December Beige Book

From the Federal Reserve:

December Beige Book (Summary of current economic conditions) – Second District–New York

Construction and Real Estate

Housing markets across the District have been steady to softer since the last report, with some of the ongoing weakness at the lower end of the market attributed to the mid-year expiration of the home-buyer tax credit. In general, prices have drifted down across much of upstate New York and in northern New Jersey since mid-year, while prices in New York City remained relatively steady. Buffalo-area Realtors report that the housing market weakened somewhat in October through early November, particularly for lower-priced homes; sales activity has slowed, and the supply of homes on the market has increased. Similarly, a contact in northern New Jersey reports that market conditions remain sluggish: sales activity remains low and is still largely composed of distress sales, and prices are still said to be edging down.

Activity in New York City’s co-op and condo market has slipped by a bit more than the seasonal norm in October and early November, particularly at the lower end of the market, though a recent flurry of activity is reported at the very high end (homes in the range of $8 million or more). Prices remain stable across the spectrum. While the number of new condos under construction has declined modestly, there continues to be a substantial inventory of unsold, completed units. Manhattan’s rental market has reportedly softened a bit since the last report. Rents remain stable, but landlords are, once again, offering concessions (such as one or more month’s free rent), though these discounts are not as steep as in 2009. A substantial amount of new housing in the pipeline is likely to be offered as rentals.

Office markets across the District have been steady to slightly softer thus far in the fourth quarter. Asking rents held steady in Manhattan and slipped in northern New Jersey, Long Island and Rochester but rose modestly in Westchester and Fairfield counties and in Buffalo. Vacancy rates have been steady to modestly higher since the last report. Sales of commercial properties remain sluggish, and a contact in upstate New York reports that commercial construction activity remains at depressed levels.

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197 Responses to December Beige Book

  1. grim says:

    From Reuters:

    Third-quarter demand for foreclosed homes plummets: survey

    Buyers looking to purchase a foreclosed home saw the largest price discounts in almost five years as demand for foreclosed homes plummeted in the third quarter, a closely watched industry survey said on Thursday.

    Real estate data company RealtyTrac said foreclosed homes, which made up about 1 in 4 of all residential home sales in the third quarter, sold for about 32 percent lower than homes not in the foreclosure process, the highest average discount since the last three months of 2005.

    There were about 189,000 homes in some stage of the foreclosure process sold to third parties in the three months through September, a decline of about 25 percent from the second quarter and a 31 percent drop from the same period in 2009.

    “The foreclosure-processing controversy, which was brought to light at the very end of the third quarter, could chill demand even further – particularly for foreclosure properties,” said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac.

  2. grim says:

    From Bloomberg:

    Fannie, Freddie Defend Foreclosures Amid Criticism

    Federal regulators and lawmakers pressed mortgage guarantors Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to suspend foreclosure proceedings while distressed borrowers seek new mortgages.

    Acting Comptroller of the Currency John Walsh testified at a Senate Banking Committee hearing today that his agency is directing national servicers to suspend foreclosures for borrowers who are actively seeking to qualify for loan modifications.

    Dual-track processing is “unnecessarily confusing for distressed homeowners,” Walsh told the committee, which held its second hearing since allegations of shoddy or fraudulent foreclosure practices arose in September.

    Freddie Mac Executive Vice President Donald Bisenius said that the dual-track process minimizes losses, protects communities from blight and ultimately helps borrowers.

    “It is not in the borrower’s interest for the process to drag on indefinitely,” Bisenius said. “The longer the borrower’s delinquency goes uncured, the farther behind he or she gets, and the harder it becomes to bring the loan current.”

    “The longer the process takes, and the further in arrears the borrower becomes, the less likely it is that the borrower will succeed with a modification and the greater potential there is for loss to Fannie Mae and the U.S. taxpayer,” Edwards said.

  3. grim says:

    From the NJ Department of Labor

    2010 – November WARN Notice

    COMPANY
    CITY
    EFFECTIVE DATE
    WORKFORCE AFFECTED

    Dolce International Seaview, Inc.
    Galloway
    1/17/2011
    195

    EMD Chemicals
    Gibbstown
    12/31/2010
    18

    HH & P Manufacturing, LLC
    Lawrenceville
    1/10/2011
    99

    Merck & Co. Inc.
    Union
    1/19/2011
    54

    Novartis – Primary Care Business Unit
    East Hanover
    2/7/2011
    31

    Novartis – Psychiatry/Neuroscience Business Unit
    East Hanover
    2/7/2011
    11

  4. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    Meow

  5. Essex says:

    Let’s make sure we give extend those tax cuts!! Go Christie!

    Screw the unemployed.

  6. grim says:

    How about extending this tax cut?

    From CNN/Money:

    Mortgage tax break in the crosshairs

    Don’t even think of touching the mortgage interest tax deduction in the midst of a fragile housing market.

    That was the immediate response of the housing industry, which has come out with guns blazing against the presidential deficit commission’s proposal to overhaul the coveted tax provision.

    “We will fight this proposal,” said Joe Stanton, chief lobbyist for the National Association of Home Builders. “From everything we’ve read, it will end up being a tax hike.”

    Charged with finding ways to reduce the nation’s exploding federal debt, the bipartisan debt panel recommended Wednesday a wide range of controversial spending cuts and tax changes that would slash $4 trillion in deficits over the next 10 years.

    Among the proposals was a major change to the mortgage interest deduction, which costs the Treasury Department an estimated $131 billion a year.

    Currently, taxpayers who itemize their deductions can deduct the interest on mortgages of up to $1 million for their principal and second residences, plus on home equity loans of up to $100,000. The provision generally benefits higher-income Americans since they are more likely to itemize.

    The panel recommends turning the deduction into a 12% non-refundable tax credit available to everyone. The mortgage size would be capped at $500,000. Interest on mortgages for second homes and on home equity loans would not be eligible.

  7. BlindJust says:

    Yikes,
    My first consulting contract was 75 mi from my house one way. I made this hellish commute because it was only a 6 mo contract. That turned into 16 mos. I’m currently in the middle of Morris where I’m at my limit of an avg of 75 min (50 w/out traffic).

    Family needs are another reason.

    Yikes says:
    November 30, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    move to Bucks County. taxes lower, schools nearly as good, and you get the best of both worlds – Philly 40 mins away, NYC 90 mins away (neither at rush hour, obviously)

  8. BlindJust says:

    JJ,
    I have rather clear on the differences between needs and wants. I grew up in a house on a 30X100 lot and had to sleep in the same room of my brother. It was hell. Care to guess which of us was Felix and the younger of the two?

    Why would you drive a BMW when a 10 yr old Honda would be more reliable, get better gas mileage, and save you in both insurance and maintenance? Why would you be looking at a 1MM house in LI, when a brownstone in Brooklyn would suffice? Why would you spend anything more than $500 on an engagement ring (it is about the commitment) when a .25 ct GSI2 would convey the same message?

    Because you can and it poses no risk to your family’s financial situation.

    Unless your kids are three different sexes why do you need four bedrooms? A nice 50 by 100 cape close to city is what you need, what you are describing is a want.

  9. grim says:

    From the Press of Atlantic City:

    Trump casinos lay off 250 employees

    Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc. laid off about 250 employees Wednesday as part of its post-bankruptcy restructuring under new owners, the company’s chief executive officer said.

    Bob Griffin, who took charge as Trump’s new CEO last month, said the layoffs included executive staff and hourly employees at Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort, Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino and Trump Marina Hotel Casino.

  10. Mike says:

    Grim Number 6 Like Joe Smoe & the National Association Of Home Builders has any say. Sorry to sound dum but the last part states the panel is recommending turning the mortgage deduction into a 12% non refundable tax credit. Does this mean you would only get a credit of 12% on all the mortgage interest you paid all year?

  11. chi (162, last thread)-

    My friends tell me Eataly is great. Haven’t been there myself.

  12. One day closer to oblivion. Perhaps Eataly is developing a line of take out dinners that can be warmed over a trash barrel fire.

  13. Essex says:

    Geez lamar. When the tech sector crashed was it the end of the world? In the eighties when Reagan was King and unemployment reigned supreme, did we curl up and die?

