately, right side up).

    The US will default on its debt and start a war before doing this.

  21. yo'me says:

    LONDON (MarketWatch) — Canadian employment rose by 93,000 in June, pushing the unemployment rate down by 0.2 percentage points to 7.9%, according to data released by Statistics Canada Friday. That’s the first sub 8% unemployment rate since January 2009. Economists were expecting 20,000 jobs created and an 8.1% unemployment rate.

  22. marty says:

    How about making an ‘investment’ in the failing pension system?

    If we are going to piss money away, why not piss on the inferno that is going to kill us all?

  23. Final Doom says:

    30 yr (14)-

    Exactly. No one in gubmint ever discusses malinvestment and misinvestment and the knock-on costs of the misallocation of capital.

    Just because Comrade Lesniak and his crew can throw money at this disaster doesn’t justify doing it.

  24. grim says:

    17 – also know as the sunk cost fallacy, or ‘throwing good money after bad’.

    If the state wishes to support the project, they should allow it to fail, and support transaction between the creditors and a new buyer.

    There is no economic benefit to support the current project that wouldn’t be attained in a post-bankruptcy state. Anythin earlier is corporate welfare.

  25. Shore Guy says:

    “Someone needs to shoot Lesniak.”

    Clot,

    Surely you do not mean that. Picket hia office, vote him out of office, sure. Shoot? I disagree.

  26. Jim says:

    ” A Flat Tax just means the middle class subsidizing the rich. Unless of corse you are going to add in unearned income ”

    I don’t know how accurate that statement is. Remember just a few weeks ago the government put out a statement that millions of Americans pay no tax at all. I don’t remember the number but it was a high percent.

  27. Shore Guy says:

    “here is no economic benefit to support the current project that wouldn’t be attained in a post-bankruptcy state. Anythin earlier is corporate welfare.”

    Well, when you put it THAT way, clearly, there must be a way of getting TARP funding to save this needed jobs-creating development project. It cannot fail or connected people will take a haircut., and their children must not be allowed to suffer. Spend anything necessary, (cue Sally Struthers) for the children .

  28. Shore Guy says:

    “here is no economic benefit to support the current project that wouldn’t be attained in a post-bankruptcy state. Anythin earlier is corporate welfare.”

    Well, when you put it THAT way, clearly, there must be a way of getting TARP funding to save this needed jobs-creating development project. It cannot fail or connected people will take a haircut., and their children must not be allowed to suffer. Spend anything necessary, (cue Sally Struthers) for the children .

  29. Jim says:

    Here is another common item that will cost more to get. Just remember, taxes aren’t going up (at least this election cycle) but service fees will.

    http://www.cnn.com/2010/TRAVEL/07/07/passport.fees.hike/index.html?hpt=Sbin

  30. Shore Guy says:

    ” the government put out a statement that millions of Americans pay no tax at all. I don’t remember the number but it was a high percent”

    Factoring in tax credits it is something like 48% of earners pay no federal income tax. Now, lefties will shoot back with “yes, but they pay social security and medicare taxes, and disability.” True enough but, as these are funding for what are employee benefit plans they are not the same as income taxes, which fund general operations. I trust that “the rich” would agree to eliminate social security and medicare if the rest of the population wished to free itself from the costs of these programs.

  31. Shore Guy says:

    “post-bankruptcy state”

    I can see this on license plates sometime in the near future.

  32. jamil says:

    Re New York Slimes article
    ““The rich are different: they are more ruthless,” said Sam Khater, CoreLogic’s senior economist.”

    It is always about the narrative. Class-warfe against the “rich” is part of being loyal supporter of the Administration. Tak hikes for everybody (e.g. letting Bush tax cuts to expire) can be argued in the context “rich are evil!”

  33. grim says:

    Stu,

    What this I hear about Montclair not wanting crazy people in the south end? Surely diversity includes the mentally ill, no?

  34. Shore Guy says:

    Delaware: The First State

    Pennsylvania: “The Keystone State”

    New Jersey: “The Graft State”

    Insert name here: “State of Economic Collapse”

  35. Shore Guy says:

    “Surely diversity includes the mentally I’ll, no?”

    Grim,

    Only if they are wealthy. Then, having them in town to support crazy spending plans is just what the council ordered.

  36. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    “I remember in the 70s when the NBA championship was not broadcast live.”

    Shore,

    Knicks/Lakers, on the transistor with Marv. Yes!

  37. Shore Guy says:

    Off to the salt mine. Enjoy the salted rim, Nom. NJC, get some sand between your toes for me.

  38. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    “If you had 180 million to invest, would you invest in a retail and entertainment venue in the Meadowlands?”

    If you had 1.25T to “invest” would you purchase toxic papaer?

  39. Final Doom says:

    shore (25)-

    Sadly, conventional methods don’t work anymore. The population has been co-opted into participating in its own destruction.

  40. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    Nomad [18],

    No. We have decided to turn Japanese, at least I have. Loans valued at par are worth approx .20/dollar. If you mark to market, the whole charade crumbles.

    We had two choices, implosion or zombiism. We will be stuck in the muck for many, many years.

  41. Final Doom says:

    shore (27)-

    While we’re at it, somebody needs to shoot Sally Struthers, too. :)

  42. Edison Can't Be That Bad says:

    Wonder if Los Angeles will be thrilled with how the DOdgers do business:

    Lawyers for Jamie McCourt said in divorce filings that the Dodgers were paying two of the McCourts’ sons salaries totaling $600,000 a year even though one had another full-time job and the other was attending graduate school. The filings said the McCourts had not paid federal or state income taxes since 2004 and had used millions in team money to finance their lifestyles, including taking out $390 million in loans against future ticket revenue.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/09/sports/baseball/09dodgers.html?_r=2&pagewanted=all

  43. Final Doom says:

    BC (40)-

    Raw fish and cold rice wrapped in fiat paper makes a great breakfast.

    Also goes great with whiskey.

  44. me@work says:

    41 Doom

    “shoot sally struthers”

    I have a lot of room in my compost heap. :)

    sl

  45. #3 – State parks, psychiatric hospitals and even Turnpike toll booths could also be run by private operators, according to the 57-page report on privatization obtained by The Star-Ledger.

    Ugh.
    The prospect of privatizing toll collection makes me nervous. It’s all too easy to see how this one could end up being abused.
    The state parks just annoys me as well.

    Here, why don’t you just de-criminalize marijuana and save money by not having to arrest, try, and incarcerate every idiot you catch with a dime bag? Not to mention the knock on affects when they get fired, DYFS, etc.
    You might also have to hire less Staties, maybe even lay some off as ‘not needed’.
    I’d be willing to bet that that would save around $210 mil a year too without turning over toll collection to some private corp who is now incentivized to gouge me on the turnpike a la ATM fees.

  46. scottinnj says:

    They better finish Xanadu soon, I’m sick of tired of having so few shopping opportunities in Bergen County, the market is just crying out for more!

  47. yo'me says:

    Post of the day:

    Raw fish and cold rice wrapped in fiat paper makes a great breakfast.

    Also goes great with whiskey.

  48. Jill says:

    Jamil, are you still deluding yourself that the rich want you in their club?

  49. freedy says:

    what do they do with the ski venue at Xanadu?

  50. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    “what do they do with the ski venue at Xanadu?”

    freedy,

    http://jsmineset.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/image2.png

  51. RentinginNJ says:

    For all the finance folks: is there any legislation that will force the banks to write down the value of their mtg portfolios? Mark to market if you will? I assume that this would be a significant / near death blow to many of these institutions.

