Bergen and Essex County Mega Comp Killers!

Wooooooooo!!! Double comp killer weekend! Might just bring a tear to my eye.

From AMHS:

Hi Grim. Hello all. I’m a long time lurker—thoroughly addicted to this blog for many, many years now. We just moved into our Montclair REO—-we paid $272,000 in July 2010—–previous owner paid $474,900 in 2005! Our mortgage payment (including Montclair’s outrageous taxes) is less per month than renting our old 2 bdrm apt.

————–

Congratulations to the blog regulars who made their way to what might possibly be one of the best comp killers I’ve seen to date!

Yes skeptics, blog regulars do buy, but the deal has got to be clearly in their favor. This is probably the best example I’ve yet seen of patience paying off in spades.

While not the largest percentage drop we’ve ever recorded (which always seem to fall in the lower-end urban areas), this was a huge percentage drop along with being in a town considered to be one of the top in Bergen County. Not only a top town, but a desirable area in a top town. Who says Bergen prices don’t fall?

I’m going to keep the details thin, because it isn’t my story to share, and the owners would like to stay private. But the new owners wanted to see it up, so I’ll oblige.

Oh, and thank you for letting me take part in the wholesale pillaging of JP Morgan (who lost somewhere near $400,000 in this transaction)!

The nasty truth:

Property went lis pendens in 2008, and was taken back by the bank at the BC sheriff sale 16 months later. National City lost close to $300k at this point, being a junior lien on the property. JPM kept the property off-market for almost 10 months.

Sale price was 50% off the 2007 asking price. Bubbly, but then again everything was bubbly.

Sale price was 30% off the last asking before the house went into foreclosure. This was an aggressive price at the time, very aggressive. The property had gone under contract at this price, but the deal fell through.

Sale price was on the 2-3% trendline from prior sales in the mid-80s and mid-90s. Clearly non-bubble pricing, if anything, the price is firmly in-line with the prior two cyclical troughs.

Sale price was approximately 10% under what the Case Shiller HPI (High Range) would have estimated for this area, given historical sales prices and prior asking prices. Tomorrow’s price today?

Property assessed at a value considerably higher than sale price.

The house represents a significant comp killer for the area. The neighbors (who live on one of those hoity-toity streets that people just HAVE to HAVE as a mailing address), probably aren’t very happy.

This entry was posted in Comp Killer, Housing Bubble, New Jersey Real Estate. Bookmark the permalink.

296 Responses to Bergen and Essex County Mega Comp Killers!

  1. Simply Ravishing HEHEHE says:

    Frist! and let me add shove that one up your @ss Jamie Dimon!

  2. Final Doom says:

    The only reason I keep doing RE is to stick it to the banks. JPM is the scummiest of the scummy.

  3. Mike says:

    Mr. Bernanke will speak this morning, at least he’s got Michael Jackson backing him up http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U36DO_nrJeA

  4. Final Doom says:

    mike (3)-

    Let’s just hope he can drop the S&P under 1,000 the second he opens his mouth.

  5. Mike says:

    Yesterday’s Star Ledger posted the home sales for the week and under the Union County Header it stated “NO NEW INFORMATION” it was the only county wthout a sale

  6. Yo'me says:

    Property assessed at a value considerably higher than sale price.

    JPM must be expecting a big drop in home prices.Banks don’t to want loose more than appraised value.

    Patience is a virtue!

  7. Mr Hyde says:

    CONGRATS TO THE BLOGGER WHO MADE THE ABOVE HOME PURCHASE!

    I offer congrats to anyone who can screw over the banks in such a definitive manner!

  8. Mr Hyde says:

    Oh, and the new owners might want to get in contact with Stu and gator to learn the finer details of tax appeals!

  9. gary says:

    Yes skeptics, blog regulars do buy, but the deal has got to be clearly in their favor. This is probably the best example I’ve yet seen of patience paying off in spades.

    They all think we’re nuts… and they’re probably right. But, there’s a reason why most of us have kept the powder dry. We said it all along: we can sit and wait… and wait… and wait… longer than they can stay solvent.

  10. Yo'me says:

    CONGRATS TO THE BLOGGER WHO MADE THE ABOVE HOME PURCHASE!

    Ditto.

  11. Final Doom says:

    When this thing hits rock bottom, no one will be thinking about buying houses.

    A fast car, water and high-powered weapons will all be more valuable.

  12. gary says:

    Sale price was on the 2-3% trendline from prior sales in the mid-80s and mid-90s. Clearly non-bubble pricing, if anything, the price is firmly in-line with the prior two cyclical troughs.

    It’s different here… buy now or be priced out forever… proximity to NYC…. feed the squirrels…. they’re not making anymore land….

  13. Final Doom says:

    I would like to offer the “mystery blogger” a framed portrait of Gerald Celente as a housewarming gift. ;)

  14. Simply Ravishing HEHEHE says:

    Have three new real estate stories to tell:

    1) Bro and significant other just had house built in midwest. Both are well employed at present. Went 90K over budget on the house; $490K total which is quite expensive but rates are low. Anyway had conversation with him the other night and I made a comment about the how the economy will be going down the crapper again now that stimulus is gone. His response “I hope not, I don’t think I can handle that again, especially with this new house.”

    2) Co-worker just bought house, haven’t sold condo in Queens as of yet, had it listed for three weeks and have dropped price twice – nobody has shown up to see it.

    3)Friend working at Citi buys vacation home, had conversation, mentioned economy will likely tank again once all this stimulus is gone “nah, man we’re hiring, is that all you do is bet on the economy to tank?”

    These are all pretty smart people. Certainly if you feel safely employed you can take on risk. The problem is, I am certain all of them have been reading the economic headlines the past year and none of the details. I hope Bergabe and Obama know what they are setting themselves up for when all the people who bought their bs the past year get shafted.

  15. dim says:

    Wow, congrats to the buyers… it’s so nice to see a warm and fuzzy news item for once!

  16. Yo'me says:

    3)Friend working at Citi buys vacation home, had conversation, mentioned economy will likely tank again once all this stimulus is gone “nah, man we’re hiring, is that all you do is bet on the economy to tank?”

    From yesterday

    Citigroup 14415 S 50th St, Phoenix, AZ layoff 272 8/30/2010

    http://www.costar.com/News/Article.aspx?id=EAD2426EC22F531AD68F688FBB26E46D#num1

  17. Wheaties says:

    can we get a clue as to the house so we can see the comp killer in all its glory? That’s the kind of thing I want to badger a realtor with.

  18. Final Doom says:

    wheat (19)-

    It is hard to badger someone trapped in a lifetime prison of his own ignorance.

  19. Simply Ravishing HEHEHE says:

    Yo’me,

    What the government giveth, reality taketh away.

    I understand people’s life situations change etc. I was just amazed at the kool-aid drinking re the “worst is over”.

  20. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    “These are all pretty smart people”

    He,

    Insignificant. Very smart people have been holding stocks for the last 10 years. Buy and hold, a recipe for losing $. How about sell and fold? Here’s a X-Mas present for your friends;

    http://books.google.com/books?id=3Dxa9rnXy_MC&dq=investing,+persuasion+of+crowd&source=gbs_navlinks_s

  21. Painhrtz says:

    Congrats to whoever took it to the man. Grim List price sale price, no other details needed.

  22. Yo'me says:

    David Goldman (among others) keeps pointing to this chart, showing the median duration of unemployment as a reason to be negative on the economy, since the longer one is unemployed, the lower the odds they will ever really make it back into the work force, thus, potentially, becoming structurally unemployed, and not merely the victims of a dip in the economy

    Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/el-erian-another-fiscal-stimulus-will-flop-2010-8#ixzz0xoCzlqQM

  23. Shore Guy says:

    Here is something India really needs right now (From the BBC):

    Police in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh say they are investigating the disappearance of several hundred tonnes of explosives.
    About 164 truckloads, sent from the neighbouring state of Rajasthan, have failed to arrive since May.
    Police say they suspect the involvement of illegal mining outfits, but one officer said some explosives might have been sold on to militants.
    Two men have been arrested and rewards have been offered for five others.
    The explosives were sent out from a factory in Dholpur in Rajasthan.
    Police say the total amount of missing explosives is 848 tonnes, besides hundreds of thousands of detonators

  24. Shore Guy says:

    Clot,

    Have you been in India recently?

  25. 250k says:

    Bravo to the family who killed the BC comps and shot JPM in the knees at the same time. Two birds, one stone, well done.

    Here I have some evidence of what happens when your #27 HS ranking dips to a lowly #41.

    http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/914-Coolidge-St_Westfield-Town_NJ_07090_1121584680

    While this is listed as DOM:1, this is a relist. All sarcasm aside, this is an example of gross negligence by whatever Realtor told these Brigadoonians that this Cape with a hat on top (and they are actually calling it a Colonial now!) was going to net them 850. That is the original list for this thing back in March. It dropped down to 770 and was pulled, now back at us at 730 where it is still grossly overpriced even with all its fancy open floor plan renovations.

  26. Yo'me says:

    REAL GDP 1.6% consensus 15 to 1.5%

    Prior Consensus Consensus Range Actual
    2.4 % 1.3 % 1.0 % to 1.5 % 1.6 %

  27. Final Doom says:

    All the UE, GDP numbers are cooked. Can’t trust anything the gubmint puts out there.

    We are in a depression, with the visible signs of it being mitigated by massive amounts of gubmint assistance.

  28. 250k says:

    And now for something completely different…
    … from Daily Kos. Another item that should be an Onion article but unfortunately, its real.

    “Want a Raise? Wash your Vajayjay”
    http://bit.ly/axcZVH

  29. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    “REAL GDP 1.6% consensus 15 to 1.5%”

    Thankfully, electric and natural gas demand was thru the roof. Nobody standing in line at A&F.

  30. Final Doom says:

    Digging Lies-man’s outdoorsy look, as he gets ear-buggered by Bullard.

  31. Justin says:

    Chris Christie rant about ‘Race to the Top’ application.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rLSahbjR3k0&feature=player_embedded

  32. grim says:

    #30 – sandalwood soap?

    I don’t wash my balls, I have them polished. There is an older gentleman who sets up a stand a few doors down from Goldman who does a great job with an orbital buffer and Met-all brass polish.

  33. still_looking says:

    grim, 34

    What about all that hair?? Doesn’t it get snagged in the buffers?

    OH crap, that was chest hair!

    My bad.

    sl

  34. Final Doom says:

    Art Cashin looks like he’s about to be led to slaughter this AM. Nervous about Bergabe’s speech.

  35. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    “Nervous about Bergabe’s speech”

    Doom,

    Everytime he opens his mouth you make money (no pun).

  36. Final Doom says:

    BC (37)-

    I hate to say it, but the way I’m positioned now, Armageddon becomes my portfolio’s best-case scenario.

    So I guess I’m really spending my time here talking my own book. At least my book is non-fiction and not Bergabe’s book of fairy tales.

  37. Final Doom says:

    Anybody see that Ron Paul now wants to audit Fort Knox & is drawing up legislation to do so?

    I love this guy.

  38. Mr Hyde says:

    Doom

    if such an audit were even 1/2 honest it would be a good way to get gold to 2500. Of course such info is a ” natinal security” matter and would instantly become classified.

  39. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    Doom [39],

    Can he also audit crimex, I mean comex.

  40. Painhrtz says:

    Clot the audit should be relatively easy there is a giant poster sized IUO in the vault signed by Uncle Sam

  41. still_looking says:

    Pain….. too funny!

    sl

  42. Mr Hyde says:

    Pain 42

    But what about all of the gold plated tungsten? Do they get to count that as part of the audit?

  43. chicagofinance says:

    Fab: #1 it should point out to your friend the value of the health coverage he had; I think COBRA is regulated so that ex-employees are charged 102% of cost; #2 COBRA and Obamacare is to assure that anyone with a pre-existing condition is not denied coverage, so if your friend has someone sick in the family, then he is in a good position; if everyone is healthy, then he should go out a shop for a good family policy……note, he should expect to pay at least $1,000 a month, so $1,200 for a no questions asked policy is not so bad if you do not want to answer those questions……

    Fabius Maximus says:
    August 27, 2010 at 12:32 am
    I have a friend recently laid off that has a choice of $1200 per month COBRA payment.

    So a question to the Wingnuts here. While you are so opposed to “Obamacare”, please find an affordable policy for a family of 4 in todays market. Put up a link and lets see what it costs and what it covers.

  44. yo'me says:

    Hewlett-Packard lifts bid for 3Par to $30 a share, again topping Dell’s latest offer

    25% more than the $24 / share offer

  45. Ben says:

    “is that all you do is bet on the economy to tank?”

    That’s all I do. I’m not the best person at identifying great businesses with future prospects. I’m incredibly good at identifying businesses that everyone thinks are good that are truly rotten to the core.

  46. Ben says:

    But what about all of the gold plated tungsten? Do they get to count that as part of the audit?

    I think they will just install a bunch of mirrors in Ft. Knox to make it appear 5 times larger than it actually is.

  47. Final Doom says:

    hyde (40)-

    That will be pushed to the back pages once the first failure-to-deliver event occurs.

  48. All "H-Train" Hype says:

    Hewlett-Packard lifts bid for 3Par to $30 a share, again topping Dell’s latest offer

    25% more than the $24 / share offer
    ________________________________________
    Does 3Par make iPods, iPhones, iPads and iMacs cause $30 share for a software company in this market is really stupid.

  49. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Ben 48 there is a pill for that!

  50. Final Doom says:

    hyde (44)-

    All the gold-plated tungsten got sent to China. They use it to pay the South Americans for commodities. I think they even call it wampum.

  51. Mr Hyde says:

    Chifi et al

    how ling is cobra available for now?

  52. Final Doom says:

    Die, market, die!!!!!

  53. Juice Box says:

    Grim why did you have to go an do that? You seem to be getting soft on the bagholders. You know we are going to dig up the details on this Mega Comp Killer purchase. You cannot hide for long newly created blogging bagholder we will find
    you! Congrats!

  54. Final Doom says:

    Only Cobra that’s worth a damn:

    http://tinyurl.com/242anwt

  55. sas says:

    bank failure friday…

    SAS

  56. #1 and let me add shove that one up your @ss Jamie Dimon!

    Seconded.

    Also, congrats to the blogger who got the deal! Enjoy the new place.

  57. Unexpected HEHEHE says:

    Most pertinent part of Bernanke’s speech:

    “for example, such purchases seem likely to have their largest effects during periods of economic and financial stress, when markets are less liquid and term premiums are unusually high. The possibility that securities purchases would be most effective at times when they are most needed can be viewed as a positive feature of this tool. ”

    No QEII until TSHTF again? That won’t make the permabulls happy:)

    I got a chuckle out of his forecasting a better economy on 2011. Hahaha, you are a funnyman Benny.

  58. seif says:

    how can we find out where that comp is? i wonder if it is in the town that i am renting in (and patiently waiting for comp killers)

  59. Final Doom says:

    Information assymetry is a byatch, ain’t it?

  60. Fabius Maximus says:

    #45 Chi

    To put that cost into perspective, that 1200 is a 40hr week at minimum wage.

  61. Ben says:

    No QE2 until elections are over. Now that he’s been reappointed, Bernanke wants to show congress that he controls their fate. This is his revenge for trying to audit his backdoor transactions.

  62. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Fab 62 that is gross not net. Health ins is for the wealthy or gov employees. This is not a sustainable system. I am told the English system sucks but it is better than nil. What was passed is an abortion, but a proper fix is needed.
    Even at the max rate of unemployment that is half of what your friend will receive. This cobra is a joke.

  63. Unexpected HEHEHE says:

    Intel cut guidance

  64. Ben says:

    So a question to the Wingnuts here. While you are so opposed to “Obamacare”, please find an affordable policy for a family of 4 in todays market. Put up a link and lets see what it costs and what it covers.

    I used to do medical billing. The entire medical industry is a scam. Since Medicare/Medicaid and most insurance companies only pay a fraction of the cost as “full payment” doctors jack up the bill. It doesn’t cost $2000 to put stitches in someone’s head. It costs $2. The dirty little secret that never gets out is that any doctor would likely settle for 50 bucks cash if you offered it to them. That’s all they would ever get from insurance in the first place. Meanwhile, insurers raise rates based upon overinflated bills. If the medical industry worked primarily on cash, like in Singapore, you would see the cost of health care be 30% of what it supposedly is today.

  65. Unexpected HEHEHE says:

    This is actually a pretty interesting article:

    Outsourced Call Centers Return, To U.S. Homes

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=129406588&ft=1&f=1003

  66. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Ben wife does same, Doc friends love cash & will discount heavily, but 30% less of a 100k operation will break most people. What do they do in Singapore with that.

