“We still have a long way to go”

From the Record:

Third quarter saw record foreclosures in N.J.

A record number of New Jersey mortgage holders were either in foreclosure or late on their monthly payments during the third quarter, the Mortgage Bankers Association said Thursday.

About 15.5 percent of Garden State mortgage holders — almost one in six — were in trouble, up from 14.5 percent in the year-ago quarter. New Jersey was 25th in delinquencies and ninth in foreclosures started nationwide.

The housing market will continue to be dragged down by foreclosure activity into 2011, Fratantoni predicted.

“There’s a very substantial overhang of homes on the market,” he said. Foreclosure activity is expected to dump millions more homes on the market, he said. Since foreclosed homes usually sell at a discount, this is likely to keep home prices from rebounding.

“People are still losing their jobs and having a difficult time finding a job,” he said. “And they have a lot of difficulty selling their homes” to get out from under mortgages they can no longer afford.

“We still have a long way to go,” he said.

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

208 Responses to “We still have a long way to go”

  1. grim says:

    From the Record:

    Roche cutting 900 Nutley jobs; 4,800 companywide

    The announcement by Roche Holding AG. Wednesday that it will cut 900 jobs from its sprawling Nutley-Clifton campus stunned Roche workers and left business owners and officials struggling to absorb the implications.

    The 38 percent reduction in the campus workforce of about 2,400 will be completed by the end of 2012, and could reduce the headcount to as low as 1,400, said spokesman Alfred Wasilewski. Job cuts will be mostly in product development and administration, the company said.

    Employees leaving the 127-acre campus, which is mainly in Nutley but partly in Clifton, appeared stunned by the news.

    “It’s not a good day,” said one woman, who declined to comment further as she walked to her car.

    An analyst at the facility, who also wouldn’t give her name, called the announcement of the cuts “shocking.”

    “People just didn’t see this coming,” she said. “It’s a mixed thing for everyone. Some looked calm. Some were more emotional.”

    Nutley Mayor Joanne Cocchiola said she was still trying to assess the impact on the township from the diminishing presence of its biggest employer and taxpayer, paying between $8 million and $9 million a year.

    “It’s very upsetting,” she said, adding that she was told some jobs would be transferred abroad. “It’s upsetting as well that our local people are going to lose their jobs, and they will be moved overseas.”

    She worried that the company would inevitably reduce the number of buildings on the site, and so its tax bill.

  2. relo says:

    180 (prior): 250,

    Sorry, not sure I follow. I was being facetious about business owners in an attempt to illustrate that the $250k in reportable income is not equal across the board.

    Dual-income HH of $250K coming from a corporation reporting every last cent of your earnings? Yeah, thats rich alright. In the same way that Kraft Easy Cheese is rich, smooth and delicious.

    ps – Firstest

  3. grim says:

    From HousingWire:

    Ambac reviewing loans in RMBS, suing for breach of representions

    Ambac Financial Group’s main operating unit is reviewing a number of loans included in residential mortgage-backed securities it insures to see if there are “breaches of representations and warranties made by the sponsors of such securities” when they were issued.

    The bond insurer also sued another handful of trusts, including many Countrywide entities, that sold MBS, claiming the sponsors of the debt misrepresented the securities at the time of the sale.

    Ambac said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it feels entitled to some form of restitution from the issuers of the debt. The company also plans to seek repurchase of many of the loans included in the RMBS.

  4. 250K says:

    3 relo – I meant that we need not feel sorry for all business owners barely breaking the 250 mark. Sure some can’t keep their businesses afloat. Others purposefully make theirs a cash business to evade taxation, and worse.

    “Apparently Congress has 2 income classifications: top 2% = rich, other 98% = middle class ” – Briant Sullivan

  5. Confused In NJ says:

    Amazing how the news keeps uncovering things which were obvious years ago to anyone not versed in psychobabble.

  6. Confused In NJ says:

    “O” can save about 2,000 jobs by giving Charle Brown’s the $2M that was stolen by their CEO. Cheap Stimulus.

  7. Confused In NJ says:

    This piece of the Ireland article sounds like the USA.

    “When does denial turn into delusion?” Joan Burton, finance spokeswoman of the opposition Labour Party, said to Lenihan and Coughlan during a parliamentary debate. She accused the government of lying to the public about the inevitability of a bailout.

    All across the eurozone, analysts say, debt-burdened governments are living in denial about their weakening power to keep drumming up fresh finance from skeptical bond markets and foreign banks

  8. Confused In NJ says:

    I bet they didn’t lose their Pension!

    NEWARK — A high-ranking Newark firefighter pleaded guilty to federal tax evasion today, becoming the fifth Newark public safety officer to admit to falsely claiming 99 exemptions on his or her tax form.

    Michael White, chief of the fire department’s communications division, admitted to illegally claiming the exemptions between 2000 and 2008.

    White, 41, said little as he plead guilty to one felony tax evasion count in front of Judge Mary L. Cooper in Trenton federal court, accepting responsibility for illegally avoiding between $30,000 and $80,000 in taxes.

    “I plead guilty, ma’am,” he told Cooper.

    White remains employed with the department, according to his attorney, Joseph D. Rotella, who said the conduct did not touch on his professional duties. A spokesman for the fire department declined to comment.

    White faces a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, although the judge can exercise discretion in his sentencing, which is scheduled for March 9.

    Less than an hour before White’s plea, a former Newark police officer was sentenced to three years of probation for engaging in the same scheme. She will be confined to home for the first six months of the sentence, except to look for work, attend religious services, participate in school events with her son, or in case of medical emergencies.

    Michele Davis, 43, said she was sorry for cheating $30,246 in taxes, and asked Judge Cooper to spare her jail time because she is the single parent of a 14-year-old son with special needs.

    “I just want to apologize for my mistake,” said Davis, a 22-year veteran of the force. “I beg the court to allow me to stay home and take care of my son.”

    Cooper said the fact that Davis cooperated in the investigation, expressed remorse, has to take care of her son, has no prior criminal record and is actively looking for work were among the factors that made her decide on a more lenient sentence.

    “This is a very sad fall from grace for someone who has devoted her entire career to serving the public,” she said, adding that she would not impose a fine because Davis is broke.

    Davis will have to repay all $30,246 to the IRS, however.

    Three other members of the Newark Police Department have pleaded guilty to the same scheme over the last two months: Gregory Bibb, a former identification officer; Marion Reynolds, a seargent; and Leslie Wofford, a communications officer

  9. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    “We still have a long way to go,”

    If he was on this site, he would have realized, a long time ago, that it will be much longer and deeper than most can imagine.

    It’s gonna be a long walk home.

  10. safe as houses says:

    #9 Mr Wantanapolous,

    Amen to that long walk.

    When I was living in Warren I found out that one of the local churches did an anonymous financial survey of the congregation. 1,200 members living in Warren, Watchung, Basking Ridge, and similar towns. Average family was 20k in credit card debt, very few cars were owned outright, hardly anyone had 6 months of monthly expenses in reserves. A lot of “wealth” in the area was an illusion. A lot of people were living paycheck to paycheck and would probably implode if they got laid off or were given a 10% pay cut.

    I see families with lots of toys and think the 3 most common ways they are paying for it.

    1) They are getting help from relatives or inherited money

    2) They have a job or business that creates undeclared cash earnings

    3) They are in debt up to eyes

    I’ve looked up stats for incomes for towns, and have seen them broken down by age. Their’s no way families earning 130 to 150k with 3 little kids, a CHC or cape bought between 2003 and 07, 2 new cars, 2 vacations a year, commuting costs can make their monthly nut, build reserves, and save for retirement and college.

  11. Nomad says:

    #9 & #10

    A very long walk if the masses can even make it.

    After reading a link on today’s zero – hedge, it truly amazes me how people get caught up in the “keeping up with the Joneses” crap. Can a family of 4 live in NJ on $250k and be comfortable? Yes they can but if they are not willing to separate their wants from their needs and eliminate all the wants spending, it ain’t gonna happen.

    How F’d up is our population that they are so miserable that they try to buy happiness or status / acceptance among their neighbors with “stuff”.

    Once upon a time you went outside and played with your friends or went up to the school playground. A week of camp if you were lucky, maybe. Holiday trips to FL or skiing in CO, nope and most of us who lived this way survived.

    Stone walls do not a prison make nor iron bars a cage – but big house, big credit card bills and big living do.

  12. House Whine says:

    11-so well said. We have raised the bar to such an extent that we feel deprived. Last night I watched some news show regarding the cholera outbreak now in Haiti. Simply horrifying to think that this is happening in 2010. Apparently the cholera has now spread to parts of the Dominican Republic. In advance of Thanksgiving, I am thankful for all I have.

  13. Fast Eddie says:

    And meanwhile, some fat, drunken bast@rd and his hag wife refuse to take a penny less than $619,000 for their 3bd/1.5bth dank smelling dump equipped with walnut paneling in the living room, an avocado range in the kitchen and a “finished” basement with black and white floor tiles with a free-standing toilet smack dap in the middle of the floor surrounded by an old dusty curtain for privacy.

  14. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    Nomad [11],

    Forget about keeping up with the Joneses, they’re digging themselves into a deep ditch.

  15. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    Nomad [11],

    Forget about keeping up with the Joneses, they’re digging themselves into a deep grave.

  16. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [129][prior thread] Juice box

    The Deplumes went to Steamboat a few years ago. Good time, great skiing, very family friendly mountain. I liked it and would go back.

    One tip: If you can, fly into Hayden instead of Denver. Save a lot of driving. You can arrange shuttles to take you to the resorts, and we had no trouble getting around Steamboat Springs without a car (resort vans and local buses).

  17. Essex says:

    Good news: I just sold my Omega on eBay.
    Bad News: I am using the proceeds to buy another guitar.

  18. Shore Guy says:

    Maybe an Israeli worm is at fault for our RE bubble and bust:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/19/world/middleeast/19stuxnet.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

    Experts dissecting the computer worm suspected of being aimed at Iran’s nuclear program have determined that it was precisely calibrated in a way that could send nuclear centrifuges wildly out of control.

    Their conclusion, while not definitive, begins to clear some of the fog around the Stuxnet worm, a malicious program detected earlier this year on computers, primarily in Iran but also India, Indonesia and other countries.

    The paternity of the worm is still in dispute, but in recent weeks officials from Israel have broken into wide smiles when asked whether Israel was behind the attack, or knew who was. American officials have suggested it originated abroad.

    The new forensic work narrows the range of targets and deciphers the worm’s plan of attack. Computer analysts say Stuxnet does its damage by making quick changes in the rotational speed of motors, shifting them rapidly up and down.

    Changing the speed “sabotages the normal operation of the industrial control process,” Eric Chien, a researcher at the computer security company Symantec, wrote in a blog post.

    Those fluctuations, nuclear analysts said in response to the report, are a recipe for disaster among the thousands of centrifuges spinning in Iran to enrich uranium, which can fuel reactors or bombs. Rapid changes can cause them to blow apart.

    snip

  19. safe as houses says:

    Nomad and House Whine

    Exactly. The things i enjoy doing the most are free or very inexpensive. Playing with the kids in the playground or backyard, drawing and playing board games with them, cooking with old pots and pans. Most material stuff gets used the first few weeks or months, then it just takes up space and collects dust as it gets buried behind other stuff before it winds up in a landfill forever. Meanwhile the money you spent on it is wasted, or even worse its being carried on a credit card.

  20. Shore Guy says:

    “Forget about keeping up with the Joneses”

    Yea, it is like trying to keep up with Thelma and Louise as they speed towards the rim of the canyon.

  21. Confused In NJ says:

    Mayor Bloomberg today is expected to order thousands of layoffs next year in bruising budget cuts intended to close a massive gap, sources told The Post last night.

    Bloomberg will announce the widespread job reductions and service cuts as he tries to close the nearly $3.3 billion budget deficit the city is facing next year.

    In September he directed all agency heads to cut 5.4 percent from their current budgets and 8 percent from their spending plans for next year.

    The cuts were lower — 2.7 percent this year and 4 percent next year — for the Department of Education and the four uniformed agencies, the NYPD, FDNY, Sanitation and Correction.

    The total cuts over the next 18 months will total at least $1.5 billion.

    The Department of Finance is expected to take a steep hit of about 100 layoffs, several sources said.

    The mayor will also announce reductions in staff through attrition.

    When asked about layoffs yesterday the mayor replied, “Doing more with less always means fewer people because 80 percent of your budget is spent on salaries and benefits.”

    One source familiar with what the mayor will announce today said Hizzoner will drop the budget ax hard on services for seniors, libraries and cultural centers, while trying to spare the NYPD and Department of Education.

    The mayor also is expected to propose closing 20 fire companies at night — a tempered plan after his suggestion to completely shutter 20 fire companies last year faced resistance.

    The City Council ultimately restored funding for those companies.

  22. Shore Guy says:

    There may be a good number of TSA screeners who will be looking for new jobs soon. I know Mica and he understands security and he can be very persuasive:

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hkv8DAy2qgKuuVCICy6HASaKlFFQ?docId=c5e727bff09845e393608ea000909811

  23. nj escapee says:

    Essex, Ok what are you getting?

  24. Essex says:

    Well I got a Giffin. It’ll be mine by the holidays.

    http://www.giffinguitars.com/model_t.htm

    Mine’s Black with two P90s. Yeah. Baby, stoked.

  25. shore (18)-

    To give you an idea of the mental acuity of the NYT, Zero Hedge was all over Stuxnet more than two months ago.

  26. Essex says:

    My strat will sell in a day. A bid already on it. I ‘do’ want to stay married.

  27. GWB was mundane, predictable, plodding and oddly s@distic as our Il Duce.

    Now here he is on Leno: affable, relaxed, joking, self-deprecating and taking the high road vis-a-vis Bojangles. Every time I see him on TV, he is more likable and engaging than the time before. Other than the fact that he’s beginning to visibly age, he appears to be someone you’d want walking into office to face the next eight years rather than the guy who just got slagged all over the place for nearly a decade in office.

