Just when you thought it was over…

From the Star Ledger:

N.J. Supreme Court intervenes in mortgage foreclosures by six lenders

New Jersey’s highest court has stepped in to monitor the filing of real estate foreclosures in the state.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner today announced that six lenders suspected of irregularities will have to present a case in court next month or face having their foreclosure actions suspended.

Rabner writes that the court “has become increasingly concerned about the accuracy and reliability of documents submitted to the Office of Foreclosure.”

A special master could be appointed to review the foreclosure practices of companies including Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase and Citibank.

From the WSJ:

N.J. Threatens to Block Foreclosures

New Jersey courts are threatening to block six major lenders from foreclosing on most homeowners unless they can prove their process is sound.

In response to errors blamed on so-called “robo-signers” and other potential shortcuts, judges on Monday ordered six lenders to defend their foreclosure practices and 24 others to produce reports on their process.

“It’s important that the judiciary ensures that judges are not rubber-stamping questionable documents that may not be reliable,” Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner said. “The steps we’ve taken today are designed to ensure the integrity of that judicial process.”

New Jersey will also require banks’ attorneys to certify they spoke with a bank employee who reviewed the foreclosure documents, a practice similar to one enacted in October by New York. For now, foreclosures will continue, but Mr. Rabner said he didn’t expect a rush to push cases through in the meantime. The orders pertains to uncontested cases, or 94% of foreclosures in New Jersey.

The six banks—Ally Financial, Bank of America, Citibank, JP Morgan Chase, OneWest Bank FSB and Wells Fargo—were involved in 29,000 of the 65,000 foreclosure filings in New Jersey in 2010, Mr. Rabner said.

From the NY Times:

New Jersey Court May Order Foreclosure Freeze

Six lenders that together have filed nearly 30,000 foreclosure actions in New Jersey this year face the possible suspension of such operations next month. The possible suspension came under a court order announced on Monday by the chief justice of the state Supreme Court, Stuart J. Rabner.

The action follows a report submitted to the Supreme Court that, citing depositions and court filings in other states, paints a picture of systemic abuses in the filing of foreclosures that include so-called robo-signing, in which employees signed hundreds of documents without checking them for accuracy.

This entry was posted in Foreclosures, Housing Bubble, Mortgages, National Real Estate. Bookmark the permalink.

128 Responses to Just when you thought it was over…

  1. Mike says:

    Good Morning New Jersey

  2. grim says:

    How did I miss Dr. Doom buying a house?

    Nouriel Roubini Purchases $5.5 Million Condo in East Village of Manhattan

    Nouriel Roubini, the New York University economist who predicted the global financial crisis, bought a $5.5 million condominium in Manhattan, according to public records.

    Roubini took out a $2.99 million mortgage to buy the condo on East First Street, according to New York City Department of Finance records. The “sun-blasted” apartment atop a former steel warehouse is a 3,700-square-foot (340-square-meter) triplex penthouse, according to listings website StreetEasy.com.

    “He is making a statement, definitely, in the rent-versus- buy argument,” Sofia Song, vice president of research for StreetEasy, said in an interview. “For his own personal situation, it makes sense to buy. It might prompt others to potentially start looking.”

    Roubini, who has said there is still a risk the U.S. economy could slide back into recession, said last month that another “disaster” will happen if U.S. home values fall again and prime-mortgage defaults increase.

    “If house prices are going to fall another 5 to 10 percent, another 8 million households are going to be in negative equity,” Roubini said Nov. 2 at a conference in Cape Town. “We are going to have another nasty crisis. That’s going to happen unless we do something about it. Forget about subprime, look at prime.”

  3. grim says:

    From HousingWire:

    Rising mortgage rates spur first-time homebuyer activity in November

    Rising interest rates spurred first-time homebuyer activity in November, according to the Campbell/Inside Mortgage Finance monthly survey released Monday. The survey gets input from more than 3,000 real estate agents nationwide on the state of homebuyer activity.

    The share of first-time homebuyer purchases jumped to 37.2% from 34.4% in October, as near record low rates drifted higher over the course of the month.