  67. Final Doom says:

    Average guy in the US gets super sick or hurt, he’s fcuked…insurance or not.

    Two choices:

    1. Get treatment, then stiff everybody.

    2. Die.

  68. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Clot 72 ding ding ding we have a winner option 1.

  69. Al Gore says:

    38.

    “I hate to say it, but the way I’m positioned now, Armageddon becomes my portfolio’s best-case scenario.”

    Amen to that.

  70. #45 – chifi – So a question to the Wingnuts here. While you are so opposed to “Obamacare”, please find an affordable policy for a family of 4 in todays market. Put up a link and lets see what it costs and what it covers.

    Well, not all of us are. I’m* opposed to half-a##ed implementations. If we are going to offer socialized health care** might as well go universal. I would really like to have a national dialogue about why costs are the way they are, how we’re going to pay for things and what treatment/care under such a system means . All of that needs be conducted in an environment populated by actual adults, not the ‘sports talk’ inspired idiocy that political discourse now resembles in this country.

    *I may not be the Winnut type***

    **And I’m fairly convinced we increasingly don’t have much of a choice about doing so for a number of reasons.

    *** Or maybe I am, normal people don’t use footnotes in blog posts.

  71. Al Gore says:

    39.

    Re Ft. Knox audit.

    Its second hand information but Ive been told that there is gold in Ft Knox but no one really knows who it belongs to or if its even real. Germany requested their gold back over a year ago and they never received it.

  72. hughesrep says:

    72

    If more people chose #2 we’d be better off. People need to realize if you eat like crap, smoke, drink, and don’t exercise you don’t get to live until 90 unless you are uber-wealthy. You got an incurable disease? Darwin’s a bit$%. Deal with it.

    I support the death panels, I just don’t think we’d make them strict enough.

    That being said my kids each cost me a $5 copay, wife is a teacher. Thanks everyone! That’s ridiculous.

  73. Ben says:

    Ben wife does same, Doc friends love cash & will discount heavily, but 30% less of a 100k operation will break most people. What do they do in Singapore with that.

    In that case, you are talking about a procedure where insurance is probably necessary. The primary factor driving up insurance rates here is the fact that people want their health insurance to pay for every single thing. Using your health insurance to pay for a checkup is akin to using your car insurance to fill up the gas tank. Routine medical checkups and procedures are strictly a cash business in Singapore. People do have insurance for catastrophic illness and major surgery. However, given the fact that they rarely need to access that insurance policy, the cost of insurance is much smaller.

    Most people tout healthcare systems like Japan as a model for the US to follow. What they don’t realize is that Singapore’s healthcare system is among the most effective and advanced in the world. The kicker is, the cost of their health care system is a fraction of the cost of any socialized health care system.

  74. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Tosh 75 will not work here, can’t save everyone. Have an Aunt 86 in perfect health who goes for every little thing, older cousins same. Retired spend all there time worrying about there health. At some point money must be allocated to a 42 yr old father of 3 school age kids & not an 86 yr old. Try that out on the American public.

  75. Kim says:

    Re: more clueless people regarding real estate

    A friend of mine is trying to sell her house, a two-family, nice yard, nicely updated, street parking only. Her house is priced about $50K higher than other recently sold houses. She is saying that if she sells it for her absolute lowest price she will only get $200K from it. I asked her how much she put down. She said $10K. I said that is a pretty good investment. She said the guy down the block sold an identical house for $550K a few years ago. I said those days are over. She said she is going to wait until the market comes back. I said the market may never come back. She refuses to believe it. I ended the chat right there because she is still stuck in 2005. I do not understand her greedines.

  76. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Ben 78 if the same goes for public employees I am on board.

  77. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Kim hope she is in good financial shape as she will be living there a long long time.
    That is a great return, she is an a** by the way.

  78. Unexpected HEHEHE says:

    Way I understand it “Obamacare” is just a large expansion of the currently corrupt and ineficient insurance system which doesn’t work effectively in the first place.

    They should just have a government takeover and ration care. Costs would plummet overnight. Lot of people might die a few years earlier than they want but we all have to go sometime. Except for the baby-boomers of course.

  79. Al Gore says:

    Im thinking the attack on Iran or a false flag event against the US for the purpose of providing a reason for the US to attack Ian will collapse the market. Then the Fed has the green light on QE 2.0.

    “Three weeks ago the US Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) published a notice, as it is legally required to do, announcing that Israel has ordered massive quantities of various fuels suitable for military use, and in the case of the order for JP-8 jet fuel, suitable only for military use.

    The massive order is valued at some $2 billion and, as well as the 284 million gallons (1.075 billion litres) of JP-8 jet fuel, the order also includes 60 million gallons (227 million litres) of unleaded gasoline and 100 million gallons (378 million litres) of diesel fuel.”
    http://www.defpro.com/news/details/17405

  80. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Whoa, rally on.

  81. Unexpected HEHEHE says:

    “If more people chose #2 we’d be better off. People need to realize if you eat like crap, smoke, drink, and don’t exercise you don’t get to live until 90 unless you are uber-wealthy. You got an incurable disease? Darwin’s a bit$%. Deal with it. ”

    Except for the baby boomers.

  82. Al Gore says:

    83.

    That Obamacare is so disastrous its just going to fall apart. I was really pissed about it but now its just so unworkable its laughable. I can say that the consolidation of private practices into the hospitals is already occurring. The quality and efficiency is going to be so bad that a lucurative black market is going to arise.

  83. #79 – mike – You see, this is one of the things that I was talking about. The discussion around healthcare usually never extends much beyond this in its depth. We should be talking about why visits cost so much, what to do about that under a socialized system, how can we accommodate an aging population if we were to socialize and a host of other things, but we don’t.
    Thank you for not delving instantly into hyperbole btw.

  84. Painhrtz says:

    HeHEe that is right the boomers expect to live forever.

  85. Unexpected HEHEHE says:

    “HeHEe that is right the boomers expect to live forever.”

    I think it is in the Constitution.

  86. Mikeinwaiting says:

    HeHeHe 83 that is the truth that the American public will not except.

  87. still_looking says:

    Regarding health care….

    When will tort reform be addressed? I do testing and testing and testing….to prove that chest/abdominal pain/headache is truly garden variety nothing in efforts to keep from being sued by a ‘knows-zilch-about-medicine’ lawyer who pleads a clients case to a jury who also ‘knows zilch about medicine.’

    Let’s not forget as well…. odds are good that insured folks are subsidizing uninsured folks… and that means every sort of uninsured folk.

    Do you think doctors like this system? No. We are denied payment, have minimal to no legal recourse from deadbeats who supply fake names, addresses, contacts, etc after we have given treatment.

    At least in my field…. I hear similar gripes from other areas of medicine, too. How many people show up to work knowing full well that they will not be paid for 33% of their work? I remind folks, til a few years ago Medicaid paid doctors $7.00per visit per patient regardless of the medical problem.

    Malpractice, medical billing companies, electricity, rent, staff, equipment, medicines, CME, licensing, DEA, CDS registration…. all cost money. You think $7.00 is covering that cost?

    sl

  88. Mikeinwaiting says:

    tosh 88, tort reform, stop cya tests. Cost of med school ,no answer. Expectations on income in profession. Docs will not be that well payed like UK system. Yes people will still do it don’t go there folks.

  89. sas3 says:

    hughes #77,

    The GOP poisoned the well with the “death panels” smear, so you’ll have more Option #1 cases.

  90. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Sl glad your here, need some on the front line impute.

  91. still_looking says:

    Mike,
    No Problem… I forgot to add… Medicaid now pays $24 per visit now.

    To do a complete history, physical exam, order testing, medicate, interpret test results, hopefully fix problem and give guidance to folks for future care of their health takes me (even as an ER doc) at least a few hrs (and one visit.) A primary care physician might take them at least three (3) visits, trips to lab for blood draw, radiology office for xray or ct or mri, follow up appt with consultant if needed (ie cardio, neuro, urology etc) and further appointment to review plan for patient.

    Seeing us may be more streamlined (read: convenient) for the patient but end up costing the system overall more money. Unfortunately, our risk for being sued is much higher and we end up over testing usually to rump-cover.

    We also live in Burger King society of, “I want it my way, and now…” Patients come in and tell me what they want ordered and what they want to be given. Nope. Not kidding.

    sl

  92. sas3 says:

    Still #92,

    just a curious question… I read that primary physicians make over 190k/yr (median), and people with private practice make much more. Specialists make over 400k/yr (median). Don’t have the link handy.

    How does that square with the reimbursement rates? Does the 190k reflect income before malpractice insurance is paid?

    Anecdata: My doctor friends are all doing pretty well. In fact a couple of them were working in big hospitals and left their jobs with nice pension guaranteed in the future, and then started private practices. One of my close friends worked in the NHS (UK) for a few years, and he had no major issues — his life was like a reasonably well paid middle class salaried employee. On the other hand, I often see luxury SUVs with “Dr. ” name plates around this area…

  93. Double Down says:

    Sue Adler was caught fudging data in her “market reports” and tries t blame it on the MLS system:

    http://www.southorangevillage.com/vc/comments.php?DiscussionID=58253&page=1#Item_32

  94. Double Down says:

    “How is it possible that I never got this question before? We pull these stats directly from the gsmls by putting in the dates, and voila- they pop up. Let me call them to see how these are calculated and I’ll get back to you.”

  95. theo says:

    Party on Garth!

    S&P up over 1% so far…

  96. yo'me says:

    Does 3Par make iPods, iPhones, iPads and iMacs cause $30 share for a software company in this market is really stupid.

    Remember the house next door,sold 20 % more than asking?

  97. Painhrtz says:

    SL some of us like Hype and I have been around you doctorly folks for quite some time and have had enough medical indoctrination to know what is wrong with us. Ask Hype about my appendicitis in Omaha story the next time you meet up for drinks. Local doc told me I had kidney stones while I was presenting classic appendicitis symptoms. I was on the next flight back to Jersey knowing I was not getting cut in Omaha.

    On the other hand most people are uneducated morons who think they know better than everyone else. So yes i agree with Tort reform would help your profession tremendously.

  98. BeachBum says:

    #92 – Based on various indepth studies, medical malpractice suits do not even touch the tip of the iceberg on medical malpractice. The first question might be how to improve medical practice. Also many studies have shown that law suits do not significantly raise the cost to malpractice insurers. Their lobby groups have just been very successful at using that as an excuse to gouge doctors. Doctors then pass the gouging on.
    To decrease the cost of medical care, it would be smarter to ensure that doctors do not get a cut of the revenue from testing (investments in the machines, group practices, etc) to bring down the number of tests ordered.

  99. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    “Party on Garth!”
    “S&P up over 1% so far…”

    [100],

    Are you calculating from 1999?

    Party on Garth or Weekend at Bernie’s?

  100. yo'me says:

    The primary factor driving up insurance rates here is the fact that people want their health insurance to pay for every single thing.

    My wife had pap smear done.Lab send us a bill for $96.00.We called the insurance and told,don’t pay them,we have a deal with them and they were paid already.Insurance sent us a copy of the statement,they were paid $26.00

    Why the big disconnect on price?Somebody with no insurance might be able to pay out of pocket,what the insurance will pay,but the provider will screw you if you don’t have one.

  101. Final Doom says:

    kim (80)-

    greed = stupidity

    Don’t worry. Mr. Market takes care of folks like this pal of yours.

  102. still_looking says:

    S3, 97

    That is probably a ‘net’ number. Most internists and family practitioners are not netting anywhere near that number in the northeast. Midwest, west, possibly.
    Here? No.

    In my field I could earn probably 40% more if I was willing to work in a different area. And my cost of living would be lower. Either way, no thanks.

    As for luxury SUVs? Please. Let’s not go there. Most are *leased* for a fraction of the “real” cost. You see them with “Dr” plates on them because some folks need that ego stroke. Come look in our parking deck. Different story. Most of us would never get doctor plates (and hence become a target.)

    Come to a GTG. I’d be thrilled to share in the things I’ve sacrificed to do this job.

    It’s human nature to see the glamour and glitz of a career…. (see the ballerina on the stage) but most don’t dare to see the sacrifice and misery that accompanies it (the destroyed feet, eating cotton to stay thin, the anorexia and physical/emotional pain.)

    Even if you wanted my paycheck, you wouldn’t want my job at any price. Trust me.

    sl

    sl

  103. yo'me says:

    Putting back the 10K hat

  104. still_looking says:

    Pain, 102

    Know it well. There are good and bad everywhere. In many ways. I can’t talk about all the problems in the system. I’d love to have a GTG to educate people on this. There is greed and stupidity everywhere, not just medicine.

    Best thing is to find a doctor you trust who is competent and will give you the “real deal.”

    Like I try to do on here. Routinely. For free.

    sl

  105. gary says:

    JACKSON, Wyo. – Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Friday that the Fed will consider making another large-scale purchase of securities if the slowing economy were to deteriorate significantly and signs of deflation were to flare.

    Bernanke acknowledged that the recent pace of growth is “less vigorous than we expected.” He described the outlook as uncertain and said the economy “remains vulnerable to unexpected developments.”

    Uncertain? Really? And how many more jackoff experts are going to use the term “double-dip?” We never came out of the first recession. Let’s see what line of bullsh1t the Keynesian Kenyan is going to feed us now?

  106. dim says:

    97, 107 – I think MD pay (for office visits, at least) has a huge variance, but the $200K-ish for primary care and the slog that SL is describing are both fairly accurate. Docs may get only a few bucks per visit – 30-50 bucks, say – but depending on the practice, they can see 35 to 50 pts a day fairly easily. Most pts will not be new pts, and for better or for worse, MDs have responded to the fee-for-service model by reducing face-time w/ patients (5 to 10 mins, typically). Many MDs spend more time calling with lab results than face to face w/ patients. Pretty much all MDs spend more time documenting than anything else. Docs get a good salary. They are also on a dreary treadmill. But from the outside, it seems that they got on that treadmill voluntarily because it was the most obvious way to preserve their salaries when payers started pulling back. From the inside, many docs (especially new grads with over $200k in loans) say they were forced into it.

  107. still_looking says:

    Yo’ 108

    That can only mean we’ll be +/- 40 pts at the end of today.

    sl

  108. still_looking says:

    dim 111

    (inappropriate handle, I’d say) YOU get it.

    Many will also hire midlevel provider to help with the workload. People are bitter that they don’t get enough “face time” or dialogue or able to ask many questions to the doc, but that’s how it is… You can’t imagine the slog of paperwork I have to get through with documentation. The federal gubmint is about to make that even worse.

    I don’t know of a single doc that isn’t looking for a way out. If it seems that they “don’t care” it’s more like they (we) don’t even have time to care… or energy. You can’t have “boutique” medicine at “wal mart” prices.

    sl

  109. Al Gore says:

    Its funny how some people think they can tell others what they should and shouldnt make. All the while they push papers around a desk trying to get in the way of productive people or maybe just grovel at the gov’s knees begging for them to run their life for them. There is a place for that. Its called Canada. If you cant compete in America go north. Its a dumping ground for losers that cant hack it in the US.

    If you want health insurance then buy it. Otherwise get yourself a shovel and a plot of land and leave the rest of us alone.

  110. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    AG [114],

    I have a shovel and I’m digging as fast as possible.

  111. Wendy says:

    @27 (“250K”)

    that house sold to current owners in 1998 for $233,000. that is not a typo. $233K.

    I bought in Madison in 1998 for very close to the same price, $227K. Sold in 2002 for $350, and considered it a huge real estate success/luck. Now, though, hasn’t Madison had similar increases to Westfield? Would that house be worth $700K now, still, in the midst of a YEARS-LONG real estate recession? Somehow I doubt it, even with $100K in renos. Even in blue-blood Madison. And even in fancy-pants Westfield. 2-3% appreciation on 1998 price yields current value in low $300’s. Tax value is $180K.

    more comp-killer stories, please.

  112. Fabius Maximus says:

    #92. Still

    A lot of valid points and concerns. One thing to note is that today is what the status quo looks like. Bonehead and McConnell could have got you tort reform, but sent the administration a big “reform is not worth any price” message on your behalf instead.

    When the hospitals are forcing people into bankruptcy over billing, your bill gets tossed as well. I still can’t get my head around a hospital bill of $43K where a plan pays $13k. What is the true cost of the service.

  113. Clotpoll says:

    Been saying it for years: no one will be spared. No one.

  114. sas says:

    Clot,

    thats why I don’t plan on getting sick.
    watch what I eat & do calisthenics.

    although, I do like a good sauerbraten every now & then.