    There is no legislation to force a write down, however under GAPP (which is required by the SEC), a company would normally be required to take a write down on an impaired asset (like these mortgages), even if they aren’t using mark-to-market accounting. These rules have some wiggle room, however. They could argue that that there is no liquid market for MBS’s and therefore nothing to mark to. They could also argue that market isn’t reflective of reality.

  52. Mr Hyde says:

    Doom

    consider that the man who was instrumental in deveolping the basis for the modern education system also developed his very own eugenics institute which was later used as a model by the Germans.
    John Davison Rockefeller

    I’d say the system has worked out pretty much as intended.

  53. me@work says:

    Wantan, 50

    That sploosh, sound?

    Is my monitor being sprayed with coffee, from laughter.

    Thanks! I needed that.

    sl

  54. Final Doom says:

    I’d say we need to ditch the modern education system and start working that eugenics program. Priority #1 should be preventing frank and jamil from reproducing.

  55. Mr Hyde says:

    Renting

    They could also argue that market isn’t reflective of reality

    LOL, the market IS reality.

  56. Comrade Nom Deplume aux maison says:

    [171][prior thread] de minimis

    “Nom,

    Your dream of “Wingnut Welfare(tm)” is finally coming true. . . ”

    As you appear to be channeling schabadoo (all snark, no substance) with this post, I have no idea what you are talking about. I have not posted much, if at all, on welfare policy or the role of corporations, so I have no idea where this is coming from (unless you are simply trying to extrapolate my views and doing a poor job of it).

    You are usually pretty clear with your posts, but that one makes no sense to me; if you can clarify, that would be helpful.

    +++++++

    BTW, good arguments on tax policy yesterday; sorry I missed it. You lay out your views on tax and economic policy pretty clearly (which is why I was confused on the welfare dig). I especially liked the point about tax cuts being a form of deficit spending. Reminds me of some arguments I was making about Reaganomics back in my undergraduate classes (and I am still pissed that my professer never did give me attribution for his published observations on Reagan and Keynes).

    That said, it is apparent that we disagree fundamentally on what you consider to be “fair” vis a vis the tax code. Maybe that was where you were going with the welfare comment, but it needs clarification.

  57. meter says:

    Someone please square the first article Grim posted with #3.

    Sure, privitization is great. Until it fails, and then we get fcuking raked over the coals to compensate for shortfalls.

    So we pay dearly twice: first in the form of more expensive services (perhaps better run, perhaps not – I would point to NJ as a ‘perhaps not’ argument.)

    THEN we get raped when the privatized entity encounters a shortfall. Oh, we can’t have the CEOs making less than peers, so the only other option is to put taxpayers on the hook.

    Makes perfect sense, Republicans.

  58. Comrade Nom Deplume aux maison says:

    [15] shore

    You are correct.

  59. Comrade Nom Deplume aux maison says:

    [50] bob

    LOL.

    Thankfully, I had put my coffee down first. No need to clean my monitor.

  60. meter says:

    @12 –

    Not like you’re talking your own book or anything.

    But if you really want to level the playing field, you’d be taxed capital gains rates on appreciation of your property(ies) at time of sale, and that ‘over two year exemption’ clause would disappear.

    So: a flat tax on all income, capital gains, interests, appreciation, etc.?

    Still on board?

  61. Confused in NJ says:

    41.Final Doom says:
    July 9, 2010 at 8:15 am
    shore (27)-

    While we’re at it, somebody needs to shoot Sally Struthers, too. :)

    Too easy, make her go on a forced diet & exercise, untill she fits into her Archie Bunker Gloria clothes.

  62. #57 – meter Sure, privitization is great. Until it fails, and then we get fcuking raked over the coals to compensate for shortfalls.

    Agreed.

  63. Final Doom says:

    The measure of how self-destructive one is can be measured by that person’s support/non-support of capital gains taxation.

  64. Final Doom says:

    Capital gains taxation should be declared illegal. There is no greater tool the gubmint has to destroy wealth, destroy incentive and foster dependence upon the state.

  65. Shore Guy says:

    Meter,

    Yes I am okay with that. Frankly, if one tracks all the maintenance and improvements that one puts into a house, very few people see a real cap gain, it is most a time-value-of-money illusion.

  66. EssexHomeowner says:

    I agree that we have put enough taxpayer money into Xanadu, but it would be an even greater epic fail if this did not open. The long term benefits of this exceed the drawbacks. This will rejuvinate a stale northern NJ and draw more visitors thus more sales tax. Hell, they ought to make sales tax 12% at Xanadu. People will still go, with half that going back into the kitty.

    This will help the entire economic state of the metro area. Its foolish to think that this would benefit the area in any other way.

  67. Shore Guy says:

    The calls to privatize various public jobs is just an effort to avoid a fight over public employee costs (total costs) that are out of sync with the market. A policy maker has two choices, go into a bloody battle to try and eek out some incremental decrease in public-employee costs or just privatize and save the energy. The current costs may even be the same, with the savings coming in retirement pay and healthcare not paid by the state.

  68. Essex says:

    41. Circa seventies she waz a hottie.

  69. chicagofinance says:

    Shore Guy says:
    July 9, 2010 at 7:43 am
    “Someone needs to shoot Lesniak.”
    Clot, Surely you do not mean that. Picket hia office, vote him out of office, sure. Shoot? I disagree.

    Disembowel first…then shoot…

  70. meter says:

    So…capital gains are evil, but taxing the poor at the same rates as the rich on “earned income” is fair.

    Got it.

  71. Shore Guy says:

    ” This will rejuvinate a stale northern NJ and draw more visitors ”

    This is tongue in cheek, right?

  72. Comrade Nom Deplume aux maison says:

    [60] meter

    The primary residence exemption from cap gains is a sideshow, and a distant one at that.

    Section 121 is a fairly recent addition to the Code, so getting rid of it would not much distort the market except to generate loss sales. For those with gains, there is still Section 1031 like-kind exchanges.

    I have long argued here that Section 121 had a distortive effect on housing values and contributed to the bubble. That said, getting rid of it will not only NOT generate revenue, but with so many houses underwater, it will generate a sizeable net LOSS of revenue to the Treasury.

    BTW, not taking issue with your arguments (I have long learned not to argue with TBs over tax policy; it’s like trying to teach a pig to sing), but IMHO arguing the primary residence exemption is going really off track in this area.

  73. chicagofinance says:

    Can’t just assume that it creates more economic activity….it will just cannabalize a lot of current options…

    EssexHomeowner says:
    July 9, 2010 at 9:18 am
    I agree that we have put enough taxpayer money into Xanadu, but it would be an even greater epic fail if this did not open. The long term benefits of this exceed the drawbacks. This will rejuvinate a stale northern NJ and draw more visitors thus more sales tax. Hell, they ought to make sales tax 12% at Xanadu. People will still go, with half that going back into the kitty.

    This will help the entire economic state of the metro area. Its foolish to think that this would benefit the area in any other way.

  74. meter says:

    @67-

    Frankly I’d rather pay the fcuking pensions than pay CEOs and senior managers of newly-privatized companies hundreds of millions in taxpayer bailouts.

    Privatize, but then cut off the taxpayer life support forever. Then I’m on board.

  75. Shore Guy says:

    So, I am in Home Depot looking for an item. I describe what I am trying to do and the clerk tells me what I should get. What he said sounds like a product that John would have named:

    He tells me, “Oh, you need a common gutter sc-rew.”

  76. Comrade Nom Deplume aux maison says:

    [70] meter,

    A fair point, but one also has to look at the reason that there is a lower cap gain rate in the first place.