  14. Essex says:

    nd of the Line

    Well it’s all right, riding around in the breeze
    Well it’s all right, if you live the life you please
    Well it’s all right, doing the best you can
    Well it’s all right, as long as you lend a hand

    You can sit around and wait for the phone to ring
    Waiting for someone to tell you everything
    Sit around and wonder what tomorrow will bring
    Maybe a diamond ring

    Well it’s all right, even if they say you’re wrong
    Well it’s all right, sometimes you gotta be strong
    Well it’s all right, as long as you got somewhere to lay
    Well it’s all right, everyday is judgment day

    Maybe somewhere down the road aways
    You’ll think of me, and wonder where I am these days
    Maybe somewhere down the road when somebody plays
    Purple haze

    Well it’s all right, even when push comes to shove
    Well it’s all right, if you got someone to love
    Well it’s all right, everything’ll work out fine
    Well it’s all right, we’re going to the end of the line

    Don’t have to be ashamed of the car I drive
    I’m just glad to be here, happy to be alive
    It don’t matter if you’re by my side
    I’m satisfied

    Well it’s all right, even if you’re old and grey
    Well it’s all right, you still got something to say
    Well it’s all right, remember to live and let live
    Well it’s all right, the best you can do is forgive

    Well it’s all right, riding around in the breeze
    Well it’s all right, if you live the life you please
    Well it’s all right, even if the sun don’t shine
    Well it’s all right, we’re going to the end of the line

    ~ The Traveling Wilburys ~

  15. ZH onto the expat game.

    “The musings of Simon “Sovereign Man” Black, whose prior post about leaving America as the only intelligent way to lead a noble fight against crony capitalism and a corrupt regime, provoked a very spirited conversation, received well over 20k reads, indicating this is a very sensitive topic to many potential expats currently on the fence about abandoning this once great country. Today, exclusively on Zero Hedge, we present Black’s follow up thoughts on the topic of expatriation as the noble way of winning the fight with the “mob-installed government beast”, by avoiding the fight entirely. For all those who are considering pulling the cord on abandoning an increasingly oppressive regime where the concept of liberty is now whispered about with the hushed tones of increasing nostalgia, here are some suggestions on what one’s next steps may be. If nothing else, this should certainly engender another possibly combustible discussion on the benefits of passive versus active patriotism.”

    http://www.zerohedge.com/article/leaving-america-redux-sovereign-mans-next-steps-guide-expats-waiting

  16. sx (13)-

    Reagan’s early years and the tech crash were sideshows. This is the featured act.

    Inventory-driven, cyclical recessions are no big whoop. Structural, balance sheet depressions are the gateway to oblivion.

  17. Of course, if history is a good teacher, we have a doozie of a world war to look forward to.

  18. Did I mention how many of my clients are on food stamps?

  19. grim says:

    If you like to cook, Eataly is a neat place. Go before noon on a Sunday, or during the week. The line to get in is around the block on the weekends.

    They have a very nice selection of charcuterie, cheeses, butchered meats (including specialties like rabbit, boar), and fresh pastas. It’s really nothing more than a nice Italian specialty store with a few casual restaurants thrown in (I have not tried any).

    If a trip up to Dean and Deluca sounds like a fun thing to do, you would probably like this place.

    FYI, the owner got his start at a shitty pizza joint on the Rutgers campus.

  20. grim (19)-

    He also developed his philosophy of food during nightly discussions at Billy’s Topless in Chelsea.

  21. Essex says:

    16. Soooo what you are saying is that Tom Joad is Time’s next Man of the Year?

  22. Libtard says:

    It appears Essex is morphing into Jamil.

  23. Essex says:

    Actually I feel more like JJ sometimes. Without the 1962 outlook.

  24. freedy says:

    grim: how about a pool on how many casinos will close in AC over the next two years.

  25. Essex says:

    Lamar, so the next war will be with — ?? China? I dunno. Is there anyone left to fight? Besides. Aren’t we just going to stick with the ongoing ‘war on terror/drugs/obesity’?

  26. Anon E. Moose says:

    [2]
    Acting Comptroller of the Currency John Walsh testified at a Senate Banking Committee hearing today that his agency is directing national servicers to suspend foreclosures for borrowers who are actively seeking to qualify for loan modifications.

    [6]
    The mortgage size would be capped at $500,000. Interest on mortgages for second homes and on home equity loans would not be eligible.

    Government falling over itself to shield deadbeats from the consequences of default; limiting the mortgage deduction to $500k and exclude second homes and second mortgages. I think I’m having a particularly clear-sighted week.

  27. JJ says:

    You rich people crack me up, I grew up in the Bronx and shared the living room floor with my Brother. My daughters who share a room I tell them how lucky they are to have a place to sleep at night and a place to keep their things. Have a backyard, heck have a car, have good food on the table and not beat with a belt. Even have someone to help them with their homework and buy them clothes. Things I never had growing up and things most kids in the world still do not have. Poverty is widespread. I would never drive a Japanese car, they are not reliable expensive to maintain. I only drive domestics, either American or German. Since it appears we are soon to be the only powerhouses left on our respective continents. Also Brownstones in Brooklyn are like two million. You Jersey folk are blessed, heck if Chris Christie and Rex Ryan alone eat enough food to feed 1,000 children and the methane gas they shoot off could power 1,000 chevy volts and their dumps could fertilize 1,000 farms. The abundant of riches in Jersey is disgusting. Other than the Nets and Newark I would say you have the greatest state in the land and living in the tinest hut in such a wonderful place should be a privledge. But really Rex can you save some food for the Rippa family, Kelly looks like she is starving out there in Jersey.
    I however look for value, A two million dollar home for one million at auction, a late model 55k BMW for 25K at auction etc. are better values.

    BlindJust says:
    December 2, 2010 at 6:22 am

    JJ,
    I have rather clear on the differences between needs and wants. I grew up in a house on a 30X100 lot and had to sleep in the same room of my brother. It was hell. Care to guess which of us was Felix and the younger of the two?

    Why would you drive a BMW when a 10 yr old Honda would be more reliable, get better gas mileage, and save you in both insurance and maintenance? Why would you be looking at a 1MM house in LI, when a brownstone in Brooklyn would suffice? Why would you spend anything more than $500 on an engagement ring (it is about the commitment) when a .25 ct GSI2 would convey the same message?

  28. safe as houses says:

    #6 grim

    Do you think the committee is really aiming for eliminations not as significant? I really think mtg interest on a 2nd home and home equity loans should not be tax deductible. You don’t need 2 homes, and I suspect most home equity loans are used to buy toys, take vacations, or add stainless and granite without having to save up or pay for those in stages.

    What is wrong with buying a new fridge, then 3 to 6 months later, save up and buy another appliance, repeat until all appliances have been replaced. Then save up to pay for new cabinets and a counter. So what if it takes someone 2 to 5 years to redo the kitchen as they save up to do it piece by piece?

  29. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [27] moose

    The OCC’s action is really very minor, and likely couched in the finding that it isn’t in the bank’s interest to pursue conflicting goals. I doubt the OCC could do much more outside of enforcement without running afoul of their mandate.

    [15] Lamar,

    as usual, readers of the NJRER report are on the cutting edge. How long have we been debating expat-riation?

    A great, if not superficial, point made by one commenter was that it is probably better to default and stay rather than cut and run. That is certainly true if you are able (and willing) to conceal assets, and live off the financial grid to some degree. Fact is, those that don’t have wealth aren’t in a position to leave, and those that have too much to hide aren’t in a position to default.

  30. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    Essex

    there are plenty of hot spots that could blow. If history is any indicator it will probably be a small to relativly inconsequential conflict that triggers the next great war. Like the snow flake that triggers the avalanche.
    The Pakistan/India conflict and the NK/SK are potential condidates but it could also be something as small as the recent Georgia conflict over pipelines.
    China would of course be involved, and most likely opposing whatever side the US is on. The next great conficlt will have strong aspects of resource war

  31. safe as houses says:

    Lamar,

    I think if people have a decent place to live, food to eat, and clothes to wear, and can send their kids to a school not full of gangs they should be happy and not whine. If they have enough left over to eat out once a week, take a few day trips, and even go away on vacation every year or two they should be grateful.

  32. yo'me says:

    Fed May Be `Central Bank of the World’ After UBS, Barclays Aid

    US increasing IMF aid to Euro

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-12-02/federal-reserve-may-be-central-bank-of-the-world-after-ubs-barclays-aid.html

    BUT STARVE THE BEAST AT HOME! OH! THAT IS THE MIDDLE CLASS , UNEMPLOYED and the SENIORS.

  33. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    BTW, it is a violation of attorney professional responsibilty rules, and federal bankruptcy law, for me to suggest that anyone should conceal assets in order to e-vade debts or taxes, or in contemplation of bankruptcy. So I am not doing that.

  34. yo'me says:

    “I think if people have a decent place to live, food to eat, and clothes to wear, and can send their kids to a school not full of gangs they should be happy and not whine. If they have enough left over to eat out once a week, take a few day trips, and even go away on vacation every year or two they should be grateful.”

    That is exactly what the politicians did to the middle class for the last 30 years.Throw them a bone they will shut up!Give the meat to the upper class.

  35. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [33] yome

    That report was denied a short time later. Remains to be seen if we are really going to bail out Europeans like we did with the TARP.

  36. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [33] yome

    BTW, it was the IMF aid that was denied, not the TARP borrowing.