    SAS

  115. sas says:

    another thought..when it comes to healthcare… you don’t necessarily have to “stick it” to someone with your bill. Best thing to do is negotiate it down, and then pay it.

    there is a little lingo when it comes to prices scheme in healthcare, and it goes like this: “throw it all against the wall and see what sticks”.

    so, easily can get the bill way down. If someone balks..then say this is what you get..take it..or leave it.

    SAS

  116. sas says:

    I plan on living to 100. then, I’ll throw in the towel.
    somehow, I’ve made it this far, I think I can go all the way.

    SAS

  117. Clotpoll says:

    Krieger’s latest:

    “Banana Ben absolutely wants to do a massive QE2 program. The only thing holding him back is gold is near an all time high. What he wants is gold much lower and stocks much lower to give him cover… He is scared to do it here and he is right to be scared because such a reaction would be the end of the Fed right then and there. The Fed will be gone anyway within a few years in my opinion but it’s going to fight hard to survive and if you want to make money in this market you need to understand that. The most powerful institution in the world is fighting for its survival. Never forget that. So what is he going to do? I believe that the Fed and government are doing a lot more than people think to manipulate all markets behind the scenes. After all, they have publicly announced their manipulation in many other ways so does it make any sense whatsoever to assume they aren’t doing a plethora of other things behind the scenes? Of course not. I think that with the Fed in a bind they will accelerate and become ever more aggressive in behind the scenes games. This will make markets even more volatile and extraordinarily challenging. This is financial war make no mistake about it. The only way in my opinion to survive this is to buy all dips in precious metals, agriculture and oil. It is in these three areas that I expect to see the most price inflation as money eventually figures out the end game. The end game is more and more people will eventually wake up to the fact that the markets are a hologram put in front of you by the magicians at the Fed. That what constitutes real wealth in the years ahead will be owning food, energy and a means of exchange that will be accepted should a black market economy arise as it has in virtually all nations at one time or another throughout history.”

    http://www.zerohedge.com/article/elites-have-lost-right-rule

  118. sas says:

    i shouldn’t of said that word Sauerbraten..
    my mouth is watering now…

    with a side of goulash soup & roll.

    baby!
    SAS

  119. House Whine says:

    Well, I do work in a physician’s office. I mentioned earlier this week that it ain’t pretty.
    There seems to be no winning. If the dr. does devote as much time as the patient wants so that all his/her questions can be fully answered then the next patient in line has to wait longer to see the dr. Before you know it you are at least 1 hour behind. You may say, o.k. then don’t book as many patients each day. I don’t know what the bottom line is, financially speaking, as to how many patients need to be seen to make a daily profit so I can’t say what the “correct” number should be.

    What I do find surprising is that one of our “optional” tests can cost upwards of $55.00 out of pocket. I would say that 90% of the patients are still choosing to undergo this test, even though there is another alternative usually covered by health insurance. The more technology improves, the more diagnostic tests become available. The problem is these simply add more and more to the cost, which shifts down to the patient.

  120. Clotpoll says:

    Oh, baby…Krieger nails it good:

    “When you get too many people of a particular mindset (in this case highly quantitative and academic) to aggregate in a field that is very much a people business and one where “street smart” common sense is of extreme importance you are asking for serious trouble. When you couple that with a Federal Reserve that keeps interest rates too low what you get is a bunch of quants inventing products that provide a yield sufficient for pensions and others struggling to earn a return. Products that are completely mispriced for the risk inherent in them. I am not placing all of the blame on the Wall Street firms (although they deserve a lot and the fact people haven’t been punished severely is a huge reason why there is no confidence on main street), rather I believe the Federal Reserve deserves 95% of it. If it wasn’t for them manipulating the price of money to absurdly low levels you wouldn’t have had the rush into toxic products in a search for yield. While the newly enthroned Wall Street quant army would surely have done their damage nonetheless it wouldn’t have resulted in the complete destruction of the financial and monetary system that we face today. In a nutshell, this is how I think Wall Street died and until it gets its act together will remain a corpse.”

  121. Clotpoll says:

    My brother hasn’t gone to a doctor in 27 years. If he cuts himself or something, he douses the cut in whiskey and covers it with duct tape.

    He also lives off the grid in MS and could drop dead in a week from some undetected illness. However, his biggest problem is that he’s garden-variety crazy.

  122. Clotpoll says:

    My brother’s biggest worry is that he gets busted for filling his pickup truck with farm diesel.

  123. Confused in NJ says:

    Wall Street is taking behind the scenes direct infusions from Ben to prop it up.

  124. Fabius Maximus says:

    Clot

    Will Mascherano have a 20EUR copay for his Catalan medical?

  125. Clotpoll says:

    Fab (130)-

    Barca should insure themselves against all the joint damage Masch will do to their opponents. He was the most-penalized player in the EPL last year, and I would love to place a bet that he will break whatever the La Liga record is for yellow cards.

    He is also a hack and not half the player Xabi Alonso is. I get the feeling Barca just wanted an enforcer.

  126. J. says:

    Kim @80: Got a neighbor like that; he’s leaving his for the neighbors to maintain while he heads south to Florida. Does it make me perverse that I hope the market tanks for the next 5 years just to punish him for refusing to drop his price by $20K after he bought it cut-rate from family in like 1980? That’s about how much I’m guessing he’d have to drop it to sell it. No skin off my nose, I’ll be in mine another 10 years at least.

  127. Painhrtz says:

    Clot that marraige didn’t last long did it

  128. Al Gore says:

    “another thought..when it comes to healthcare… you don’t necessarily have to “stick it” to someone with your bill. Best thing to do is negotiate it down, and then pay it.”

    Bingo. Everyone knows the bills are outrageous and that its all a game. No one bothers to pick up the phone.

  129. Clotpoll says:

    Bro’s before ho’s.

  130. hughesrep says:

    129

    “Schundler said today he asked to be fired rather than resign because he said he needed the unemployment benefits.”

    Christie hired a t!tsucker?

  131. Clotpoll says:

    Is our children learning?

  132. House Whine says:

    136- Wait a minute. Wasn’t it the Republicans in Congress who constantly tried to block the extension of unemployment benefits? Yes, yes it was.

  133. Clotpoll says:

    Fat Man and his sycophants no better than the scum that came before. At least he’s good for a laugh when he takes on some poor sap of a defenseless liberal.

    Don’t replace Schundler. That would send the correct message.

    In the end, we will have to fight in the streets and burn the mf’er down before sanity can be restored.

  134. Unexpected HEHEHE says:

    “The only thing holding him back is gold is near an all time high. What he wants is gold much lower and stocks much lower to give him cover…”

    Bergabe as much as spelled it out in his speech.

  135. Unexpected HEHEHE says:

    Clot,

    Unlike us toadies I am sure Schundler already has his office ready for him at whatever politically connected/donor job fatty has lined up for him

  136. Clotpoll says:

    Yeah. If I remember correctly, Schundler pretty much fcuked up everything he ever touched.

  137. All "H-Train" Hype says:

    Uncle Ben said we were going to be fine, Going to Be Fine, GOING TO BE FINE!!!!!

    Uncle Ben has Wall Street’s back, big time. The only question now is how low the markets need to go and how much shiny can be depressed to allow him to initiate QE2.

    That my friends is the 5 trillion dollar question.

  138. reinvestor101 says:

    I think it’s wrong to behave like a damn vulture and rip people off. So this mystery rip-off artist will NOT get any kudos from me. I don’t admire people who behave like that.

  139. Painhrtz says:

    50.5 aren’t you running out of rocks to crawl out from under

  140. gary says:

    Wendy [116],

    Amen! The trend line for RE appreciation has always been the rate of inflation. No asset has ever failed to revert to the mean and the roller coast is currently resting at the top. The title of this thread says it all.

  141. reinvestor101 says:

    The federal reserve is trying it’s best to counter the actions of the stinking real estate terrorists who have laid siege to our damn economy. They can and should do every damn thing they can to stop the stinking scourge that has upended the damn real estate and stock markets. There’s one damn tool that they need to make use of in the QE2. They need to get a fleet of damn bulldozers and reduce the damn supply of houses so they can be rebuilt and while they’re at it, they should tear up a bunch of other crap as well. This would make my house more valuable and would put some damn contractors back to work. Second, they need to outlaw private ownership of gold and force these damn goldbugs back into paper where they’re supposed to be anyway if they really love this country

  142. Al Gore says:

    Regarding Schundler.

    The fat man has sold us out as we all knew he would. The good news is we dont have that CFR globalist POS Corzine in there. There will be no political solution so save your time and money. I do enjoy the legislation and political theatre the good Dr Paul puts forth. Its like he carefully places an infected shrapnel wound in the side of the treasonous bastards in DC and the fed. There is few other things that I enjoy more than watching Bernanke squirm when being interrogated by Paul.

  143. reinvestor101 says:

    “50.5 aren’t you running out of rocks to crawl out from under”

    I bet you were the stinking vulture who ripped off JP Morgan and the poor beleaguered homeowner that was sat upon by the real estate terrorists. There’s nothing lower than scum like you.

  144. Rhymingrealtor says:

    Jim

    Were you the agent on this sale, congrats if that was the case

    KL

  145. nj escapee says:

    Looking at Trulia now. I’m thinking of picking up a 2 br, ba condo in Broward Cty, FL for for around 50K. There are dozens of them and many of them appear to be in nice shape.

  146. Its close proximity to bustling New York City and to the serenity of nearby mountains, forests and beaches give it a est of both worlds feeling. Historical Wholesale

  147. Al Gore says:

    143.

    H Train,

    My questions exactly. Its a done deal. We just need the crisis now and its going to be money heaven baby.

    Will it be a bank failure? That cards been played.

    The TPTB want a war in the middle east. Thats where our crisis is going to come from. The longer it is postponed the more bling and ammo we can buy.

  148. Painhrtz says:

    50.5 Nope not me, already got my used crapshack for under value in Morris county

  149. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    50.5 [147],

    Let’s make a date, 9/1/15. I’ll bring my sack of gold, you bring your deed. Wanna guess who’s buying drinks?

  150. sas says:

    this dumb news channel. They have it all wrong.

    They blame the damn illegal mexicans with there tortilla wrappers as being heavy involved in the drug trade.. ha..ha.. hark no. Most mexicans I know take to many damn siestas during the day.

    you want truth in your ear. Next to the govt being biggest shippers (using mafia & low levels people with their drawers haning out)..its the damn elderly.

    laugh if you will. Biggest producers of meth for example. Its gosh darn grandma & grandpa.

    I don’t hear the news saying put up walls at the old folks home?

    SAS

  151. sas says:

    so.. if you are wondering where your granny gets that extra cash & likes to “cook & bake” all the time. Now… you know why.

    You gotta love Pyrex.
    Thats stuff is the best.

    SAS

  152. sas says:

    being a little silly about the siesta comment.
    SAS

  153. BlindJust says:

    A listing agent informed me that the price of a property I went to see was “LOWER” yes, all caps, than another property we had discussed. I stated that the price would need to be much lower to pique my interest in her listing given it backs to condos. Her response …
    “…backing up to condo’s is viewed as a plus in real estate. Its more stable. As long as u have privacy with shrubbery there is no threat of building or removing. I know that u are in no rush but until you make an offer you may never know how much lower you can get a property. Sometimes waiting isn’t always the answer especially if you have great interest for a specific home. “

  154. BlindJust says:

    I’m really not sure whether I should feel insulted or pity…

  155. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    “backing up to condo’s is viewed as a plus in real estate”

    Blind,

    Any chance your RE agent was referring to these condo’s?

    http://msnbcmedia4.msn.com/j/ap/7ec5f70e-f946-4002-ba66-af5defed7900.grid-6×2.jpg

  156. Al Gore says:

    159.

    Blind,

    You could be like me living in a house where in the future the refrigerator will be more valuable than the house. Rent dont buy or mortgage up productive land, lease it out in the mean time, and get ready for a roadside vegetable stand career.

  157. BlindJust says:

    I would much rather look at those beauties…

  158. BlindJust says:

    Must be a nice fridge (mine is 17 yrs old). I like veggies … will have to work the numbers to see how much of the inventory I can eat and still make a profit.

  159. gary says:

    BlindJust,

    The fact that this agent is using “u” as opposed to “you” in communications doesn’t even warrant another response. This “agent” isn’t worthy of your money or business. Find an adult to work with you.

  160. chicagofinance says:

    Cover Story August 26, 2010, 5:00PM EST text size: TT

    Gold’s Evangelist

    With gold a fashionable hedge against turbulent times, one billionaire is doing everything he can to get his hands on the actual stuff

    By Jason Kelly

    “I’m not a goldbug, but there are times when I feel like an evangelist for it,” says Thomas Kaplan, an Oxford-educated historian and chairman of Manhattan-based Tigris Financial Group. “To my amazement, it’s a hard sell. The conventional wisdom is that gold is for primitives. That derision shows me that contrary to the notion we’re in a bubble, we haven’t yet begun the real bull market.”

    The 47-year-old New York-born billionaire is a bundle of eccentricities, from his unplaceable but alien accent to his three-piece suits and his decidedly un-Wall Street way of talking (“as the thesis is confirmed, well-founded conviction gives way to the calm of metaphysical certitude”). Sitting in a windowless conference room decorated with lavish photographs of panthers, jaguars, and tigers—preserving big-cat habitats is his other major passion—he explains his training as an investor. “I’m much more qualitative than quantitative in my approach,” Kaplan says. “It would have been an alien concept for me to think about an MBA.”

    His conviction about gold puts him in the company of such celebrated figures as George Soros and John Paulson, both of whom have been betting heavily on the yellow metal (and have invested alongside Kaplan in Vancouver-based mining company NovaGold Resources (NG)). At the moment, the wager looks inspired: The price of gold has risen for nine straight years, hitting an all-time high of $1,256.30 an ounce on June 21. While the price has fallen about 2 percent since then, Kaplan says the big rally is still to come. It’s not riots in the streets he envisions, but a more fundamental case of demand outstripping supply as gold becomes a currency in its own right.

    Variations on this view have become so popular in recent years that gold has gone from being an obsession of conspiracy theorists and kooks to a fully respectable investment idea that gets promoted at PTA meetings. Kaplan is not content to merely run with this crowd. To maximize his returns, he has engaged in the much trickier task of digging fresh gold out of the ground. But mining is a double risk—there’s the cost, hassle, and uncertainty of extraction, and then there’s the volatility of the market. The financial risks of mining show up in their stocks, especially compared with gold prices. While gold rose 13 percent this year, the Bloomberg World Mining Index dropped 9.7 percent. And gold is no more of a certainty than anything else. Before its recent ascent, it was stuck in a bear market for two decades. What if the threat of hyperinflation never materializes? A mere uptick in confidence about global growth could put gold right back in the doldrums.

    Kaplan doesn’t see that happening, and that’s why he has fallen in love with the leafy green hills of Transylvania in central Romania. He owns an 18 percent stake in a Canadian company called Gabriel Resources that is attempting to reopen what is widely believed to be Europe’s largest gold deposit, an estimated 10 million ounces, worth more than $12 billion at today’s price, as well as 47.7 million ounces of silver. There’s one problem: Some residents of the economically ravaged area, where unemployment is 80 percent, are fiercely contesting the project on environmental grounds.

    Despite the opposition, the potential windfall has attracted investors, including Paulson, of whom Kaplan is an unabashed admirer. “If he sticks to his conviction on gold, he may yet become the richest man in America,” Kaplan says, “and I’d love to see it happen.” Kaplan would do well, too, though he brings his own particular dilemma—striking a balance between an urge to expand his mining empire and what he insists is an even greater desire to save the planet from environmental harm.

    In 1988, Kaplan was completing his dissertation at Oxford—on the Malayan counterinsurgency and the way commodities influence strategic planning—and earning extra money analyzing Israeli companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges. The work involved traveling to Israel, and while there Kaplan connected with two people who would shape the rest of his life. First was Daphne Recanati, who had attended the same boarding school Kaplan had and was then just beginning her compulsory military service. She would eventually become his wife, mother of his three children—and his “reality check” for new investment ideas. “Her instincts are pretty much perfect,” he says.

    Through Recanati’s mother, Kaplan was introduced to Avi Tiomkin, a well-known Israeli investor with whom he established a close bond. “There was immediate chemistry,” says Tiomkin, now 62. “His views, his conviction were impressive.” Kaplan sealed his standing with his mentor by predicting the invasion of Kuwait by Saddam Hussein several years before it happened, contradicting widely held wisdom that one Arab country would never attack another. “It was against all forecasts,” Tiomkin remembers. “It was a huge surprise.”