    Let’s assume you eliminate it. There is a tax policy fairness argument for that. But code provisions are there for a reason, and since all code provisions have distortive effects, you have to consider whether the distortion caused by the new rate, and the impact on revenues, jobs, expenditures, etc., offsets what you gain in revenues.

    There is a reason CBO and Joint Tax score these provisions. It is a lot like crystal ball gazing (or navel gazing) but it is done for a very real reason. Taxes distort behavior.

    It’s one thing to say that a change is necessary for “fairness” but I am never convinced until the impact study is done. Convince me that this change is a net benefit. Otherwise, it is a necessary evil.

  77. meter says:

    @72 –

    Yes, in this specific environment, cap gains on sale of primary residences would generate a net loss, no doubt.

    The point is that flat taxers generally still want, or will take maximum advantage of, all loopholes. It’s not about being “fair.”

  78. Mr Hyde says:

    Essex Homeowner

    I agree that we have put enough taxpayer money into Xanadu, but it would be an even greater epic fail if this did not open. The long term benefits of this exceed the drawbacks

    What? We are in the middle of a depression (i.e if you subtract all of the government spending we have seen a drop in GDP by greater then 10% and that is the formal definition of a depression). The strip malls of northern NJ are seeing business after business fail and vacancies rise to historic levels.
    if there isnt enough demand to keep the vaunted NJ strip mall corridors alive how exactly is Xanadu going to attract the huge amount of consumer spending that would be needed to even approach break even?
    lets assume that some how Xanadu did manage to attract such high levels of business. What do you think the impact of that is going to be? Its going shift business from existing sites to Xanadu, not create new business (i.e consumer spending). So in effect all you would end up doing is creating additional excess capacity as you shift the remaining consumer spending away from existing malls and strip malls and to Xanadu. All you would have done is increase the level of excess capacity an d put more stores out of business, all on the tax payer dime.

  79. Mr Hyde says:

    meter 78

    In a true flat tax there are NO loop holes. Anything that meets the accepted definition of income is taxed at the set rate regardless of income level.

  80. hughesrep says:

    76

    I’m looking forward to all the skeletons and rumors that will come out of Lebron’s closet after being covered up for seven years.

    Here is a fun one:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/20/calvin-murphy-lebron-jame_n_583135.html

  81. meter says:

    @77 –

    Agree with your overall premise, which is that “fair” is a completely subjective viewpoint.

    Generally, I am against anything that will widen an already-canyon-like wealth disparity.

    This doesn’t mean I am a proponent of leveling everyone’s bank accounts, but making the poor poorer doesn’t seem like a great idea.

  82. tbiggs says:

    #34 Shore Guy –
    New Jersey: “The Graft State”

    The very moment I started to read the article, my mind started playing the scene from the Sopranos where they’re divvying up some new “redevelopment” project. I don’t think anyone actually thinks Xanadu will ever work out, they just want to keep the graft gravy train going for a little while longer.

  83. Knifecatcher - Painhrtz says:

    180 million for minimum wage clerk and shelve stockers, while canibalizing sales from other economic areas. how could this not be a win? Are they going to change the Blue Laws to so it can be open on Sunday? Folks in Paramus will make sure that does not happen.

  84. relo says:

    41: Where’s the sport in that? Or were you thinking mercy?

  85. meter says:

    @80-

    Bwah ha ha ha!

    Thanks for the laugh!

  86. Mr Hyde says:

    Meter 86,

    Enlighten me then.

  87. jamil says:

    83 “I don’t think anyone actually thinks Xanadu will ever work out, they just want to keep the graft gravy train going for a little while longer.”

    The goal of all public projects is to start it and then it comes down to “we already started it, have to finish it, nevermind budget was exceeded by 1000%”. See Boston big dig or any other parasite project. Graft is king!

  88. meter says:

    As stated before, the rich will pay legions of lawyers, tax accountants, enlist the services of any- and everyone to tease out loopholes.

    There are *always* loopholes. You intimated as much yourself: ‘accepted definition of income.’

    So you want a flat tax on a specific portion of what you ‘earn.’ Clot wants a flat tax that excludes cap gains. You see why I’m laughing.

  89. Mr Hyde says:

    Meter,

    I am certainly not a tax expert, but in my little fantasy world a flat tax would be on ALL income whether it be capital gains or wages. In such a scenario there are NO loopholes as everyone from corporations to individuals get taxed at a set rate with no exceptions. The only provision being that the tax applies to all income over some lower limit, say $20,000.

  90. Comrade Nom Deplume aux maison says:

    [89] meter

    FWIW, the definition of income is quite broad; any receipt of cash or property is income unless specifically excluded.

    So that is why you need an accepted definition. Otherwise, you are paying tax on the check Grandma gives little Suzie for her 10th birthday.

  91. Jamal Van Jones says:

    Biggest Defaulters on Mortgages Are the Rich

    This cannot be true! The enlightened posters on this board have categorically proven than Fannie/Freddie and the CRA were responsible for giving loans to poor people, which caused the crisis.

    Typical MSM BS.

  92. Comrade Nom Deplume aux maison says:

    [82] meter

    “This doesn’t mean I am a proponent of leveling everyone’s bank accounts, but making the poor poorer doesn’t seem like a great idea.”

    The problem is approaching this as a zero sum game. If you believe that making the rich poorer will alleviate things, well, it might, but there are going to be distortions or externalities. Tax the rich too much and they shift their productive capital to other areas. Tax the existence of capital, and it leaves. Period.

    Taxation has been likened to getting the most down from a goose with the least hissing. I prefer the parasite model—a successful parasite doesn’t kill its host. And let’s not forget the host’s ability to adapt. As the legend goes, if the fleas on the fox get too onerous, the fox takes a dip in the river.
    http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?_r=1&res=9D01E3DB133FE633A2575AC1A9669D946296D6CF

  93. Shore Guy says:

    One would tax income paid as wages or professional fees, cap gains, interest and dividands.

    Gifts, including bribes to keep NJ public officials in their nice cars and weekend houses on the Barnegat Bay, would be excluded, at least up to some arbitrary number, say the poverty level for a family of four.

  94. 30 year Realtor says:

    Another sign of the recovery in retail. Remember the location of Tower Records, formerly Crazy Eddies on Rt 17 South in Paramus? After 3 years of vacancy it has a new tenant. Paramus, welcome The Goodwill Store to the retail capitol of the world.

  95. Shore Guy says:

    Compliance costs and time would go way down, thus freeing up money for investment or to fritter away on booze and kilts, tarten or lame, depending on one’s preferences.

  96. Comrade Nom Deplume aux maison says:

    [92] jamal

    “The enlightened posters on this board have categorically proven than Fannie/Freddie and the CRA were responsible for giving loans to poor people, which caused the crisis.”

    In part, this is true.

    Now the rich are capitalizing on the crisis, which is what the rich do. That’s how they got and stay rich.

    Or are you suggesting that the advent of the rich capitalizing on the crisis somehow absolves the role of the subprime borrowers in this mess?

  97. me@work says:

    95, 30-yr.

    You mean the big single level building past Stop&Shop? (was a halloween costume store in the fall.)

    I was hoping for a NYSC gym – oh well.

    sl

  98. Jamal Van Jones says:

    Or are you suggesting that the advent of the rich capitalizing on the crisis somehow absolves the role of the subprime borrowers in this mess?