  37. cat (31)-

    Look at how WW1 started. Any silly incident is reason enough to start lobbing missiles. The real stim for massive conflict remains starving countries…dominated by industrial-military complexes…facing hyperinflation or structural, chronic deflation…ruled by charismatic leaders.

    Maybe all we need is to intercept a little boat full of weapons from Iran or N. Korea…and it’s off to the races.

  38. crap. moderation again.

  39. safe (32)-

    You’re describing an ever-shrinking class of people.

  40. chicagofinance says:

    You have friends?

    Lamar Asperger says:
    December 2, 2010 at 6:37 am
    chi (162, last thread)-
    My friends tell me Eataly is great. Haven’t been there myself.

  41. chicagofinance says:

    clot: BTW the whole David Bouley thing in TriBeCa is blown out….I need to get an update. Seem as if he blew it. Did it go up his nose, or was he just expertly pickpocketed?

  42. homeboken says:

    Mortgage interest deduction is a totally arbitrary deduction. Want to stimulate spending? Why not allow my credit card interest to be deductible? Why not make my rent payments deductible? Or my food purchases deductible?

    Mortgage interest deduction going the way of the dodo bird, would be just fine by me. If the administration thinks a person is rich because theirhousehold income is greater than 250,000, then clearly anyone that can afford a home is rich as well, and they should pay more taxes.

  43. Shore Guy says:

    “how about a pool on how many casinos will close in AC over the next two years.”

    Closing has such a negative connotation. How about “convert.” Convert to prime empty space, ready for Exciting! redevelopment opportunities. Or, conversion to casinoominimums, where the rooms get converted to condos and the casino just happens to be downstairs? A win-win for AC. The casinos stay open and we replace day and overnight trippers with residents. Clearly, an idea whose time has come.,

  44. Shore Guy says:

    “Mortgage interest deduction is a totally arbitrary deduction.”

    Yup. Eliminate all deductions and lower the tax rates, and tax all sources the same.

  45. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [45] shore

    Won’t happen. Even if the vast majority of americans would see lower tax bills, they will still resent the lack of progressivity in the rate structure, and will resent more the loss of any perk they get in the tax code.

    Besides, that would last about 6 months before Congress started riddling the Code with exceptions again.

  46. chi (41)-

    No, I don’t. However, there are a few folks who are afraid of me, so they pretend to like me.

  47. grim says:

    Abercrombie kills it.

    Just goes to show you, if you think there is a recession, it’s probably because you are in the wrong class.

  48. chi (42)-

    No surprise. Bouley is a world-class douchebag who began sinking financially in ’06. He is being foreclosed on all his personal and business properties.

    He could never manage a restaurant within budget, run a kitchen, get food out of a kitchen in a timely way or attract and retain talent to help cover for the fact that about all he can do is deconstruct and regenerate Roger Verge recipes from the 60’s and 70’s.

    The faster he is ushered out of the business of selling food and wine for money, the better. He and Barry Wine are poster children for selling suckass food and abuse under the guise of fine dining.

  49. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [48] shore

    That should get Congress moving on the extension.

  50. safe as houses says:

    #40 Lamar,

    Which class is shrinking? The ones treading water in decent towns, or the ones who still have discretionary cash? Or both?

    By the way. A relative has admitted they are underwater on their mcmansion, and I know another person who has their house listed as a short sale.

  51. Bouley isn’t a drinker, druggie or someone who’s been ripped off by his support staff. He is simply a moron of a businessperson.

  52. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    Great quote on CNBC describing why countries like Australia emerged from the morass: They “dug themselves up and shipped themselves to China.”

  53. Shore Guy says:

    Nom,

    Who the heck settled on 99 weeks anyway? I think it is too long but, if one is going to make it long, why not 104 weeks, which makes sense. Heck, I also understand an even 100 weeks. But, 99 weeks?

    Toss in an extra 5 weeks for the cohort about to lose benefits and get people into next year and then findf a way to move people onto public assistance. Calling payments unemployment insurance after 2 years is a bit absurd.

  54. safe (52)-

    Both. I know people in McMansion FK/short sales who are on food stamps.

  55. Shore Guy says:

    “resent the lack of progressivity ”

    I’m allright Jack. Keep your hands off of my stack. But feel free to confisc@te everything my neighbor has earned.

    This whole “progressivity” thing is just wrong, wrong, wrong. As is treating cap gains differently from wage income.

  56. young buck says:

    The Mortgage Interest Deduction (MID) is vital to both home ownership and our economy.

    I’m disappointed that anyone in Congress — or on a Presidential Commission — would even suggest limits to the Mortgage Interest Deduction. Mortgage interest has been deductible for nearly 100 years, and the proposed changes will affect all 75 million home owners in the United States. We must act now to make sure the MID is not changed.

    Ever since the Deficit Commission announced its conclusions, the news media have been buzzing about the report. And what do they emphasize? Proposals to limit or even eliminate the Mortgage Interest Deduction. I’m concerned because all this does is scare the public — and potential buyers — away from the housing market. The last thing the housing industry needs right now (and for the foreseeable future) is another bucket of ice water to be thrown on the market. People who hear these news reports don’t differentiate between a proposal and a done deal. They just know that a tax provision they actually understand and rely on is under siege. This is just unacceptable.

    I am asking you to call to your representative’s office today to ask him or her to defend the Mortgage Interest Deduction from any cuts or reduction as outlined in the Deficit Commission Report.

    This Call for Action requires you to do something a little different. In order to track the calls we are making to Congress, we need you to follow the link and enter your phone number and zip code to be connected to your representative’s office. You can make this call now, or later today at a more convenient time. But we need you to make this call.

    After you enter the information, you will receive a phone call with instructions before being patched through to Capitol Hill.

    This call is important. We need to be clear and draw a line in the sand. While we all support efforts to reduce the deficit, further undermining the critical housing recovery cannot be the price that is paid. Here are some suggested talking points for you to use when you call:

    – I am a constituent and a REALTOR
    – I have been on the front lines of the housing crisis. I can assure you that even talk of changing MID harms an already fragile market.
    – I am strongly opposed to the Deficit Commission’s proposal to either limit or eliminate the Mortgage Interest Deduction.
    – News reports saying that Congress threatens to repeal or limit MID will keep potential buyers on the sidelines and further delay the housing recovery.

    We must speak loudly and clearly with one voice to ensure the further recovery of our economy and the housing market and educate every legislator about how much Home Ownership Matters. We can’t do that with the few REALTORS® who take action consistently. We need every REALTOR® to respond. Please call NOW and tell your representative to help defend home ownership and the MID.

    On behalf of the NAR Leadership team, thank you for your support and time,

    Ron Phipps
    2011 NAR President

  57. Shore Guy says:

    Who knew that “confisc@te,” spelled (or spelt, for those so inclined) with an “a” would push one into moderation?

  58. buck (58)-

    Don’t worry. None of the stuff Bowles/Simpson suggested will be done…with the exception of things that further destroy the middle class.

    In fact, we may not even see that much, as it’s much more likely we devolve into domestic chaos or start a world war in lieu of actually trying to solve our problems.

  59. dan says:

    You mean like a Atlantic City Casino dead pool?

  60. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [57] shore

    Welcome to the world of tax policymaking, which is really all about trying to find philosophical justifications for political decisions. In my Tax Policy course at NYU, I came to the conclusion that the justification for US progressive tax policy could be summed up in three words: Because we can.

  61. JJ says:

    I remember when credit card interest and auto loans were tax deductible. However, back them car loans were 14%. I rather have a 5% loan I can’t write off.

    Currently, Home equity loans are of really no use for people in AMT, really a poor man’s benefit and a way for them to borrow for cars and tuition and write it off.

    Basically I have max 401k, max flex spending, max transit check and give some stuff to charity. I have no mortage deduction, can’t write off RE taxes as I am in AMT, and even though I have a few kids and a stay at home wife can’t write that off either. Pretty much I also have a few muni bonds that are tax free but given low rates and shakyness of states you really can’t go more than 100K in that junk and big deal that gives me 5k a year tax free interest. The middle class may feel squeezed but tax wise they get a huge amount of breaks. They almost pay no taxes. Heck the non cap on medicare tax alone makes me pay more taxes than most lower middle class pay in total

  62. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [60] lamar

    I will go a step further and say that you won’t see ANY of the DefCom report recommendations anytime soon unless it appears we are sliding off the cliff.

    FWIW, the first thing we will see, and everyone should plan for it because it will happen, is means-testing for Social Security.

  63. safe as houses says:

    #lamar

    “Both. I know people in McMansion FK/short sales who are on food stamps.”

    That would explain your endorsement of knob creek poured over oatmeal for breakfast.