    I really am just about to completely go batshit.

  28. Essex says:

    When you are no longer beholden to Cheney, the world is a much brighter place.

  29. It really amazes me how expensive it is in NJ. The other day my wife and I went to look at a modest 4 bd, 2 ba house in Bridgewater listed at 450k with 12k in real estate taxes. What I don’t get is how people really believe that a young couple who would like to have 2 kids, which this house is designed for, is supposed to afford it. How are we going to save for their college, our retirement, taxes, insurance, and live unless we make 350k. We decided to just continue renting until people here in NJ realize that people who actually need these types of homes don’t earn that much, then when they really leave because even they can’t afford it anymore on their retirement income it may be time to buy when they either forclose or short sell. Til then no house purchase for us!

  30. Essex says:

    If you are in a certain income group it makes sense to buy from a tax standpoint. Otherwise, I would never do it. Maintenance and add-ons suck money from you at every turn.

  31. Essex says:

    What I find amazing is that people can and do live here on some very meager incomes. It is strange but true. I wonder how the hell they do it. No wonder corruption is so rampant in the state.

  32. young buck says:

    Mount Olive cop: Politicians caused pension woes

    Posted: Friday, November 12, 2010 12:00 am
    Editor’s note: The writer, Michael Poquat, is a police officer in Mount Olive Township.

    As a police officer in the state of New Jersey, I find myself unable to sit by while the current climate of public employee bashing continues under the misinformation fed to the public by the media and our current governor.

    While I can not comment on the teacher’s retirement system, I can speak about the Police and Fire Retirement Fund (PFRS), and more specifically, how it has been mishandled by some of our elected officials. The truth should come out, and the public has a right to know how we got to where we are today.

    Long before I became a police officer, the state of New Jersey enacted a law which required police officers and firemen to contribute a certain percentage of their salary into the state’s “secure” pension fund. Throughout my 22 year career, I have paid 8.5 percent of my salary, as mandated by law, into this fund every pay period.

    I was not given the option to place my 8.5 percent in an IRA or other investment fund. Every pay check since I was 25 years old had the 8.5 percent taken out of my pay and placed into the PFRS with the promise that the money would be there when I retired. By law, towns and municipalities were required to match that 8.5 percent.

    By the time Gov. Christine Todd Whitman took office, there was over $100 billion in the fund. This meant that at the current rate of retirements, pension costs for police officers and firemen were funded at 104 percent, well into the future. This was a prudent and financially responsible plan that worked, and it provided security for the families of these men and woman who risked their lives every day serving and protecting the citizens of New Jersey.

    In no way was it heavily over funded or excessive. It covered the costs of promised retirements with a small cushion left over. It was at this time that Whitman stepped in. Gov. Whitman recognized the billions of dollars in our “secure” and “separate” pension fund, and she proceeded to raid that fund. Unknown and unannounced to the public, monies were indiscriminately withdrawn from the PFRS and used to pay for Whitman’s tax cuts and to balance the state budget.

    Billions of dollars were taken, and to make matters worse, the Whitman administration passed a law allowing towns and municipalities to no longer contribute to the fund. Over $3 billion in contributions were skipped over the next eight years, while the individual police officers and firefighters continued to have their 8.5 percent contribution taken from them and placed into the PFRS.

    The state gambled for years, relying heavily on the returns from the stock market to cover the missing funds. Politicians misspoke on the campaign trail, touting the virtues of how their financial genius was able to balance their state and local budgets, and the public was lulled into a sense of false financial security.

    But the small print in Whitman’s bill was ignored. The funds they failed to contribute would have to be made up at a later date. The pension reprieve was temporary and their contributions would have to be paid back, just like any other loan. It was quietly suggested by the Whitman administration that towns set these contributions aside for when the state called to make good on them. It appears most towns and municipalities failed to heed this advice.

    Governors (Donald) DiFrancesco, (James) McGreevy, and (Richard) Codey continued this trend, and all failed to call the towns and municipalities on their “loan” while the PFRS fund continued to dwindle down close to $66 billion. They remained silent. To bring this to light at this point would certainly mean political suicide, knowing that towns and municipalities would have to raise taxes to make up for their error in financial judgment and planning.

    It wasn’t until Gov. Jon Corzine took office that this trend was stopped, but unfortunately, the damage was done. Gov. Corzine made the call the governors before him were afraid to make. He advised the towns and municipalities that it was time to pay back the monies the towns had been given a temporary reprieve on. And the media jumped on this, printing bold headlines “Towns going broke over police and fire pensions.”

    This attention grabbing and misleading headline made it appear that your police and firemen were bilking the taxpayers dry, when the truth is totally the opposite. The politicians bilked your police officers and firemen dry and in the long run, the tax payers of New Jersey.

    Towns and municipalities knew they were going to have to pay this money back and for them to insinuate otherwise is simply not true. Realizing the gravity of the situation, a new bill was introduced and passed into law. This allowed the towns to pay back the loan given to them by their public employees in increments; starting at 20 percent, 40 percent, 60 percent, 80 percent, and finally 100 percent each proceeding year.

    Towns and municipalities continue to act as if they have been caught unaware and shocked by this entire process. The public is being told that payments for police and fire pensions are doubling, tripling and quadrupling and that the public employee system is out of control. What the public needs to know is that they are the victims of a mounting debt that was created by the Whitman administration and compounded by those following her tenure.

    To blame your public employees for the abuses of the pension system is ludicrous at best, especially when our elected officials are the ones responsible for raiding the fund and then enacting the legislation on how and when to pay it back.

    Gov. Jim Florio recognized the financial hardship facing the state of New Jersey and proceeded to raise the state sales tax to 7 percent. This helped spell political suicide for him, and Gov. Whitman was not going to make the same mistake. She repealed the 7 percent, dropping it back down to the 6 percent, knowing full well this money would have to come from somewhere.

    Her solution was to raid the Police and Fire Pension System, allowing her to balance the state budget and give the false appearance that all was fiscally sound under her watch.

    Our current governor, facing the same financial crisis of those going before him, has chosen a similar route, but one with a more vilifying tone. He has again found the same victim: Your public employees. When asked about the pension situation in the state of New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie replied “I wasn’t going to put $3 billion into a failing pension system. We need pension reform. I passed some already for new hirees, and this fall we are going after the current employees and pension reform and benefits because we are broke.”

    Nowhere does he mention how the public employees had already bailed out this state years before, and now he is focused on “going after” the current employees to fix a mess created and compounded by politicians. To say otherwise for him would be political suicide should he aspire to higher political office, and as most of those before him, he is not about to risk his future. Rather, he would gamble on the future of those men and woman and their families who have served this state with honor and integrity.

    The principals of the pension system are not broken Mr. Governor. What is broken is the manner in which the politicians have treated and abused it. Yes, the system is failing now, but not because of your police officers and firemen. As of 2009, the pension fund should have assets of $112 billion to meet its obligations, yet it is currently sitting at $66 billion.

    It is the largest unfunded liability in the country. New Jersey is the first state ever to be charged with fraud by the Securities and Exchange Commission, and Gov. Christie, strangely, has no comment on this. Yet he continues his rhetoric on the evils done to us by our police officers and firemen, ignoring the truth and lambasting and vilifying us at every turn.

    As the saying goes, “Politics has no shame when it comes to preserving your place in office. Why let the truth get in between a good, attention grabbing headline?”

    The system is on the brink of collapse and continued arrogance and mudslinging will not fix it. The truth is what it is Mr. Governor, and there is no getting around that. Politicians put us in this mess for their own political gain, not our public employees, as you would like the public to believe. You know this and need to stop ignoring the facts. How we deal with it from here is the measure of each of our character and integrity. I know the public is smart enough to recognize this and I hope that you are too. Long after you are gone, we will still be here, protecting and serving as we always have. In the end, all we have left is our name. Let’s hope yours is remembered for you’re integrity and not for what you have slung so far in your race for political aspiration. I challenge you to do the right thing, as so many police officers and firemen strive to do every day for their families and the citizens of New Jersey.

    http://newjerseyhills.com/mt_olive_chronicle/opinion/columns/article_487cc442-ec43-11df-8ac0-001cc4c002e0.html?ref=nf

  33. young buck says:

    Ron Paul to TSA: Stop Irradiating Our Bodies and Fondling Our Children!

    http://www.ronpaul.com/2010-11-17/ron-paul-to-tsa-stop-radiating-our-bodies-and-fondling-our-children/

  34. young buck says:

    #32 in moderation

  35. Mike says:

    Grim Number 1 Dam 900 positions gone! Will they even keep the campus open for the rest? They might do what Merck has been doing to their Rahway campus and that’s knocking down perfectly good buildings to save on taxes.

  36. Essex says:

    Of course he is absolutely right Young Buck.

  37. Essex says:

    The policeman. That is. The pension is one very nasty mess. But to blame the victims is completely wrong. I can guarantee if the folks on this board had gotten their spouses into the public jobs that they so badly wanted, they would be singing a very different tune when it came to these entitlements.

  38. Mike says:

    “A realtor tells the truth about the housing market” Found this on another site, not sure if it was posted here yet http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aO5IU3GQlZE&playnext=1&list=PL341225D3E660F3BD&index=9

  39. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    “Every pay check since I was 25 years old had the 8.5 percent taken out of my pay and placed into the PFRS with the promise that the money would be there when I retired.”

    Suck it up buddy. It could be worse, you could have been employed by the police dept of a town named Enron.

  40. jamil says:

    32 you copy-pasted article. In the near future, this would enable DOJ to shut down this site, if the anti-constitutional bill passes.
    No danger of abuse here. Free speech is safe. I trust our DOJ and Attorney General to keep politics out /sarc

    This lame-duck session focuses on jobs, jobs, jobs..Except free speech limitations, amnesty for illegals etc etc..

    “On Thursday the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved the Combating Online Infringements and Counterfeits Act. Its backers, including Hollywood and the recording industry, are hoping to rush the legislation through Congress during the current “lame duck” session. The legislation empowers the attorney general to draw up a list of Internet domain names he considers to be “dedicated to infringing activities,” and to obtain a variety of court orders designed to block access to these sites for American Internet users.”

  41. Outofstater says:

    #32 It’s an unholy mess. It was a mistake to have such generous pensions and benefits to begin with but as long as the taxpayers of NJ said okay to them, the governors should have funded them as promised. But did you guys really know what was going on? I’m wondering if all this was set in place before everyone had a laptop and before you could look up public employee salaries and pensions and before you could download the benefit handbooks that public employees get.

  42. Nomad says:

    Chifi – from your post yesterday – am I going to need to get out my checkbook to pay for the muni bond mess?

    Can anyone commet if crime is starting to increase in NYC and will Bloomberg really reduce the size of the police force? If police force reduction, do they generally reduce patrols / force size in the lower income areas?

  43. Eric Cantona. Footballing legend, movie star…leader of a European bank run:

    “A few weeks ago we noted that December 7 is becoming a grass roots “banker mutiny” day, in which citizens across Europe will pull money from their banks and thus force a pan-European bank run on what is already a bankrupt financial system, which survives each day only at the expense of the continent’s increasingly indebted citizens, their life of increasing austerity, and of course, the US Federal Reserve and its final backstop. In some ways we discounted the potential reach of this movement. Enter Eric Cantona – just ask any sport afficionado who the most entertaining, flamboyant and skillful football player of 1990’s Manchester United was and 9 out of 10 times you will hear that name. The icon (both in England and France) whose on field antics were only matched by his kung fu skills, and who has a massive popular following, has been recorded agitating viewers (many of them), to enact a bloodless revolution against French banks: “We don’t pick up weapons to kill people, to start the revolution… the revolution is really easy to do nowadays. What is the system? The system revolves around the banks. It’s based on the power of the banks… so it must be destroyed starting with the banks. This means that the 3 million people with their placards on the street… they go to the bank, withdraw their money from the banks and these ones collapse. 10 million people and the banks collapse and there is not real threat, a real revolution. We must go to the bank. In this case there would be a real revolution. It’s not complicated. You simply go to the bank in your country and withdraw your money. If there are enough people withdrawing their money, the system collapses. No weapon, no blood, or anything like that.” A peaceful anti-banking revolution, brilliantly explained so that everyone can understand.”

    http://www.zerohedge.com/article/man-u-player-century-eric-cantona-appeals-peaceful-revolution-against-banks-calls-europeans-

  44. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    Lamar [43],

    US F-Ball, movies, legends… HMMM.

    “Outlined against a blue-gray October sky, the Four Horsemen rode again. In dramatic lore their names are Death, Destruction, Pestilence, and Famine”

  45. Shore Guy says:

    Forgot my rainy-day savings
    Went buy, buy, buy
    Half way to foreclosure before I realized
    Well I phoned the information
    Said I had to go was cold
    Couldn’t live in my house
    ‘Cause it was sold

    Now it’s a mighty long way down the dusty trail
    And the sun beats down on the cold steel rails
    And I look like a bum but I crawl like a snail
    On my way to homeless

  46. Shore Guy says:

    Forgot my rainy-day savings
    Went buy, buy, buy
    Half way to foreclosure before I realized
    Well I phoned the information
    Said I had to go
    Couldn’t live in my house
    ‘Cause it was sold

    Now it’s a mighty long way down the dusty trail
    And the sun beats down on the cold steel rails
    And I look like a bum but I crawl like a snail
    On my way to homeless

  47. A.West says:

    Romeo, (29)
    A $450k home shouldn’t be that hard for a 2 income family. Assuming they have the 20% down payment saved, and take out a 30yr at 4.5%, they will pay about $35k/yr including local taxes, pre federal tax deduction. Lets say husband makes $80k, wife makes $40k. This is just below Bridgewater’s median household income (2008) of $124k. Take home pay for both combined is roughly 70% of gross, $85k I’m guessing. Subtract the mortgage and property tax and that leaves $50k/yr for everything else, the biggest expenses will be utilities, transportation, food, and early on, furniture & home repairs. If they are smart they can hold this down to $30k/yr, what’s left ($20k) goes into saving. Both should at least be able to get their full employer 401k match. It won’t be fancy living, and they will have to budget everything, but it’s doable. It works better if at least one of them has a path to a higher income down the road, so they can accelerate their savings or loosen up the budget a bit.