    Kaplan commuted between Oxford and Tel Aviv until Recanati was accepted to New York University in 1991, and they moved back to the U.S. Tiomkin hired him as a junior partner, a position he held until 1993, when Tiomkin decided to focus on his Israeli investments and Kaplan left to execute his own big ideas, including major bets on silver, natural gas, and, eventually, gold.

    He and Tiomkin kept in close touch. “We could’ve not seen each other for a few months and then continued the conversation where we left off,” says Tiomkin. Like Kaplan, Tiomkin eschews his office most of the time, preferring to work from home or elsewhere. “It’s in our genes, it’s how we were born. It keeps us away from being too much under the influence of conventional wisdom.” The two men have reunited and are now avoiding the same office. After working for various hedge funds including Caxton Associates, Tiomkin joined Tigris in 2008 as chief macro strategist, the same year he wrote an article for Forbes predicting the “demise of the euro.”

    Kaplan credits Marc Faber, the notoriously bearish Hong Kong-based publisher of the Gloom, Boom & Doom Report, with inspiring his move into natural resources investing in 1993. Faber has long argued that precious metals represent vital protection against the monetary foolishness of central governments. That year marked Kaplan’s first defining deal, the launching of Apex Silver Mines to dig for silver in San Cristóbal, Bolivia. Among the early backers of Apex was Soros Fund Management.

    With Apex, Kaplan pursued a strategy he is now trying to replicate in Romania: relocating villagers and buildings in the path of his mining plans to a new town nearby. Apex spent $12 million to move about 200 people as well as a cemetery and a colonial church, which was completely restored and rebuilt “brick by brick,” Kaplan says. “San Cristóbal was transformed, and we established a foundation to create new, sustainable enterprises. To be from the new San Cristóbal became a badge of prosperity.” Kaplan served as chief executive officer of Denver-based Apex and later its chairman. He resigned in 2004, and the company went bankrupt four years later, reemerging from bankruptcy protection in 2009.

    Although he’s fixated on gold these days, Kaplan hasn’t abandoned silver. Through Silver Opportunity Partners, an affiliate of Kaplan’s Electrum exploration group of companies, he bought key assets of Sterling Mining Co.—which include the Sunshine Mine, nestled in the heart of the “Silver Valley” of Idaho—out of bankruptcy earlier this year. Well known in mining circles, Kaplan and his team worked hard to keep a low profile leading up to the bankruptcy auction so as not to tip their hand and drive up the bidding. The Sunshine transition team was headed by Mark Wallace, president of Tigris.

    Sunshine is among the most notorious mines in the world. First discovered in 1884, Sunshine produced an estimated 360 million ounces of silver. It closed in 2001, then reopened in 2007 before going broke less than a year later. Its checkered history includes a 1972 fire that killed 91 miners, one of the worst disasters of its kind in the U.S. A 12-foot-tall, painted-steel sculpture of a silver miner with a rock drill stands along I-90 between Kellogg and Wallace, Idaho, in memorial to the dead workers.

    Now, Silver Opportunity is studying the economic and environmental issues surrounding restarting the mine. Wallace says the deal was a case study for Kaplan’s investment approach. “It was no doubt a complicated and risky transaction,” Wallace says. “Through our expertise, we were able to minimize the risk involved, resolve litigation, and reunite the patchwork and fractured ownership interests that inhibited the mine and limited its value over the last decade.”

    While Wallace sorts out the Sunshine mess, Kaplan pursues other interests: In 2006 he created a nonprofit called Panthera to focus on saving big cats. Among its projects is a collaboration with the Wildlife Conservation Society to boost the tiger population in certain countries, including India, Myanmar, and China, by 50 percent over the next decade. After a long and involved courtship, he persuaded Alan Rabinowitz, a zoologist with a specialty in big cats, to become president of Panthera. When he was first approached by Kaplan, Rabinowitz, who had spent his career at WCS, was close to retirement and was torn about taking a new job. Kaplan kept the position open for a full year while Rabinowitz debated whether to accept it. On Apr. 1, 2008, he and five other WCS employees joined Panthera, with ambitious goals. “We have realized that you have to fight for them as a species everywhere they exist on earth,” Rabinowitz, now 56, says. To that end, Panthera is negotiating with governments across the globe to create “genetic corridors” so cats can move freely without being constrained by man-made borders. Kaplan and Rabinowitz have developed a deep friendship; they are “BB” and “LB” to each other; Rabinowitz is the big brother, Kaplan the little brother.

    “When I met Alan, I realized he’d been doing what I’d wanted to do with my own life,” says Kaplan. “Nonetheless, I’d always harbored this dream that I’d be able to return to my true love.”

    Kaplan acknowledges the paradox of promoting conservation while investing in an industry long associated with extreme environmental degradation, but he says any conflict between the two is easy for him to resolve. “If I’m given a choice between conservation and business, conservation wins, always,” he says. “I’ve conserved a great multiple more than I’ve disturbed.” His geologists apply what he calls the Tom Rule to their decisions about what land to acquire for mining. “If it looks like we shouldn’t build a mine here, either take it and I’ll hold the land to stop others from building on it, or skip it,” he says. “I tell them: ‘Use your common and aesthetic sense.’ It sounds crazy to refer to aesthetics, but ultimately the morality of the endeavor should win out.”

    This was on his mind when he arrived in Transylvania in 2009 to get a gut check on Rosia Montana. He had alerted no one there about his visit, flying into the tiny Romanian city of Saibu with several colleagues from Tigris’ London office and enduring a three-hour drive through the mountains. They explored the back roads around the mine, witnessing a degree of ecological damage that left Kaplan to theorize that the pollution dated to the time when the Roman Emperor Trajan conquered the region, marking the beginning of Rosia Montana’s mining heritage.

    Community and environmental activists have been fighting Gabriel Resources’ plans for a decade, arguing that the use of cyanide in the mine threatens nearby villages and that a spill could contaminate the countryside extending into neighboring Hungary, where officials have joined the opposition. Kaplan counters that the area already has been devastated by centuries of mining—”the river literally runs red from sulfides”&mdashand that digging the mine would in fact help the county of Alba by repairing some of the damage of past mining projects.

    Leading the resistance to the mine is a nongovernmental organization called Alburnus Maior, which was started in 2000 and is based at Rosia Montana. The group contends that Gabriel’s plans will destroy historical sites and force resettlement of 740 farms and 140 apartments. The group also says that 40 Romanian NGOs and institutions support its “Save Rosia Montana” campaign, which proposes to boost the local economy through tourism, agribusiness, and small industries, including crafts. “We will continue to use all legal means at our disposal to stop this proposal from ever being realized,” Alburnus Maior’s Stephanie Roth said in an e-mail. Roth, a former environmental journalist, was instrumental in persuading the European Parliament to publicly oppose the mine. She said the fact that some residents will ultimately refuse to sell their properties to Gabriel means the mine won’t ever get under way because the company needs all of the land to secure a construction permit. “I don’t think that Gabriel’s project will ever go ahead, and in contrast to Gabriel, the locals have all the time in the world,” Roth said.

    Rozalia Drumus, a 79-year-old retired schoolteacher, lives in Rosia Montana with her unemployed daughter and subsists on a 1,159 lei ($337) monthly pension. She has planted a sign on her gate: This property is NOT for sale. “We had a small happy village, but people’s greed for money was too much,” she says. “Gold is a bastard.”

    Kaplan ardently defends Gabriel’s efforts, arguing that mining is the best way to help the economy of Romania. “Those who say a scarred landscape should be preserved at the expense of a truly exciting economic future for a poor community are being unjust,” he says. “This is telling the local people to bootstrap their way to progress when they don’t have the means to procure boots.”

    In June, Romania’s environment minister said the government probably will resume a review of the project, which likely means months more of public debate. Even if Romanian government approval is obtained, it will take at least a year before gold can be pulled out of the ground. Meanwhile, as gold prices swing wildly and talk of a double-dip recession ripples across the markets, Kaplan retains his karmic calm. “People view gold as emotional, but when they demythologize it, when they look at it for what it is and the opportunity it represents, they’re going to say, ‘We really should own some of that.’ The question will then change to ‘Where do we get the gold?’ ”

    With Irina Savu in Bucharest

    Kelly is a reporter for Bloomberg News.

  161. chicagofinance says:

    Features August 25, 2010, 11:01PM EST text size: TT
    Governor Chris Christie: GOP Darling
    New Jersey Governor Christie is a rising national star. By taking on his state’s bloated budget, he embodies the New Austerity. Will voters hate him for it?
    By Peter Coy

    Chris Christie is the lead actor in a new movie. It’s a short film, no more than 20 minutes or so, yet its backer—the Republican Governors Assn.—expects to reap millions in donations from his brief appearance. The moody film features black-and-white images flashing by—storm clouds, campaign rallies, and urgent news clips from election-night broadcasts. A Republican has won the governor’s race in New Jersey, a Democratic stronghold, and the party of Barack Obama has been rendered powerless by his take-no-prisoners style.

    In less than eight months in office, Christie, a 47-year-old former prosecutor and lobbyist, has risen from an unknown to a signal attraction in the fund-raising and messaging wars. “I think he’s a star,” says Ed Rollins, who directed campaigns in 1984 for President Ronald Reagan and in 1993 for Christine Todd Whitman, the last Republican elected governor of New Jersey. (Rollins bragged of suppressing the anti-Whitman vote, then retracted the claim.)

    When he moved into the New Jersey governor’s office on Jan. 19, Christie faced a budget crisis of almost Greek proportions: Projected revenues for the coming fiscal year were nearly $11 billion short of what it would cost to fully fund every authorized program. Since then he has impounded more than $2 billion in unspent funds, fought off legislators’ attempts to raise taxes, pushed through a budget that slashes spending, pressured schoolteachers to pay for their health-care benefits, and taken a first crack at fixing one of the nation’s most underfunded pension systems. Christie says he’s been contacted for advice by GOP gubernatorial candidates Meg Whitman of California, Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania, Bill Brady of Illinois, Chris Dudley of Oregon, Robert Ehrlich of Maryland, and Charlie Baker of Massachusetts. “People say to me, ‘Can you really get it done in Massachusetts given that the overwhelming majority of the legislature is Democratic?’ ” says Baker. “I say, ‘Drive down the Turnpike. Eventually you’ll get there. That’s exactly what’s happening in New Jersey.’ ”

    Christie’s campaign to fix the finances of the state with the highest property taxes in the nation, and a $46 billion underfunding of its pension system, is still in its early stages. Victory is far from assured. Barbara Buono, the State Senate’s second-highest-ranking Democrat and its top female, complains that the governor has been “brash and confrontational.” Columnist Tom Moran of Newark’s The Star-Ledger calls him “Governor Wrecking Ball.” Democrats, who control both houses of the legislature, are resisting Christie’s effort to reshape the state’s Supreme Court by refusing to approve his nominee. The Communications Workers of America tried to add a special assessment to union dues in New Jersey specifically to combat him (the rank-and-file voted no). And with schools opening, parents who welcome fiscal austerity in the abstract are about to see first-hand evidence of the impact of reductions in state aid to education, which could weaken support for further cuts. Even now, before the belt-tightening has been fully felt, support is lukewarm; three public opinion polls taken over the summer had Christie’s job approval rating at 44 percent to 51 percent.

    Investors in the credit-default swap market aren’t yet persuaded that Christie has found the key. The cost of insuring New Jersey government bonds against default for five years has risen to 2.17 percent of the bonds’ face value annually from 1.56 percent when he was inaugurated. Swaps on New York and Pennsylvania have performed about the same. His administration’s reputation for competence took a hit on Aug. 24 when New Jersey barely missed out on $400 million in federal Race to the Top grants, possibly because of an error in its application.

    “There are so many political minefields in New Jersey,” Christie said a day earlier in his high-ceilinged office in the State House. “If you spend your whole time looking down for mines, you can’t see the future.” Christie says he’s determined to govern as if he didn’t care about winning a second term. (Reelection is something he claims not to have thought about.) That strength could turn into a weakness if his farsightedness causes him to lose near-term public support—a critical ingredient in his recipe for success; wrecking balls do swing both ways. Steve Malanga, a public policy expert whom Christie cites as one of his intellectual influences, warns that the governor’s job will get harder as financial necessity forces him to go beyond politically easy targets like public-employee unions and take on programs that are popular with the taxpaying middle class. Thirty-eight percent of registered voters gave him a D or F on property tax relief in a Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey Press Media Poll on July 7-11.

    Says Malanga, a senior fellow at the free-market Manhattan Institute who spoke with Christie repeatedly during the 2009 campaign: “The tightrope that he has to walk, which I don’t think a lot of his admirers across the country understand, is that he has to retain a certain amount of popularity with the electorate, because as soon as the legislature thinks he’s no longer popular, they’ll stop cooperating with him. They’ll smell blood in the water. He can’t just start putting through deep, slashing cuts that upset even his own constituents, or he really will have a problem.”

    On the Budget Deficit Front Line
    Where Christie is out in front of his political peers is in the realization that the status quo is a dead end. Talking about austerity and then trimming around the edges won’t do the trick. Like Washington, states as a group are on an unsustainable path in which rising spending on retirement and health-care benefits will exceed the revenue available from taxation. In March the Government Accountability Office warned that unless taxing and spending policies change, the combined deficits of federal, state, and local governments will hit 20 percent of gross domestic product by 2060. By comparison, their combined deficits in 2009, the worst recorded since the Great Depression, were just a little more than 10 percent.

    On Aug. 18, without admitting wrongdoing, Christie’s administration settled claims that between 2001 and 2007, the state misled investors in $26 billion of municipal bonds by masking the chronic underfunding of its two biggest pension plans. Christie says the settlement shows why the pension changes he seeks are essential. “In that respect it’s a good thing.” In his office—where he is surrounded by baseball memorabilia, a blue-and-white Fender guitar signed by Bruce Springsteen, and a blender he uses to mix weight-loss shakes—the governor laid out a long-term plan for shrinking government, lowering taxes, fixing pensions, and making New Jersey a friendlier place for business. He dismisses suggestions that a misstep could be dangerous. “Every day in this job there is a problem that if you don’t handle it correctly could prove to be your undoing,” he says. “If I step on a mine, I step on one.” The greatest danger, he says, is in underestimating the scope of the crisis. “With all this national attention, [the risk] is somehow people thinking that we’ve fixed the problem. We haven’t. But we’ve made progress toward fixing the problem.”

    The progress is real, says Richard Keevey, who was budget director for Democratic Governor James Florio and Republican Governor Thomas Kean. “The problem he inherited is very large, and his approach to the problem has been the right approach,” says Keevey, who was impressed enough to accept a seat on the governor’s council of economic advisers.

    Christie’s political ascent has been recent and rapid. He grew up in a relatively apolitical household, with a Republican father and a Democratic mother who worked in a school office. At age 18, he was inspired by Reagan’s first successful campaign for President in 1980 and embraced conservatism. In 1994, as a corporate lawyer, he won a seat on the Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders, his county’s legislature. When he ran afoul of the Republican Establishment for challenging a powerful incumbent in the General Assembly and failed to win nomination for a second freeholder term in 1998, his political career appeared over. But in 2000, as a registered lobbyist whose firm’s clients included the securities industry, a hospital, and a utility, he became a fund-raiser for the Presidential campaign of George W. Bush and achieved Pioneer status by bringing in $100,000 or more.

    Two years later he was named U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey—a plum job that provided abundant opportunities to prosecute public corruption. From 2002 through 2008 his office won convictions or guilty pleas against 130 public officials without losing a case. Those convictions left some of the state’s ruling Democratic party machines in disarray. That’s helping him now that he’s running things in Trenton, although there’s no evidence that Christie engaged in any prosecution for political reasons.

    In 2009, Christie ran for governor against the one-term Democratic incumbent, Jon Corzine, a former senator from New Jersey and ex-CEO of Goldman Sachs (GS). Pounding home the message that Corzine was ineffectual, Christie won with 48.5 percent of the vote, vs. about 45 percent for Corzine and 6 percent for independent Chris Daggett. In March he proposed a $29 billion budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 that imposed no new taxes, cut aid to municipalities and schools, and skipped a $3 billion pension contribution. Corzine’s last budget was just over $32 billion.

    What earned Christie national fame wasn’t the magnitude of the cuts but the way in which he picked a fight with public-employee unions. When he announced this spring that he was skipping the pension fund contribution, he made it a symbolic act, too, vowing not to put more money into the system until the legislature agreed to reforms necessary for long-term solvency. Christie also pressured teachers, who don’t work for him, to agree to contribute 1.5 percent of their pay toward their health-care benefits. He warned them that if they didn’t go along, he would campaign against passage of school budgets in their districts. Most teachers refused to contribute, Christie did as he had promised, and voters rejected a record 59 percent of school budgets. At the end of June, the Democratic-controlled state senate and assembly passed Christie’s budget almost unchanged from his proposal.