  64. yo'me says:

    NPR Does an Editorial for Deficit Reduction
    Thursday, 02 December 2010 05:10
    NPR again abandoned journalistic standards in pushing deficit reduction by insisting that doing so is courageous. Given the wealth of the people pushing for cuts to Social Security and Medicare, and the fawning attention that these people get from media outlets like NPR and the Washington Post, it is difficult to see what it is courageous about trying to take away benefits for middle class retirees.

    It also wrongly described the deficit as “spiraling.” Of course the deficit is not spiraling. The deficit rose in 2008-2010 because the housing bubble collapsed. NPR, like other news outlets, largely ignored the $8 trillion housing bubble. An honest discussion would point out that the deficit has temporarily ballooned because of the incompetence of people who carry through and report on economic policy.

    In the longer term the deficit is projected to rise, but that is because of the projected explosion of U.S. health care costs. Our per person costs are projected to rise from more than twice the average in countries with longer life expectancies to more than three times as much.

    Honest and courageous politicians and reporters would be talking about the real problem, a broken health care system. They would not be mis-representing it as a problem of a spiraling deficit.

    Dean Baker

  65. whyoung says:

    Eataly is a overpriced food court for tourists.

  66. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [55] shore

    All I know is that this is making it hard for me to know when I should formally roll out my law practice.

  67. We before any austerity/deficit-cutting programs begin, we will elect- then canonize- a slate of politicians who promise to hit the reset button via default.

    We are no better than Europe, and this is the direction in which they are headed.

    The concept of shared societal sacrifice is dead.

  68. Libtard and the City says:

    Shore Guy:

    Google sc@t and you’ll know why confisc@te throws you into mod.

    Better yet, you probably shouldn’t Google it.

  69. Anon E. Moose says:

    JJ [63];

    Is there anything more than inertia keeping you attached to NY/LI? I’ve long since figured out that it’s well worth a minor haircut to move where average houses are $150k and “nice” houses are $250k, compared to a cr@pshack being $500k and “nice being >$1MM. Other costs of living are comparatively lower, and once you figure out that a “Lexus” is a Toyota and an E class is a taxicab, and rid oneself of the desire to pay $35 a head for a plate of pasta in Greenwich.

    I look forward to being the generation in power that decides how to deal with the problem of defenseless and resource-draining baby boomers who sold my cohort their millstones.

  70. yo'me says:

    Pending Sales of U.S. Existing Homes Rise a Record 10% More Americans unexpectedly signed contracts to buy previously owned homes in October, easing concern that the absence of government support is destabilizing the housing market.

  71. Shore Guy says:

    ” unless it appears we are sliding off the cliff.”

    Sliding? SLIDING? Thelma, meet Louise; we are heading towards the cliff with our foot firmly planted on the accelerator.

  72. Shore Guy says:

    Stu,

    I know the meaning. I just did not pick out the word, within the other.

  73. Shore Guy says:

    Time to do some end-of-year billing. BO needs my income.

  74. moose (71)-

    Hoo boy. Get ready for the Dictatorship of the Bitter Renter.

  75. yo'me says:

    10 yr 3.0

  76. C’mon, Moose. Who’s your corporate/financial/BigLaw overlord?

  77. safe as houses says:

    #71 Moose

    Why are you still living in the area?

    If your generation is so wonderful, why did they buy their 550k pos capes to begin with, or heloc a house they bought prebubble to buy H2s, take cruises, and add granite, stainless, and top of the line cabinets to the kitchen when they live on take out and microwavable processed meals?

  78. Hmmm…

    “In their 2009 book This Time is Different, economists Carmen Reinhart and Ken Rogoff note that defaults are most likely when the debt/GDP ratio (not including unfunded liabilities) rises above 100%. The fact that we have yet to breach 100% has given optimists comfort, along with the fact that the cost of capital for the U.S. Treasury remains low. Mind you, Reinhart and Rogoff add that both Mexico and Argentina have defaulted when their debt/GDP ratios were in the 50% range. At the very least that tells us we’re already in the danger zone.

    One argument that supports optimism concerning our budget deficits has to do with the historical fact that the U.S. has never defaulted. The problem here is that default as it’s traditionally understood is too narrowly defined. If calculated on a currency-value adjusted basis, Washington has short-changed its creditors before and it continues to do so. That has serious economic consequences, because capital flows away from economies where it is penalized rather than rewarded.

    If default is thought of in traditional terms whereby investors are simply given a haircut on monies owed, default is less scary, less economically harmful, and internationally commonplace. In such circumstances the currency can remain sound and the damage to lending is not spread to those who are funding the growth of the private economy. As it applies to the United States, there’s therefore an argument that an honest default would be better than what we are doing by stealth.”

    http://www.zerohedge.com/article/politics-and-economics-us-default

  79. Painhrtz says:

    Stopping by while I’m actually on the east coast

    Nom you were totally right on the expat stuff especially the lateness of the report.

    What really concerns me and is a further sign of the coming devolution of the US into third world backwater, the mob calling for the wiki leaks guy’s head. Instead of questioning the content of the documents or their validity the masses are screaming for blood. Any fine beer recomendations for the end of the world, I’m thinking a nice IPA alcohol content of about 8%, keep drinking till I’m numb.

    Tyranny is truely here

  80. Well, duh!!!

    “But if 1933 can be counted as a default episode, then it’s easy to argue that the U.S. has been giving investors haircuts ever since, especially beginning in 1971. During that time the value of the dollar in terms of gold has collapsed from the $35 Bretton Woods fix, all the way to recent lows beyond $1,300/ounce.

    So while the U.S. Treasury has never reduced the dollar amount of what it owes to creditors foreign or domestic since 1933, even partially, it has most certainly debased the dollar value of what it owes. To put it in simple terms, the U.S. has been a serial defaulter ever since President Nixon severed the dollar’s link to gold in 1971. The French called it our “exorbitant privilege” to issue what remains the world’s currency, and if gold is telling a realistic tale, we’ve used this privilege to stiff creditors.”

  81. 250K says:

    Thoughts on this company planning to change the way RE is sold?

    ““We’re a brokerage firm that sells homes for free,” Jenkins said. “The way we make money is by selling advertising. Our revenue model is 100 percent through selling advertising.”

    http://www.bizjournals.com/dallas/stories/2010/09/20/story9.html

    Residential World Media Inc. is launching HD-video websites next year to sell houses and apartments commission-free.

    The Dallas-based company plans to add thousands of jobs nationwide, including hundreds in North Texas, by year-end to ramp up for the launch.

    ResidentialWorld.TV and ApartmentWorld.TV will be supported by advertising, President Fidel Jenkins said. Sellers will list properties for free and buyers will go through Residential World Media agents paid from ad revenue, Jenkins said.

    In addition to the online listings, the company will make and distribute 40 million DVDs per month, Jenkins said. The company is negotiating with national retail chains and will select one to distribute the free DVDs, Jenkins said.

    Website visitors and people who view a DVD will see one local or national ad before and after each home listing. Another ad will appear while the listing plays. The videos are scheduled for one to four minutes and show the inside and outside of the house, along with the neighborhood, schools, businesses and parks, Jenkins said. The videos take about two weeks to produce. They will be narrated, with celebrity voice-overs for high-end listings.

    The approach could dramatically change how homes are bought and sold, he said.

    “We’re a brokerage firm that sells homes for free,” Jenkins said. “The way we make money is by selling advertising. Our revenue model is 100 percent through selling advertising.”

    Residential World Media Inc. is launching HD-video websites next year to sell houses and apartments commission-free.

    The Dallas-based company plans to add thousands of jobs nationwide, including hundreds in North Texas, by year-end to ramp up for the launch.

    ResidentialWorld.TV and ApartmentWorld.TV will be supported by advertising, President Fidel Jenkins said. Sellers will list properties for free and buyers will go through Residential World Media agents paid from ad revenue, Jenkins said.

    In addition to the online listings, the company will make and distribute 40 million DVDs per month, Jenkins said. The company is negotiating with national retail chains and will select one to distribute the free DVDs, Jenkins said.

    Website visitors and people who view a DVD will see one local or national ad before and after each home listing. Another ad will appear while the listing plays. The videos are scheduled for one to four minutes and show the inside and outside of the house, along with the neighborhood, schools, businesses and parks, Jenkins said. The videos take about two weeks to produce. They will be narrated, with celebrity voice-overs for high-end listings.

    The approach could dramatically change how homes are bought and sold, he said.

    “We’re a brokerage firm that sells homes for free,” Jenkins said. “The way we make money is by selling advertising. Our revenue model is 100 percent through selling advertising.”

    see link for full article

  82. hughesrep says:

    81

    This is the obvious choice.

    http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/22/34

    It’s 9% but hides it very well. Great beer.