  48. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [44] wantan

    Channeling Grantland Rice again, are we?

    And on an unrelated note, I am thinking of getting back into shiny.

  49. A.West says:

    Lamar,
    I’ve got book recommendations for you.
    Check out the “Sparrowhawk” series from Ed Cline. Smugglers and folks who eventually become the backbone of the American revolution in the 1700s.
    I can lend them to you if you like. I’m just finishing up the last one.
    I assume you’ve already read “Atlas Shrugged”.

  50. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    Nom [48],

    Yep, Army/ND at Yankee Stadium. I was there in 1969, Theisman to Gatewood.

    Regarding shiny; scale in. If you are an investor build a position. If you are a trader, don’t become hedge fund roadkill.

  51. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    Nom,

    Disclaimer- I wasn’t there for the 4 Horseman.

  52. Yikes says:

    Juice Box says:
    November 18, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    re: #168 – It’s 250k x 2 incomes.

    If you are making only 250k between two incomes and live in Joisey you might as well move to the Poconos and recycle cans for a living you will do better.

    Good one, Juice Box.
    Live within your means and you can get by on $150k, easily.

  53. Shore Guy says:

    “you can get by on $150k, easily”

    Get by? Yes. Live the way so many people seem to believe is a God-given right to spend in excess? No.

  54. Yikes says:

    Obviously it involves planning ahead, renting for a few years to save $ and being smart with your money. So many people act like it is a chore to be frugal.

  55. Shore Guy says:

    If we can only bring in sufficient heavy weapons, and then expand operations into Laos and Cambodia, we will be all set and the insurgents won’t stand a chance:

    http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/asiapcf/11/19/afghanistan.tanks/?hpt=T2

  56. Shore Guy says:

    Hey, someone is worse than NJ:

    “California was recently ranked by Chief Executive magazine as having the worst business climate in the nation, while Texas’ was considered the best. Both Democrats and Republicans in the Lone State State generally embrace the gospel of economic growth and limited public sector expenditure. ”

    http://blogs.forbes.com/joelkotkin/2010/11/15/california-suggests-suicide-texas-asks-can-i-lend-you-a-knife/

  57. Shore Guy says:

    From above: This is amazing:

    “Hollywood too is shifting frames, with more and more film production going to Michigan, New Mexico, New York and other states. In 2002, 82% of all film production took place in California–now it’s down to roughly 30%. And plans by Los Angeles County, the epicenter of the film industry, to double permit fees for film, television and commercial productions certainly won’t help.”

  58. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [50, 51] bob

    Dating yourself a bit. I was seven in 1969. And I did not presume you read Grantland Rice in the papers over breakfast. That would date you a whole lot more.

    As for scaling in, that was your advice from yesterday and I am taking it. Added 100 shs of SLV at 26.

  59. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    The littlest Deplume wants to play with Daddy. So Peace Out, y’all.

  60. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    Nomad, safe,

    Knowledge will free you, possessions will enslave you.

  61. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    Shore 55

    Double down baby!!!! How did that work out for Russia?
    The only way to win in Afghanistan is Total War. Think we have the Cojones for that?

  62. Shore Guy says:

    “The only way to win in Afghanistan is Total War.”

    We have all the weapons needed to eliminate the problem, but, ethics precludes us from using them. The Afghans have a long history of playing rope-a-dope; anyone who doubts this should go ask the British. Heck, some of the weapons the insurgents are using against us were used against the British in the 19th Century — the freaking 1800s.

  63. Shore Guy says:

    Back to the mine here as well.

  64. Nomad says:

    Any guess as to what happens between TSA and passengers as we start the Thankgiving travel season? Reading the posts and articles it is truly sad. One YouTube showed a 3 yr old girl getting a pat down screeming the entire time. I cannot imagine being a parent of an infant and watching them get “screened” and not blowing a gasket. Would not be surprised if it gets ugly.

  65. Libtard on the throne says:

    My god is that pension article complete bullsh1t. There is so much that is curiously missing that it should be on Snopes. It’s not the underfunding that has caused the gargantuan hole. It’s a combination of the unsustainable formula where workers contribute almost nothing, loopholes are exploited by so many, and assumptions were way too liberal. As is the case with their supersized benefits, these have all been negotiated in good faith(tongue planted firmly in cheek) in return for the union support during elections.

    Essex, prove us wrong. Without using the actual numbers but instead the ratios, why don’t you calculate what you paid in for healthcare and pension while you worked the stress-free life of guaranteed raises, tenure, a holiday calendar that probably includes Columbus, Veteran’s and Election Day and a retirement age of 55.

    We don’t blame the public workers any more than we blame the automotive workers who’s greed left them all on the bread line. But if you don’t get your unions in line, you can expect little sympathy from those who pay for your salaries when your pension payments are eliminated.

    Essex,

  66. Juice Box says:

    re #55 – Shore it’s a good move there are lots of Russian spare parts lying around.

    http://www.artificialowl.net/2008/08/ussr-red-army-tanks-graveyard-east-of.html

  67. JJ says:

    OK, lets see how bad things really are. For 2011 how many of you expect the following:

    To get a 401K match at work:

    To get a bonus at work:

    To get a raise at work:

    I expect all three in 2011. I bet a lot of people do, which is a lot different than 2009

  68. House Whine says:

    67- Me: no 401K offered where I work, bonus: I have no idea; raise: ?
    Spouse: Yes,to 401k, yes to bonus, minimal raise, but probably something.

    Do we cancel each other out?

  69. Juice Box says:

    JJ – spend some more time here.

    http://projects.nytimes.com/corner-office

  70. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    JJ [67],

    If you work for yourself and anticipate that your efforts will result in increased income in 2011, does that constitute a raise?

  71. BlindJust says:

    I work in IT. For the life of me I cannot figure out what prompted this mail.

    Hmmm … responsibilities include “Counsel field on correct usage of documents.” I think I’m qualified after all!

    Greetings!
    My name is Ashley and I’m a recruiter at Axelon Services Corporation, formerly known as Algomod Technologies. Our records show that you are an experienced in loan/mortgage documentation. This experience is relevant to one of my current openings.

    Global Financial Firm located in Long Island City, NY has an immediate opportunity for an experienced Loan/Mortgage Documentation Specialist.

    Responsibilities:
    Review all documentation for newly booked extensions of credit for regulatory and internal policy compliance, monitor and manage document deficiency process; Review daily Made and Paid reports, input new loans into DTSII document storage and retrieval system; Liase with in-house and outside counsel to rectify document deficiencies; Initial work on US portfolio with cross training to other portfolios; Counsel field on correct usage of documents.

    If you are qualified, available, interested, planning to make a change, or know of a friend who might have the required qualifications and interest, please REPLY IMMEDIATELY via e-mail and include an updated resume, even if we have spoken recently about a different position. If you do respond via e-mail please include a daytime phone number so I can reach you. In considering candidates, time is of the essence, so please respond ASAP. Thank you.

  72. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    From Chris Whalen:

    The Obama Administration needs to change direction and to embrace restructuring and national renewal instead of the current policy of extend and pretend. The same factors that drove Ambac into bankruptcy are working on Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JPMorganChase and will eventually force a restructuring. The sooner we start the process, the sooner the U.S. economy will recover.

    Indeed, I expect that the Obama Administration will eventually, reluctantly be forced to invoke the powers under the Dodd-Frank law and restructure the top-three U.S. banks. This will be near-total losses for equity holders and haircuts for creditors, but the end result will be a solvent bank that is smaller, profitable and able to again lend.

    It is important for Americans to remember that bankruptcy and liquidation are necessary steps to national renewal and economic stability. The Founders of the United States embedded bankruptcy in the U.S. Constitution for precisely this reason. The Founders knew that prolonged uncertainty and a lack of finality when it comes to insolvency was bad for society, thus they commanded Congress to create federal bankruptcy courts.

    http://blogs.reuters.com/christopher-whalen/2010/11/18/standing-on-the-brink-of-a-fresh-financial-start/

  73. BlindJust says:

    BC – increased income based on prior year or ‘2007? I still haven’t recovered from the ‘2008 reset. My income was also higher in ‘1996 when I was consulting and got paid for hours work rather than the “professional” day. That, and benefits, was the driver for me to go ft.

  74. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    The bipartisan panel created to investigate the roots of the financial crisis voted Wednesday to delay the Dec. 15 publication of their report despite Republican opposition, foreshadowing disagreements that are sure to arise when the commission attempts to reach a consensus on the causes of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression….

    The crisis commission is also looking into the matter, said Phil Angelides, the panel’s Democratic chairman. The Republicans on the panel are resisting further inquiries, according to people familiar with the matter. Angelides said in an interview that “there are very powerful interests” seeking to undermine the panel’s investigation.

    “People who have trillions of dollars at stake who have been watching our efforts closely,” Angelides said. “There have been efforts throughout the year to undermine me and my fellow commissioners.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/17/fcic-delays-report-angelides-powerful-interests_n_785205.html

  75. JJ says:

    Since I have a corner wall street office with a water view am I giving or getting advice here?

    Juice Box says:
    November 19, 2010 at 10:43 am

    JJ – spend some more time here.

    http://projects.nytimes.com/corner-office

  76. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    …I’m shocked! Shocked i tell you!

  77. Libtard and the City says:

    Libtard: No 401K match, no bonus (ever), got a 1.9% raise earlier this year. First salary increase since January of 2007.

    On the bright side, I’m enrolled in a long-term incentive plan that if we somehow met the impossible but required milestones, I would receive a very generous bonus in Autumn 2014. Of course, the company could terminate all of us in the Summer of 2014 as well.

    Wall Street is recovering. Main Street has gotten back to taking on more debt. How’s your GM stock doing JJ? I’m fairly certain that if ever an IPO was subscribed to by blue-collars, this was the one. No surprise it’s sukcing ba11s.

  78. BlindJust says:

    67 – JJ – yes to all 3.

  79. relo says:

    37: Essex,

    What are you talking about?

    if the folks on this board had gotten their spouses into the public jobs that they so badly wanted

  80. Confused In NJ says:

    Charlie Brown’s filed Chapter 11 Bankruptcy today in Deleware.

  81. Nomad says:

    Cat Re: 72

    Before restructuring won’t they start by selling off their strong non-core business units such as BOA getting rid of ML? Would think by doing so less pain.

  82. Libtard and the City says:

    Some of us tried to get our spouses on the public teet. Unfortunately, we were not related to anyone already nursing.

    If things are so bad for the public workers and the opportunities so much greater in the private sector, then why don’t you ever see any public sector workers join the private sector?

  83. Confused In NJ says:

    Market was slipping again so Ben is buying stock again with the tax payers dime.

  84. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    Blind [73],

    Prior.

  85. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    “Since I have a corner wall street office with a water view am I giving or getting advice here? ”

    JJ,

    My friend has a corner WS apt with a river view, he’s a bartender. Who do you work for Hermes?

    Is that office marked to a model? Is it a coincidence that WS is bordered by a river and a cemetery?

  86. BlindJust says:

    JJ –

    Do you invest in EM debt as well? While there may be some sacrifice in quality, a 5 year annualized return of 10% is not bad.

    http://news.morningstar.com/fundReturns/FundReturns.html?category=$FOCA$EB

  87. Confused In NJ says:

    Interesting, the one banking lending Charlie Brown’s money in bankruptcy requires they sell the chain as a condition.

    http://www.app.com/article/20101118/BUSINESS/11180355/Charlie-Brown-s-Steakhouse-files-for-Chapter-11-bankruptcy

  88. Confused In NJ says:

    Roubini Maps Out Nightmare Scenario of Domino Debt Collapse in Europe

    Friday November 19, 2010, 10:08 am EST
    “We have too much private debt in the case of Ireland,” according to Nouriel Roubini.

    But the nub of the crisis is this: “We have decided to socialize the private losses of the banking system. Now you have a huge increase in public debt-going from 7 percent to 100 percent of GDP. Soon it will be 120 percent.”

    And, turning more broadly to the rest of Europe, “Greece is already at 120 percent.”

    Roubini believes that further attempts at intervention have only increased the magnitude of the problems with sovereign debt. He says, “Now you have a bunch of super sovereigns- the IMF, the EU, the eurozone-bailing out these sovereigns.”

    Essentially, the super-sovereigns underwrite sovereign debt-increasing the scale and concentrating the problems.

    Roubini characterizes super-sovereign intervention as merely kicking the can down the road.

    He says wryly: “There’s not going to be anyone coming from Mars or the moon to bail out the IMF or the Eurozone.”

    But, despite the paper shuffling of debt at the national level-and at the level of supranational entities-reality ultimately intervenes: “So at some point you need restructuring. At some point you need the creditors of the banks to take a hit -otherwise you put all this debt on the balance sheet of government. And then you break the back of government-and then government is insolvent.”

    And then there is the case of France. “Sarkozy came to power saying ‘I’m going to do lots of reform.’ He has not done it. Right now, he is weak. He might lose the election. And, therefore, they are going to delay fiscal austerity and reforms.”

    And that, according to Roubini, is a major problem for the fiscally challenged French.

    The bond vigilantes may have woken up first in Greece, Ireland, and Portugal. “But France,” Roubini says, “does not look much better than the periphery.”