    Property-Tax Cap
    Christie’s most astute move was to curtail future local spending by cramping the primary means of funding it. After seeking a strict limit in the state constitution on increases in local property taxes, he settled for a law that held property tax hikes to 2 percent annually with few exceptions. The cap gives mayors and councils an incentive to support changes in civil-service rules sought by Christie that make it easier to lay off or cut employee pay.

    The sequencing was masterful: Christie says he probably would not have the mayors’ support for those cost-saving measures if he hadn’t first gotten lawmakers to pass his cap. Next up is pension reform. “I’m working on all of these things at once because they’re all interconnected,” Christie says. “I don’t see how any responsible governor has a choice anymore not to take on the public-sector unions.” Says Tom Corbett, Pennsylvania Attorney General and Republican nominee for governor in this November’s election: “He certainly sets an example I think other governors can follow.” Even David Paterson, the Democratic governor of New York, has praised New Jersey’s property-tax cap.

    Despite his admirers, the Christie formula isn’t easily transported to other states. Like an LBO specialist sent in to unlock the value of a badly managed company, Christie is working with a state that has great underlying strengths. Contrary to the image projected by MTV’s Jersey Shore, New Jersey is educated and prosperous. It ranks second in the nation in per-capita income (behind Connecticut) and fifth in the percentage of people 25 and older who have bachelor’s degrees, according to the Census Bureau. It’s in the nation’s densest urban zone, with New York City on one border and Philadelphia on another. Jersey City, across the Hudson from lower Manhattan, has sprouted a forest of tall buildings filled with financial firms like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley (MS). The center of the state has vast campuses of pharmaceutical companies such as Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Roche, and Merck (MRK). And even though it’s no longer the headquarters of the Bell System, New Jersey still has a web of telecom and data center infrastructure.

    From the 1960s through the mid-1990s, New Jersey used lower taxes and cost of living to lure jobs out of New York City. But steadily rising taxation has lessened its allure, says the Manhattan Institute’s Malanga. Much of the spending increase has occurred at the local level. In the well-to-do New York City suburb of Closter, N.J., which has a below-average crime rate, all but two of the 20 members of the police force are earning more than $100,000 this year, not including benefits or overtime. To blame: Arbitration rules that are tipped in unions’ favor—and that Christie is trying to change. New Jersey ranked last in a Tax Foundation survey of states’ business-tax climates. “What’s particularly disturbing to us is that we have now fallen behind our regional competitors such as New York and Pennsylvania and Delaware and Connecticut,” says Philip Kirschner, president of the New Jersey Business & Industry Assn.

    Verizon New Jersey President Dennis M. Bone, interim chairman of a new public-private partnership called Choose New Jersey, says Christie has energized businesses by working to hold down their taxes, streamline regulation, and keep jobs in the state. Christie says when he heard that Honeywell International (HON) was about to move its 1,200-employee headquarters from Morris Township to Pennsylvania, he told CEO David M. Cote, “Give me a week.” Christie offered tax credits that persuaded Honeywell to stay—and expand.

    Confrontational Style
    The friendly face Christie shows to business isn’t in evidence in his confrontations with the New Jersey Education Assn. and other public-employee unions. His method is divide and conquer. On pensions he formed an alliance with Democrat Stephen M. Sweeney, the state senate president and treasurer of an Ironworkers union local in South Jersey. (It was Sweeney who began pushing pension reform in 2006.) Christie has also exploited regional divisions between Democrats in the legislature.

    Party discipline is much tighter among the Republicans in Trenton and tighter still in the Christie administration. Some 24 of his appointees worked under him in the U.S. Attorney’s office, including his attorney general, his chief counsel, his press secretary, and the head of the school development authority.

    Being a Republican in a state with a Democratic legislature is not the handicap it might seem. While Corzine and other Democratic governors felt they needed to accommodate the wishes of the powerful county Democratic leaders to keep peace within the party, Christie feels no such compunction, says Ross Baker, a Rutgers University political scientist. “He just doesn’t give a damn,” says Baker. “One should never underestimate the value of fortitude in a politician. Chris Christie’s got fortitude in abundance.”

    The rap on Christie from his sometime-ally Sweeney and others is that he can be gratuitously confrontational. His riffs go over big on YouTube (GOOG) but not in Trenton. State Senator Buono accuses Christie of “scapegoating and demeaning anyone who disagrees with him. That drowns out thoughtful, honest discussion and debate about the issues. All it really does is further undermine the public’s confidence in its government.”

    The senate and assembly haven’t fought back hard because their standing with the public is lower than his. They might discover some backbone if the people of New Jersey—like, say, the people of Greece—start chafing under austerity. The state Civil Service Commission says 132 local governments have filed applications since January seeking to fire as many as 2,674 workers. In Newark, Democratic Mayor Cory Booker closed city pools in August and put nonemergency workers on 19 days of furlough. “We’re going to stop buying everything from toilet paper to printer paper,” Booker said. “Call me Mr. Scrooge, if you want, but there’ll be no Christmas decorations around the city.”

    No Christmas decorations! That’s just the type of thing that has wrecked the careers of previous governors who went to Trenton with the best of intentions. Then again, New Jersey’s financial situation is more dire now, and people know it. The time may be right for Jersey’s new action hero to kick down a few doors.

    Coy is Bloomberg Businessweek’s Economics editor. With Terrence Dopp and Dunstan McNichol in Trenton, N.J., and Laura Litvan in Washington D.C.

  162. chicagofinance says:
  163. chicagofinance says:
  164. Final Doom says:

    The minute you run for elected office, you become the enemy.

    Burn the mf’er down, and start over.

  165. Shore Guy says:

    NOTHING of substance will occur with respect to reforming politics unless and until we stop granting pensions to elected officials.

    The quest to stay, to retain one’s seat is at the root of the cancer that runs through our elected bodies.

  166. gary says:

    When asked about how to stimulate the private sector to create jobs, he noted that there was such uncertainty in the economy currently that businesses were backing off from making hiring decisions. At least part of that uncertainty is being caused by the lack of clarity over what part, if any, of the Bush-era tax cuts would be extended in 2011.

    The liberals would rather take the country down in flames than extend or freeze ANY tax cuts. The number one priority in redistribution is to incrementally increase the stranglehold on any wealth creation in order to hand it to the laggards. It’s funny how an individual is intelligent enough to make money but yet the progressives believe they know better than you how to spend it.

    http://finance.yahoo.com/family-home/article/110502/economist-shiller-sees-potential-for-double-dip-recession

  167. grim says:

    KL,

    Long time!

    Yes, was a pleasure to represent the buyers on this one.

  168. Shore Guy says:

    The BBC on Big Ben, QE, and deflation:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/mobile/business-11114315

  169. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    “Mr Bernanke was keen to emphasise the apparent success of earlier quantitative easing – including the purchase of $1.25 trillion worth of mortgage debt – in lowering borrowing costs.”

    [175],

    Success? My arse. Borrowing costs are not the hurdle. They can print and purchase another $1.25T. Simply, pissing in the wind. Unfortunately, the fed can’t create demand nor can they stimulate lending. They are battling market forces and getting wipped. Why not attempt to crush the yield curve? Sorry, getting delusional.

  170. Essex says:

    This is a new twist. Vigilante Real Estate transactions– I kind of like it.

  171. Yikes says:

    Mike says:
    August 26, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    In the last 3 years you could’nt touch anything in this best part of Cranford (College Estates Area) for under 600K and here’s one for 500K that’s why the ad says it’s the best deal in Cranford. Plenty of room for improvement. http://www.weichert.com/32403288/?cityid=11659&minpr=498&maxpr=499&view=gallery

    Sorry, you have to be drunk to buy this for 500k. This looks like a 300k house, tops. What’s so great about Cranford? I can’t wait to hear the taxes …

  172. NJGator says:

    The Gator Family sends greetings from Seattle. In our wanderings tonight we came across some new apartments in Chinatown where studio rents were starting at $475. Granted not the most desireable part of town, but I don’t even think $475 will get you a studio in the Maple Gardens in Irvington back home.

    The homeless and panhandlers are less aggressive than in San Fran, and the pot dealers excused themselves as we walked down the street with Lil Gator. Public transportation is free in the downtown zone (a 40 min light rail ride from the airport to downtown was only $2.50), the weather is not oppressively hot, and the scenery is beautiful. So far we like it here.

  173. cobbler says:

    Re. Singapore health care [78, etc.]
    System is pretty much socialist, with tight price controls:

    Healthcare in Singapore is mainly under the responsibility of the Singapore Government’s Ministry of Health. Singapore generally has an efficient and widespread system of healthcare. Singapore was ranked 6th in the World Health Organization’s ranking of the world’s health systems in the year 2000.
    Singapore has a universal healthcare system where government ensures affordability, largely through compulsory savings and price controls, while the private sector provides most care. Overall spending on healthcare amounts to only 3% of annual GDP. Of that, 66% comes from private sources.[1] Singapore currently has the lowest infant mortality rate in the world (equaled only by Iceland) and among the highest life expectancies from birth, according to the World Health Organization.[2] Singapore has “one of the most successful healthcare systems in the world, in terms of both efficiency in financing and the results achieved in community health outcomes,” according to an analysis by global consulting firm Watson Wyatt.[3] Singapore’s system uses a combination of compulsory savings from payroll deductions (funded by both employers and workers) a nationalized catastrophic health insurance plan, and government subsidies, as well as “actively regulating the supply and prices of healthcare services in the country” to keep costs in check; the specific features have been described as potentially a “very difficult system to replicate in many other countries.” Many Singaporeans also have supplemental private health insurance (often provided by employers) for services not covered by the government’s programs.[3]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Healthcare_in_Singapore

  174. cobbler says:

    Americans Continue to Rate Real Estate Industry Negatively
    Forty-eight percent rate it negatively, 26% positively
    by Jeffrey M. Jones

    PRINCETON, NJ — Americans rate the real estate industry much more negatively than positively, the third year in a row Gallup has found a net-negative evaluation of this industry.

    Real estate industry ratings began to decline sharply in 2007 before bottoming out in 2008. Nearly all of the 25 industries included in Gallup’s annual ratings saw their images decline that year as the recession took hold, but the 18 percentage-point drop in real estate ratings was the largest. In fact, it is the largest one-year drop Gallup has measured for any industry in the 10-year history of this question. (See the table on page 2 of the article for full details.) That drop coincided with the subprime mortgage crisis that led to sharp increases in foreclosures and sharp decreases in home values.

    The image of the real estate industry recovered somewhat last year, but is essentially flat in the latest update, based on an Aug. 5-8 Gallup poll. Home sales picked up a bit in late 2009 and early 2010, thanks to the government’s first-time homebuyer tax-credit program. But since that program expired, sales have slowed considerably.

    The real estate industry’s ratings remain well below where they were from 2001-2006, when Americans viewed the industry on balance positively, during an era of continually rising housing prices.

    On a relative basis, the real estate industry ranks near the bottom of the list of 25 industries Gallup routinely tests. In fact, this year only the oil and gas industry receives a lower percentage of positive ratings (20%). However, a total of four industries (oil and gas, the federal government, banking, and healthcare) receive a greater proportion of negative ratings than does real estate.

    Bottom Line

    Though Americans’ views of the real estate industry have improved from their low point two years ago, they remain well below where they were when the housing market was booming. When Gallup has seen sharp one-year drops in the way Americans rate certain industries, they are usually in response to real-world events that affect the industry. In some cases, the industry’s image has recovered within a year, as with the accounting industry in 2003 and the grocery industry last year. However, some industries (such as banking) have seen sustained lower ratings, suggesting a more fundamental alteration in the way Americans view them.

    That appears to be the case with the real estate industry, and its ratings are likely to remain depressed as long as the housing market remains troubled. The real key for the real estate industry is whether Americans will revert to a more positive than negative evaluation of it once the housing market improves.

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/142706/Americans-Continue-Rate-Real-Estate-Industry-Negatively.aspx

  175. Anne Marie Hantho Smullyan says:

    Hi Grim. Hello all. I’m a long time lurker—thoroughly addicted to this blog for many, many years now. We just moved into our Montclair REO—-we paid $272,000 in July 2010—–previous owner paid $474,900 in 2005! Our mortgage payment (including Montclair’s outrageous taxes) is less per month than renting our old 2 bdrm apt.

    Anyway — I just wanted to thank Grim for sharing this blog (and its many posters for making it so interesting). I’d also like to put out a personal plea for Stu or Gator to run for Mayor of Montclair ASAP! – AM

  176. me@work says:

    Grim,

    I hope the husband wasn’t checking out your chest hair — chifi might get jealous! :)

    sl

  177. Barbara says:

    Anne Marie,
    could you takes us through your experience? From initial interest to closing?

  178. NJCoast says:

    Gator and Stu-

    My daughter is in Seattle too, speaking at some artisanal Cheese Society Conference. They have an open to the public event tonight- a cheese and wine tasting at Benaroya Hall.
    http://crosscut.com/blog/crosscut/19726/Crosscut-Tout:-Artisan-cheese-tasting-tonight-(Aug.-28)-at-Benaroya-Hall–/

  179. Final Doom says:

    I think I’d make a much better mayor of Montclair than Stu or Gator. I got myself banned from baristanet within 25 posts.

  180. Al Gore says:

    178.

    The landscaping on that house in Cranford is awful. I bet they spend weekends grooming those hideous bushes. Better off planting some ornamental grass and maybe a blueberry bush for foraging when we slide back to agrarian society.

  181. Al Gore says:

    Desperate homeowners line up for mortgage modification marathon

    “WEST PALM BEACH ­- The Palm Beach County Convention Center filled again Friday with tales of mortgage woe.

    Before dawn, with a plump white moon overhead, a line of desperate home­owners trailed around the outside of the building. They slept in beach chairs or on blankets on the ground, refugees from a bad economy, bad loans, or bad decisions.

    During the group’s visit to West Palm Beach in February, NACA reviewed 24,000 loans, modifying, at least temporarily, 16,097.

    NACA brings hundreds of bank representatives to its “Save the Dream Tour” events. Borrowers first meet with a NACA counselor to settle on an affordable mortgage payment, typically something that is 31 percent or less than their gross salary.

    They are threaded through waiting stations, filling in rows of seats like a line for a roller coaster.

    Finally, the borrower speaks face-to-face with the bank representative.

    The typical successful result is a new fixed interest rate as low as 2 percent. Some people also receive principal reductions on their loans.”

    http://www.palmbeachpost.com/money/real-estate/desperate-homeowners-line-up-for-mortgage-modification-marathon-882338.html

  182. grim says:

    From Bloomberg/BusinessWeek:

    NJ title firm owner admits $3.8 million theft

    The owner of a New Jersey real estate title company has admitted stealing $3.8 million in closing funds, which he used to play the stock market.

    Attorney General Paula Dow said 35-year-old Ronald P. Mas Jr. of Red Bank pleaded guilty Thursday in state Superior Court in Morristown to money laundering and theft charges.

    At sentencing Oct. 15, the state will recommend a 12-year prison term. Mas also will be required to pay restitution.

    Mas owned Olde Gotham Title and Settlement Services in Red Bank.

  183. grim says:

    From the NY Times:

    3 Sellers Stuck in the Slowdown

    AT the height of the market four years ago, Jasmin and Kirk Maher, newly married, bought a tidy gray-and-white Cape Cod in Yonkers for $455,000, remodeling the upstairs into a bedroom and sitting room for her mother, Mildred Mattei. Within a year, Mr. and Mrs. Maher’s first son, Kurtis, was born; he was followed two years later by his brother, Chase.

    Now the house that once perfectly suited the first-time buyers seems small and overcrowded, and the couple, who plan to have more children, feel squeezed enough to have put it on the market. Their asking price is $495,000.

    Mr. and Mrs. Maher — she is a stay-at-home mother and he is a Yonkers police officer — clearly feel that they have no choice. But agents say that their timing could not be worse: a purchase when the market was at a peak, and a sale now, when buyers are bargain-hunting.

    As sellers whose circumstances have collided with today’s harsh real estate realities, they have a lot of company in Westchester.

    Take, for example, Lynda and Daniel Rogal of Croton-on-Hudson, who bought a four-bedroom three-bath colonial for $745,000 in March, confident that their three-bedroom two-bath ranch overlooking the Hudson River would sell quickly.