  83. JJ says:

    I live walking distance to school, bank, train, church, three supermarkets, three department stores, the dentist and around 50 restaurants and an assorted other 100 stores and have a one mile drive to beach and around a 45 minute train ride to Manhattan. Other than homes being expensive in good neighborhoods moving is a big pain in the butt. I currently drive 300 miles a year. My friend who lives in sticks spends a fortune on gas as he drives 12k a year on his station car and his monthly ticket is double mine and his heating bill and electric bill is triple my bill as his house is triple the size. Financially, make no sense to move. If I quit working in the city I would have to take a 200k pay cut. It really does not make sense for anyone in a cape in Bergan County or Nassau County mid career trapped in a starter home to buy a mcmansion in the sticks to stroke his own ego. Remember, I would say 40% of my town has no mortgage and most houses pay under 10K in taxes. I for one when hiring am always suspecious of people with Pocono/Suffolk/JerseyShore or way upstate addresses who want ot work in city as they always have weather issues, can’t work late, always asking to telecomuute etc. I think most people have a similar bias, so even if they want to work in the city and want to do that crazy commute it is still a bad perception. My dream situation would be a great place in Manhattan and a nice weekend home in the Hamptons Like most people. Plus I like real bagels and Pizza my friends who moved down south all say their monthly expenses are much less and work hours and commute much better, but all miss eating real food, having real nightlife, miss their extended family and took huge pay cuts. There is no easy solution We all have to comprimise.

    Anon E. Moose says:
    December 2, 2010 at 10:15 am
    JJ [63];

    Is there anything more than inertia keeping you attached to NY/LI? I’ve long since figured out that it’s well worth a minor haircut to move where average houses are $150k and “nice” houses are $250k, compared to a cr@pshack being $500k and “nice being >$1MM. Other costs of living are comparatively lower, and once you figure out that a “Lexus” is a Toyota and an E class is a taxicab, and rid oneself of the desire to pay $35 a head for a plate of pasta in Greenwich.

    I look forward to being the generation in power that decides how to deal with the problem of defenseless and resource-draining baby boomers who sold my cohort their millstones.

  84. Anon E. Moose says:

    Lamar;

    [76] Its not just the bitter renter. Consider the army of disillusioned homedebtors who were dumb enough to have paid peak prices [before they were priced out of the market forever, because houses only go up! – nach] who come to find out that their nest egg is termite-ridded boards, and there’s no other maney to retire on because it was all spent “on the house”.

    [78] Same guy I shave with every morning.

  85. yo'me says:

    11:06a BREAKING

    Fed buys $8.31 billion in Treasurys

  86. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    The fun continues

    BofA Disowns Its Own Lawyer’s Argument in Fumbled Mortgage Case

    To quell doubts about its mortgage unit’s handling of documents, Bank of America Corp. is distancing itself from … itself.

    B of A now says that a senior litigation manager — who had 10 years’ experience working at Countrywide Home Loans Servicing LP — was out of her depth when she testified in a New Jersey courtroom about the unit’s document practices. The Charlotte company also says the local lawyer that represented it essentially fumbled the routine personal bankruptcy case.

    There is no doubt that Kemp vs. Countrywide Home Loans was a spectacularly bungled defense — and its implications have caused an uproar in the world of mortgage securitizations.

    In a series of unforced admissions, the B of A manager, Linda DeMartini, and Harold Kaplan, the company’s outside attorney, described how Countrywide had failed to adhere to the most rudimentary of securitization procedures, such as transferring the original promissory note to the trusts that had purchased the loans, as required under the pooling and servicing agreement.

    Both DeMartini and Kaplan said it was standard practice for Countrywide to hold onto the original mortgage notes, which were stored in Simi Valley, Calif., despite securitization contracts that require the notes be physically transferred to sponsors, trustees or custodians……

    http://www.bankinvestmentconsultant.com/news/bofa-mortgage-2670073-1.html?zkPrintable=1&nopagination=1

  87. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    The original Bof A NJ case from a few weeks ago

    “Countrywide Routinely Failed to Send Key Docs to MBS Trustees”

    Kate Berry of American Banker reports that B of A may have run into some new trouble regarding documentation that “could complicate attempts by the company to foreclose on soured loans” (via email from David Cay Johnston):

    Countrywide Routinely Failed to Send Key Docs to MBS Trustees, B of A Employee Says, by Kate Berry, American Banker: Countrywide, the mortgage giant that’s now part of Bank of America Corp., routinely didn’t bother to transfer essential documents for loans sold to investors, an employee testified.

    The testimony — which a New Jersey bankruptcy judge cited in dismissing a B of A claim against a debtor — could complicate attempts by the company to foreclose on soured loans that Countrywide originated…

    The B of A employee’s admission that the lender customarily held on to promissory notes could also undermine the industry’s position that document transfers to securitization trusts are fundamentally sound.

    O. Max Gardner, a North Carolina consumer bankruptcy lawyer who was not involved in the case, called the testimony “a major problem” for B of A, which acquired Countrywide … in 2008. “These original notes were supposed to be transferred and delivered all the way up the line and for this witness to admit they were never transferred is pretty amazing,” Gardner said. “I’ve never see this admitted anywhere.” …

    Linda DeMartini, a supervisor and operational team leader in B of A’s litigation management department, testified that “the original note never left the possession of Countrywide”… DeMartini “testified further that it was customary for Countrywide to maintain possession of the original note and related loan documents”…

    Whether a servicer or investor has the standing to foreclose on a borrower has become a major issue… Adam Levitin, an associate law professor at Georgetown University, said in Congressional testimony Nov. 16 that … “If the notes and mortgages were not transferred to the trust, then the trust lacks standing to foreclose”…

    http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2010/11/countrywide-routinely-failed-to-send-key-docs-to-mbs-trustees.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+EconomistsView+%28Economist%27s+View+%28EconomistsView%29%29

  88. Anon E. Moose says:

    Safe [79];

    Parochialism of my industry impedes an immediate move. When the opportunity arrises, believe me I am gone. This glacier dump of an island that geographically resembles the stinking phallus that it is can sink into the Atlantic, and take its POS capes and their owners with it. In the interim, since I’m forced to subsist subject to Chairman O’s rhetoric, I see that one can make less than $250k a year (hence not be ‘rich’ for the purposes of punitive taxation) and still live quite comfortably away from the prime target zones of out enemies. Read Karlgaard’s Life 2.0. about the urban yuppie surcharges. That’s an expensive slice of pizza, JJ.

    As for the intergenerational theft, well, counterparty risk is a b!tch. Its all well and good to mug somebody when you can leave them in the alley and run away. On a larger scale, when there’s no where to run, turn out not to be such a good idea.

  89. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    The NJ case for the legal beagles

    Kemp v. Countrywide (In re Kemp), ___ B.R. ___ (Bankr. D.N.J. 2010)(C.J. Wizmur).

    Before the court for resolution is the debtor’s adversary complaint seeking to expunge the proof of claim filed on behalf of the Bank of New York by Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. as servicer. The debtor challenges the creditor’s opportunity to enforce the obligation alleged to be due, based primarily on the fact that the underlying note executed by the debtor was not properly indorsed to the transferee, and was never placed in the transferee’s
    possession. Under the New Jersey Uniform Commercial Code, the note, as a negotiable instrument, is not enforceable by the Bank of New York under these circumstances. The plaintiff/debtor’s challenge to the proof of claim is
    sustained on this record.

  90. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    More fun from the case

    As to the location of the note, Ms. DeMartini testified that to her knowledge, the original note never left the possession of Countrywide, and that the original note appears to have been transferred to Countrywide’s foreclosure unit, as evidenced by internal FedEx tracking numbers. She also confirmed that the new allonge had not been attached or otherwise affixed to the note. She testified further that it was customary for Countrywide to maintain possession of the original note and related loan documents.
    In a supplemental submission dated September 9, 2009, the defendant asserted that “the Defendant/Secured Creditor located the original Note. The original Note with allonge and Pooling and Servicing Agreement are available for inspection.”(fn7) When the matter returned to the court on September 24, 2009, counsel for the defendant represented to the court that he had the original note, with the new allonge now attached, in his possession. No additional information was presented regarding the chain of possession of the note from its origination until counsel acquired possession.

    fn 7 In a bizarre twist, in the same September 9, 2009 submission, Countrywide produced a copy of a “Lost Note Certification,” dated February 1, 2007, which indicated that the original note had been delivered to the lender
    on the origination date and thereafter “misplaced, lost or destroyed, and after a thorough and diligent search, no one has been able to locate the original Note.” The defendant asserted for the first time that the “whereabouts of the Note could not be determined” at the time that the proof of claim was filed. Def. Suppl. Subm. at 6. As a result, Countrywide claimed that it was unable to affix the allonge to the note until after the original note had been rediscovered. At the next hearing on September 24, 2009, counsel was not able to explain the inconsistencies between the lost note certification, Ms. DeMartini’s testimony,
    and the “rediscovery” of the note, and asked that the lost note certification be disregarded. T13-15 to 16 (9/24/2009).