    No, I am suggesting that since this article is in the NYT, which is obviously a commie rag, this is not true. The rich are as pure as the driven snow. If we could only prevent the poor from getting money to buy houses, and maybe confine them to Michigan, we would be speeding on the road to recovery! No poor, no problem!

  99. Shore Guy says:

    All power to the bureaucrats!

    To the elected, according to their want, from the electorate, regardless of their need.

    Tovarish, all animals are equal, although some are more equal than others.

  100. dan says:

    I don’t think NYSC is doing that great. They closed the one they had on Rt. 10 in Parsippany with no other location that way. They were getting whipped by a gym 2 miles away that charges like $19 or $29 a month.

  101. me@work says:

    dan 102

    good maybe they’ll lower their rates.

    there are a bunch of other ones now, 24hrfitness, retrofitness, powerhouse etc etc.

    sl

  102. Cindy says:

    http://seekingalpha.com/article/213750-meredith-whitney-prepare-for-a-dramatic-decline-in-housing?source=dashboard_macro-view

    Meredith Whitney: Prepare for a Dramatic Decline in Housing

    So in nine months, what happens with the banks? HTC? Finreg have this covered? Jeepers Creepers…

  103. meter says:

    Here’s the real solution:

    Nobody should pay taxes and we should have no government whatsoever.

    I don’t think most can handle that scenario, internet tough guy posturing notwithstanding.

    @91, ergo loopholes. That example you cite about grandma bequeathing cash can be twisted, distorted, etc. by the savviest of tax attorneys. I trust it you know firsthand what I’m talking about.

  104. meter says:

    @93 –

    “The problem is approaching this as a zero sum game. If you believe that making the rich poorer will alleviate things, well, it might, but there are going to be distortions or externalities. Tax the rich too much and they shift their productive capital to other areas. Tax the existence of capital, and it leaves. Period.”

    Yes, I understand all of that and acknowledge that taxing the rich into oblivion makes no sense.

    The flip side, though: continue to widen income disparity and degrade subsistence levels at your own peril. At some point, and there is a tipping point, you’d better have a good personal militia and no matter how much money you have your overall quality of life will decline. You’ll be spending all of your time in your armed compound.

    Vacations at Cannes? Forget it.

  105. meter says:

    Also, while not necessarily a zero-sum game, there are finite resources.

    Municipality to municipality, state to state, country to country, on our planet as a whole.

    So, the “rising tide lifting all boats theory” isn’t exactly accurate. At some point someone’s gain is by definition someone else’s loss.

  106. Cindy says:

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/675c2508-8ac1-11df-8e17-00144feab49a.html

    You have to Google: “America needs a growth strategy” to read…

    From Financial Times –

  107. Mr Hyde says:

    Meter 105

    No process is 100% efficient whether it be tax collection or an internal combustion engine. Its a simple law of themrodynamics

  108. Mr Hyde says:

    Meter

    you will never see a flat tax / fair tax type of structure because it would eliminate one of the biggest tools for corporate favors and societal behavior modification

  109. Final Doom says:

    meter (70)-

    Yes. The poor pay far too little in taxes. They should pay more.

  110. meter says:

    @110, Hyde –

    For the most part I agree, but not sure I would say never.

    On principal I don’t agree with income redistribution as a whole. I think we, as a society, need to provide for the disabled, those who absolutely cannot provide for themselves.

    We should raise the bar for what we subsidize though, i.e. workfare instead of welfare. Even unemployment should require some kind of minimal effort.

  111. Mr Hyde says:

    Meter 112

    On principal I don’t agree with income redistribution as a whole. I think we, as a society, need to provide for the disabled, those who absolutely cannot provide for themselves.

    We should raise the bar for what we subsidize though, i.e. workfare instead of welfare. Even unemployment should require some kind of minimal effort.

    My sentiment exactly! we appear to agree more then disagree.

  112. Essex says:

    Sound investments in communities and wise use of tax money. Screw stupid wars.

  113. jamil says:

    “Yes. The poor pay far too little in taxes. They should pay more.”

    Since when have the poor paid taxes? Half of people do not pay any federal income tax. In fact, many get a check from the government through EITC and other scams. Represenation without taxation (in hudson county, double-represention without taxation).

  114. meter says:

    Sound like Jamil is familiar with scams and not paying for things.

    I said light on the wax, lackey.

  115. NJGator says:

    SL 103 – Went to HS with the guy who founded Retrofitness. He’s living pretty darn well these days.

  116. Essex says:

    The bank bailout could’ve paid for special ed for the rest of the lives. Or Liveeeeees as bOrat would say.

  117. jamil says:

    116 “Sound like Jamil is familiar with scams and not paying for things.”

    Yep. That’s why I haven’t bought house yet.

  118. Libtard In the City says:

    Grim (33):

    “What this I hear about Montclair not wanting crazy people in the south end? Surely diversity includes the mentally ill, no?”

    Diversity good, dementia bad. We need ratables in a huge way, but unless the business is progressive (think bike shop/Ethiopian restaurant/solarmart) it is completely unacceptable. I do think (and hope, simply so I can say I told you so) that Montclair will be the first non-abbott district to default on their debt in Jersey. Got popcorn?

  119. Mr Hyde says:

    Jamil,

    you should like this

    WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. – Admitted thieves are going free, while an elderly Wheat Ridge man is facing the possibility of spending the rest of his life behind bars, all, he says, for trying to defend his property and his life.

    82-year-old Robert Wallace said in February that he looked out his window and saw two men hooking his flatbed trailer up to their pickup. He yelled at them to stop, but they sped away, stealing his trailer. He told police he fired two shots at the pickup.

    Minutes later, police say 32-year-old Damacio Torres dropped 28-year-old Alvaro Cardona off at a hospital emergency room with a gunshot wound to the face.

    Torres did not stay to talk with police, but they caught up with him later. According to court documents, he admitted he and Cardona stole the trailer.

    Wallace did not want to talk on camera, but when we asked him if the two men threatened him he said, “They almost ran me over.”

    The Jefferson County DA’s office said that neither Torres nor Cardona have been charged with anything at this point, even though Torres confessed to the crime. However, the homeowner, Wallace is facing twelve felony counts, including four counts of attempted first degree murder. If convicted, he could spend the rest of his life behind bars.

    Sources say Torres and Cardona are believed to be in the country illegally and both have an arrest record. Cardona’s record includes public fighting and numerous traffic offenses like driving without a license or insurance. Torres’s record includes agricultural trespassing as well as a 2005 arrest for aggravated motor vehicle theft for which he was given a plea bargain to a lesser crime. Sources say Torres is also under investigation for being part of a major auto theft ring.

    Wallace is out on bond and due back in court in September to enter his plea.

    Neighbors say the thieves should be the ones facing charges and Wallace should be given an award for protecting the neighborhood.

    http://www.kdvr.com/news/kdvr-theives-free-victim-arrested-txt,0,231586.story?

  120. jj says:

    90% of people basically pay no taxes (they get more services than they pay for)

    Love father of five with five kids in public school who complains his school taxes are like 5k.

  121. Final Doom says:

    hyde (121)-

    The gubmint protects illegals and criminals, because they want them to overrun us, steal everything we have and destroy us.

    Yet people say I’m the crazy one for advocating overthrow of the gubmint. When they come after me, I will not lie down.

  122. jj says:

    The shooter is 100% wrong in this story. You can protect your life and to a limited extent protect your property. However, your sidewalk, front walk, driveway (apron) are parts of you house a reasonable person would expect people to walk on without fear of being shot or arrested for trespassing.

    He should have called 911 and remained in his house. Additionally, if he shot passenger in truck he can’t claim he tried to run him over.