    Freddie Mac most recently reported mortgage rates for a 30-year fixed mortgage at 4.83%. Zillow Mortgage Marketplace reported the rate for a 30-year FRM as low as 4.07% in early November.

    “The recent surge in interest rates has made potential homebuyers nervous,” said Thomas Popik, director of the survey. “If rates go up much more, then a good percentage of them will no longer qualify for the properties they want. As a result, they’re making bids on homes and quickly closing before their rate locks expire.”

  4. freedy says:

    my timing was off

  5. grim says:

    From the Philly Inquirer:

    N.J. Senate approves casino district, oversight bills

    With Atlantic City’s uncertain future in mind, the New Jersey Senate approved by wide margins Monday legislation that would create a state-run casino and entertainment district and loosen casino regulations.

    Passage of the measures would give Gov. Christie a virtual green light to begin an unprecedented takeover of Atlantic City and its struggling gaming industry. Since the opening of the first Pennsylvania casino in November 2006, the Shore resort has continued to bleed revenue, jobs, and investors.

    Approved by a vote of 24-9 was the first bill, S-11, which would create a special Atlantic City Tourism District and expand marketing of the resort. The second bill, S-12, which would revise casino regulations and shift regulatory authority from the state Casino Control Commission to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, was approved, 22-13.

    The measures call for significant changes to the way the nation’s second-largest gambling market does business and mirror recommendations Christie announced on July 21, when he presented his plan for an overhaul of Atlantic City.

    (Where in the bill does it let them tear down the slums?)

  6. grim says:

    From the Daily Journal:

    Senators vow to reform N.J. law for ‘fake farmers’

    The state Senate president and a North Jersey lawmaker say they will push to the forefront their bill to close loopholes in a law permitting “fake farmers” to slash their property tax bills by 98 percent.

    Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney, D-Gloucester, and Sen. Jennifer Beck, R-Monmouth, have vowed to renew their efforts next year to amend the Farmland Assessment Act of 1964. That law allows anyone with at least five acres who produces a minimum of $500 in goods to gain tax breaks. The law’s original intent was to preserve agriculture in New Jersey.

    “It has to change,” said Sweeney, who in 2008 co-sponsored legislation with Beck that would help separate those skirting the intent of the law from those actively engaged in agriculture. “Now I’m Senate president and I’m going to do something. Just because there’s a way to cheat doesn’t make it right. We’re going to close those loopholes. We have to.”

    The unintended consequences of the law are “hurting the cause of agriculture in New Jersey,” Beck said. “It’s not working as it is. Our goal is not to have a mass exodus of farmers. … But we cannot allow fake farmers to get a 98 percent tax break.”

    Setting a new minimum income threshold. As noted in the Gannett series, the $500 threshold established in 1964 would be about $3,500 today, if adjusted for inflation. “Five-hundred dollars? That’s ridiculous,” Sweeney said. “We’ll be looking at doubling it, at least doubling it.”

    Defining farming. “If someone wants to have a couple of donkeys as pets for their kids, fine. Just don’t get a farm tax break for that,” Sweeney said. Added Beck: “We need a harder line drawn as to what qualifies as farmland assessment.”

    Sweeney said he was driving down a road in his home county of Gloucester and came upon a “couple-million-dollar house with a bunch of Christmas trees for sale. Farm-assessed. What a joke. I wanted to ask the guy, ‘Do you really need that few thousand more?’

    “I’m looking to get this done with Senator Beck in the coming year. And we will.”

  7. grim says:

    From the Record:

    Bill requires state employees to live in N.J.

    New hires for public jobs would have to live in the Garden State under a bill that won final approval Monday in the state Senate.

    “If you want to work in New Jersey and have your salary paid by the taxpayers, you’ll have to live here, too,” said state Sen. Donald Norcross, D-Camden, its sponsor.

    The bill (S-1730), which passed the Senate 23-10 and advanced to the governor, would give new public employees one year to make New Jersey their primary residence.