  91. Shore Guy says:

    Geez! Every-freaking-body seems to think they are entitled to a tip at holiday time:

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/The-New-Rules-for-EndofYear-usnews-1978037488.html?x=0

  92. Mike says:

    250K Number 83 Where does the advertising come in? Surely not when it goes on the ML?

  93. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    Mike,

    From 250K’s post

    Website visitors and people who view a DVD will see one local or national ad before and after each home listing. Another ad will appear while the listing plays.

  94. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    Ouch, this could hurt a bit

    “The reality is that this change would mean a property tax increase of at least $550 million for Chicago property taxpayers — or a nearly 60 percent increase,” Saffold said. “This would be a staggering blow to property taxpayers. This would, in fact, be the largest property tax increase in the city’s history.”

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-pension-reform-20101201-19,0,7723987.story

  95. Mike says:

    Shrod Number 95 Usually when somebody checks the ML’ s like myself I’ll go to Weichet or Remax etc. certainly they’re not going to allow that advertising on there sites. The only thing I can see if this company does an exclusive listing, but what good is that in todays market? Unless you’re just talking about the buyer or seller checking out there site for signing up details then OK. Still how many house hunters are going to waste there time listening to mumbo jumbo.

  96. safe as houses says:

    #97 Mike,

    If it makes the 400k pos cape list at 380 to 385 instead it could trigger some interest. Sellers could keep more of the sale and buyers would get in at a lower price. But that would require all parties to act in a more rational manner. Most likely sellers would list at 400k so they can pocket the savings on a commission, but they would wind up crying that there are no takers and how their re agent ain’t working it. Meanwhile they could sell it for 380 (tomorrow’s price today) and come out 4k better then the guy with the identical house at 400k.

  97. make money says:

    Mike,

    I’ve been thinking about this for 5 years now. 500M is a serious capital commitment. This could and should change the landscape of how we buy and sell residential RE forever. All the sellers will flock to them to list their homes and buyers will listen to a 30 second ad before viewing an HD 2 minute video of the listing and not some agent taking a pic of a house from his car. Narated HD videos will turn your weekend house hunting into a weeknight TV watching.

    Every recession has brought a new way to do something…creative destruction is priceless.

  98. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    Shore

    See this yet?

    At their conference today, NASA scientist Felisa Wolfe Simon will announce that they have found a bacteria whose DNA is completely alien to what we know today. Instead of using phosphorus, the bacteria uses arsenic. All life on Earth is made of six components: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulfur. Every being, from the smallest amoeba to the largest whale, share the same life stream. Our DNA blocks are all the same.

  99. SysAdmin says:

    Talking of raising revenue to close the gap, how about treating all capital gains as normal income?!

  100. 30 year realtor says:

    #83 – Change real estate forever? Ever watch a virtual tour or look at photos of a home? How often do the photos and videos give an accurate representation? My experience is that photos and videos don’t cut it.

    What exactly are these guys bringing to the table that doesn’t already exist? Homeowner still has to show the house, do some marketing, establish a price, negotiate, etc, etc, etc…

    Buyer still has to physically go to the property……what changed?

  101. make money says:

    what changed?

    30yr.

    your price and whom you colect it from.

  102. make money says:

    How much is it worth to have the undivided attention of a homebuyer, his wife and kids for 30 seconds to a minute? Just think of things and services these people will need within 12 months both pre-sale and post sale. Now multiply that by say 200 as the homebuyer will probably be forced to see at least 200 ads until they actually buy a house.

    I’m willing to bet it a lot more than 4% ,so its not cheaper but neither the homeowner nor the buyer is paying it.

  103. Fabius Maximus says:

    Make/Mike/30 yr

    This just sounds like Foxtons 3.0. They can even buy up the Mini Coopers to do the drive-bys.

  104. yo'me says:

    “Talking of raising revenue to close the gap, how about treating all capital gains as normal income?!”

    Will not happen.It will hurt the upper income.Hurt the middleclass,that is more like it.Look at who is making the laws,they made their millions already.They go in to politics to protect themselves and their friends and they want to be called “public servant”.

  105. Painhrtz says:

    Cat 100 link I’ll send you some friskies

  106. yo'me says:

    GM makes $4 billion pension-plan contribution

  107. JJ says:

    Realtors have a bad name like car salesman as it is a job for people who failed in their first career. No one goes to school to be a realtor or a car salesman. That said there are good ones. But the barrier to entry is so low hard to sort out the good ones.

  108. Mike says:

    MM Number 99 Yes I see those ads all the time when I want to view a video say on the MSN home page, there’s always a short advertisement prior to watching. If all the sellers do flock to them does this mean the multiple listings are going away? Wonder if they are going to compensate their house guides on the same type of commision.

  109. yo'me says:

    Moroso

  110. Double Down says:

    Shore, how does one even tip garbage men? I’ve never even seen them.

  111. Anon E. Moose says:

    JJ [109];

    And no kid ever says “I want to be a used house salesman when I grow up.”

  112. hughesrep says:

    112

    I leave a $20 in a card taped to the top of my lid. They take everything I put out on the street. Might be the best $20 I spend all year.

  113. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [89] cat

    I know a number of BofA/CW attorneys. With the exception of one poor guy who left the Fed in 2004 to go to CW, I don’t think much of any of them.

  114. make money says:

    This just sounds like Foxtons 3.0. They can even buy up the Mini Coopers to do the drive-bys.

    Nope. Different business model. They key is going to be the amount of revenue they generate from advertising. Article says that the minumum agent pay in TX will be 50K. Which probaly translates to 80K here in NY/NJ with an office manager making 100K. How many Re agents and brokers you know that won’t sign up for that right now??considering the economic conditions and uncertainity.

  115. yo'me says:

    In China, importers pay a 25 percent custom duty and a 17 percent value-added tax. Consumption tax, which can reach 40 percent, is based on the car’s engine size, said Lin Huaibin, an analyst at industry consultant IHS Automotive in Shanghai.

    For a Lexus GX460 sport-utility vehicle, which starts at 1.16 million yuan ($174,000) in China, Toyota charges a premium of almost $70,000 after taxes, Lin said. The same vehicle has a base price of $52,345 in the U.S.

    The Lexus LS600hL, the brand’s flagship hybrid sedan, has a base price of 2.07 million yuan ($311,000) in China, compared with $110,000 in the U.S.

    “We want to target each region, make sure we’re competitive and provide a price for that region,” Schlicht said.

    Other luxury automakers also charge higher prices in China. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Ltd., BMW’s most luxurious nameplate, prices its Phantom sedan from 6.6 million yuan ($990,000), compared with a starting price of $380,000 in the U.S.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-12-02/lexus-311-000-cars-make-china-sales-more-profitable-than-u-s-.html

    Another raising revenue idea

  116. mooose (113)-

    No kid also ever says, “I want to be a sad bastard lackey attorney when I grow up”, either.

  117. JJ says:

    I actually send my newspaper boy, mailman, garbage men, lawn service people all holiday cards reminding them how good a customer I am and that tips for being a good customer are appreciated.

    I also curiously wonder how being Jewish effects tipping. I go to a great dry cleaner owner by a nice guy, but he is very Jewish, no decorations at all come holiday time and staff does not say merry christmas or happy holidays, funny most of young girls who work there and are very nice and helpful, know your name, run to counter and friendly, one day last year owner was not there and the one college student girl a few weeks after Christmas told me she did not get a single christmas tip, yet the girls who work at the drycleaner with christmas music and decorations who say merry christmas to their christian customers got a lot.

    I had same problem with a grown man who delivers newspapers, had some name like Irving Goldberg and send a card looking for christmas cash. I remember being a 12 year boy delivering papers, know every customers name, everyone knew I was Christian and everyone knew my family was poor and getting like $5 dollar christmas gifts from Retired people. Mind you the paper was 75 cents a week. But a grown man I never met throwing papers on my lawn at 4am and me mailing a check to a PO box as the guy does not even give out his home address or phone number just seems cheesy. I like to gift to people I know who I know need the money. I plan on tipping the nice college girl working two jobs at the dry cleaner and teachers (political suicide if you don’t) and my nice mailman who takes our mail when it is raining. But the russian nasty barber or 100K garbage men. No way

  118. JJ says:

    I used to watch LA Law and man I almost majored in Law.

    Lamar Asperger says:
    December 2, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    mooose (113)-

    No kid also ever says, “I want to be a sad bastard lackey attorney when I grow up”, either.

  119. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    or this one if you dont like the last

    http://www.astrobiology.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=32186

  120. Anon E. Moose says:

    Lamar [118];

    Not nearly as powerful without your editorial adjectives. (BTW, help you out with definition of adjective.) Your statement is like the used house salesmen I ‘ve met; when forced to rely on facts, it falls flat on its face.