    That old man belongs in jail along with the two thieves.

    This is similar to another story where a man had people on his sidewalk and front lawn threatening him. Guy got gun opened front door got in allocation and shot one of them. Of course guy he shot was not the one yelling or threatening. Judge ruled, you were in no danger inside your house, the people outside your house were on sidewalk and your walkway, and they were unarmed and you did not even call 911 before leaving your house. He got manslaughter, well deserved. This old man did exact same thing.

  123. jamil says:

    124: yeah. When you are threatened and robbed by criminals who are here illegally, you should call the Government. When the Government comes to help you with the forms the next day, they can advise you how to fill out the forms.

    The guy should sue local authorities and the feds for allowing the illegals to stay in the country and attacking him. Bring in the trial lawyers!

  124. Mr Hyde says:

    JJ

    Depends on the state and the laws. In Texas this guy would probably be 100% in the clear. he probably shouldnt have used deadly force, but not arresting the surviving guy on site at the hospital where he admitted to stealing the trailer is very messed up.

  125. Final Doom says:

    What would happen if one of us were in Mexico illegally and got shot while committing a crime?

    You’d never be seen again, much less treated at a hospital.

  126. Final Doom says:

    Funniest “shot in face scene” in cinema history:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mcwCqHdMJgY

  127. wtf says:

    (72)
    1) I agree that Section 121 contributed to the housing bubble. It was enacted in 1997, just before the housing bubble began. I don’t think that’s a coincidence.
    2) Section 1031 doesn’t apply to personal residences
    3) I don’t see how getting rid of section 121 would cause a loss of revenue for the Treasury, since the loss on the sale of a personal residence is not deductible – with or without section 121.

  128. Comrade Nom Deplume aux maison says:

    [105] meter,

    “@91, ergo loopholes. That example you cite about grandma bequeathing cash can be twisted, distorted, etc. by the savviest of tax attorneys. I trust it you know firsthand what I’m talking about.”

    Actually, I was talking about inter vivos gifts, not testamentary (one bequeaths via a will). And unless excluded, it is income. That said, there are exclusions, and the use of them are sometimes derided as “loopholes.”

    Right now, Grandma can give cash to little suzie. No attorney required. Going forward, if the exclusion is closed, yes, you look for another. And if that is closed, you either pay tax or go underground with it.

  129. Comrade Nom Deplume aux maison says:

    [106] meter

    Personally, I didn’t like Cannes.

  130. Comrade Nom Deplume aux maison says:

    [129] wtf

    Section 1031 doesn’t apply to primary residences because of Section 121. There’s no need for anyone to use 1031 for a primary residence.

    There used to be an exclusion for a rollover of gain from one residence to another; this is similar to how 1031’s like-kind exchange works (FD: I cannot remember if this was a companion section to 1031 or a subsection of 1031–no access to code history right now).

    Now, if you repeal 121, it begs the question of whether you amend 1031 to permit primary residences back in. If you don’t then everyone will dump their gain residence into an LLC and sell it from there in order to gain the benefit of 1031. I’m not sure that would fly, but my guess is that we would return to a pre-121 regimen.

    BTW, this has been floated and shot down, so it is an academic discussion. I don’t expect 121 to go away. At worst, it will be further means-tested.

  131. Comrade Nom Deplume aux maison says:

    [121] hyde,

    Interesting fact pattern. JJ is right on the common law, but expect Wallace to interpose a defense of self-defense (e.g., avoiding being run over).

    Also, this is a case that no prosecutor wants in front of a jury in most parts of Colorado. I expect it will be quietly dropped.

  132. wtf says:

    (132)

    As I recall (it’s a little before my time) the previous law was merely a deferral of gain. Section 121 is an exclusion of gain. Big difference. But you are correct – it is academic at this point. The damage has been done.

  133. A.West says:

    jj (122),
    That’s right. I wonder why the “market failure” whiners don’t try to go after these “externalities”?

  134. Comrade Nom Deplume aux maison says:

    [135] wtf

    Before my time too.

    And I do think it was an underappreciated cause of the bubble. I had commented on it a while back but it is boring stuff, no villian, so no one focused on it.

  135. A.West says:

    Doom (111),
    The poor don’t pay too little in taxes. Everyone is paying too mauch taxes, including the poor. Taxes are essentially just restraints on trade.
    The poor are just getting too much stuff extracted from others, with government as the very inefficient middleman.

  136. Comrade Nom Deplume aux maison says:

    Something to think about. I am not an analyst, but for you street types, do the analysts look at pension underfunding?

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/38152067

  137. Comrade Nom Deplume aux maison says:

    Well, time to go hit a few golf balls. Great weekend, all.

  138. Sas3 says:

    Here’s one that puts Faux news to shame:

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/postpartisan/2010/07/obamas_cynical_recess_appointm.html

    This woman is ranting about the unfairness of recess appointments, when her own husband was appointed by Dubya in the same manner (one of close to 200 people).

  139. relo says:

    135: From memory, the old law was a deferral provided the new digs exceeded basis in old house. There was also a one-time exclusion of $125k in cumulative gain for those over 55. I think the “new” sec. 121 just superseded the “old”. Maybe Clot can opine on the rise of serial flippers based on this change.

    Re: 1031 – potentially convert principal residence to rental.

  140. Hi buddy, your blog’s design is simple and clean and i like it. Your blog posts are superb. Please keep them coming. Greets!!!

  141. Final Doom says:

    relo (142)-

    The new 121 didn’t really give rise to flippers. Any house that hasn’t been held a year and is flipped has the profit taxed at income rates. Hold that property for one year or more, the profit is subject to cap gains rate.

  142. Final Doom says:

    Trying to convert your primary residence into a secondary via the 1031 will find the IRS up your ass.

  143. maylook1day says:

    3pm! Let the melt-up begin!

  144. jj says:

    are there really poor in this country?

  145. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    “are there really poor in this country?”

    Only Randolph and Mortimer.

  146. sas says:

    “LeBron James”

    i hope you can move on now that loser, no talent in NBA has finally made his decision.

    btw:
    there is still an oil spill and your worthless 401k is about 200.5

    SAS

  147. Mr Hyde says:

    SAS

    You mean that new toxic waste dump formerly known as the Gulf of Mexico? No worries, noe=w the GOM is just like the jersey shore!!!

  148. sas says:

    “You mean that new toxic waste dump formerly known as the Gulf of Mexico?”

    doesn’t benzene have a sweet smell?

    SAS

  149. sas says:

    LeBron James….. ist das Opium des Volkes.

    SAS

  150. relo says:

    144: I was thinking more of the principal residence circa 1997- 2005; hanging on for the two-year exclusion and moving on to another. Granted, two years, not a flip, but incented a lot more moving around than prior to the new sec. 121.

    145: Make it legit. Wasn’t suggesting otherwise.

    RIP GOM. Damn, glad we embraced the novelty of it when we were there.

  151. Mr Hyde says:

    SAS

    here is the question of the day…. Whcih would you eat first, seafood from GOM or from china?

  152. sas says:

    “here is the question of the day…. Whcih would you eat first, seafood from GOM or from china?”

    GOM anyday.

    if it comes from China, it might even have human body parts leftovers from the prison organ harvests that they do.

    SAS

  153. relo says:

    Old mandatory deferral of gain on principal residence was under sec. 1034.

  154. sas says:

    “it might even have human body parts leftovers from the prison organ harvests that they do”

    aka “fillers”

    and you think we have “inspectors” over there? ha ha..ha..

    just like a crane operator in manhattan, just give then $100 bucks, and they sign papers and walk away to get a chocolate glazed donut.