    In Roubini’s view, the probability of the right steps being taken in France soon is not great. “Politically they are constrained from making reforms.” For example, after the French made relatively small changes in their social welfare system-raising the retirement age from 60 to 62 -“You had massive riots in the streets.”

    And that, in Roubini’s view, was just the beginning of the necessary austerity.

    “What’s going to happen when you do more radical reform? That’s an open question in the case of France.”

    Looking beyond France to the future trajectory of the crisis, Roubini says, “The next one in line is going to be Portugal. “Due to the severity of Portuguese debt problems, Portugal is going to lose market access-and that means they are going to require IMF support as well.

    But the real nightmare domino is Spain. Roubini refers to the Spanish debt problems as “the elephant in the room”.

    “You can try to ring fence Spain. And you can essentially try to provide financing officially to Ireland, Portugal, and Greece for three years. Leave them out of the market. Maybe restructure their debt down the line.”

    “But if Spain falls off the cliff, there is not enough official money in this envelope of European resources to bail out Spain. Spain is too big to fail on one side-and also too big to be bailed out.”

    With Spain, the first problem is the size of its public debt: €1 trillion. (Greece, by contrast, has €300 of public debt.) Spain also has €1 trillion in private foreign liabilities.

    And for problems of that magnitude, there simply are not enough resources-governmental or super-sovereign-to go around.

  89. BC (44)-

    Didn’t Ronnie Reagan play one of those Four Horsemen?

  90. I guess Chris Benoit was all four of them rolled into one.

    “…Death, Destruction, Pestilence, and Famine”

  91. Juice Box says:

    JJ – party likes it’s 1999 not 2009.

    Illustrating just how much faster Wall Street rebounded from the recession than the rest of New York City’s economy did, the federal Department of Labor reported Tuesday that wages rose by nearly 12 percent in Manhattan at the beginning of the year, even as they fell in every other borough. (See report here.)

    http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/11/09/wall-st-fuels-a-rise-in-wages-in-manhattan/?scp=4&sq=google%20wages&st=cse

  92. JJ says:

    Juice box so wall street makes 10x a week more than average job in manhattan. cool.

    To me the best deal is dad has a wall street job, wife has some BS no show NJ govt job with a huge pension and free medical for life.

    That is living the dream.

  93. JJ says:

    Your special male “friend” works for Hermes or “bartends” and has enough money to afford a fancy apartment with a river view. Other than having to be a human seaman vessel for old fruity men sound like a good life.

    Mr Wantanapolous says:
    November 19, 2010 at 11:42 am

    “Since I have a corner wall street office with a water view am I giving or getting advice here? ”

    JJ,

    My friend has a corner WS apt with a river view, he’s a bartender. Who do you work for Hermes?

  94. Juice Box says:

    I mentioned the other day my dear old mom was going to withdraw some money from Ireland as a precaution? Well capital controls are in full effect now, her banker told her at least three weeks to a month to withdraw the money.

    That will get extended…

  95. JJ says:

    I hope Ireland goes broke so I can buy back my Moms farm!

  96. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    What’s Really Behind Bernanke’s Easing?
    My guess is that the Fed chairman knows that we still have too many banks overstuffed with toxic real estate loans and derivatives.

    I have a different explanation for the Fed’s latest easing program: Without another $600 billion floating through the economy, Mr. Bernanke must believe that real estate (residential and commercial) would quickly drop, endangering banks….

    In other words, real estate is at risk again. But Mr. Bernanke would create a panic if he stated publicly that, if not for his magic dollar dust, real estate would fall off a cliff.

    In a normal economic recovery, the stock market rises in anticipation of higher corporate profits. Companies then use their higher stock prices to raise capital and hire workers, who buy homes and remodel kitchens.

    Before growth can occur, however, we have to fix what caused a recession in the first place. Often that means drawing down inventory that built up in the last boom, or tightening credit to whip inflation, as then-Fed Chairman Paul Volcker did in 1981. In late 2010, though, we still have banks overstuffed with toxic real estate loans and derivatives. But what about the trillion in bank reserves sitting at the Fed and earning 0.25% interest? Why isn’t it being lent out? Perhaps because it’s needed to offset unrealized losses on these fouled loans….

    Like it or not, banks are still weak, and another panic may be on its way. Bank of America is the best example. As of Sept. 30, its balance sheet claimed a book value (assets minus liabilities) of $230 billion. But the stock market values the company at just $118 billion. Who’s right? Usually the stock market is ahead of bad news and write-offs. Citibank is selling at 20% below its book value. The market wasn’t gloomy enough on Wilmington Trust—hence the takeunder.

    Think of it as what the FDIC does on Fridays (taking over failed banks), but on a huge scale. First, guarantee deposits so lines don’t form at branches, and provide short-term loan guarantees as a backstop to short-term lenders. Then move the toxic debt onto the balance sheets of the FDIC and the Fed, and refloat the banks with fresh capital to open on Monday morning. Also, fire management. And get the banks public again so that the market can properly value them and provide an early warning of bad loan portfolios.

    (WSJ)
    http://tinyurl.com/36h7flo

  97. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    JJ [94],

    Hah! He made zillions trading the energies, his seat was bought out by CME. Now, kicks back and watches the show.

  98. Libtard and the City says:

    Been watching the BAC stock price for the past year.

    Me thinks the market knows they’s in trouble.

    http://finance.yahoo.com/q/bc?s=BAC&t=1y&l=on&z=l&q=l&c=^GSPC

  99. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    libtard

    BAC will be the pre-designated sacrificial lamb of TPTB.

  100. Libtard and the City says:

    9lives:

    I agree.

  101. JJ says:

    Nice!!!! Good to be the king!!! Ladies, Mercedes and all the trappings.
    Mr Wantanapolous says:
    November 19, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    JJ [94],

    Hah! He made zillions trading the energies, his seat was bought out by CME. Now, kicks back and watches the show.

  102. dan says:

    JJ,

    Oddly enough, yes to all 3 but only because you all gave money to my company.

  103. dan says:

    I’ve been thinking of shorting BAC too.

  104. Fabius Maximus says:

    With kids. just turn off anything with a screen and they will find ways to amuse themselves. Limit screen time to at most one hour a day. And when they do earn screen time make sure they use it constructivly.

    Here is some advice for all you dads out there
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCjMGOvMghY&feature=youtu.be

  105. JJ says:

    Thanks!!! Don’t know how I gave you money, but I love to help.

    dan says:
    November 19, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    JJ,

    Oddly enough, yes to all 3 but only because you all gave money to my company.

  106. Nomad says:

    Cat 97 –

    Maybe its time to get out the Methadone and deal with reality.

  107. Fabius Maximus says:

    #95 Juice

    Allied Irish says it’s lost 17 percent of deposits
    http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9JJ9E601.htm

  108. lib (65)-

    Thank you. The leeches are moving in force now to try and capture public sympathy.

  109. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    Nomad,

    Methadone? I prefer 100% pure afghan heroin thank you very much. Methadone is for quitters

  110. Libtard and the City says:

    Clot (109):

    The teachers’ union has been relentless. I’m surprised they haven’t stooped to kidnapping our childrens’ physical bodies to go along with their fertile minds.

    It appears that if you try and debate the merits of an educators’ arguments for their outrageous (at times) compensation, they immediately go into Mogadishan pirate mode.

  111. Libtard and the City says:

    When I hear them use the term ‘in good faith,’ when speaking about their unions’ negotiations. It makes me want to slash their tires.

  112. Al Gore says:

    58.

    Crash JP Morgan. By physical silver for delivery. It is your patriotic duty. See the silver manifesto from yesterday.

    1 – JP Morgan has a huge short position in Silver – estimated to be 3.3 billion ounces – tied to an enormous, extremely precarious derivatives position (estimated to represent 1.5 trillion in risk to its balance sheet at $500 Silver).

    2 – Various exchanges around the world have been caughtmanipulating the price of Silver using ‘naked’ short sales i.e., counterfeiting.

    3 – Of all the actively traded commodities traded around the world, Silver is one of the least plentiful and its supply is shrinking, but its industrial uses are multiplying. The ‘networked’ age of global communications is built with Silver.

    4 – Hedge funds are taking physical delivery of Silver – adding substantial demand as well as exposing these exchange’s naked short positions – who are already scrambling to deliver – jacking prices up to multi-decade highs – and inspiring these predatory funds to buy more Silver.

    5 – There are billions of people around the world who are aware that banks have been committing fraud and embezzlement who are upset that their politicians seem only interested in helping the banks commit more fraud – who are looking for a cheap way to non-aggressively fight back and decapitalize these banks.

    6 – Many of these people have the access and wherewithal to purchase 1 ounce of Silver – thus removing hundreds of millions of ounces of Silver from the ‘paper’ market – forcing additional scrambling by dealers to fill orders by buying back short positions – inspiring the funds to buy and take physical delivery of more Silver – creating a colossal short squeeze – in which JP Morgan stands to be the biggest loser.

    7 – Buying Silver is how the world is monetizing its anger at the banks who stole their wealth.

    8 – Crash JP Morgan Buy Silver

  113. Fabius Maximus says:

    #65 libtard

    I think you are missing the big and very valid point here. The state created a shortfall in the funds. The munis took a holiday from paying their obligations. Unlike an underwater borrower they can’t Jingle mail this obligation. The pension funds were underfunded and mismanaged by the administrations. If Whitman hadn’t touched the funds, It would not be in such bad straights. She played the defecit spending card but now the bill is due.

    When CC got elected one of his first actions to bridge the defecit was to withold the states $3Billion payment to the pensions. He is trying to justify this by saying he will get 200 renegotiation thrown out. I must find out how that one is getting on in the courts. He is just kicking the can and compounding the problem.

    With the teachers, getting 30K to go into retirement this year was the most fcuking stupid thing he has done so far. Turning 30K contributers into the system, into 30K consumers will really help to solve the pension problem.

  114. Al Gore says:

    Wantan. When is silver options expiry? I want to witness the violent buying when JP Morgan and friends try desperately to drive the price down.

  115. Al Gore says:

    82.

    Libtard,

    The typical fat ass, lazy, public employee couldnt hack 1 day in the real world. Why do you think Corzine used to outsource all the important work that needed to get done. Its simple. Public employees suck at life and are only good at shoving donuts in their mouth.

  116. Al Gore says:

    95.

    Juice,

    How much is she trying to withdraw?

  117. Libtard and the City says:

    FAB – the state is partially to blame. This I will admit. But they are not fully to blame. The unions continue to trade their vote in exchange for promises that are not realistic in regards to their health care and pension. Two people are at fault here. Looking at the article that was originally posted, you would think that the underfunding was the only issue.

    The whole pension concept is krap anyway in a flat market. The math for sustainability is based on anticipated returns between 8 and 10%. Meanwhile, the market has returned zilch in the past ten years and the banks slightly more than zilch. I’m surprised the entire NJ state pension wasn’t invested in Bernie Madoff. As revenues goes down, the public workers should be asked to contribute more to make up for the terrible market returns. Instead, the public workers expect the taxpayers to make up the difference. I have absolutely no problem with this, if the public sector workers would make up what losses I should have experienced in my 401K. OK?

  118. Juice Box says:

    re: #114 – The police officers letter is only a bit off the mark. A contributior poster here 3B used to say it best we are paying high taxes now for campaign promises of those no longer in office.

    The history of the NJ Pension Ponzi goes back to Jim Florio when the actuarial scam began around 1992. They changed the assumed rate of return from 7% to 8.75%. The pension was never fully funded as claimed buy the Police Officer.

    Here is an objective study from George Mason University.

    http://mercatus.org/pensions

  119. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    Fabius 114

    I think you are missing the big and very valid point here. The state created a shortfall in the funds. The munis took a holiday from paying their obligations. Unlike an underwater borrower they can’t Jingle mail this obligation.

    My understanding is that the guarantee is implied only similar to the original version of GSE’s. In theory i believe that the state could say sorry, we only have X and it must all come out of that pot.
    While such a scenario isn’t likely at this point, if things get ugly enough that they state population really gets up in arms and the FEDs don’t come up with some back door bailout i could see it as a possibility.

  120. Clyde Crashcup says:

    JJ (67)

    yes

    no

    yes

  121. Juice Box says:

    JJ: re buying your Mom’s Farm in Ireland.

    You can get an estate on the cheap too, 300,000 unoccupied homes in Ireland.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/ghost-estates-and-broken-lives-the-human-cost-of-the-irish-crash-2136104.html

  122. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    AG [115],

    Comex:

    Dec Gold/Silver Futures- 11/23- Options expiration, 11/30-First Notice day, 12/29-Last Trading Day

    Welcome Feb.

  123. Fabius Maximus says:

    #118 Lib

    I would disagree here. The unions job is to get the best deal for their members. If the other side don’t like it, it can go to mediatation. If they want to sell out for the deal, that is their issue.

    The union is no different from a tax lawyer working with the IRS to ensure their clients pay no more tax than they have to. (Nom, not a dig, just a good example). Its not their fault the gvmt takes a surplus and instead of paying down the debt, blows it on tax cuts.

    For your town, if Montclair can’t make the pension obligations because they blew a boat load of cash on a new school and bike paths, is that the unions fault?

    Asking for bigger contributions in lean years to rebalance would be fair, if the surplus in the boom years was left in place and not raided.

  124. Al Gore says:

    123.

    Wantan,

    If they cant get the price back down to 25 I think we may be on the cusp of a major move north in silver.

  125. Fabius Maximus says:

    #120 cat

    The problem is that when you open the pot instead of X there is a very small Y plus a load of IOUs from the states and the munis.

  126. BKL says:

    Question for all the experts on the blog…..

    In the process of selling a home via for sale by owner and I was contacted by a “real estate investor” who would like to purchase the home in the following manner:

    Initial Down Payment – $XX,000
    Monthly payment – $XXX/mo for 5 years
    Lump Sum payment after 5 years – $XXX,000

    The investor mentioned that there would be a “contract for deed” held in escrow.