  121. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    Pain,

    The press conference started at 2pm EST

  122. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    Now where is my friskies!!!

  123. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    Pain

    The newly discovered microbe, strain GFAJ-1, is a member of a common group of bacteria, the Gammaproteobacteria. In the laboratory, the researchers successfully grew microbes from the lake on a diet that was very lean on phosphorus, but included generous helpings of arsenic. When researchers removed the phosphorus and replaced it with arsenic the microbes continued to grow. Subsequent analyses indicated that the arsenic was being used to produce the building blocks of new GFAJ-1 cells.

    The key issue the researchers investigated was when the microbe was grown on arsenic did the arsenic actually became incorporated into the organisms’ vital biochemical machinery, such as DNA, proteins and the cell membranes. A variety of sophisticated laboratory techniques was used to determine where the arsenic was incorporated.

  124. make money says:

    Russia beats England and hosts 2018 world cup.
    Qatar beats USA and hosts 2022 world cup.

    Hmmmm…

  125. Anon E. Moose says:

    Make [127];

    Kleptocracies reign supreme. An acquaintance more familiar with worldwide professional soccer tels me that FIFA requires all ITS earnings from the World Cup be tax-free. Easier to get that through/from some government structures than others.

  126. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    Pain,

    Now an interesting questions is, is the arsenic DNA an adaptation former by former phosphorous DNA bacteria or is it a unique strain? If unique, does it point to some second abiogenisis event. I guess the idea of ammonia (solvent) or silicon based life isnt so far fetched anymore.

  127. JJ says:

    That article Nasa finds new life form is written by Jesus. Big deal I though Jesus could make life forms.

  128. relo says:

    57: Shore,

    Thanks to the Health Care crap in 2013 you’ll at least partially get your wish. And then some.

    As is treating cap gains differently from wage income.

  129. Punch My Ticket says:

    Eataly

    Much overrated imho.

  130. Punch My Ticket says:

    Look at how WW1 started. Any silly incident is reason enough to start lobbing missiles. The real stim for massive conflict remains starving countries…dominated by industrial-military complexes…facing hyperinflation or structural, chronic deflation…ruled by charismatic leaders.

    And the US is short how many of these characteristics?

  131. Juice Box says:

    chicken crap.. tax cut might stay under $250k a year for couples.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20024443-503544.html

  132. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    Shore,

    From the comments of your link

    The overuse of classification is a problem. Classification Authorities should re-address their directives to assure classification of only data needing protection. The reduction in data volume would benefit control capability.

    -That!

  133. dan says:

    Now that’s a nice article over at Zerohedge highlighting about going after Bank of America through their auditors PWC. Great line about there’s no doubt the banks are liars but what about PWC?

    http://www.zerohedge.com/article/are-accountants-weakest-link-unraveling-fraudclosure-scandal

  134. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    Pain

    This organism has dual capability,” Davies said in today’s announcement. “It can grow with either phosphorus or arsenic. That makes it very peculiar, though it falls short of being some form of truly ‘alien’ life belonging to a different tree of life with a separate origin. However, GFAJ-1 may be a pointer to even weirder organisms. The holy grail would be a microbe that contained no phosphorus at all. (from article here)

    http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2010/12/02/5564852-life-as-we-dont-know-it-on-earth

  135. JJ says:

    That is a stupid article. Very difficult to do audit work at large multinational complex companies. Look at KPMG back in the 1990’s years with Xerox. Both Xerox and KPMG screwed up the the recording of sales in Latin America. Huge amount of copiers sold in multiple currencies, in multiple countries with tax rules and interest rates in different languages and not everything recorded on a computer as a lot of paper documents . Copiers were made in multiple countries too. Also they were sloppy down there when they record sales and receive payment which is a huge issue with FX risk. The SEC and AICPA both investigated Xerox and KPMG for fraud. In the end auditors and accountnts were trying to meet SEC filing deadlines and a lot of errors occured. The process improved and fines were paid. It is not a crime for an overwelmed pack of junior auditors meeting with junior accountants to make mistakes. Not everything is a consipiracy

  136. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    Dan [139],

    The house of ill repute is filled with whores of all flavors. PWC is no different from Arthur Anderson/Enron. The auditors, along with rating agencies should be jailed. FASB is the biggest scam going today.

  137. Zhang Fei says:

    It is not a crime for an overwelmed pack of junior auditors meeting with junior accountants to make mistakes. Not everything is a consipiracy

    No surprises there. When you run out of time, stuff gets crammed into plug categories.

  138. grim says:

    Eataly is a overpriced food court for tourists.

    Isn’t Manhattan an overpriced food court for tourists?

  139. relo says:

    141: HTJ,

    TBTA? (Too Big To Audit). Ha.

  140. JJ says:

    True story my first job I was matching credits with debits all over the place for a few months until I was told they really should be from the same customer. But I tell you what my suspense accounts always looked clean. 21 year old staff fresh out of school three weeks removed from flipping burgers or pumping gas are staff, they do the bulk of the leg work.

  141. dan says:

    JJ,

    What’s the matter? Your smoking hot blondies who are only 25 at the Big 4 are too stupid to read a document or check to see if it’s on the books or not?

  142. JJ says:

    Easier to stick your head in the Partners pants and get your short hills mansion then read boring documents all night for 15 years hoping for a 1 in ten chance of making Partner,.

    dan says:
    December 2, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    JJ,

    What’s the matter? Your smoking hot blondies who are only 25 at the Big 4 are too stupid to read a document or check to see if it’s on the books or not?

  143. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    “We have no plans whatsoever to be involved in any foreign bailouts or anything of that sort.”

    Bergabe, 2/10

    Either he was lying or the this baby is steamrolling. Probably a combination.

  144. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    this baby

  145. dan says:

    JJ,

    I saw that when I was there although it was staff and manager. In any case, for $124 million, they might be able to afford a supersenior or manager actually reviewing some pieces of paper backed by a supposed piece of property worth anywhere from $100k to millions.

  146. Juice Box says:

    yay, I still get my taxes raised anyway! Chances of this passing in the Senate are however low, so the rest of you will be joining me for a nice tax increase next year.

    http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/131729-house-passes-legislation-to-extend-only-some-bush-era-tax-cuts

  147. dan says:

    It’s not a crime to have junior accountants and junior auditors looking at documents although it might be negligent to not have someone that actually is supposed to know what they’re doing passing the work downhill. Doesn’t matter, just more fees for PWC next year.

  148. dan says:

    The crap I have to deal with from these arrogant big 4 guys on my books is sick. I’d love to tell them to go screw themselves and move the work to a smaller firm at 1/3 the cost.

  149. moose (123)-

    Your statement is like those of many lawyers I’ve met; when faced with the facts, you lie.

  150. JJ says:

    The staff gets stupider and stupider as years went on. When I first started just being an intern or staff member was a huge honor and ment you were the best and the brightest. By the time I left as a Director the staff were green card sludge who barely spoke English as Americans don’t do that drudge work anymore. I can review the work of 20 idiots nightly. So stuff happens

    dan says:
    December 2, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    JJ,

    I saw that when I was there although it was staff and manager. In any case, for $124 million, they might be able to afford a supersenior or manager actually reviewing some pieces of paper backed by a supposed piece of property worth anywhere from $100k to millions.

  151. Juice Box says:

    Lamar still waiting for you to go all Shakespeare and say that all lawyers should be killed. Really this spat between Moose and the rest of the clan of the fellowship of lawn signs is really getting tired. Lawyers and Realtors are both parasites that feed off of everyone else as well as each other so fighting about who is the bigger tick is getting mighty boring.

  152. JJ says:

    Q. What do Realtor’s and Long Island Lawns have in common?

    A. Neither do very well in December.

  153. JJ says:

    “That’s good. That’s like a 40-degree day. Ain’t nobody got nothing to say about a 40-degree day. 50. Bring a smile to your face. 60, (Heck, everyone) is (darn) near barbecuing on that, (lovely weather). Go down to 20, (people start to get their whine) on. Get their blood complaining.” Bell says calmly before raising his voice to an eardrum-splitting level, “But forty? Nobody give a (Darn) about 40. Nobody remember 40, and y’all (guys) is giving me way too many 40-degree days! What the (Heck)?”

    That is a quote from a great TV show and it is how I feel about the posts on this blog today.

  154. schabadoo says:

    Everyone be happy: the House just past a tax cut for everyone on their first $250k.

  155. relo says:

    155/157: In my brief and limited experience there was no exception that could not be brought under the materiality threshhold over a few bottles of wine at lunch. When I left, the big hiring push was for liberal arts majors as they had a more broad educational background and were not constrained by the tunnel vision of accounting majors. I think the girls in other majors were just hotter.

    This knowledge saved me a lot of time wasted in later years in looking at financials in evaluating investment opportunites (Stu).