    SAS

  155. jamil says:

    141: Senate did not even have a vote or debate about that nut. The inconvenient truth is that O did not want to have a debate before election on this topic. The nominee was the lunatic who publicly advocated “redistribution of wealth” and praised death panels. Transparency is the last thing O wants.

  156. jj says:

    HEAT SEASON TICKET PRICES INCREASE BY 250% ON SECONDARY MARKET

    The price of Heat season tickets on the secondary ticket market has increased 250% since LeBron James Thursday night made his announcement that he was joining the team. Heat season tickets on Friday were selling for an average of $8,250, according to ticket metasearch engine FanSnap, up significantly from Thursday’s average price of $3,239.

    Knicks ticket prices on the resale market are down 18% as of Friday after jumping 33% Thursday “in anticipation that LeBron might choose New York.” Cavaliers season tickets on Friday were averaging $935, “which is about one-third of where they were when LeBron was the star attraction”

  157. NJGator says:

    Here’s a nice fat pitch over home plate for ya, Doom.

    What Lures City Folk to Montclair and Maplewood?

    It’s been an established pattern for decades. Upper West Side to Brooklyn to Montclair. Or Upper West Side to Brooklyn to Maplewood. Sometimes the middle step is skipped altogether.

    Why these two towns and not, say, Mahway and Metuchen? The answer is pretty obvious to those of us who live here. Green leafy trees, hipness and diversity, art house movie theaters, interesting restaurants and… tons of people in the media business.

    http://www.baristanet.com/realestate/2010/07/maplewood-montclair_market_mat.php#more

  158. Final Doom says:

    sas (152)-

    I like that his teammate was tagging his mom…and he didn’t even know.

    This should spawn a whole slew of new “yo mama” jokes.

  159. Final Doom says:

    nj (160)-

    I thought the common denominator was wealthy liberals, filled with white guilt and looking for a gubmint to punish them.

  160. Final Doom says:

    From the article in #160. However, I didn’t know Mayberry had MS-13:

    “And when they get to Maplewood, they discover how cool South Orange is, too. Maplewood has a small-town Mayberry feel.”

  161. sas says:

    silly putty for the little ones?

    yes, please can I have another mcnugget
    http://pagingdrgupta.blogs.cnn.com/2010/06/25/a-tale-of-2-nuggets/?hpt=T2

  162. Outofstater says:

    #160 So that article wasn’t a parody?? Um, is everyone in Montclair a charter member of the cult of the self-absorbed? Has anyone found mysterious, human-size pods in the basement? Pardon my lack of “hipness” but YUCK. You guys need to get out of there.

  163. Libtard In the City says:

    You’re all just jealous of my hipness and my hips too.

  164. A.West says:

    Somebody’s trying to unload some overtaxed real estate in Montclair and Maplewood by suggesting – oh yes, this is where all the cool people from NYC come when they mature.

    It might attract a few people who don’t otherwise know better. Seems like half the people around here buy houses based on whether the public schools offer full or half session kindergarten anyway.

    Besides the huge taxes, my main criticism of my new town Bridgewater is that I can’t find a good wall against which to hit tennis balls nearby.

    Help!

  165. Juice Box says:

    re #16- “tons of people in the media business.”

    Does that mean they pass around a joint at a every Swaree?

  166. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    A.West [167],

    No highway walls on Rt 78?

  167. jamil says:

    160 gator
    So what is this diversity in Montclair that does not exist in Manhattan or Brooklyn?
    Bunch of middle-class white liberals is diversity? Well, trotskyists, stalinists and bolshevists can all be found there..

  168. Final Doom says:

    Talk about a self-selecting community…

  169. chicagofinance says:

    140.Comrade Nom Deplume aux maison says:
    July 9, 2010 at 2:13 pm
    Something to think about. I am not an analyst, but for you street types, do the analysts look at pension underfunding?

    Nom: Pension underfunding is a calculation not quoting a fact. Without getting into a killer set of boring details, ultimately, the stock market selloff from 2007-2008 is the reason there is a problem. If the stock market recovers, there is no issue….

  170. chicagofinance says:

    Nom: Pat will rip me a new one…but here is some stuff….

    Funded Status = Plan Assets – Projected Benefit Obligation (PBO)

    The PBO is the crock….you can even create earnings from it if you have enough balls….
    http://www.investopedia.com/university/financialstatements/financialstatements9.asp

  171. chicagofinance says:

    Helpful….
    Critical Questions
    We have just scratched the surface of pension plan accounting, but we have reviewed enough to identify the four or five critical questions you need to ask when evaluating a company’s pension fund.

    We have two primary concerns in regard to analysis of the pension fund:

    •What is the economic status of the liability? A dramatically under-funded plan will require increased cash contributions in the future and foreshadows future increases in income statement expenses.

    •How aggressive/conservative is the pension expense? An aggressive accounting policy is a red flag because it will usually have to be unraveled by the company in future periods. Conservative policies contribute to earnings that are higher in quality.

  172. chicagofinance says:

    174.chicagofinance says:
    July 9, 2010 at 5:51 pm
    140.Comrade Nom Deplume aux maison says:
    July 9, 2010 at 2:13 pm
    Something to think about. I am not an analyst, but for you street types, do the analysts look at pension underfunding?

    Nom: There are three types of analysts
    (1) technical;
    (2) fundamental, but only focused on income statement;
    (3) true fundamental

    Only the ones who are (3) care…..the ones who were destroyed in 2007-2008 were (1) and (2)….

  173. Confused in NJ says:

    173.chicagofinance says:
    July 9, 2010 at 5:51 pm
    140.Comrade Nom Deplume aux maison says:
    July 9, 2010 at 2:13 pm
    Something to think about. I am not an analyst, but for you street types, do the analysts look at pension underfunding?

    Nom: Pension underfunding is a calculation not quoting a fact. Without getting into a killer set of boring details, ultimately, the stock market selloff from 2007-2008 is the reason there is a problem. If the stock market recovers, there is no issue….

    Unless the Sell Off was actually a correction to Ficticious Ponzi like Goldilocks growth, in which case the Pensions are too high to be sustained. In the only correct words of AG, “Irrrational Exhuberance”.

  174. Sas3 says:

    Re, hitting tennis balls against the wall.

    Anyone tried using a poured basement wall for squash drills? We are finishing the basement, but I asked for one area to be left alone — 8-9ft high, 10ft wide concrete wall, which I think can be used for hitting the squash ball.

    Any thoughts on the merits and demerits of it. We’ll put in a wood laminate floor. Was planning to use a bonding cement to make the wall smooth.

    S

  175. Sas3 says:

    Anthony Weiner & Huma Abedin Wedding: Bill Clinton To Officiate Congressman’s Wedding.

    S

  176. Simply Ravishing HEHEHE says:

    Have a Happy Weekend!!!

    50 Statistics about the U.S. Economy that Are Almost too Crazy to Believe

    http://coto2.wordpress.com/2010/06/04/50-statistics-about-the-u-s-economy-that-are-almost-too-crazy-to-believe/

  177. gary says:

    Sounds pretty logical to me:

    You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity.

    What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.

    The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.

    When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is the beginning of the end of any nation.

    You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.

  178. grim says:

    BFF!

  179. grim says:

    How much further to fall before they just shut it down?

    From the Record:

    Atlantic City casino revenues fall 11% in June

    June was Atlantic City’s last chance to post a good financial performance from its 11 casinos while offering something its main competitor didn’t: table games. But that chance went by the boards.