    About 8 percent of the state government’s 78,000 workers live in other states, according to Senate Democrats. They and other current public workers would not be affected by the new legislation.

  8. grim (6)-

    Another goddamned communist Dumbocrat! It’s not about whether the homeowner NEEDS the fcuking money…like it somehow BELONGS to the gubmint to begin with and is only allowed to stay in the hands of the taxpayer based on idiotic concepts like “need” or “fairness”.

    You see the mentality of these brainless thugs like Sweeney, and there’s the tell that this whole thing is going to devolve into a shooting war.

    It’s time to refresh the tree.

  9. And don’t get me started on the Rethuglicans. Allergic to raising revenue, but not to spending and creating money out of thin air, backed by nothing.

    Yeah, that’s sound economics.

  10. Mike says:

    Grim Number 6 Looks like former Governor Whitman has to take her veggie stand down. And on her farm she had two pools eieio

  11. grim says:

    #9 – Don’t get me wrong, I cower in fear when democrats start talking about fairness and need, because it usually means the next step is someone’s hand in my wallet.

    But this? This is correcting a legislative oversight to include inflation adjustment in the law. This isn’t what was intended nearly 50 years ago. Just about each year that passed since it was signed, the requirements for eligibility were reduced in real terms, and with that came abuse.

    Simply restore the law to what was intended and call it a day. Why the hooplah?

  12. 30 year realtor says:

    Which has the greater negative impact for the City of Paterson: Increase property taxes by 50% or fire 1/3rd of the police force?

    What impact does losing hundreds of police officers in the inner cities of NJ have on the surrounding suburban areas?

    Mix this trouble in with growing inventory, rising interest rates and high unemployment and it doesn’t paint a pretty picture for Jersey.

  13. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    “Mix this trouble in with growing inventory, rising interest rates and high unemployment and it doesn’t paint a pretty picture for Jersey.”

    30 year [12]

    There is a blood red circle
    On the cold dark ground
    And the rain is falling down
    The church door’s thrown open
    I can hear the organ’s song
    But the congregation’s gone
    My city of ruins
    My city of ruins

    Now the sweet bells of mercy
    Drift through the evening trees
    Young men on the corner
    Like scattered leaves,
    The boarded up windows,
    The empty streets
    While my brother’s down on his knees
    My city of ruins
    My city of ruins

  14. yo'me says:

    Police are too busy writing citation to close the budget gap.They don’t patrol for crimes anymore.Get rid of the 1/3 of the force.What we need is an integrated police force.Just like the state police with authority in any jurisdiction.

  15. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    Why does the Boss go to mod?

  16. grim says:

    Had bodywork done on the car a few weeks back and was waiting for a new license plate bracket to put my front plate back on.

    Got a ticket in Paramus.

    Really? If the cops have time to cite for a missing front plate we have too many cops.

    (cops, please don’t retaliate, I didn’t really mean that)

  17. 30 year realtor says:

    Wantan #13 – Unlike 9-11 we have attacked ourselves!

  18. chicagofinance says:

    Mr Wantanapolous says:
    December 21, 2010 at 8:13 am
    Why does the Boss go to mod?

    organ?

  19. chicagofinance says:

    grim says:
    December 21, 2010 at 6:08 am
    How did I miss Dr. Doom buying a house?

    You reflexively ignore my posts…..

  20. chicagofinance says:

    albani: I am heading here for lunch. FYI – they have a very nice girl from Tirana who bartends who is a dead ringer for Nellie Furtado.
    http://www.ammosnewyork.com/

  21. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    “organ?”

    Chi,

    LOL.

  22. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    30 year [17],

    That song is not related to 9-11.

  23. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    MCP, six month tear. There is some sanity left in the world.

  24. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    30 yr

    Which has the greater negative impact for the City of Paterson: Increase property taxes by 50% or fire 1/3rd of the police force?

    I would argue that at this point in time, it doesn’t matter which you choose, because in the end both will have to happen.

    How about we do both and then aggressively issue low cost concealed carry permits ( along with the requisite training).

  25. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    Front running the fed and a bonus for your trading skills.