    But it didn’t, and now they’re stuck with two houses and two mortgages. “As you can imagine,” Mrs. Rogal said, “this is not how we planned things.”

    Not one of these cases has an easy fix. Do the Mahers lower their price to compete with other sellers, and end up losing money because they have had almost no time, and little opportunity in a crashing market, to accrue equity?

    Or do they stand firm on their price, and in the process lose out to more aggressively priced properties?

  184. yo'me says:

    Deferred tax assets arise because companies keep two sets of books: one for taxes and one for reporting to investors. Income in these two books may be different at different times.

    If a company has a loss on the income it reports to investors, but cannot record the loss for tax purposes until the future, it records a deferred tax asset, which reflects the future cash flow from paying lower taxes.

    But if a company is unlikely to generate enough taxable income in the future, it must essentially write down the deferred tax asset, which it does by creating a “valuation allowance” on its balance sheet. That valuation allowance cuts into income reported to investors and can hit a portion of a bank’s regulatory capital, as well.

    Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/heres-what-mike-mayo-thinks-is-citis-cooking-the-books-2010-8#ixzz0xtr6Dnyw

  185. Cindy says:

    Chicago – #168

    Totally catchy tune. Grim loves it.

  186. Cindy says:

    http://econgrapher.blogspot.com/2010/08/top-5-economics-graphs-of-week-28.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+EconGrapher+%28Econ+Grapher%29

    5 economic graphs of the week – “The Muddle Ages” – cute -I like it…

    So 1.6%. David Rosenberg’s -1.5% cannot be far behind….

  187. Cindy says:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/28/business/economy/28nocera.html?pagewanted=1&ref=business&adxnnlx=1282997472-xcuV2GaZ3%20Ci3t3TpNZHlQ

    “Widespread Fear Freezes Housing Market” – pretty good read

    Mr. Yun predicted that home values would not fall much further, since they were
    ” back in line relative to income.” In other words, the July numbers were just a blip.

    “Clearly, Mr. Yun needs to get out a little more often.”

  188. 250k says:

    Yikes (178)
    >> What’s so great about Cranford? I can’t wait to hear the taxes …

    #13 High School in the state (its for the children you know), a real downtown and both train and Express Bus service to NYC.

    Sure, there are flood zones but not the whole town and if you are in a flood zone you think twice about a finished basement. Plenty of people who were flooded out in the last major storm lived in other towns besides Cranford.

  189. wtf says:

    (173) Congrats Gary. You consistently make some of the the most idiotic comments I read on this board.

  190. yo'me says:

    The NYT had an article this morning warning of the dangers of Japanese-style deflation. While Japan has suffered from weak growth since the collapse of its stock and housing bubble, deflation has not been a serious factor in this weakness. Consumer prices in Japan fell in 6 of the 19 years from 1991 to 2008. The largest decline in this period was a 0.9 percent decline in 2002. (Japan’s CPI fell by 1.4 percent in 2009 and is projected to do the same this year.)

    The consequences of relatively low rates of deflation are minor. While the article asserts that deflation causes consumers to delay purchases this is implausible on its face. A 1.0 percent rate of deflation would mean that if a person delayed buying a $500 television set for 6 months, they would save $2.50. The gains from delaying smaller purchases would be proportionately less.

    The problem facing Japan (and now the United States) is that it would be desirable to have a lower real interest rate. Since nominal rates cannot fall below zero, an inflation rate that is negative makes matters worse by raising the real interest rate. However, the fact that prices are actually falling is not important. The drop in the rate of inflation from 0.5 percent to -0.5 is no different in its impact on the economy than the drop in the inflation rate by 1.5 percent to 0.5 percent. Both are hurtful because they raise the real interest rate by 1.0 percentage point.

    The article also wrongly asserts at one point that Japan is prevented from doing more stimulus because its debt is twice the size of the Japanese economy. This is not a constraint at present. The Japanese central banks hold close to half of the debt, so it does not impose a substantial interest burden on the country. Furthermore, markets are willing to buy government debt at extremely low interest rates, so there is little fear about default or inflation.

    It is also worth noting that the Japanese central bank could adopt a policy of targeting a higher inflation rate, such as 3-4 percent. This course of action has been advocated by Paul Krugman, Ben Bernanke, and Olivier Blanchard, the chief economist at the IMF. An article that is ostensibly examining the options available to Japan’s policymakers should have noted included this one.
    Dean Baker

  191. Sas3 says:

    #196, I was just going to post that no one took gary’s bait yet…

    Here are the stats of the people that “want to take down country”.

    A new CBS News poll finds that a majority of Americans, 56 percent, say the tax cuts should expire for households earning over $250,000 per year, as Democrats have proposed. Thirty-six percent of Americans say they should not be allowed to expire….

    The CBS News poll, conducted Aug. 20 – 24, shows that Democrats favor letting those tax cuts expire [69 percent in favor], while Republicans are split on the issue. Forty-eight percent of Republicans say the tax cuts should expire, while 46 percent think they should be made permanent.

    ——
    I wish the dems campaign on simply undoing W’s tax cuts for all — the “only for over X income” clauses give an opening for wingnuts.

  192. gary says:

    The tax credit for home buyers; the willingness to look the other way as banks refused to foreclose, pretending that the owners still planned to pay their mortgage; the half-baked government mortgage modification programs — they were all aimed at buying time until the economy recovered and employment picked up. At which point, they hoped, the housing market would have achieved enough lift that it could take off on its own.

    As Wantan would say, “it’s gonna be a long walk home.”

  193. gary says:

    wtf [196],

    And this id1ot is one check away from paying off his house and becoming debt free. Not too bad for an id1ot, don’t ya think?

  194. Outofstater says:

    #173 “It’s funny how an individual is intelligent enough to make money but yet the progressives believe they know better than you how to spend it.”
    I completely agree.

  195. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Sas3 198 Pretty dicey raising taxes in the middle of a recession. If it’s the deficit that is bothering you how about we spend less. It is political suicide for Dems to raise taxes on the lower income brackets. So they go after the haves, the have nots are in the majority, sounds like a winner. Whether I agree or not is immaterial it is good politics.
    Now if they took that money payed bills (reduce def.) & cut spending…. Wow even some over 250k people would be on board. I think we all know better.

  196. a mad as hell reinvestor101 says:

    “Hi Grim. Hello all. I’m a long time lurker—thoroughly addicted to this blog for many, many years now. We just moved into our Montclair REO—-we paid $272,000 in July 2010—–previous owner paid $474,900 in 2005! Our mortgage payment (including Montclair’s outrageous taxes) is less per month than renting our old 2 bdrm apt.”

    Vulture. Think about what you’ve done to hurt the previous owner and cause the mortgage company to take a loss. Is this what America has come too? Vultures flying around and feeding off the fallen. Go back to lurking. I DON’T want to hear how you ripped someone off.

    Also, Stu voted for that stinking socialist that runs this country. So unless you want a stinking socialist wealth redistributionist running Montclair, I suggest that you reconsider your call for him to run political office.

  197. a mad as hell reinvestor101 says:

    ” Mr Wantanapolous says:
    August 27, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    50.5 [147],

    Let’s make a date, 9/1/15. I’ll bring my sack of gold, you bring your deed. Wanna guess who’s buying drinks?”

    Bullspit. You can bring your damn bag of gold baubles if you want to, but my position will be the same as it is today. I’m not giving my damn house away and I will get my full price.

    People like you and toshiro mifune nauseate me with your unamerican purchase of gold and your refusal to support our damn currency. It’s people like you who are ruining this damn country and one day soon you’ll realize the gold is only for adornment. I can hardly wait to see you both weaping.

  198. jamil says:

    sastry: CBS “News” polls are legendary, guaranteed to provide the outcome wanted.
    There have been countless polls recently showing the opposition to tax hikes and vast majority of people understanding that tax hikes would be destructive to the economy. Dems are reading these (real) polls too, that’s why they are planning to continue the tax cuts. Propaganda outfits of course continue with this BS, but the Dem policitians whose jobs are on line, know better.

    Now some shocking news:
    “Obama, Democrats got 88 percent of 2008 contributions by TV network execs, writers, reporters”
    I bet at CBS it was 100%.

  199. Sas3 says:

    Gary #200… “And this id1ot is one check away from paying off his house and becoming debt free. Not too bad for an id1ot, don’t ya think?”

    Enjoy the freedom. Now, the question is, “Why so… bitter?”

  200. NJGator says:

    NJCoast-saw a flyer for that yesterday at our hotel concierge desk. We are definitely going to try to check it out.

  201. gary says:

    Sas3,

    Born and raised in Hudson County, son of a firefighter and tavern owner. I guess it’s just in the blood. ;)

  202. Sas3 says:

    Mike, cutting spending: what are the chances of the military budget (biggest thing; I think SS will get cut before military budget gets cut) getting cut substantially? Going after “lazy” people sounds like a good plan, but the amounts involved are so low, the effort is not worth the return (except for schadenfreude — which can be a motivating factor for some people that are perfectly fine materialistically but not so fine spiritually).

    The undoing W’s tax cuts [the claim at that time was that surpluses were plenty, and we need to give people back their money] shouldn’t be a “haves vs have-nots” issue. If tax cuts were/are so great, why not push for doubling down on W’s cuts? Cut the 36% to 26%, or even 16%?

  203. Cindy says:

    http://www.snoqualmiefalls.com/

    Stu and Gator – Maybe a 30 minute drive Seattle – beautiful….

  204. Cindy says:

    http://www.salishlodge.com/

    @210 – Stu/Gator – That should read “maybe a 30 minute drive FROM Seattle.”
    Worth checking out if you really want a taste of the Pacific Northwest.

  205. Mr Hyde says:

    SAS3

    Cut the military all you want, it wont matter. We are so deep in the whole that the ajor expenditures are entitlements and welfare programs (Social Security/ medicare included). The entitlements combined with the interest on national debt mean that unless we cut EVERYTHING, especially entitlements, that there is no way out except default, direct or indirect.

  206. morpheus says:

    Nom:
    responding to 8/20/10 posts.

    Just got back from holiday.

    Don’t worry: If we do an all grain, I will bring all my equipment with instructions how to build a mash tun.

    All u need to do is figure out an all grain receipe that you want to do. Also, need to know if you have a water filtration system. chlorine bad for beer. U supply materials, I will supply equipment. I assume you have carboys or buckets with 3 piece airlock?

    Excuse me Y’all, I have to prepare for sunday brew day and read all the prior posts on this blog.

  207. Mikeinwaiting says:

    SAS3 209 As I said as far as spending we know better. The 2 political parties are making it have/have-nots, class warfare should not be but it is. So here we are.
    SS-means test, I know everybody puts in but if you retire with 5 or 10 mil no need. Come on. Yes people will still try to get rich, want to barely live on SS or live like a king. Gets interesting as far as cut off point. Some will site that at X level you are better off making less. This will happen at the cusp, somebody will get the shaft but better than no SS at all.
    Military – not a chance, we must bankrupt ourselves like Rome.

    Like that doubling down on tax cut idea. Get this economy moving real fast. We tried spending are way out, none starter. So we blow another trillion in tax cuts borrow more what the h*ll. Already pretty screwed, might work.

  208. Juice Box says:

    #151 – nj escapee – I am making a trip down there soon to pick up a condo,for my mother to spend a few winter months in. Any thoughts on the Vero Beach Area?

  209. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    “A new CBS News poll finds that a majority of Americans, 56 percent, say the tax cuts should expire for households earning over $250,000 per year”

    Astonishing. Teat suckers want to rob the producers? You can rob Peter to pay Paul till eternity. However, nothing changes. Why not target efforts to stimulate productive/intellectual capacity. Revolutionary? How about producing goods/services that some entity will actually buy; thereby creating real jobs. What’s the net effect after shifting resources from earners to zombies? A million more ditches dug? How about the producer says that’s enough and heads for the hills. Who then employs the sheeple?

    Currencies will always flow to where it’s treated the best. Why not raise taxes and destroy your currency? Will there then be a new CBS poll where 56% of those polled will now claim they have cut down their purchases at Wal-Mart since prices have risen 15%?

    Be careful what one wishes for; you may actually get it, right up the backside.

  210. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    “People like you and toshiro mifune nauseate me with your unamerican purchase of gold and your refusal to support our damn currency.”

    50.5,

    Gold is as american as apple pie. Our paper currency was backed by gold until Bretton-Woods. Amazing what occurs when you give idiots the power to print, while paper is backed by zero.

    Good faith and credit? You can put that under your mattress. Not mine.

    Let’s keep the date; 9/1/15. I’m buying. Then again, we can wager; which asset class will have superior returns. How much you want to wager?

  211. Fabius Maximus says:

    The Gator Family sends greetings from Seattle”

    Get tickets to the Mariners at SAFCO.
    The food is incredible, the seats are rotated towards the mound and the beer guy asks “What type? as she shows you a tub of assorted beers!

  212. still_looking says:

    217, Wantan,

    Can I come to? I haven’t seen my smoochy smoochy in sooooo long…. I miss those gasoline soaked boxers….

    Well… off to the Pit. Wish me luck.

    sl

  213. Yikes says:

    some NAR clown should at least get a pat on the back for placing this garbage in the Times

    (Saw it on the front page, small box with a pic)

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/28/your-money/mortgages/28money.html?hp

  214. Yikes says:

    hughesrep says:
    August 27, 2010 at 10:53 am

    72

    If more people chose #2 we’d be better off. People need to realize if you eat like crap, smoke, drink, and don’t exercise you don’t get to live until 90 unless you are uber-wealthy. You got an incurable disease? Darwin’s a bit$%. Deal with it.

    is living to 90 all that it’s cracked up to be? that being said, i get your point on eating like crap, smoking and not exercising

  215. House Whine says:

    151- Vero Beach- We have close friends who have lived there for many years. As you probably already know, there are some very wealthy retirees living there, but there are also pockets of not so nice areas. Unemployment isn’t helping any there. Last time we visited was 1 1/2 yrs. ago and the beach was quite eroded. It wasn’t at all beautiful. But there are definitely some nice senior citizen/retirement communities. It’s got its share of foreclosures.

  216. Let them Eat Cake says:

    What recession?
    Michelle Antoinette and Obama on vacation. must be Saturday.

    “In a repeat of a week ago, the First Family this morning went to a private beach in Edgartown. The Obama motorcade – with the president, first lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia, 12, and Sasha, 9 – left the family’s Martha’s Vineyard vacation retreat at Blue Heron Farm in Chilmark at 11:07 this morning. The family is now at a private beach off Pohogomot Road, according to White House press pool reports. “

  217. NJGator says:

    Fabius 218 – We have tickets next week to see them play the Indians. Lil Gator is very excited because they are going to let the kids run the bases after the game.

  218. Confused in NJ says:

    If people realized that every doctor they visit is going to die, they may gain some perspective.

  219. chicagofinance says:

    me@work says:
    August 28, 2010 at 2:51 am
    Grim,
    I hope the husband wasn’t checking out your chest hair — chifi might get jealous! :)
    sl
    http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2010/08/ceelos-fk-you/

  220. Sas3 says:

    ” People need to realize if you eat like crap, smoke, drink, and don’t exercise you don’t get to live until 90 unless you are uber-wealthy. ”

    As an old joke goes, not doing them may not make one live longer, but at least, it will seem longer :)

  221. Sas3 says:

    Mike, “SS means test” — if a lib suggests it, folks like Wantan will start their pavlovian response of teat sucker rants, so it is a non-starter (unless a GOP president takes the initiative — won’t happen with the current wingnuts and the next round of GOP leaders that are gaining from rallies of retired teabaggers; may be MaCain of 1999 would have, but that boat sailed long ago).

  222. nj escapee says:

    215, Juice Box says:
    August 28, 2010 at 11:18 am
    #151 – nj escapee – I am making a trip down there soon to pick up a condo,for my mother to spend a few winter months in. Any thoughts on the Vero Beach Area?

    Been concentrating my search in Broward as the purchase will be for my son and his young family.

  223. A.West says:

    Sas3,
    Calling people who are worried enough about expanding government to go to a protest “teabaggers” is truly childish. If one calls someone else a “teat sucker”, then that’s “ranting,” but if you call somebody a “teabagger” then one is a sophisticated consumer of The Daily Show?

    I already assume that I will be means-tested out of whatever meager social security income I currently could theoretically be entitled to. Which means that my SS payments are actually yet just one more incremental tax on my income.

    I still await your response: exactly how much of my income do you deem it “fair” for me to keep? The answer should be a percentage, going from 0% to 100%, and no explanation is necessary, or desired.