  156. Punch My Ticket says:

    [96] Cat,

    Chicago officials mounted a strong attack Wednesday against legislation that would require the city to dramatically increase the amount of money it puts toward the retirement of its police and firefighters.

    They argued that the new bill unfairly puts the burden of shoring up the two city funds solely on taxpayers and could lead to the largest property tax increase in the city’s history.

    You have to admit this is pretty funny. Who other than the taxpayers can the burden fall on? (I don’t see any “Chicago official” admitting that “Chicago officials” put the taxpayer on the hook and offering the personal income and assets of “Chicago officials” for the pension funds.) Maybe the unions will knuckle under. LOL

    The Illinois Municipal League, representing suburban and downstate communities, said some towns could be forced to raise taxes or gut services in future years.

    D’oh. Imagine having to pay for the services you get. That’s downright unAmerican!

  157. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    A clerk walks into the boss’s office and says, “The auditors have just left, sir.” “Have they finished checking the books?”, asks the boss. “Very thoroughly,” is the reply. “Well, what did they say”, says the boss. “They want 15% to keep quiet.”

  158. box (158)-

    I guess you also figure the media and banking are all controlled by baby-killing, blood-drinking Jews.

  159. relo says:

    164: Q: Why did the auditor cross the road? A: Because he did it last year.

  160. Juice Box says:

    re: #165 – Lamar why would I hire someone like that to work for me? Once of the nicest people I know is a son of Abraham just like Jesus.

  161. yo'me says:

    An accountant is having a hard time sleeping and goes to see his doctor. “Doctor, I just can’t get to sleep at night.” “Have you tried counting sheep?” “That’s the problem – I make a mistake and then spend three hours trying to find it.”

  162. relo says:

    158: Sean,

    Come on now, don’t dissuade Moose from posting (not that anything could). His particular inferiority complex wrapped in a superiority complex is the gift that keeps on giving.

  163. yo'me says:

    A 54-year-old accountant leaves a letter for his wife one evening which read: “Dear Wife, I am 54 years old, and by the time you get this letter I will be at the Grand Hotel with my beautiful and sexy eighteen year old secretary.” When he arrived at the hotel, there was a letter waiting for him that read as follows: “Dear Husband, I too am 54 years old, and by the time you receive this letter I will be at the Savoy Hotel with my eighteen year old toy boy. Because you are an accountant, you will surely appreciate that l8 goes into 54 many more times than 54 goes into 18.”

  164. relo (169)-

    Quite a succinct definition of “asshole”.

    “…inferiority complex wrapped in a superiority complex…”

  165. What are the chances that Russia or Qatar will exist in 2018 and 2022?

    FIFA are a bunch of corrupt, old whores.

  166. Essex says:

    I gotta say that every kid wants to make a little money when they grow up. Sale, i.e. real estate or insurance is one avenue to money making. At least it was. Sales in general, while looked down upon by some is a helluva driver to most businesses. The third intel employee was a salesman. Anyhow. My two cents.

    Lawyers are a whole nother matter…..LOL

  167. Anon E. Moose says:

    Juice [158];

    I hate having to repeat myself, but I create things for a living. Whatever else anyone presumes about my occupation, that much is true. It is also very different from the “clan of the fellowship of lawn signs” (very clever, BTW – “Clan” has a similar anachronistic ring as “guild”, which I am wont to use). My occupation is ordained by the Constitution, and was practiced by the Founding Fathers. I wonder how many used house salesmen are discussed in elementary school history books.

  168. Revelations says:

    I don’t always agree with Moose, but I thoroughly enjoy his sardonic wit and buyer perspective. Many of his points resonate with me; also a renter.
    I’m not so much bitter about not purchasing, but I’m bitter about the economic clusterf#ck that has directly influenced the last 7 years of my family’s housing & financial options. Do I regret not paying 30% too much for a house? No. But I’m ticked off that stability was carelessly sacrificed by our government and industry leaders were too stupid and/or blind to see a crisis that was obvious to countless laypeople (e.g. blogs like this). I’m also bitter that this mess may now siphon many more years of economic opportunity.

  169. Revelations says:

    Also, I do think that a good Realtor adds value. The problem, of course, becomes finding a “good Realtor” (a.k.a. technicolor unicorn).

  170. Revelations says:

    I should also have added “greedy” to “stupid and/or blind”.

    Ok, I’m buzzing back to the wall.

  171. Essex says:

    174. You are a blacksmith?

  172. safe as houses says:

    #178 Essex

    Maybe he’s a postal worker. He does remind me of Cliff from Cheers.

  173. Fast Eddie says:

    Eureka! I got a letter in the mail today from my mortgage company. My monthly payments will now be “adjusted” to reflect the new payment due to… (drum roll)… higher property taxes! If you’re keeping score, my property taxes are now $8,960 per year for a cape on a 50 X 100 lot.

    Oh, BTW, do I see 30 yr. fixed rates on the rise? LMAO!!!! Go ahead, you stup1d bast@rds, buy that over-priced sh1t box you’ve been eyeing.

  174. Outofstater says:

    #174 I’ve got it! He’s a boy toy! “the pursuit of happiness” is in the Constitution, “I create things for a living” – bastard children and “practiced by the Founding Fathers” -Franklin was well known for his, um , escapades. Yep, it all fits! (Just pulling your chain, Moose.)

  175. AG says:

    180.

    Insanity. A sh_tbox is a sh_tbox. Buy silver Crash JP Morgan instead.

  176. AG says:

    171.

    Lamar,

    After th horrible oficiating at the world cup over the summer I would argue to say that FIFA is no more legitimate than the Fed or perhaps JP Morgan.

  177. safe as houses says:

    #180 Fast Eddie,

    That’s your town’s way of saying Merry Xmas, but don’t spend your cash on presents for the family. does the rest of the notice say ?

    We need the money more then you to fund our bloated payroll and wonderful health and retirement plans those of you in the private sector can only dream of. PS if you want to complain about it, please contact us between 9 AM and 11AM and 1 PM to 3 PM. We will be on breaks or holding meetings to plan meetings to complain about our unfair working conditions during those other hours. Can you imagine the gov wants us to pay 1.5% of our salary to health benefits!!!

    Sincerely,
    your local government, we’re here to help

  178. still_looking says:

    Was at Fairway buying some groceries today…. listening to the cashier and front end manager figuring how to ring up groceries being paid with food stamps and cash combo.

    Didn’t even look over…. finished packing groceries and left.

    sl

  179. nj escapee says:

    Essex, 186, That’s a lot of dough for a few tubes, wire, speaker in a box. must be for some old dude trying to recapture his “Happy Days.”

  180. “Similarly, a contact in northern New Jersey reports that market conditions remain sluggish: sales activity remains low and is still largely composed of distress sales, and prices are still said to be edging down.”

    According to Robert Shiller, housing shouldn’t cost more than 2.5 years of a households’ income. If in Somerset county the median income is 91,688, (http://www.co.somerset.nj.us/quickfacts.html) then why do homes cost so much more than 230k? I guess if Robert Shiller is correct then homes must “be edging down” to 230k.

  181. Still, Moose will not tell us what he does or where he works.

    I call troll.

  182. Torquemada says:

    Here’s a thought. We could eliminate quite a few parasites by buying some silver, J. P. Morgan in particular. Who’s with me on this one?

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/dec/02/jp-morgan-silver-short-selling-crash

  183. We could also set Chase branches on fire.

  184. Reports now that Assange’s “sex crime” was sleeping with a woman and not using a c0ndom.

    I kid you not.

  185. relo says:

    178: I’m guessing it’s those fancy powdered wigs. Or maybe wooden teeth?

  186. AG says:

    190. Im down with more than 100 oz. Ill be buying that b_tch through 2011 as well. The green crap in your wallet is exactly that. Might as well blow it on a worthy cause.

  187. Dan says:

    Moose is a Seamstress?

  188. Shore Guy says:

    “What are the chances that Russia or Qatar will exist in 2018 and 2022”

    Russia, like China, has been around for over 1,000 years. It will be around 1,000 years from now. How powerful it will be at any given moment is an open question but, the russian people have an ancient soul and they will just keep putting one foot in front of the other, regardless of what happens to the world around them.

  189. Punch My Ticket says:

    Moose is Robert Menendez.

    BTW I heard a great story today (not one of JJs tall tales).

    Commercial real estate borrower, mortgage coming to end of term, lenders getting ready to apply the screws on the renewal. But the original deal was securitized. So the borrower figures out who holds the equity piece of the CMBS, buys it out, appoints itself the servicer for the whole deal, and extends its own note at very favorable terms. Senior tranche holders angry but apparently powerless.

    Hard to believe this doesn’t run afoul of conflict of interest rules.

    Harder to believe everyone won’t be looking to do exactly the same sort of thing.

    Hardest to believe that anyone will buy senior tranches of CMBS in future.

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