    I’m a very conservative person who is very leery of scams.

    1. Is this a scam? I couldn’t find any info on the person or company on the web.

    2. What is the risk to the seller? I read that the NJ “contract for deed” law has a Quit Claim Deeds that transfers the deed immediately to Seller if Buyer defaults without the need to go through foreclosure process.

    Any thoughts would be welcomed!

  127. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    AG,

    Dec low, this week, was 24.98. The naked short is larger than the entire industry’s ability to produce over a year’s supply. This has the potential to blow 1980 out of the water.

  128. Al Gore says:

    128.

    Wantan,

    Indeed. I picked up another 100 oz yesterday. I was ready to go in for 500 but we shall see. They bust the price back down to 25 and Ill be right back in there.

  129. Fabius Maximus says:

    This is where I grab the popcorn and let the GOP eat itself.

    http://gawker.com/5694421/boehner-asks-gop-freshmen-not-to-destroy-the-economy

  130. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    Fab [130],

    I picked up popcorn a long time ago, been watching both parties eat themselves. In the meantime, the strings are being pulled by the same suits. Time for a fresh drink, wash down the kernels.

  131. nj escapee says:

    Fabius, I say the repugs will get thrashed in 2012. A Forrest Gump ping pong tourney at all of our expense.

  132. lib (77)-

    Sounds kind of like prison with a paycheck.

  133. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    Fab,

    “Give me control of a nation’s money and I care not who makes the laws.”

    Mayer Amschel Rothschild

  134. Anon E. Moose says:

    BKL [127];

    A) Great topic for discussion, but (esp. on question 2) get your legal advice from a lawyer, not an anonymous blog board.

    B) This “real estate investor” with no discernable presence likely cannot get financed through any conventional institution. Is he willing to let you run his personal credit report and a D&B? Will he be personally liable on teh note, or just his underfunded shell of an LLC?

    C) If you really want to pursue this, make it a “HAPPY-HAPPY” deal, that accomplishes 1) you’re happy if he follows through, and 2) you’re equally happy if he doesn’t. As to point 1, you get the price you want, plus a good interest rate for waiting on the bulk of your money. As to point 2, you get a large enough down payment that if he burns the house down and bolts on day 1, you can reposess (including legal expenses), demo the remains, and resell the vacant land for at least the original contract price.

  135. Stu (99)-

    Dimon and his vampires are sizing up BAC for a big suckfest. Soon.

    BAC will get the Lemon Bros./Bear Stearns treatment. Then, just as they are bled dry, they will be anchored with billions in JPM debt and tossed overboard.

  136. Stu (111)-

    Sadly, I know more than a few teachers who understand exactly what the score is and have been cowed into submission by the union. More than a few have expressed to me that they voted to share sacrifice to keep younger (i.e.- further down the Ponzi chain) teachers in jobs and were crushed by the ballot. Almost to a person, they have told me they’d gladly go 401k/jack their co-pays, etc…because they know their current pension plan is a ship of doom that will never reach port.

    My wife is working toward a permanent teaching position. She is under no illusion that by the time she gets the position, the bennies will all be gone.

  137. BKL says:

    Moose[135]

    Thanks for your response…..I definitely plan on getting a real estate lawyer but at this point, just trying to figure out if it’s even worth taking the next steps or just blowing off this person.

    (B) The person said it was “funding from private investment”…..another red flag for me.

    Just looking for any additional insight into asking the right questions that I couldn’t think of or fishing for a person on this board who may have actually gone through this.

  138. Stu (112)-

    Yeah. Carla Katz negotiated “in good faith” every stinking day of her ginch reign of terror.

    I’d still like to see the goods she’s got on that human turd, Corzine.

  139. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    Lamar/Lib,

    Pets.com has a brighter future than BAC.

  140. Stu (118)-

    The state of NJ is only responsible to the extend that they (really, Whitman) promulgate the three-card monty of trying to shuffle the unsustainable debt payments between state and municipal entities.

    The fact of the matter is, the three-card monty wouldn’t be ongoing were the basic system in any way reasonable or sustainable. Hell, the game would’ve never started.

  141. BKL (127)-

    You should rush to consummate this deal. Sounds like the opportunity of a lifetime for you.

    Why be so distrustful? Today’s world is full of generous and benevolent real estate investors.

  142. BC (128)-

    You should know better than to write the word “1980” at a blog where guys named Lamar hang out.

    “This has the potential to blow 1980 out of the water.”

  143. Essex says:

    The problem with private sector malaise is the washouts from that sector think they can land a gig in the public sector. When that trajectory fails the whine and claim “they” are paying the salaries of the public folks. Yeah right. Heavy hitters that they are.

  144. Anon E. Moose says:

    BKL [138];

    “funding from private investment”…..

    Yeah. You. You’re the private investor financing his real estate empire, by holding paper on his house. If he had “funding from private investment” he’s be able to bring cash to closing.

    Like I said; start with your “Make me move” c. 2005 wishing price.

    Down Payment == “Make me move” wishing price – Raw land value + Legal costs of foreclosure

    Interest Rate on 5 yr note (30 yr amortization + balloon) nearing double digits.

    Usual lender protections on the note (hazzard and liability insurance, etc.).

    Could also structure it as a 5-yr lease with option to buy. All the payments look just like above. Much easier to evict a defaulted leasee than to foreclose on a mortgage (actually saves you a step in the event you still have to evict a holdover AFTER you foreclose). Option remains valid only while the lease is current and in good standing. You retain title and control. He probably won’t like that idea much.

  145. Essex says:

    Revenue from the average tax bill of a whiner is the equivalent of a fart in a tornado.

  146. BC (140)-

    Yeah. Every time I check EBay, those sock puppets have gone up in price.

    When BAC bites it hard, all they will have left are a bunch of dolts in Charlotte, holding Tangelo’s worthless funny paper.

    “Pets.com has a brighter future than BAC.”

  147. You never give me your money
    You only give me your funny paper
    And in the middle of negotiations
    You break down

  148. BKL (127)-

    Take solace in the fact that the actual RE investors who want to buy your house are still on the beach and don’t want to be bothered to put down their fruity drinks to do as much as GoogleEarth your precious abode.

  149. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [148] lamar

    too many syllables, Basho.

  150. Complain to McCartney, dude.

  151. Essex says:

    Snatch the pebble from my hand.

  152. sx (146)-

    My property taxes far exceed your fart-in-a-tornado threshold.

  153. sx (152)-

    The person you challenge this way may well shoot you between the eyes before taking the pebble. :)

  154. Essex says:

    They send your kid to school right?

  155. Silent, drowning bank
    Swirl of autumn leaves onto granite

    There’s your stinkin’ haiku, jocko.

  156. sx (155)-

    A facsimile thereof.

  157. Essex says:

    I like you Lamar. You are as crazy as I am. See the thing about what we have here is that red herrings are being tossed out with abandon. Where it will stop no one knows, but as long as the real culprits hide behind a smokescreen and watch everyone else squabble over the crumbs, no one will be accountable.

  158. Essex says:

    As I have said in the past, I can see both sides, and both sides are f*cked. By the grace of God go we as they say.

  159. sx-

    I just say we point guns at any clouds of smoke that appear, then empty our magazines.

    Sooner or later, we’ll both thin the population and kill all the bad guys. Gotta accept whatever collateral damage that comes as a price of hitting the reset button.

  160. Al Gore says:

    161.

    Lamar,

    Wont be necessary but its a dam good backup plan. I prefer to fix things this way.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8d0TOvo3CF8

  161. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    Pussies. Here’s how to put lead downrange

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BDQBTScjgSQ&feature=related

    And lamar, your haiku sucked.

  162. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [158] sx

    “You’re as crazy as I am”

    I resemble that remark (nyuk, nyuk, nyuk)

  163. Al Gore says:

    163.

    Nom,

    That guy on the chain gun just blew through about 20k in ammo. lol.

  164. plume (163)-

    Top it, bitch. :)

    “And lamar, your haiku sucked.”

  165. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [165] al

    On the internet, ammo is free.

    I just remember how much fun Jesse and Arnold had with miniguns. Great lines.

  166. Confused In NJ says:

    Imagine if the Private Sector was like the Public Sector and the Private Sector employees selected or elected upper management based upon who would rape the company the most, in providing outrageous Pension & Benefits to company employees. Obviously those companies would fail and go out of business.

  167. Essex says:

    168. Or maybe they’d get a bailout and make the management rich(er) on the tax payers’ dime. One year’s compensation would allow you and your grandkids to live in style for eternity.

  168. Who wants to retire at 55 and live another 30-35 years in suspended animation in one of these wretched 55+ senior developments, anyway? Ever been to one of these repositories for bags of blood mixed with cellulite? Friggin’ ladies get all juicy for Scrabble and the daily lotto numbers. Seems like a lot of them can’t wait for their spouses to die, so they can go out and bag so many of the other singles that they come down with STDs. Lots of them get so bored that the first thing they take up as a hobby is drinking all day. So now, these developments have AA meetings in the clubhouse every freaking day.

    I wouldn’t last a week in one of these joints. I’d go AQ and wear a suicide vest into the HOA board meeting and friggin’ end it all and take as many with me as I could.

  169. chicagofinance says:

    It’s Friday in Boston….nom this is for you….
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpN60KKBAjc

  170. Anon E. Moose says:

    Chifi [173];

    I see you, and raise this:

    http://www.ebaumsworld.com/video/watch/999311/

  171. young buck says:

    The Trouble with Public Sector Unions

    When Chris Christie became New Jersey’s governor in January, he wasted no time in identifying the chief perpetrators of his state’s fiscal catastrophe. Facing a nearly $11 billion budget gap — as well as voters fed up with the sky-high taxes imposed on them to finance the state government’s profligacy — Christie moved swiftly to take on the unions representing New Jersey’s roughly 400,000 public employees.

    On his first day in office, the governor signed an executive order preventing state-workers’ unions from making political contributions — subjecting them to the same limits that had long applied to corporations. More recently, he has waged a protracted battle against state teachers’ unions, which are seeking pay increases and free lifetime health care for their members. Recognizing the burden that such benefits would place on New Jersey’s long-term finances, Christie has sought instead to impose a one-year wage freeze, to change pension rules to limit future benefits, and to require that teachers contribute a tiny fraction of their salaries to cover the costs of their health insurance — measures that, for private-sector workers, would be mostly uncontroversial.

    The firestorm that these proposals have sparked demonstrates the political clout of state-workers’ unions. Christie’s executive order met with vicious condemnation from union leaders and the politicians aligned with them; his fight with the public-school teachers prompted the New Jersey Education Association to spend $6 million (drawn from members’ dues) on anti-Christie attack ads over a two-month period. Clearly, the lesson for reform-minded politicians has been: Confront public-sector unions at your peril.

    Yet confront them policymakers must. As Christie said about the duel with the NJEA, “If we don’t win this fight, there’s no other fight left.” Melodramatic as this may sound, for many states, it is simply reality. The cost of public-sector pay and benefits (which in many cases far exceed what comparable workers earn in the private sector), combined with hundreds of billions of dollars in unfunded pension liabilities for retired government workers, are weighing down state and city budgets. And staggering as these burdens seem now, they are actually poised to grow exponentially in the years ahead. If policymakers fail to rein in this growth, a fiscal crack-up will be the inevitable result.

    New Jersey has drawn national attention as a case study, but the same scenario is playing out in state capitals from coast to coast. New York, Michigan, California, Washington, and many other states also find themselves heavily indebted, with public-sector unions at the root of their problems. In exchange, taxpayers in these states are rewarded with larger and more expensive, yet less effective, government, and with elected officials who are afraid to cross the politically powerful unions. As the Wall Street Journal put it recently, public-sector unions “may be the single biggest problem…for the U.S. economy and small-d democratic governance.” They may also be the biggest challenge facing state and local officials — a challenge that, unless economic conditions dramatically improve, will dominate the politics of the decade to come.

    THE STATE OF THE UNION

    Since the middle of the 20th century, organized labor in America has undergone two transformations with major implications for the nation’s politics. The first is the dramatic decline in overall union membership. In 1955, organized labor represented one-third of the non-agricultural work force; today, it represents just 12.3%. The second transformation, however, is even more significant: the change in the composition of the unionized work force.

    As private-sector unions have withered, public-sector unions have grown dramatically. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that, in 2009, for the first time ever, more public-sector employees (7.9 million) than private-sector employees (7.4 million) belonged to unions. Today, unionized workers are more likely to be teachers, librarians, trash collectors, policemen, or firefighters than they are to be carpenters, electricians, plumbers, auto workers, or coal miners.

    This shift has produced a noticeable change in the demographic profile of union members; gone is the image of a union man as a beefy laborer in a hard hat and steel-toed boots. According to data from the University of Michigan’s American National Election Study, in 1952, about 80% of union members were blue-collar workers, while 20% were white-collar workers; by the mid-1990s, those classified as white-collar workers gained majority status. Nor do men dominate unions any longer: In the 1950s, more than 80% of union members were men, but today there is near gender parity. Union members also have much more schooling than they once did. In 1960, more than 35% of union members had not finished high school and barely 2% had college degrees. Today, almost every union member has completed high school, and more than 25% have college degrees. The typical union member no longer lives in a major city center close to the factory; by the 1990s, union members were more likely to live in suburban than urban areas. Unions have also become multi-racial: Nearly a quarter of union members are now non-white. Unions today represent a vastly different slice of America than they did at the height of the country’s manufacturing prowess.