  224. cobbler says:

    Re. Social Security solvency, means testing, etc.: historically, people were obsessed with having heirs, and specifically male heirs since the expectation was that these boys when they grew up would take care of their old folks. Western societies moved from the individuals taking care of their own aged parents (pity for the childless) to the younger (working) generation as a whole taking care of the older (retired) generation as a whole via a pension system which is essentially a transfer mechanism. Concept of trust fund is an obvious ruse, and having forced people to contribute to FICA more than required to pay for the current benefits for the last 27 years was obscene – should have simply raised an income tax to get the same money in a more fair way, or get VAT in place if they were desperate to go regressive. Individual retirement savings, pension funds, etc. whether managed by the individual, business or a government are always a risky venture, and their growth (which underlies any calculation of a future income), on average, depends on the economic growth. If some people are amazing at managing their IRAs the others will be terrible. There is Johns Paulson and there are managers of NJ pension fund (or for that matter NJ 529 plan where if you started putting in $100/mo 10 years ago you have less money now than was contributed). There is nothing exciting about the next generation having to spend 20-25% of their income to support the boomers, but it is unavoidable and will happen. If some feel that other people’s parents are less deserving than their own, in most cases this feeling is mutual…

  225. Outofstater says:

    We need a Treasury Dept to have a common currency, a State Dept to negotiate treaties, a Defense Dept to make the people who want us dead think twice about acting on it today, Congress to provide us a semblance of a representative democracy and a Judiciary to repeat out loud what the law already says. Doesn’t that just about cover what we need at the federal level? How about we eliminate everything else, lower everyone’s taxes with the savings and let the markets work with no intervention at all. None.

  226. cobbler says:

    An interesting site:
    http://www.worldsalaries.org/

    Will entertain you for at least half an hour… Despite me sort of suspecting this, it still had been amazing to confirm that our post-tax (net) income distribution is steeper than for any other developed country. However, if the goal is to fully eliminate the middle class there is still a long way to go before we reach the distributions of Kuwait, Brazil or Philippines…

  227. Sas3 says:

    A. West, I am just commenting on the feasibility of means test. You already started at “how much money do I keep to get”. My point was that the discussion gets poisoned right away, so that option is DOA.

    The teabaggers are the ones that were not worried about government spending (their fear didn’t exist under W, even at the time when the TARP went into effect, even when an unfunded war was started). They are the ones that are sponsored by Faux, have the signs “Obama Muslin”, “birth certificate now!”, and will start with “deficits won’t matter”, “filibustering is evil”, “criticizing the president is unpatrioric”, etc., as soon as some repub gets into presidency.

    How many GOP deficit hawks have stayed on that message during W’s time?

  228. Sas3 says:

    cobbler, brace yourself for the “my income is bigger than yours” posts and how each of those posters are fully supporting the rest of the world. They make Beck seem humble.

  229. toomuchchange says:

    231 – Cobbler

    “There is nothing exciting about the next generation having to spend 20-25% of their income to support the boomers, but it is unavoidable and will happen. If some feel that other people’s parents are less deserving than their own, in most cases this feeling is mutual…”

    Are you so sure the next generation will agree to spend all this money on the boomers? So far the elderly have always used their voting block to get they want but if the young and middle aged start a voter counterattack, then what?

    Also there’s a huge fairness issue with the more affluent elderly using their best efforts to look poor on paper and pass off huge medical and nursing home bills to the taxpayers. Look at how few buy long term care insurance, even those who can easily afford it.

    The next generation’s going to be pretty busy working harder for less, paying off the national debt and struggling in ways we can’t imagine right now. I’d lower my expectations of living high off the hog on them.

  230. dan says:

    Sas, I wouldn’t consider myself politically active but most of the time I vote republican although I had a split ticket in ’08. You are criticizing the tea people for the exact reason they came to be. I remember back in 2005 or 2006 having a conversation with a family that probably has only one degree of separation from either Clinton or Obama and they though all the spending Bush was doing was great whether drugs or whatever. It was one of those conversations you grit your teeth on because he was right. Now the tea party group comes out and has a voice to say “Stop spending!!!!” and you criticize only because they didn’t do it earlier. Well, they’re doing it now.

  231. cobbler says:

    toomuchchange[236]
    I don’t think starting an intergenerational warfare is a good and constructive thing to engage in. Dealing with the elderly’s income support is only an issue because the birth rate happened to be very high for 15 or so years after the WW2, and was very low between 1930-45. For about 75% of the aged SS payment represent more than 50% of their income, and we should expect both of these numbers to increase thanks to the current and future state of economic disaster. Probably, top 2% or 5% of retirees do not need SS payments today to maintain their lifestyles. Reducing/eliminating their pensions via means testing will not solve the financing problem and will create another rift in the society: remember, NJ teachers and firemen were foaming at the mouth not because contributing 1.5% salary towards healthcare is such a big deal, but because it is a foot in the door – and they fully expect this contribution soon raising to the same level as the rest of us pay. Actually, extending FICA to the full earned income will more than pay for the top 5% of retirees benefits, plus some.

    Medical and nursing home care are a totally different animal, the one that will eventually eat us out of the house and home. I’ve been totally pissed off by the timidity of the Dems in pushing for the universal healthcare (the only real way to control expenses short of deporting the sick people to India or somewhere) and willingness of the Reps to sacrifice the future of the country (bullsh.it about death panels, unwillingness to make tort reform their price for buying into the package, demagoguery of any sort) for the victory in 2010 Congress elections.

  232. chicagofinance says:

    I haven’t implemented this with anyone….however, if you are approaching 70, are healthy, and have the requisite small chunk of change…I seen detailed write-ups of this from other sources. It is a PIA to get it going, but it can work…

    WSJ
    RUNNING WITH SCISSORS
    AUGUST 28, 2010
    How to Game Social Security By JEFF OPDYKE

    Hey, retirees: Looking for a way to bring in more money? Give back all the Social Security checks you have received so far.

    But you had better do it fast, since this loophole could soon close.

    An often-overlooked provision allows Social Security recipients to withdraw their original application for benefits and to refile. For many retirees already collecting benefits, the strategy—known informally as a “Social Security reset”—could sharply increase their monthly income. Larry Kotlikoff, a Boston University economics professor who has researched the strategy, likens it to finding tens of thousands of dollars or more “just lying on the sidewalk.”

    Be warned, though: Not all retirees will benefit, and those who potentially would will need access to a large stash of cash to start the process.

    That is because to withdraw your original application you must repay all the money Social Security already has paid you—and your spouse. Depending on how long you have been collecting, that can add up to a hefty sum, as your new benefit amount is based on your current age, not the age at which you originally applied for Social Security.

    The strategy is particularly useful for retirees considering buying an immediate annuity, which, in return for a lump sum of cash, provides an immediate stream of monthly checks generally set up so a retiree won’t outlive the money.

    In most cases, “the income from resetting Social Security will greatly exceed the annuity income,” says Charles Ryan, a certified financial planner in Annapolis, Md., who recently described the strategy in the Journal of Financial Planning.

    Mr. Ryan calculated the impact of resetting Social Security for an unmarried, 70-year-old female who originally filed for benefits at age 62. The result: Her after-tax benefits increase by $8,568 in the first year alone.

    To get there, though, she first had to repay the $110,845 in benefits she had already received. As part of the repayment process, she earns tax credits for the taxes she paid through the years on her benefits. The net repayment, according to Mr. Ryan’s calculations, is $87,290.

    Now, what else could she do with $87,290?

    As many retirees do, she could have purchased an immediate annuity to improve her standard of living and to ensure her nest egg never runs out while she is alive. Mr. Ryan’s research found that an $87,290 immediate annuity indexed to the Consumer Price Index would generate after-tax income of nearly $5,100 in the first year—well below the amount provided by resetting Social Security.

    Even greater benefits can accrue to married couples already receiving Social Security. In some cases, the strategy can mean a surviving spouse’s income will be substantially greater after the primary spouse dies.

    Still, the move isn’t right for everyone. Retirees who expect to end up on Medicaid, Mr. Kotlikoff says, might want to skip this. Medicaid, which is based on financial need, “will end up taking the additional money that comes in.”

    Those with a terminal illness who know their life expectancy is short generally won’t benefit because they likely won’t recoup in added benefits the costs of having repaid benefits already received.

    Perhaps most important, those who want to leave a lot of money to heirs should probably avoid this. You will use a bunch of cash to repay the Social Security Administration, but the added benefits you receive either die with you if you are single, or with your spouse. Children and charity won’t receive any checks.

    Determining on your own whether a reset will benefit you is a challenge because of the tax calculations and other issues. The best advice: Find a financial planner who understands this, or who has access to a computer program called ESPlanner that Mr. Kotlikoff helped design.

    “Personally, I’m neutral on this transaction,” Mr. Ryan says. “But it does make sense for a lot of people.”

    How many folks are actually hitting the reset button is hard to know, as the Social Security Administration doesn’t keep track of them. The agency says the provision was originally aimed at helping retirees who had already claimed benefits but were forced back to work for whatever reason, and is now considering a proposal that could effectively kill the practice.

    The reset strategy works because the Social Security system is wired to grow more generous the later one starts taking benefits. If you begin taking them early, meaning before your so-called full-retirement age, your benefit check shrinks by as much as 30%, depending on your year of birth. But for each year beyond full-retirement age that you still haven’t claimed benefits, you earn credits of generally between 7% and 8% a year.

    Consider that 70-year-old retiree in Mr. Ryan’s case study. She trades income that at age 62 was 78.3% of her full-retirement benefits for income eight years later that now is set at 132.7% of full-retirement benefits.

    “Unless you know your death is really close at hand, this is the way to go,” Boston University’s Mr. Kotlikoff says. “This is the safest, cheapest version of a lifetime annuity, and it’s from the government.”

    —Jason Zweig’s The Intelligent Investor column returns next week.

  233. yo'me says:

    “There is nothing exciting about the next generation having to spend 20-25% of their income to support the boomers, but it is unavoidable and will happen. If some feel that other people’s parents are less deserving than their own, in most cases this feeling is mutual…”

    52% of securities are now owned by Americans due to flight to safety and are not worried buying securities,but we are scare mongering about the SS trust fund which are guaranteed by the treasury . It is the easiest way to loose 2.6 trillion dollar (SS surpus )in deficit.When we default on our foreign debt then I will be worried.As of now everybody is getting paid.

    Are you forgetting the boomers paid for the generation before them and there was a big surplus which in turn were bought into treasuries that we call trust fund.This is the first year that the incoming money has a deficit.Treasury is paying the trust fund in interest.

    The rate of interest on special issues is determined by a formula enacted in 1960. The rate is determined at the end of each month and applies to new investments in the following month.
    The numeric average of the 12 monthly interest rates for 2009 was 2.917 percent. The annual effective interest rate (the average rate of return on all investments over a one-year period) for the OASI and DI Trust Funds, combined, was 4.860 percent in 2009. This higher effective rate resulted because the funds hold special-issue bonds acquired in past years when interest rates were higher.

    What were the amounts of securities bought and sold during recent years? The amount bought in 2009 was $1,049 billion, while the amount sold was $950 billion. See investment transactions for more detail and earlier years

    Why do some people describe the “special issue” securities held by the trust funds as worthless IOUs? What is SSA’s reaction to this criticism? As stated above, money flowing into the trust funds is invested in U. S. Government securities. Because the government spends this borrowed cash, some people see the current increase in the trust fund assets as an accumulation of securities that the government will be unable to make good on in the future. Without legislation to restore long-range solvency of the trust funds, redemption of long-term securities prior to maturity would be necessary.
    Far from being “worthless IOUs,” the investments held by the trust funds are backed by the full faith and credit of the U. S. Government. The government has always repaid Social Security, with interest. The special-issue securities are, therefore, just as safe as U.S. Savings Bonds or other financial instruments of the Federal government.

    Many options are being considered to restore long-range trust fund solvency. These options are being considered now, over 25 years in advance of the year the funds are likely to be exhausted. It is thus likely that legislation will be enacted to restore long-term solvency, making it unlikely that the trust funds’ securities will need to be redeemed on a large scale prior to maturity.

    Can the Social Security Trust Funds remain solvent without making changes to the program? In the annual Trustees Report, projections are made under three alternative sets of economic and demographic assumptions. Under one of these sets (labeled “Low Cost”) the trust funds remain solvent for the next 75 years. Under the other two sets (the “Intermediate” and “High Cost”), the trust funds become depleted within the next 30 years. The intermediate assumptions reflect the Trustees’ best estimate of future experience.
    The Trustees believe that extensive public discussion and analysis of the long-range financing problems of the Social Security program are essential in developing broad support for changes to restore the long-range balance of the program.

    Were the assets of the Social Security Trust Funds depleted in the past? The assets of the larger trust fund (OASI), from which retirement benefits are paid, were nearly depleted in 1982. No beneficiary was shortchanged because the Congress enacted temporary emergency legislation that permitted borrowing from other Federal trust funds and then later enacted legislation to strengthen OASI Trust Fund financing. The borrowed amounts were repaid with interest within 4 years.

    http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/ProgData/fundFAQ.html#n3

  234. Mr Hyde says:

    SAS3

    Why do you insist on framing your debate in left V right, blue V red? You destroy the debate from the outset by doing so. Wantan makes a great point in tha history shows that money flows to where it is best treated regardless of the political parties involved. The money will flow to those practicing the more sound financial policies. This has been the case as long as money has existed. Trying to turn it into left V right sounds ignorant. Neither politicial party in the US has practiced sound financial policies for several decades.

    In regards to means testing entitlement programs, the feasibility is irrelevant. It will happen. Unconstrained exponential growth of entitlement programs is impossible to sustain with out a continuously increasing population/consumption growth rate. Any such proposal is no different then proposing a perpetual motion machine.

    To put it another way, imagine a bridge with a rotting foundation. You are arguing over how many cars and in what order they may cross the bridge while ignoring the rotting foundation. Fix the rotting foundation and the other arguments are a moot point. Fail to address the rotting foundation and it ends up collapsing regardless of who has “more” right to use the bridge.

  235. rhymingrealtor says:

    Hi Jim,

    Yes it has been a long time but you were here when I popped back on to let you guys know I had jumped on the Public employee band wagon right? I have to follow the trends (0:

    KL

  236. NJGator says:

    Doom – Stu and I will rent you some space in our basement cheap so you can launch your mayoral bid.

  237. cobbler says:

    yo’me [240]
    Whether the checks deposited into SS recipients’ accounts technically come from FICA or from the redemption of the trust funds bonds is irrelevant. In both cases (assuming the USG continues to run at least some deficit) this money comes from the current year’s taxes or deficit increase.

  238. yo'me says:

    money flows to where it is best treated regardless of the political parties involved. The money will flow to those practicing the more sound financial policies. This has been the case as long as money has existed.

    True.But this country was not build due to greed.Before the 80s anybody with a dream can make it.Where are the small mom and pop’s store?Taken away by the big companies.I remember talking to one of this small store owners.During hard times,they squezzed the bottom line just to stay afloat and keep their workers.Workers can work and not worry about retirement,money will be there.The big companies protect the investors.The first one to go are the workers to show profit.We survived without greed before and the envy of every country.This is what we call progress.Dog eat dog world.

  239. cobbler says:

    hyde [241]
    Means testing for the Social Security doesn’t make sense since only a small %% of the recipients will be purged (large majority of the retirees depend on SS for more than 50% of their incomes); thus, marginal savings will be obtained at the expense of pissing off very large number of people. Had the SS been officially funded not via FICA but through the general taxation, things might have been different. When every worker gets an annual statement telling how much he/she and his employer contributed to the SS funds, it is naive to think you can just tell “you saved too much in 401K, so you can go without SS” without causing a backlash much greater than what was seen on healthcare reform (where total amount to be pulled from Medicare was relatively small v. the size of the program, and fraud and abuse presumably targeted for savings are well known to exist in droves).

    For healthcare means testing actually exists (in form of Medicaid eligibility and differential in Medicare contributions for varying incomes). I believe Medicaid in its current form is one of the most corrosive elements of our system as it provides lavish but arbitrary list of the covered benefits (e.g. orthopedic footwear for almost everyone who asks, but no root canal treatments) but pays so little to the providers that they are frequently forced to choose between dropping out and padding the bills.

  240. yo'me says:

    244 Cobler
    this money comes from the current year’s taxes or deficit increase.

    Not true.Money coming in from FICA was always enough to cover current payments with surplus.2009 is the first year that money coming in was not able to cover current payments.