    Revenue for the nation’s second-largest gambling market fell more than 11 percent in June, to $286.8 million.

    And now Atlantic City is virtually surrounded by table games: Pennsylvania started offering them on Thursday, a few weeks after Delaware did likewise.

    Analysts say the stepped-up competition could cost Atlantic City about a quarter of its annual table games revenue, or about $300 million a year.

    It was the Pennsylvania slots parlors that began Atlantic City’s revenue plunge in late 2006.

    Soon, Pennsylvania will have nine casinos offering the same gambling options as Atlantic City — but much closer to home for Pennsylvania players, who have been a big part of Atlantic City’s clientele.

    Table games revenue for Atlantic City fell 16.2 percent last month to $79.9 million. Slot revenue fell 9 percent to $206.9 million.

  180. grim says:

    Four so far tonight, from the FDIC:

    Home National Bank, Blackwell, OK
    USA Bank, Port Chester, NY
    Ideal Federal Savings Bank, Baltimore, MD
    Bay National Bank, Lutherville, MD

  181. Yikes says:

    missed this yesterday, wow, what an embarrassment. how does a town put up with garbage like this?

    a must-read

    Fiddy Cents on the Dollar says:
    July 8, 2010 at 11:26 am

    Talk about feeding at Public Trough….

    Here’s an entertaining little vignette about the Chief of Police in a small town who retired to a $121K annual pension, and was immediately given a job as Boro Manager in the same town. With an annual salary of $120K.

    Now here’s the kicker…..he’s filed for unused vacation and sick time to the tune of $153,790.

    http://www.app.com/article/20100707/NEWS/7070355/Ex-Keansburg-chief-to-get-154G-in-unused-vacation-sick-time

  182. Juice Box says:

    Getting pretty desperate down in AC, a buddy of mine was just given a Titanium card to the Borgata which you used to really need to be a degenerate gambler to be invited.

    Free Tickets to all shows, free suites and all kinda perks including $500 slot dollars every month and other perks like chartered flights to Vegas.

  183. Yikes says:

    Final Doom says:
    July 8, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    hyde (121)-

    Metal baseball bat in the backseat is the best car defense/whack-a-nut weapon. It looks perfectly innocuous, and you can destroy a windshield in 1-2 swings.

    Much bigger fan of wooden bats than metal

  184. Mr Hyde says:

    Hey look!

    maybe al gore was right. the gulf leak is the end of the world…

    http://www.helium.com/items/1882339-doomsday-how-bp-gulf-disaster-may-have-triggered-a-world-killing-event

  185. Yikes says:

    can you elaborate on this?

    nycchef says:
    July 8, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    For diversity I am considering Nutely since I have bi-racial child and worry about this things.

    Ethnically ambiguous kids are the coolest.

    http://nytimes.com/2003/12/28/fashion/28ETHN.html

  186. Essex says:

    A Real Patriot!

    Phoenix, Arizona (CNN) — Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio calls himself “America’s toughest sheriff.” He is famous for creating a tent city jail in the Arizona desert; for providing pink underwear for inmates; for bragging that he spends more to feed his dog than a prisoner in his jail.
    This year he has made national headlines for his tough enforcement of Arizona’s anti-illegal immigration laws and for his vocal support for a controversial new immigration law that takes effect at the end of July.
    But the 77-year-old lawman is himself the subject of serious allegations of abuse of power. Arpaio’s critics say he has a long history of launching bogus criminal investigations against political opponents and anyone else who gets in his way.
    This year a federal grand jury started looking into the allegations.
    Former Maricopa County School Superintendent Sandra Dowling says what happened to her is a case in point.
    Dowling says was locked in a political battle with some members of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors over school district funds when the sheriff’s SWAT team came in the dead of night to search her home. Dowling was charged with stealing money from a school for homeless students. There were 25 felony counts in all.
    “Never could I have imagined what a nightmare was waiting ahead,” Dowling said.
    Arpaio promised to uncover massive public corruption — “We are looking into all avenues of this investigation,” he said — and to win a speedy conviction.
    From the start Dowling maintained her innocence: “I kept saying I didn’t do anything. I didn’t do anything.”
    It took three years, but finally a judge threw out all the felony counts against Dowling. She entered a guilty plea to a single misdemeanor charge. But she said her reputation had been shattered, her career destroyed, and she owed more than $100,000 in legal fees.
    “I still don’t think that everybody knows I was innocent,” she said.
    Dowling is not alone. Arpaio has launched — either on his own or in conjunction with the county attorney — high-profile criminal investigations against a who’s who of Maricopa County politicians and officials. The list includes the mayor of Phoenix, a former police chief, two members of the board of supervisors, Superior Court judges, and even a former state attorney general.
    The charges have included public corruption, misuse of taxpayers’ dollars, bribery, rape and even child molestation. What all these investigations hold in common is that they were launched with great public fanfare, but rarely resulted in convictions. Among the investigations recounted in this report, the only conviction has been on the misdemeanor charge against Dowling.
    Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon calls the sheriff’s long list of investigations a “reign of terror.”
    Gordon came under Arpaio’s scrutiny, he says, after speaking out against the sheriff’s neighborhood sweeps to round up illegal immigrants.
    The mayor says he received a torrent of records requests from sheriff’s investigators, and he was later told that he was under investigation on possible child molestation charges. Gordon says the sheriff “bragged that he was watching my office from his office with a telescope.”
    The sheriff’s department confirmed that Gordon was investigated on child molestation accusations. In the end charges were never filed.
    “He is a coward,” said former Buckeye, Arizona, Police Chief Dan Saban. In 2004 Saban challenged Arpaio’s bid for a fourth term in the sheriff’s office. That was when the local news reported that Arpaio was investigating his rival on charges of rape.
    It was a claim made by Sabin’s foster mother. She claimed the rape occurred 30 years earlier, when Saban was only 15 years old. Saban says he was the victim, not the foster mother.
    Once again charges were never filed. But Saban noted the sheriff alerted the media to the details of the sordid accusation. “They put out a media campaign against me,” he said. “That I was the subject of a criminal probe.”
    It sounds familiar to County Supervisor Don Stapley. “They indicted me on 118 counts.” he said, “none of which I’m guilty of.”
    Those 118 counts of public corruption against Stapley made big headlines before they were thrown out of court by a judge. Arpaio has refilled many of those charges and Stapley is still fighting to clear his name.
    Arpaio turned down CNN requests for an interview, citing the federal grand jury investigation and a series of threatened lawsuits from these and other cases.
    However, one of Arpaio’s long-time assistants was eager to defend his boss.
    Deputy Chief John MacIntyre says that in each and every case, the sheriff’s investigations were fully justified. “Was there probable cause? There was a ton of probable cause,” he said.
    In the rape investigation of the sheriff’s political rival, Saban, for example, MacIntyre says it was a case the sheriff had to investigate. “We didn’t make up the mother’s testimony,” he said. “It came in here like a bombshell.”
    MacIntyre says it was just coincidence that the sheriff benefited when the story was leaked to the press.
    Andrew Thomas is another Arpaio ally. He is the former Maricopa County attorney who participated in a number of Arpaio’s high-profile cases. He is currently running for the Arizona attorney general’s office.
    He, too, defends Arpaio’s investigations, saying, “The reality is these were legitimate cases that needed to be brought.”
    “It wasn’t just brought up out of thin air, there was evidence to back up those cases,” he said.
    The sheriff’s critics, he said, are “being portrayed as martyrs and I feel that’s absolutely inaccurate.”
    Thomas paints a picture of Maricopa County as a pit of corruption that includes the judicial system, which he blames for his lack of convictions. “We had to go into courts where the judges were collaborating with the targets of the investigations,” he said. “They were working together to thwart investigations (and) prosecutions.”
    The Arizona Bar Association takes a different view. Its ethics committee is currently considering a case against Thomas for his role in Arpaio’s investigations of public officials, the association said.
    MacIntyre says it is up to the public to untangle the web of political intrigue surrounding Phoenix and its environs. “The electorate is going to have to say we don’t want to do this anymore, and we will vote one or more people out,” he said. “Right now the sheriff’s polls indicate that the public still supports him rather overwhelmingly.”
    Whether the grand jury investigation or the threatened lawsuits bring change remains to be seen.
    Mike Lacey, a newspaper editor who was once arrested after criticizing Arpaio, says the end is not yet in sight: “If you are a critic of the sheriff, or if you represent an opportunity for publicity, you become a target for this man.”