    The rise of government-worker unionism has also combined with the broader transformation of the American economy to produce a sharp divergence between public- and private-sector employment. In today’s public sector, good pay, generous benefits, and job security make possible a stable middle-class existence for nearly everyone from janitors to jailors. In the private economy, meanwhile, cutthroat competition, increased income inequality, and layoffs squeeze the middle class. This discrepancy indicates how poorly the middle class has fared in recent decades in the private economy, which is home to 80% of American jobs. But it also highlights the increased benefits of government work, and shines a spotlight on the gains public-sector unions have secured for their members. Perhaps this success helps explain why, on average, 39% of state- and local-government employees belong to unions. (Differences in state and local laws of course mean that the percentage varies from state to state; New York tops the chart with roughly 70% of state employees in unions, while many Southern right-to-work states hover in the single digits.)

    The emergence of powerful public-sector unions was by no means inevitable. Prior to the 1950s, as labor lawyer Ida Klaus remarked in 1965, “the subject of labor relations in public employment could not have meant less to more people, both in and out of government.” To the extent that people thought about it, most politicians, labor leaders, economists, and judges opposed collective bargaining in the public sector. Even President Franklin Roosevelt, a friend of private-sector unionism, drew a line when it came to government workers: “Meticulous attention,” the president insisted in 1937, “should be paid to the special relations and obligations of public servants to the public itself and to the Government….The process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service.” The reason? F.D.R. believed that “[a] strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to obstruct the operations of government until their demands are satisfied. Such action looking toward the paralysis of government by those who have sworn to support it is unthinkable and intolerable.” Roosevelt was hardly alone in holding these views, even among the champions of organized labor. Indeed, the first president of the AFL-CIO, George Meany, believed it was “impossible to bargain collectively with the government.”

    Courts across the nation also generally held that collective bargaining by government workers should be forbidden on the legal grounds of sovereign immunity and unconstitutional delegation of government powers. In 1943, a New York Supreme Court judge held:

    To tolerate or recognize any combination of civil service employees of the government as a labor organization or union is not only incompatible with the spirit of democracy, but inconsistent with every principle upon which our government is founded. Nothing is more dangerous to public welfare than to admit that hired servants of the State can dictate to the government the hours, the wages and conditions under which they will carry on essential services vital to the welfare, safety, and security of the citizen. To admit as true that government employees have power to halt or check the functions of government unless their demands are satisfied, is to transfer to them all legislative, executive and judicial power. Nothing would be more ridiculous.

    The very nature of many public services — such as policing the streets and putting out fires — gives government a monopoly or near monopoly; striking public employees could therefore hold the public hostage. As long-time New York Times labor reporter A. H. Raskin wrote in 1968: “The community cannot tolerate the notion that it is defenseless at the hands of organized workers to whom it has entrusted responsibility for essential services.”

    Another common objection to collective bargaining with public-employee unions was that it would mean taking some of the decision-making authority over government functions away from the people’s elected representatives and transferring it to union officials, with whom the public had vested no such authority. In this view, democracy would be compromised when elected officials began sharing with union leaders the power to determine government employees’ wages, benefits, and working conditions. Furthermore, collectively bargained work rules could alter what public servants did day to day in ways not condoned by either elected officials or the voting public.

    Given the forces and arguments aligned against public-sector unions, what led to their enormous growth? Three conditions prepared the ground for the legal reforms that facilitated collective bargaining in the public sector (and the subsequent swelling of the ranks of unionized government employees).

    The first was the weakening of party machines at the state and (especially) local levels. In many of America’s large cities, the responsibility for filling government jobs fell to the party machines; turnover in government employment was therefore high, connected as it was to election results. In New York during the 1930s and ’40s, for instance, the average tenure of a cop or garbage collector was five years. Another effect of the machines’ influence over government hiring was political: People in patronage jobs inevitably devoted a portion of their nominal working hours to party affairs. Because government employment under the machine system was both relatively brief and partisan in nature, a culture of professionalism was never really able to take hold.

    Reformers’ chief weapon in the war against the machines was the enactment of civil-service laws. Such laws sought to deprive ward bosses of control over patronage, which was their lifeblood. Civic groups, the press, and public-employees’ associations believed that greater professionalization of the government work force would draw in talent, increase efficiency, and reduce corruption. In the 1950s, according to historian Leo Kramer, the leadership of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) “saw itself as part of a great movement to reform government,” one of whose principal aims was “the extension of the merit system to all nonpolicy determining positions in all government jurisdictions.”

    By the end of the 1950s, reformers had put the old machines on the defensive. And professionalization had had its intended effect: In their 1963 book City Politics, Edward Banfield and James Q. Wilson found that, by 1961, 52% of cities with populations over 500,000 had placed nearly all government employees under civil-service protections.

    One important consequence of civil-service reform was that, with the end of election-based turnover — and with protections against undue political interference in hiring and firing — public employees gained nearly lifetime job security. This gave workers a long-term interest in their jobs and increased their capacity to express themselves collectively, thereby helping to make the unionization of public employees possible.

    The second precondition for public-sector unionization was economic and demographic change. In the post-war period, the number of government jobs grew rapidly: Between 1950 and 1976, state- and local-government employment increased from 9.1% to 15.3% of the non-agricultural work force (an increase from roughly 4 million workers to about 12 million). A large part of this spike was the result of increased demand for government services caused by the Baby Boom. Huge numbers of young people meant a greater need for workers in schools in particular; the number of Americans working as teachers, principals, and administrators thus increased dramatically. It is hardly surprising, then, that some of the first public employees to unionize (and some of the most militant) were teachers. In the 1970s in New York state alone, there were, on average, 20 teacher strikes a year.

    Finally, the third precondition was the solidification of the alliance between organized labor and the Democratic Party. Franklin Roosevelt’s signing of the Wagner Act (which protected the rights of private-sector workers to organize and bargain collectively) in 1935 fully bonded labor to the Democrats; their partnership was reinforced during the fight over the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947, which was a Republican initiative to rein in union power. By mid-century, Democrats began to rely on labor unions for both funding and on-the-ground campaign organizing. In the 1950s and ’60s, according to political scientist J. David Greenstone, “labor functioned as the most important nation-wide electoral organization for the Democratic Party.” As a political tag team, both Democrats and labor had an incentive to broaden the base of the labor movement — and they came to see public-sector workers as the most promising new hunting ground, especially as private-sector union membership began to decline.

    Democrats began to mobilize this new constituency in the late 1950s. In 1958, New York City mayor Robert Wagner, Jr., issued Executive Order 49, known as “the little Wagner Act.” It gave city employees bargaining rights, and provided their unions with exclusive representation (meaning that the unions alone were legally authorized to speak for city workers, regardless of whether those workers belonged to the unions or supported them). And in 1962, President John Kennedy issued Executive Order 10988, reaffirming the right of federal workers to organize and codifying their right to bargain collectively.

    From the mid-1960s through the early ’70s, states and cities followed with a plethora of laws providing public-employee unions with collective-bargaining rights. In many cases, the consequences were almost immediate. In New York state, one year after the passage of the so-called Taylor Law in 1967, 360,000 state- and local-government employees became unionized; the New York Times described the law as having an “almost revolutionary effect.” Other states and cities experienced similar expansions in the number of public-sector union members. For example, in 1968, California passed the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act — a law granting local-government workers bargaining rights — and then extended those rights to teachers a few years later; in the 1970s and ’80s, both membership in public-sector unions and the number of strikes in California skyrocketed. Nationwide, by 1970, the AFSCME had negotiated more than 1,000 collective-bargaining agreements, nearly twice the number in place in 1964. And by 1972, nearly half of the states had public-employee collective-bargaining laws in place at either the state or local level.

    Collective-bargaining laws gave government workers powerful incentives to join unions. Between 1960 and 1980, the portion of full-time unionized public employees jumped from 10% to 36% of the public-sector work force. The AFSCME grew from 99,000 members in 1955 to just under 1 million members in 1980. Over the same period, the American Federation of Teachers grew from 40,000 to more than half a million members. Today, its membership stands at more than 1.5 million — which makes the AFT larger than the largest exclusively private-sector union, the United Food and Commercial Workers (1.3 million members). But even the AFT is dwarfed by the largest labor union in the United States: the National Education Association, which claims 3.2 million members.

    Organized labor in America thus increasingly consists of government employees, and government employees increasingly belong to unions. This shift has clearly reshaped the country’s labor movement. Far more important to most Americans, though, is the way it has transformed the relationships between public employees, the governments they work for, and the public they serve — often with less than salutary results.

    THE PUBLIC-SECTOR DIFFERENCE

    When it comes to advancing their interests, public-sector unions have significant advantages over traditional unions. For one thing, using the political process, they can exert far greater influence over their members’ employers — that is, government — than private-sector unions can. Through their extensive political activity, these government-workers’ unions help elect the very politicians who will act as “management” in their contract negotiations — in effect handpicking those who will sit across the bargaining table from them, in a way that workers in a private corporation (like, say, American Airlines or the Washington Post Company) cannot. Such power led Victor Gotbaum, the leader of District Council 37 of the AFSCME in New York City, to brag in 1975: “We have the ability, in a sense, to elect our own boss.”

    Since public-sector unions began to develop in earnest, their importance in political campaigns has grown by leaps and bounds. Starting from almost nothing in the 1960s, government-workers’ unions now far exceed private-sector unions in political contributions. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, from 1989 to 2004, the AFSCME was the biggest spender in America, giving nearly $40 million to candidates in federal elections (98.5% of it to Democrats). It is important to stress that this was spending on federal elections; the union represents mostly state and local workers. But given the magnitude of federal contributions to state budgets, the AFSCME is heavily involved in electioneering to shape Washington’s spending in ways that protect public workers and the supply of government services. And so over that 15-year period, the AFSCME was willing and able to outspend any other organization in the country.

    The political influence of public-sector unions is probably greatest, however, in low-turnout elections to school boards and state and local offices, and in votes to decide ballot initiatives and referenda. For example, two of the top five biggest spenders in Wisconsin’s 2003 and 2004 state elections were the Wisconsin Education Association Council and the AFSCME-affiliated Wisconsin PEOPLE Conference. Only the state Republican Party and two other political action committees — those belonging to the National Association of Realtors and SBC / Ameritech — spent more. The same is true in state after state, as unions work to exert control over the very governments that employs their members.

    This political dimension of public-sector unionism also changes the substantive priorities and demands of the unions themselves. Although private-sector unions in the United States have engaged in leftist “social activism,” they have mostly concentrated their efforts on securing the best wages, benefits, pensions, and working conditions for their members: “pure and simple unionism,” as longtime American Federation of Labor president Samuel Gompers used to call it. Rarely do they demand more hiring, since — given the constant private-sector imperative to keep operating costs minimal — increasing the number of a company’s employees can limit wage and benefit increases for the workers already on the company’s payroll.

    By contrast, as economist Richard Freeman has written, “public sector unions can be viewed as using their political power to raise demand for public services, as well as using their bargaining power to fight for higher wages.” The millions spent by public-employee unions on ballot measures in states like California and Oregon, for instance, almost always support the options that would lead to higher taxes and more government spending. The California Teachers Association, for example, spent $57 million in 2005 to defeat referenda that would have reduced union power and checked government growth. And the political influence of such massive spending is of course only amplified by the get-out-the-vote efforts of the unions and their members. This power of government-workers’ unions to increase (and then sustain) levels of employment through the political process helps explain why, for instance, the city of Buffalo, New York, had the same number of public workers in 2006 as it did in 1950 — despite having lost half of its population (and thus a significant amount of the demand for public services).

    For a case study in how public-sector unions manipulate both supply and demand, consider the example of the California Correctional Peace Officers Association. Throughout the 1980s and ’90s, the CCPOA lobbied the state government to increase California’s prison facilities — since more prisons would obviously mean more jobs for corrections officers. And between 1980 and 2000, the Golden State constructed 22 new prisons for adults (before 1980, California had only 12 such facilities). The CCPOA also pushed for the 1994 “three strikes” sentencing law, which imposed stiff penalties on repeat offenders. The prison population exploded — and, as intended, the new prisoners required more guards. The CCPOA has been no less successful in increasing members’ compensation: In 2006, the average union member made $70,000 a year, and more than $100,000 with overtime. Corrections officers can also retire with 90% of their salaries as early as age 50. Today, an amazing 11% of the state budget — more than what is spent on higher education — goes to the penal system.[Correction appended] Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger now proposes privatizing portions of the prison system to escape the unions’ grip — though his proposal has so far met with predictable (union supported) political opposition.

    A further important advantage that public-sector unions have over their private-sector counterparts is their relative freedom from market forces. In the private sector, the wage demands of union workers cannot exceed a certain threshold: If they do, they can render their employers uncompetitive, threatening workers’ long-term job security. In the public sector, though, government is the monopoly provider of many services, eliminating any market pressures that might keep unions’ demands in check. Moreover, unlike in the private sector, contract negotiations in the public sector are usually not highly adversarial; most government-agency mangers have little personal stake in such negotiations. Unlike executives accountable to shareholders and corporate boards, government managers generally get paid the same — and have the same likelihood of keeping their jobs — regardless of whether their operations are run efficiently. They therefore rarely play hardball with unions like business owners and managers do; there is little history of “union busting” in government.

    Additionally, the rise and fall of businesses in the private sector means that unions must constantly engage in organizing efforts, reaching out to employees of newly created companies. In government agencies, on the other hand, once a union organizes workers, they usually remain organized — because the government doesn’t go out of business. Public-employee unions can thus maintain membership levels with much less effort than can private-sector unions.

    Finally, public-sector unions enjoy a privileged position in relation not only to their private-sector counterparts but also to other interest groups. Public-sector unions have automatic access to politicians through the collective-bargaining process, while other interest groups must fight for such entrée. Government unions can also more easily mobilize their members for electoral participation than other interest groups can — since they are able to apply pressure at the workplace and, in many cases, can even arrange for time off and other benefits to make members’ political activism easier. Furthermore, most interest groups must devote a great deal of time and effort to fundraising; public-sector unions, on the other hand, enjoy a steady, reliable revenue stream, as union dues are deducted directly from members’ paychecks (often by government, which drastically reduces the unions’ administrative costs).