  241. Mr Hyde says:

    Yome 245

    Welcome to globalization. As long as large companies can leverage less rigorous regulations ( environmental, health, labor, etc) across international borders you are facing a race to the bottom where the small fish will never be able to compete against the big corporation. The only way small local businesses compete with big corporations would be through the use of equalization tariffs on foreign nations who require less strict standards. The end result of free trade globalism is a race to all become chinese factory workers.
    Concurrently, as long as large companies can legally interact in the political process as a “legal” person (i.e. money = speech), both the small business and the general public will fall under the shadow or large corporations.

  242. cobbler says:

    yo’me [247]
    I mean, it comes from the taxes whether it is FICA proper or general taxation whose proceeds are used to redeem the trust fund bonds.

  243. yo'me says:

    The 10 year rule of contributing to SS and being able to collect at retirement needs to be adjusted up at least 20.And people that contributed less than that should not qualify.That will discourage older immigrants to come and work here for 10 years and get a lifetime SS benefits.Older immigrants that never work and become US citizen should not qualify for SSI.

  244. Outofstater says:

    #245 Where are the mom and pop stores? Replaced by supermarkets which are more efficient. It’s progress. And greed doesn’t necessarily reign supreme now. I know of a company which had pay freezes and furloughs and reduced hours recently and then finally reinstated raises, but only for the lowest paid employees. This company is a subsidiary of a Fortune 500 company and no one batted an eye about it.

  245. yo'me says:

    #249 But SS payments never added to the deficit

  246. Confused in NJ says:

    Looks like Ben is going Japanese:

    Bernanke outlined two other relief options:

    –Disclosing more information in the Fed’s post-meeting policy statements about how long Fed policymakers would continue to hold rates at record lows. For more than a year, the Fed has been pledging to hold rates at ultra-low levels for an “extended period.”

    — Cutting to zero the interest the Fed pays for banks to keep money parked at the Fed. That rate is now 0.25 percent. The goal would be to induce banks to withdraw their money from the Fed and lend it instead.

  247. yo'me says:

    Where are the mom and pop stores? Replaced by supermarkets which are more efficient

    Just like I said,before this dog eat dog world,you can dream of owning a business and you can survive.

  248. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    “217, Wantan,”
    “Can I come to? I haven’t seen my smoochy smoochy in sooooo long…. I miss those gasoline soaked boxers….

    SL,

    You need not ask for an invite. You have an open invite. In this case, in one fell swoop, you’ll be cleaning the chips off the table.

    Sorry 50,5, SL cleans your clock.

  249. Al Gore says:

    198.

    Sas3,

    Look doll face. This is what the small business owner needs. Stability and truth. Until we get it we will continue to pray for collapse so that we can rebuild. Its that simple. All those fantasy dreams of yours are going to be squashed by the harsh reality of economic destruction brought to you by the fiat fraud. Forget the divisive talk from the zionist and communist pigs you hear on mainstream media. We all are f_cked. Let it collapse and when he IMF comes in with the SDR and/or bancor it time for clickity clack slide the rack back.

    Im laying it down sista. Are you picking it up?

  250. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    Go ahead, tax the producers. If capital decides to flow upstream, do you have a paddle? Why are there 25 million Sally’s unemployed/underemployed? Stop the madness, there is no revenue problem. It’s the spendingaholics who must be restrained. Let’s give incentives to small business’s to hire, create real jobs that produce tax revenue. It’s time to forget about calorie assistance. Get off the f-ing couch and be productive. Only simpletons woud argue for additional taxes. Then again, the same dolts told me I was an idiot for selling in 2005. Go figure.

    By MICHAEL P. FLEISCHER

    With unemployment just under 10% and companies sitting on their cash, you would think that sooner or later job growth would take off. I think it’s going to be later—much later. Here’s why. Meet Sally (not her real name; details changed to preserve privacy). Sally is a terrific employee, and she happens to be the median person in terms of base pay among the 83 people at my little company in New Jersey, where we provide audio systems for use in educational, commercial and industrial settings. She’s been with us for over 15 years. She’s a high school graduate with some specialized training. She makes $59,000 a year—on paper. In reality, she makes only $44,000 a year because $15,000 is taken from her thanks to various deductions and taxes, all of which form the steep, sad slope between gross and net pay. Daniel Henninger discusses how Robert Rubin and Alan Greenspan agree that Americans should send more of their paychecks to Washington. Also, Fannie and Freddie ask for more cash within weeks of an Obama pledge to end taxpayer rescues. Before that money hits her bank, it is reduced by the $2,376 she pays as her share of the medical and dental insurance that my company provides. And then the government takes its due. She pays $126 for state unemployment insurance, $149 for disability insurance and $856 for Medicare. That’s the small stuff. New Jersey takes $1,893 in income taxes. The federal government gets $3,661 for Social Security and another $6,250 for income tax withholding. The roughly $13,000 taken from her by various government entities means that some 22% of her gross pay goes to Washington or Trenton. She’s lucky she doesn’t live in New York City, where the toll would be even higher.More * Some Firms Struggle to Hire Despite High Unemployment* Faces—and Fates—of the Jobless Employing Sally costs plenty too. My company has to write checks for $74,000 so Sally can receive her nominal $59,000 in base pay. Health insurance is a big, added cost: While Sally pays nearly $2,400 for coverage, my company pays the rest—$9,561 for employee/spouse medical and dental. We also provide company-paid life and other insurance premiums amounting to $153. Altogether, company-paid benefits add $9,714 to the cost of employing Sally. Then the federal and state governments want a little something extra. They take $56 for federal unemployment coverage, $149 for disability insurance, $300 for workers’ comp and $505 for state unemployment insurance. Finally, the feds make me pay $856 for Sally’s Medicare and $3,661 for her Social Security. When you add it all up, it costs $74,000 to put $44,000 in Sally’s pocket and to give her $12,000 in benefits.

    Bottom line: Governments impose a 33% surtax on Sally’s job each year. Because my company has been conscripted by the government and forced to serve as a tax collector, we have lost control of a big chunk of our cost structure. Tax increases, whether cloaked as changes in unemployment or disability insurance, Medicare increases or in any other form can dramatically alter our financial situation. With government spending and deficits growing as fast as they have been, you know that more tax increases are coming—for my company, and even for Sally too. Companies have also been pressed into serving as providers of health insurance. In a saner world, health insurance would be something that individuals buy for themselves and their families, just as they do with auto insurance. Now, adding to the insanity, there is ObamaCare. Every year, we negotiate a renewal to our health coverage. This year, our provider demanded a 28% increase in premiums—for a lesser plan. This is in part a tax increase that the federal government has co-opted insurance providers to collect. We had never faced an increase anywhere near this large; in each of the last two years, the increase was under 10%. To offset tax increases and steepening rises in health-insurance premiums, my company needs sustainably higher profits and sales—something unlikely in this “summer of recovery.” We can’t pass the additional costs onto our customers, because the market is too tight and we’d lose sales. Only governments can raise prices repeatedly and pretend there will be no consequences. And even if the economic outlook were more encouraging, increasing revenues is always uncertain and expensive. As much as I might want to hire new salespeople, engineers and marketing staff in an effort to grow, I would be increasing my company’s vulnerability to government decisions to raise taxes, to policies that make health insurance more expensive, and to the difficulties of this economic environment. A life in business is filled with uncertainties, but I can be quite sure that every time I hire someone my obligations to the government go up. From where I sit, the government’s message is unmistakable: Creating a new job carries a punishing price. Mr. Fleischer is president of Bogen Communications Inc. in Ramsey, N.J.

  251. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    “Looks like Ben is going Japanese:”

    From the 50 yard line, it looks like BC Bob has gone Wantanapolous.

    Well, the whole scenario was laid out on a silver platter in 2005. Unfortunately, only a few grasped it. They are now flush.

  252. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    AG,

    When I grow up, I wanne be like U.

  253. Outofstater says:

    #254 It has always been a dog eat dog world. That is the nature of capitalism and a free market. The trick is to avoid wearing Milk Bone underwear.

  254. Al Gore says:

    158.

    I disagree. We are going Argentina with a slice of Weimar. Im convinved well see a 30 yr for qualified borrowers at sub 4% intiated of course by manufactured crisis. World goverment via world currency is the goal. We just need to back ourselves into the semantics from here on out.

  255. Al Gore says:

    159.

    Wantan,

    When I grow up I want to have as many ounces as you. And no. You dont want to get inside my brain. Its complicated and sometimes violent.

  256. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    “True.But this country was not build due to greed.”

    Yome,

    I agree, before 1913. Since then $1.00 is now worth .04. A private entity, with zero reserves, [fed], has been stealing you blind since then. In your book, it may not be termed greed; rather a master plan?

  257. nj escapee says:

    257, Mr Wantanapolous, the math is ugly. I too sold my NJ home in Sept, 2005 and moved into my FL home which I purchased back in 2000. I pay no state income taxes and my real estate tax bill here in the Keys has decreased from 3800 to 1320. HO insurance rates have suprisingly fallen as well.

  258. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    “You dont want to get inside my brain. Its complicated and sometimes violent.”

    AG,

    That’s OK. The path will lead us to a fork in the road, [Yogi]. At that point, we’ll follow the yellow brick road, regardless of your complicated brain.

    If the idiots/liars/fraudsters/carnival barkers want to continue their charade and blow up the world, we’ll just have to oblige and be a contra party.

  259. cobbler says:

    wantan [257]
    I am amazed that Mr. Fleischer was able to not have sunk his company yet.

  260. gary says:

    From where I sit, the government’s message is unmistakable: Creating a new job carries a punishing price.

    If November doesn’t turn out to be a bloodbath just for the sake of shaking it up, then we’re done.

  261. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    NJ [264],

    I may be following your path. Forget about capital growth; it’s all about preservation. The A-Holes are devising all ways to pick our pockets. It’s over, blow the crap to smithereens; start from scratch.

  262. Mr Hyde says:

    Props to BC Bob / Wantan

    He has called the gold game since i showed up on this blog several years ago. He has been calling for the japanese conversion for just as long.

    In terms of the so called gold bubble, let me ask the following. How can there be a gold bubble when every corner store is offering to buy gold? We Know the gold bubble is near peak when all of those signs change from “We Buy Gold” to “We Sell Gold

    Its no different then housing

  263. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    cobbler [266],

    They make kick ass speakers.

  264. nj escapee says:

    Hyde, I agree that there is no gold bubble. I guess I’m concerned about TBTB’s ability to make ownership illegal. It happened before.

  265. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    Hyde [269],

    No props required. The architect’s laid down the red carpet. One with a pulse, just reacts.

    Bubble? You’re right, those in dire straights are selling. At this time, approx 0.68 of worldwide investmets are in gold, the etf, or mining related entities. Can you just imagine where gold will be when 3.00% of assets are in gold? Dow/gold;2/1? It’s the mother of all bull markets, going much higher.

    By the way, I hope this site jumped in when the Aug/Dec gold spread collapsed. Probably not, too busy arguing elephants/donkeys; a schematic that the banking cartel drew back in 1913. Congrats, you, [not Hyde] are cooperating.

  266. Al Gore says:

    171.

    F_ck em. We have reached that point if not beyond. Time to grab a sack gentlemen.

    By the way, thanks to all the voices of reason. It keeps my magazines unloaded.

  267. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    NJ [271],

    When that happened our toilet paper, not at that time, was backed by gold. Since the thieves are not constrained, at the present time, why now? They can print/print with no consequences; until they surface. If there is an attempt, it may drive the price much higher; since Asian cash buying has sent it into backwardation. The world will not give 2 sheets if this falling empire claims it’s illegal. Just as currency intervention fails, any attempt to quash the currency, with zero liabilities, will fail.

    Buy all/any pullbacks. Our only hope is QE till infinity; trash the legal tender. Forget about pets.com, it’s gold.com. [no disrespect meant to my fav; silver]

  268. nj escapee says:

    Mr Wantanapolous 274, My wife and I talk about adding a position but we’re not sure what form to purchase. Do we purchase physical or gold backed ETF. I am not comfortable keeping physical at home. Do we store it in a safe deposit box?

  269. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    Hyde[269],

    When there are lines outside Verz/ATT stores, that have been converted to selling gold, and stock P/E ratios are 5-6, I’ll have my palms out, selling shiny and buying paper. At that time, I’ll be labelled an idiot for selling a no brainer and buying worthless stocks. Akin to 4 walls and a roof!

  270. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    NJ [275],

    F, the ETF; it’s strictly paper, not backed, buy physical. Make sure you are buying pure physical, i.e.,handy and harmon. Also, the large/well capitalized miners might be worth a look/see.

    Disclaimer: I hate thieves that devalue the stock of our country.

  271. Let them Eat Cake says:

    What recession?

    “EDGARTOWN, Mass. — President Barack Obama [and Michelle Antoinette] wrapped up a 10-day vacation Saturday that was blissfully free of the news emergencies that have interrupted some of his past getaways. Grim economic reports cast an inescapable shadow over the first family’s stay in Martha’s Vineyard, and tough tasks on Iraq and the Middle East await the president in Washington after a stop in New Orleans Sunday on the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina”

  272. nj escapee says:

    Hey Cake that’s old news. I can’t wait till next year when the Obama clan makes it to the Cannes Film Festival or to Monaco to hang out with Bono and all the beautiful people.

  273. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    I’m baffled. On Tuesday’s, Aiko Wantanabe is starting to get on my nerves. She continues to fight the trend, does not understand why the yen is rising. On Thursday’s, Alkmene Rigapolous is bitching that she now has to work 40 hours a week and can’t retire at 50, with a 100% pension.

    50.5,
    They are wearing me out. When you bulldoze 2 million homes, can you lojack them and wipe them out. It’s time for me to party like it’s 1999.

  274. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    “What recession?”

    Cake,

    I agree; it’s a balance sheet depression.

  275. Final Doom says:

    BC (216)-

    We’re too far gone. Half the people posting here don’t understand formulation of capital or why it’s even important. They’ve drunk the “tax the rich” Kool-Aid, and all the rest is downhill.

    My son’s game is good enough to stick in Chile. Just gotta convince the rest of my family we need to get out of here.

  276. Final Doom says:

    west (230)-

    You are talking to a wall.

  277. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    Doom[282],

    My bad. Food stamps are more pertinent.

  278. Final Doom says:

    Just give everybody a 10K property tax bill, Chik-fil-a on demand, 475 channels of bullshit on TV and lots of little blue pills. Then, let the fascists gangr@pe our country.

    It’s all good.

    I like french fries.

  279. Final Doom says:

    BC (284)-

    I haven’t seen a food stamp since I was 10 years old…but I bet it’s the easiest piece of paper on Earth to counterfeit.

  280. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    “You are talking to a wall.”

    Doom,

    I’ve been in those shoes. I sat on the field, Fenway, for Bruce. I told Bill Walton that he, and that damn wall, s#cks.

  281. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    Doom [286],

    I can’t wait until I get my hands on food stamps filled w/tungsten.

  282. Final Doom says:

    hyde (241)-

    You are correct, sir. For some reason, Sastry is just dying to self-destruct.

  283. Final Doom says:

    Can you make bullets out of tungsten?

  284. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    Oh shit, gotta run; BC Jane wants to know who is Aiko Wantanabe and Alkmene Rigapolous. I may need Bergabe, better yet AG, to prepare a statement for me. Come to think of it, is Nom in the house?

  285. cobbler says:

    doom [290]
    Actually, they’ve been making the key elements of armor-piercing ammo out of tungsten but then figured out that using depleted uranium (about as heavy, abundant and easier to process) is more cost-effective.

  286. Barbara says:

    anyone audit fort knox lately?

  287. The crows are disappearing from North Jersey skies. Kyler Historical

  288. Dark Matters says:

    Reinvestor #203:

    Instead of being MAD at the “vultures,” why not be MAD at the “hucksters” who sold the property back in 2005? After all, vultures are simply carrion feeders that pick over the carcasses of the dead – they don’t prey on the living.

    And FWIW the buyer in 2005 might have been an INVESTOR – so they should have known the risks of real estate investment. Oh wait, now I see why you’re MAD!

    …as Emily Litella would meekly say, “Never mind.”

  289. A.West says:

    257, great post. Jobs are created where they can produce the greatest economic benefit at the lowest cost. The government has created a huge marginal cost to creating marginal jobs in the US (esp. NJ), which on top of the already high wage rates in a global context, is making it very difficult to justify new hires for a wide range of industries in the US. The left wants to address this by replacing economic value-added jobs with government jobs that eat capital. Some on the right (e.g. Pat Buchannan) imagine they can magically save jobs and income levels by turning isolationist and evicting immigrants and cutting off the US from the world economy.
    There’s only one solution though – free up the economy and work your butt off to compete where there’s a competitive advantage vs the world.

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