  187. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    “Only the ones who are (3) care…..the ones who were destroyed in 2007-2008 were (1) and (2)….”

    Chi,

    Throwing some sheet against the wall or supporting evidence? Hopefully, you are kidding.

    2007 to the end of 2008/early 2009 was a wet dream for any technician. If I remember correctly some idiot technician was placing odds on AIG imploding, when it was in the 20’s, at 5-1. Those that follow fundamentals argued that the pos had a pristine balance sheet within a well diversified business; simply a cash cow.

    Go figure.

  188. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    Hyde [188],

    This depression’s version of the 1930’s dust bowl?

  189. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    Here you go, 2007-2008. I wonder what markets technician’s were watching at that time. Their indicators, shouted buy?

    http://bigcharts.marketwatch.com/advchart/frames/frames.asp?symb=SP500

  190. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    which markets

  191. Fabius Maximus says:

    #56 Nom

    Wingnut Welfare comes from a discussion we had before the Hoboken GTG. You came from a position that the gvmt has not role in the provision of welfare. Support for the underprivileged and bottom rungs of society, should be provided through charities. I think I spun that into a new definition of
    NOMPOUND (Not Outta My Pocket Or Undera New Deal).

    A Corporation has caused devastation for the people in the gulf. The Corporations caused the spill, the gvmt response is to look to the corporation to clean up the mess they created and it is left to the charities to pick up on the real needs to the people and provide the food banks.

    In this case, your definition of welfare has gone further to the right and therefore I label it Wingnut.

  192. Fabius Maximus says:

    #113 Hyde,

    “We should raise the bar for what we subsidize though, i.e. workfare instead of welfare. Even unemployment should require some kind of minimal effort.

    My sentiment exactly! we appear to agree more then disagree

    Welcome to Social Liberalism, your new home. Pull up a chair and grab some reading materials….. :*)

  193. still_looking says:

    Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah… auugh auuugh Auuuuuuuuuugggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

    Suddenly, I feel better now. More scotch please.

    sl

  194. Fabius Maximus says:

    #181 gary

    What a crock.

    “The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.”
    The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.

    So when the Governor of Alaska takes the big revenue check from the oil companies and writes a check to every resident in the state. Are you saying that Alaska shouldn’t have taken the revenue in the first place?

    “You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.”
    Private Equity in the 80s showed that you could take a company and sell the component parts for more than the sum of the whole.

  195. sas says:

    LeBron James….. ist das Opium des Volkes.

    SAS

  196. Mr Hyde says:

    Fabius 196

    huh?

    Wantan

    the end of the world article is some good scifi. But there us actually small chance of causing a very large methane release, larger then the oil spill, by accidentilly causing a methane hydrate cascade. Basically the conditions at the sea floor cause methane to form a solid”ice” compound that is somewhat unstable.

    There are geological records of cascades happening in the past in the gulf and being quite large.

    It could hypothetically cause some big problems but no one really knows

  197. sas says:

    i know i wouldn’t want to live on the gult coast after this spill.

    all that toxic gas.

    birth defect rates will skyrocket.

    but don’t you worry none, NFL season is around the corner & LeBron James just picked a team, so go out and eat a hot dog.

    SAS

  198. Yikes says:

    So Mel Gibson’s got some demons, huh? Here’s audio

    http://www.radaronline.com/exclusives/2010/07/world-exclusive-audio-mel-gibsons-explosive-racist-rant-listen-it-here

    (contains a few bad words)

  199. Fabius Maximus says:

    #200 Hyde,

    Workfare and Right to work are social liberal principals.

    Its funny that the methane hydrates are suspected in the Bermuda Triangle. Maybe we will start to see surface ships diappearing when the buoyancy goes.

  200. Yikes says:

    Final Doom says:
    July 9, 2010 at 9:16 am

    Capital gains taxation should be declared illegal. There is no greater tool the gubmint has to destroy wealth, destroy incentive and foster dependence upon the state.

    agree with this x1000

  201. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    “Private Equity in the 80s showed that you could take a company and sell the component parts for more than the sum of the whole.”

    [198],

    Then again, you reverse the levers and you discover the parts can’t function with the head chopped off.

    Acquisitions stripped of equity and levered up with short term debt, toggle payments in lieu of cash; nothing more than an exploding arm. As long as the music is playing don’t stop dancing. On the flip side, a bitch when market conditions shift. Mr Market can crush the asset while credit markets become constrained just as the principal and debt become due.

    Suddenly one day, firms like Linen-N-Things, Mervyn’s United Rentals, Sallie mae, etc.. discover that their head’s have been chopped off. How are the parts now functioning?

  202. meter says:

    @204 –

    Hogwash. Implement that and you have a government completely paid for by the middle class. The rich, whose only real income is cap gains, get a free ride.

    Guess you would be okay with hedge fund managers in Stamford skating by paying minimal taxes since most of it is considered cap gains.

    http://www.epi.org/publications/entry/pm120/

    Oh, that’s right. We should tax them less because they are providing a public good by ensuring that capital flows to its best use.

    (Pure bullsh!t right-wing self-justification).

  203. Pat says:

    cf, I won’t rip you a new one. It’s such an ugly thing.

    Old BF from Trenton had some kind of nasty jagged scar from the hinterlands halfway up the middle of his spine.
    I never asked about it. He was the guy who taught me that a maglite was better
    than a wooden bat for two reasons.

    Long and short, the simple math on the pension accounting assumes reliance on the numbers. Like the ratings agencies, actuaries are mouldable despite Enronaucities. Assume the worst, overadjust and if it looks bad, it’s really, really bad.

  204. Pat says:

    PA just sent out letters to teachers.

    Ba-bye cushy pensions for new ees. Ba-bye cash-outs on voluntary contributions in many cases.

    Under the bus.

  205. Fabius Maximus says:

    #205 Want

    Those ones just turn into Chicken Nuggets.

    It would have been interesting to watch someone liquidating T to scrap the copper in the land lines.

  206. Fabius Maximus says:

    #206 Meter

    I take capital gains taxed as ordinary income.

  207. Fabius Maximus says:

    I = I’ll

  208. Pat says:

    I dare somebody to e-mail this guy and ask if they can backdate a doc for the credit.

    http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/mld/reb/1828056508.html

  209. Between me and my husband we’ve owned more MP3 players over the years than I can count, including Sansas, iRivers, iPods (classic & touch), the Ibiza Rhapsody, etc. But, the last few years I’ve settled down to one line of players. Why? Because I was happy to discover how well-designed and fun to use the underappreciated (and widely mocked) Zunes are.

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