    Taken together, the intrinsic advantages that public-sector unions enjoy over private-sector advocacy groups (including private-sector unions) have given organized government laborers enormous power over government at the local, state, and federal levels; to shape public finances and fiscal policy; and to influence the very spirit of our democracy. The results, unfortunately, have not always been pretty.

    A UNIONIZED GOVERNMENT

    The effects of public-sector unionism can be grouped under three broad headings. The first centers on compensation, which includes wages, pensions, health care, and other benefits easily valued in monetary terms — the core issues at stake in collective-bargaining negotiations. The second involves the amount of government employment, or the size of government, as reflected in the number of workers and in public budgets. The third involves the productivity and efficiency of government services. Insofar as unions negotiate detailed work rules, they share the power to shape the day-to-day responsibilities of public servants — which influences what government does, and how well it does it.

    These are complex matters that are hard for social scientists to measure, and on which scholars disagree. Nevertheless, the evidence supports a few broad conclusions.

    Most economists agree that public-sector unions’ political power leads to more government spending. And recently, Chris Edwards of the Cato Institute documented how government unionism has abetted growth in public-sector compensation. Generally speaking, the public sector pays more than the private sector for jobs at the low end of the labor market, while the private sector pays more for jobs at the high end. For janitors and secretaries, for instance, the public sector offers an appreciably better deal than the private economy: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for the roughly 330,000 office clerks who work in government was almost $27,000 in 2005, while the 2.7 million in the private sector received an average pay of just under $23,000. Nationwide, among the 108,000 janitors who work in government, the average salary was $23,700; the average salary of the 2 million janitors working in the private sector, meanwhile, was $19,800.

    For workers with advanced degrees, however, the public-sector pay scale is likely to be slightly below the private-sector benchmark. Private-sector economists, for instance, earn an average of $99,000 a year, compared to the $69,000 earned by their government colleagues. And accountants in the corporate world earn average annual salaries of $52,000, compared to $48,000 for their public-sector counterparts.

    Not as easily captured is the comparable worth of those government workers who lack counterparts in the private sector, such as policemen, firefighters, and corrections officers. But that very monopoly status has given the union representatives of these workers enormous leverage, which they have converted into major gains. For example, in New York state, county police officers were paid an average salary of $121,000 a year in 2006. In that same year, according to the Boston Globe, 225 of the 2,338 Massachusetts State Police officers made more than the $140,535 annual salary earned by the state’s governor. Four state troopers received more than $200,000, and 123 others were paid more than $150,000. While people whose jobs entail greater risk of life and limb certainly deserve higher pay, union power has clearly added a substantial premium.

    When all jobs are considered, state and local public-sector workers today earn, on average, $14 more per hour in total compensation (wages and benefits) than their private-sector counterparts. The New York Times has reported that public-sector wages and benefits over the past decade have grown twice as fast as those in the private sector. These aggregate pay differentials stem partly from the fact that government work tends to be more white-collar, and that public employees tend to be better educated and more experienced, and to live in urban areas. Another factor is the hollowing out of the middle of the income distribution in the private sector. But union influence still plays a major role.

    When unions have not been able to secure increases in wages and salaries, they have turned their attention to benefits. USA Today journalist Dennis Cauchon notes that, since 2002, for every $1-an-hour pay increase, public employees have gotten $1.17 in new benefits; private-sector workers, meanwhile, have received just 58 cents in added benefits. Of special interest to the unions has been health care: Across the nation, 86% of state- and local-government workers have access to employer-provided health insurance, while only 45% of private-sector workers do. In many cases, these plans involve meager contributions from employees, or none at all — in New Jersey, for instance, 88% of public-school teachers pay nothing toward their insurance premiums.

    The unions’ other cherished benefit is public-employee pensions. In California, for example, state workers often retire at 55 years of age with pensions that exceed what they were paid during most of their working years. In New York City, firefighters and police officers may retire after 20 years of service at half pay — which means that, at a time when life expectancy is nearly 80 years, New York City is paying benefits to 10,000 retired cops who are less than 50 years old. Those benefits quickly add up: In 2006, the annual pension benefit for a new retiree averaged just under $73,000 (and the full amount is exempt from state and local taxes).

    How, one might ask, were policymakers ever convinced to agree to such generous terms? As it turns out, many lawmakers found that increasing pensions was very good politics. They placated unions with future pension commitments, and then turned around, borrowed the money appropriated for the pensions, and spent it paying for public services in the here and now. Politicians liked this scheme because they could satisfy the unions, provide generous public services without raising taxes to pay for them, and even sometimes get around balanced-budget requirements.

    Unfortunately, the hit pension funds took recently in the stock market has exposed the massive underfunding that results from states’ and municipalities’ not paying for the public services they consume. In Illinois, for example, public-sector unions have helped create a situation in which the state’s pension funds report a liability of more than $100 billion, at least 50% of it unfunded. Yet many analysts believe the figure is much higher; without a steep economic recovery, the Prairie State is looking at insolvency. Indeed, Northwestern University finance professor Joshua Rauh puts the date of collapse at 2018; he also predicts that six other states — Connecticut, Indiana, New Jersey, Hawaii, Louisiana, and Oklahoma — will see their pension funds dry up before the end of fiscal year 2020. What’s more, according to the Pew Center on the States, 18 states face long-term pension liabilities in excess of $10 billion. In the case of California, like that of Illinois, the unfunded pension liability exceeds $50 billion. In fact, Pew estimates that, when retiree health-care costs are added to pension obligations, the unfunded liabilities of the states total an astounding $1 trillion.

    The skyrocketing costs of public employees’ pensions now present a huge challenge to state and local governments. If allowed to persist, such massive obligations will inevitably force a fundamental re-ordering of government priorities. After all, if government must spend more on pensions, it cannot spend more on schools, roads, and relief for the poor — in other words, the basic functions people expect their governments to perform. But because many states’ pension commitments are constitutionally guaranteed, there is no easy way out of this financial sink hole. Recent court decisions indicate that pension obligations will have to be fulfilled even if governments declare bankruptcy — because while federal law allows bankruptcy judges to change pension and health-care packages in the private sector, it forbids such changes in public employees’ agreements.

    Yet as skilled as the unions may be in drawing on taxpayer dollars, many observers argue that their greater influence is felt in the quality of the government services taxpayers receive in return. In his book The Warping of Government Work, Harvard public-policy scholar John Donahue explains how public-employee unions have reduced government efficiency and responsiveness. With poor prospects in the ultra-competitive private sector, government work is increasingly desirable for those with limited skills; at the opposite end of the spectrum, the wage compression imposed by unions and civil-service rules makes government employment less attractive to those whose abilities are in high demand. Consequently, there is a “brain drain” at the top end of the government work force, as many of the country’s most talented people opt for jobs in the private sector where they can be richly rewarded for their skills (and avoid the intricate work rules, and glacial advancement through big bureaucracies, that are part and parcel of government work).

    Thus, as New York University professor Paul Light argues, government employment “caters more to the security-craver than the risk-taker.” And because government employs more of the former and fewer of the latter, it is less flexible, less responsive, and less innovative. It is also more expensive: Northeastern University economist Barry Bluestone has shown that, between 2000 and 2008, the price of state and local public services has increased by 41% nationally, compared with 27% for private services.

    Finally, insofar as government collective-bargaining agreements touch on a wide range of economic decisions, public-sector unions have extraordinary influence over government policies. In the classic model of democratic accountability, citizens vote in competitive elections for candidates offering distinct policy agendas; once in office, the winners implement their programs through public agencies. But when public-employee unions bargain collectively with the government, elected officials partially cede control of public agencies to unelected labor leaders. Many policy choices are then settled in the course of negotiations between office holders and unions, rather than originating with the people’s duly elected representatives. Over the long term, these negotiated work rules can drive public policy in directions that neither elected officials nor voters desire. And once enacted, these policies can prove very hard to reverse, even through elections: A new mayor or governor — no matter how hard-charging a reformer — will often find his hands tied by the iron-clad agreements unions managed to extract from his predecessors.

    Stanford University political scientist Terry Moe has made exactly this argument with respect to the education sector. “Teachers unions have more influence on the public schools than any other group in American society,” Moe argues. “Their massive memberships and awesome resources give them unrivaled power in the politics of education, allowing them to affect which policies are imposed on the schools by government — and to block reforms they don’t like.” One need only look at the debates over charter-school caps or merit-pay proposals to see Moe’s point.

    Public-sector unions thus distort the labor market, weaken public finances, and diminish the responsiveness of government and the quality of public services. Many of the concerns that initially led policymakers to oppose collective bargaining by government employees have, over the years, been vindicated.

    As a result, it is difficult for defenders of public-sector unions today to make a convincing case that such unions benefit the public at large. Their argument has basically been reduced to three assertions. One is that most public employees live modest lives, and so criticizing efforts to improve their lot distracts attention from wealthy CEOs and Wall Street bankers who are the real culprits behind today’s economic woes. Another is that the unions defend the dignity of public service, thereby preserving a middle class that would otherwise be plunged — through conservatives’ efforts to privatize such work — into the vicious race to the bottom that now plagues the private sector. Finally, government-workers’ unions help advance leftist politics by keeping the labor movement hobbling along.

    To be sure, there is some merit to each of these arguments, though none is especially convincing. But even if these claims were completely true and obvious, they would not offer sufficient reason to put up with the other, manifestly negative consequences of public-sector unionism.

    GOVERNING IN THE REAL WORLD

    “At some point,” New Jersey governor Chris Christie said in a February speech to his state’s mayors, “there has to be parity between what is happening in the real world and what is happening in the public-sector world.”

    Achieving such parity will not be easy, as some early attempts to curtail the power of public-sector unions have shown. Some state and local officials (like California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger) have sought to appeal directly to the people through referenda, only to be thwarted by the unions’ electoral clout. Others have pursued stop-gap measures like wage freezes and furloughs of public employees, which inevitably draw some public backlash. There have even been calls for some cities to follow the example of Vallejo, California, and declare bankruptcy so that they can renegotiate employment contracts with the unions.

    A few places are attempting more serious long-term solutions. As the Wall Street Journal reported in June, public-employee unions in Vermont, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wyoming have recently agreed to modest reductions in pension benefits — though none of the cuts is large enough to bring the finances of that state’s pension funds fully into balance. In the Garden State, Governor Christie succeeded in getting the state legislature to approve a 2% annual growth cap on property taxes in order to limit local spending — thereby indirectly curtailing the power of teachers’ unions to demand more public dollars. Yet even well-designed tax caps can unleash unpleasant consequences, including more crowded classrooms, layoffs of state workers, and increases in pension debt. Few politicians will want to suffer those consequences, and the unions will fiercely oppose all policies that even hint at reform.

    All of these efforts are, of course, attempts to deal only with the symptoms of the looming state fiscal crisis — not with its underlying causes. To address those causes, policymakers may even need to re-open the question of whether government workers should enjoy the privilege of collective bargaining.

    After all, even without collective bargaining, government workers would still benefit from far-reaching protections under existing civil-service statutes — more protections than most private-sector workers enjoy. And they would retain their full rights as citizens to petition the government for changes in policy. Public-sector workers’ ability to unionize is hardly sacrosanct; it is by no means a fundamental civil or constitutional right. It has been permitted by most states and localities for only about half a century, and, so far, it is not clear that this experiment has served the public interest.

    It is true that ending government workers’ ability to organize is politically inconceivable today in the states where it exists. But if states’ and cities’ fiscal ills grow painful enough, the unthinkable could someday become political necessity. For all Americans — including public-sector employees — it would of course be better if the situation did not reach that point of catastrophe. We can all hope that a robust economic revival will take the pressure off of states and cities and give policymakers more room to maneuver. If such a rapid recovery is not forthcoming, though, the most appealing solution will be for everyone to re-enter the real world — if only public officials and public-sector unions can be sensible enough to try.

    http://www.nationalaffairs.com/publications/detail/the-trouble-with-public-sector-unions

  172. Confused In NJ says:

    170.Essex says:
    November 19, 2010 at 4:55 pm
    168. Or maybe they’d get a bailout and make the management rich(er) on the tax payers’ dime. One year’s compensation would allow you and your grandkids to live in style for eternity

    You missed the Point, Public or Private, “It Never Was Sustainable, It’s A Ponzi!”

  173. Confused In NJ says:

    174. Correct, so let’s outlaw Public Sector Unions and post facto execute all Public Officials who were bought by them, and violated the common citizen. That should solve the problem.

  174. yo'me says:

    The unions kept salary inline with inflation for the public sector and most unionized labor.The private sector salary did not catch up for 95% of the citizen.Income gap kept on widening.The result is the private sector that pays the public employees can’t afford them.

    Minimum wage is worth less than in 1968

    http://lifeinc.todayshow.com/_news/2010/11/19/5495013-good-graph-friday-minimum-wage-is-worth-less-than-in-1968

  175. House Hunter says:

    Young Buck 32 – I agree with the specific facts regarding pensions, especially with C. Whitman and the other criminals, she should be in jail. Corzine also got rid of the state employee pension management group, and outsourced that to his Wall st. buddies who lost a bunch. However, the other side of the story is also the fact that the police and fire teams have gotten extraordinary raises over the years, and if you look at the span of 22 or even 30 years of 8.5 % (even if matched with the 8.5% promised) you don’t get the millions of $’s that would be pulled out by the recipient, nor the healthcare. how soon can anyone make $300,000 into 3 million?

    Just saying – what did your mom used to say, two wrongs don’t make a right.

  176. Juice Box says:

    Re: 171 – you should see the stuff that goes on in retirement homes never mind the over 55 communities.

  177. Juice Box says:

    I bet Christie jumps off the sinking SS NJ in 2012

  178. Al Gore says:

    Yeah, Christie “The Air is Safe To Breathe” Whitman should be hung from a lamp post. They are all fing criminals. Dont get me mad. Just give me some knob creek.

  179. Fabius Maximus says:

    #174 young buck

    I got through the first 5 paragraphs of that and gave up as a partisan hack piece.

    Here is one small example of what the author leaves out. Yes CC signed an order to stop unions from making political contributions, but the courts threw it out as unconsitutional. Small facts like that get in the way of the tone the author is trying to set.

  180. Confused In NJ says:

    180.Juice Box says:
    November 19, 2010 at 6:50 pm
    I bet Christie jumps off the sinking SS NJ in 2012

    It depends on how many Union folks took their Pension & Benefits and fled to Florida and can’t vote against him, versus, Private Sector folks who starved to death or died from sub standard medical and can’t vote for him. One solution is to Tax the Chinese for US Public Pensions. Timmy & Benny should be able to convince them. Then again they already said Benny is smoking something funny with QE2. Better then the German though who said Benny didn’t have a Clue.

  181. leftwing says:

    “I can guarantee if the folks on this board had gotten their spouses into the public jobs that they so badly wanted, they would be singing a very different tune when it came to these entitlements.”

    That statement alone shows what a fraud public sector unions and benefits are.

    Starve the beast. Eliminate public sector unions.

  182. Outofstater says:

    #174 Y’all might just want to get the heck out of Dodge. Just sayin’.

  183. Al Gore says:

    170.

    Essex,

    The common enemy is clearly evident. Now the public vs private sector argument is legitimate but for the sake of productivity why doesnt every American target the common enemy and rid ourselves of it?

    Once that is done the communist infilitrators can be rooted out of the public sector and a new balance can be restored.

    There is not going to be a communist utopia in this country. That I can assure you.

  184. Al Gore says:

    Those 55+ communities are a distaster waiting to happen. Wanna be Communists just hoping for a communists utopia and buying into the sales pitch of “Adult activities.” Yeah right. More like a bunch of has beens hoping some other piece of sh_t can make their life interesting while the downside is shared by all. Worst idea of all time. They will be tomorrows low income housing while the farmers in the sticks with their tractors and their guns will be making bling.

  185. confused (176)-

    Yes!

  186. al (187)-

    One of the beliefs I cling to is that America will start to be a better place again when the Boomers have died off in sufficient enough quantities to stop sucking the air out of the room.

    Everything the Boomer generation touches turns to shit.

  187. Al Gore says:

    189.

    Obamacare will finish them off in quick order. That I can assure you.

  188. Mike says:

    Lamar 148 – boy you’re going to carry that debt, carry that debt a long time

  189. Libtard says:

    There are a lot of things in this world that I’m sure of, but I’m fairly certain that Fabius and Essex would see the situation differently if the were on the other side.

    1+1 does not = 5. How hard is this to understand.

    It really doesn’t matter though. The public sector pensions will go the way of the country. Into oblivion.

  190. Essex says:

    “other side” — I’ve been in public and private firms. Fortune 500. Done Two IPOs and ridden a couple of waves of prosperity and despair. The way I see it the fact is that public jobs make just a couple of promises. Pension and job security in exchange for a rather mediocre wage. Private firms can be trampolines to wealth. No one in the public sector will ever become wealthy from just that work.

  191. Libtard says:

    Essex,

    You are entitled to your opinion. Unfortunately, it is valueless. True, private firms can be trampolines to wealth, but so can be the state lottery. Do you have any friggin’ clue as to what health care costs will amount to in your last thirty years? Currently it’s estimated to equal $400,000 in today’s dollars. And how much are you contributing to your $400,000 payout?

    If the grass was greener on the other side, you would have stayed there Essex. Instead, you have volunteered to @ssr@pe the rest of us. My only regret with the career path that I have chosen is that I didn’t become a teacher.

  192. Libtard says:

    I may be angry now, but I’ll be smiling when your pension payments go poof.

  193. Fabius Maximus says:

    Lib,

    The big problem with your argument is that you say, “we can’t afford it”, while that may be 100% true that has no bearing on the situation. Not being able to afford it is not a defense that can hold up in court.

    We have had so many people in her screaming that contract law should not be broken. A mortgage modification, it’s a breach of contract law, automaker bailout, breach of contract law. Lawfully negotiated union contract, oh that’s different, just throw it under the bus because “we can’t afford it”

    You cant afford it comes down to, default and take the consequences. For GM it was 30% of the new company goes to the pension fund to meet the obligations. Fed defaults USD debt, most of the country goes to Asia.

    You say look at the other side, can we afford to have companies like Google paying a tax rate of 2.4%. No, we can’t afford it. Google are not doing anything wrong here outside of opening up their Kimono that other multi nationals keep closed. That said, they are not at fault here as it is the tax code that is at fault. Google should not be criticized for working within the letter of the law, just as the public sector workers cannot be criticized for working within the law of their contract. If that cop did not pony up his 8.5% every paycheck, then you have a gripe.

    You can’t have double standards here and going after the public sector workers here is just picking on the small kid in the sandbox.

  194. Libtard says:

    Who makes the laws? The same people who bought the votes. I’m not going after the workers. I’m going after their union. As for the validity of the contract. Come on now. I had a contract with my company. I signed a job offer that contained a 401k match and a defined salary. I signed it when I was hired back in 1999. Your point, though well defined is moot. Is your contract with the state any different than mine with my company.

    The fact is that there is no money so it’s not a matter of law. Many will be laid off so those that do remain will get to collect. How does this help ‘serve’ the taxpayer? These union, who so many public workers like to rally behind, will end up being hated by those they used to represent. There will be no bailouts for the pensions. Why? Because the unions vote is no longer strong enough now that so much of the electorate have soured to their value. Just look how Christie dismantled Corzine in a blue state. Regardless, I’m assuming you are a public worker and I do appreciate your service. Just don’t be surprised when your guaranteed pension is not paid.

  195. Confused In NJ says:

    196.Fabius Maximus says:
    November 19, 2010 at 10:25 pm
    Lib,

    The big problem with your argument is that you say, “we can’t afford it”, while that may be 100% true that has no bearing on the situation. Not being able to afford it is not a defense that can hold up in court.

    It can if you put Sanity back in the courts!

    We have had so many people in her screaming that contract law should not be broken. A mortgage modification, it’s a breach of contract law, automaker bailout, breach of contract law. Lawfully negotiated union contract, oh that’s different, just throw it under the bus because “we can’t afford it”

    Contracts are not legally negotiated in todays society when the Union owns the State or county representative!

    You cant afford it comes down to, default and take the consequences. For GM it was 30% of the new company goes to the pension fund to meet the obligations. Fed defaults USD debt, most of the country goes to Asia.

    Nothing goes anywhere if your Country is the Big Dog with Nukes! Asia gets to pound salt.

    You say look at the other side, can we afford to have companies like Google paying a tax rate of 2.4%. No, we can’t afford it. Google are not doing anything wrong here outside of opening up their Kimono that other multi nationals keep closed. That said, they are not at fault here as it is the tax code that is at fault. Google should not be criticized for working within the letter of the law, just as the public sector workers cannot be criticized for working within the law of their contract. If that cop did not pony up his 8.5% every paycheck, then you have a gripe.

    You can’t have double standards here and going after the public sector workers here is just picking on the small kid in the sandbox

    Public Unions are the big Kid in the Sand Box. The Private Kids were outsourced!

    The road to Hell is paved with Biased Intentions!

  196. Yikes says:

    Sad. Let’s make the economy take for another 18 months so we have a new face in the White House. Pathetic.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/19/opinion/19krugman.html?src=me&ref=homepage

    So what’s really motivating the G.O.P. attack on the Fed? Mr. Bernanke and his colleagues were clearly caught by surprise, but the budget expert Stan Collender predicted it all. Back in August, he warned Mr. Bernanke that “with Republican policy makers seeing economic hardship as the path to election glory,” they would be “opposed to any actions taken by the Federal Reserve that would make the economy better.” In short, their real fear is not that Fed actions will be harmful, it is that they might succeed.

  197. Fabius Maximus says:

    Did any of the changes made to your situation breach contract, if so sue!

    One big difference I see in the private sector is that any private sector pension fund, now has tight ringfencing from :
    A) company raiding it
    B) Company loading it full off company stock.

    IF that was extended through to the public sector, we probably wouldn’t be having this discussion.

    On a side note, I think my company divested itself of a business that was a direct competitor of your company in some areas. (i.e. I’m not public)

  198. Fabius Maximus says:

    “It can if you put Sanity back in the courts!”

    Last time I looked that Justitia still had a blindfold. Are are you going into an activist judge diatrible?

    “An activist judge is a judge that makes decisions I don’t agree with!”

  199. Fabius Maximus says:

    Just to throw the question out there?

    Do the Unions own that newly minted majority in the House? That would be those ones putting up the laws for the sentate to shoot down or O to veto for the next two years.

  200. Punch My Ticket says:

    Yo Nom!!!

    Been away in the auld countrie for a month or so but I see Timmay has finally released the most recent two quarters of voluntary departees.

  201. Essex says:

    194. My health care cost is covered by a giant multinational corporation. They are a huge corporation that has a really comprehensive plan. FYI Life is good as a corporate citizen when profits are rising.

    195. Why would anyone ‘smile’ when an elderly person’s pension would disappear? Something that they pay into and rely upon and in most cases is a very modest sum.

    That comment alone speaks volumes about not only your lack of character and empathy, but also a certain cruel pathetic nature that is all too common among Americans today. Hate thy neighbor is the new way.

  202. Essex says:

    Hiding From Reality
    By BOB HERBERT
    Published: November 19, 2010

    However you want to define the American dream, there is not much of it that’s left anymore.

    Wherever you choose to look — at the economy and jobs, the public schools, the budget deficits, the nonstop warfare overseas — you’ll see a country in sad shape. Standards of living are declining, and American parents increasingly believe that their children will inherit a very bad deal.

    We’re in denial about the extent of the rot in the system, and the effort that would be required to turn things around. It will likely take many years, perhaps a decade or more, to get employment back to a level at which one could fairly say the economy is thriving.

    Consider this startling information from the Pew Hispanic Center: in the year following the official end of the Great Recession in June 2009, foreign-born workers in the U.S. gained 656,000 jobs while native-born workers lost 1.2 million. But even as the hiring of immigrants picked up during that period, those same workers “experienced a sharp decline in earnings.”

    What this shows is not that we should discriminate against foreign-born workers, but that the U.S. needs to develop a full-employment economy that provides jobs for all who want to work at pay that enables the workers and their families to enjoy a decent standard of living. In other words, a resurrection of the American dream.

    Right now, nothing close to that is happening.

    The human suffering in the years required to recover from the recession will continue to be immense. And that suffering will only be made worse if the nation embarks on a misguided crash program of deficit reduction that in the short term will undermine any recovery, and in the long term will make true deficit reduction that much harder to achieve.

    The wreckage from the recession and the nation’s mindlessly destructive policies in the years leading up to the recession is all around us. We still don’t have the money to pay for the wars that we insist on fighting year after year. We have neither the will nor the common sense to either raise taxes to pay for the wars, or stop fighting them.

    State and local governments, faced with fiscal nightmares, are reducing services, cutting their work forces, hacking away at health and pension benefits, and raising taxes and fees. So far it hasn’t been enough, so there is more carnage to come. In many cases, the austerity measures are punishing some of the most vulnerable people, including children, the sick and the disabled.

    For all the talk about the need to improve the public schools and get rid of incompetent teachers, school systems around the country are being hammered with dreadful cutbacks and teachers are being let go in droves, not because they are incompetent, but strictly for budget reasons. There was a time when the United States understood the importance of educating its young people and led the way in compulsory public schooling. It also built the finest higher education system in the world. Now, although no one will admit it publicly, we’ve decided to go in another direction.

    In New York City, for example, Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s choice to run the public school system is Cathleen Black, a wealthy corporate executive with no background in education whose children attended expensive private schools. Mr. Bloomberg has asserted that Ms. Black’s management expertise will be a boon to the city’s public school children. But the truth is that Ms. Black, if she gets a necessary waiver for her new job, will be presiding over budget cuts that can only hurt the schools. As part of a proposed austerity budget, the mayor is planning to eliminate the jobs of thousands of public school teachers over the next two years. Take that, kids.

    We’ve become a hapless, can’t-do society, and it’s, frankly, embarrassing. Public figures talk endlessly about “transformative changes” in public education, but the years go by and we see no such thing. Politicians across the spectrum insist that they are all about job creation while the employment situation in the real world remains beyond pathetic.

    All we are good at is bulldozing money to the very wealthy. No wonder the country is in such a deep slide.

    We don’t even seem to realize how deep a hole we’re in. If student test scores jumped a couple of points or the jobless rate fell by a point and half, the politicians and the news media would crow as if something great had been achieved. That’s how people behave when they’re in denial.

    America will never get its act together until we recognize how much trouble we’re really in, and how much effort and shared sacrifice is needed to stop the decline. Only then will we be able to begin resuscitating the dream.

  203. Essex says:

    One reason that I laugh when I read the rants here during the day is that I really do wonder how highly motivated and success people find the time to post here all day. I never had that kind of time unless whatever job I had was either winding down or the company that I was in was a hell-hole and I was simply waiting to expire in my current position.

    Most people who are innovative and driven. These folks are not the majority. Most don’t have time to ‘live online’ and ponder their navel. They are busy people. Americans are a really fascinating people. I love em!! In blaming the schools, you are blaming ‘us’. In blaming the government, you are blaming ‘us’. Get it????

  204. Libtard says:

    Essex…

    Is it any less rude to ask those who are getting f’ed to maintain your unbelievably rich retirement? The neighborly thing to do would be to share the pain. Not to cut off the remaining leg from the amputee.

  205. Essex-

    I find it ironic that you bash those who read the blog and comment, and yet you obviously fit this into your busy schedule today!

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