    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/treasurys-gain-before-fed-buybacks-2010-12-21

  26. NJGator says:

    Explosive device found in Rome subway, Italian media report
    Area cleared while bomb experts examine item left underneath train seat

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40764880/ns/world_news-europe/

  27. JJ says:

    I hate short sales, they should call them long sales as they take forever.

    My first prediction for 2011 that Kodak is bought out by either Google, or Cisco. Muni bonds stablize, Junk will rise a third year in row, investment grade and treasuries flat or slight loss. Stocks up 10-15%. Metals, will bubble up a few more months than fizzle out. RE another slow flat year as mortgage rates and RE taxes slowly rise. Car sales up.

  28. grim (11)-

    I agree with you. However, the remedy has to be based in law, or it will be as flawed as the situation it was intended to remedy.

    Funny how the concept of fairness- in the hands of Dumbocrats- is regularly used to justify “soak the rich” schemes that end up fleecing the middle class and not even touching the rich.

    Ready, shoot, aim!

  29. Painhrtz says:

    Cat 24 I concur, thugs will think twice if they don’t know your packing. Besides center city Paterson is a warzone anyway those who can move will, build a fence appoint a warlord, and shoot anyone who tries to leave. Thumb nose at federal government rinse and repeat for Trenton/Camden.

    Decriminalize pot also, and tax the $hit out of it.

  30. chi (20)-

    Why do Albanians all try to pass for Italian or Greek?

  31. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    pain,

    When the little 5’0 woman waling down the street is packing a sig .357 it doesnt matter how big you are!

  32. Anon E. Moose says:

    JJ [27];

    What’s left of Kodak to buy? Just grab the IP cheap out of the inevitable BK.

  33. 1987 Condo Buyer says:

    Farm land..why is the house on the “farm land” not just taxed as the other homes in the town?

  34. Bubble Disciple says:

    Personally, I think that adjusting the $500 for inflation is still not enough. If you really want to save agriculture, just find out how much income the “real” farmers make – the ones who sell their produce in farm stands or in the Union Square farmers market.

    My friend’s father used to slaughter 4 cows every year and split the meat with the butcher just to get a tax break on a their second house in Western NJ (I haven’t been there lately, but would not be surprised if they’re still doing it). This seems like an abuse to me, and it comes at the expense of the “real” farmers.

  35. yo'me says:

    Why can’t the Fed just lend printed money to the states,just like they did to TBTF banks?

    CBS News Joins the Attack on Public Employees
    Tuesday, 21 December 2010 05:53
    Way back in the last decade the United States had a huge housing bubble. The Wall Street banks made money hand over fist making and selling the loans that fueled this bubble. The economic policymakers and regulators who were supposed to prevent the growth of such dangerous bubbles, people with names like Greenspan, Bernanke, Paulson, and Geithner, assured the public that everything was just fine. When they were proved horribly wrong, they then congratulated themselves for avoiding a second Great Depression.

    This background is important to any story on the financial problems facing state and local governments, since it is 90 percent of the picture. It also would be good if the public remembered this history, since many of the people who either profited from the bubble or failed to take measures to counter its growth are now at the forefront in demanding that state and local governments sharply reduce their budgets and that public sector employees take big cuts in pay and benefits.

    On Sunday night, the CBS News show 60 Minutes joined this campaign. The piece begins by telling viewers that:

    “in the two years, since the “great recession” wrecked their economies and shriveled their income, the states have collectively spent nearly a half a trillion dollars more than they collected in taxes.”

    That’s not what the data show. If we look to the Commerce Department’s National Income and Product Accounts we find that in total state and local government spent $45 billion less than they took in (line 27). CBS does not give a source for the “nearly half a trillion” number.

    It is also worth noting that any shortfall is due almost entirely to the recession caused by the collapse of the housing bubble. If revenue had increased in step with normal growth (2.4 percent real growth, plus inflation), state and local governments would have had an additional $290 billion since the start of the downturn.

    Another way to think about the size of the state and local government shortfall is that we could envision the Federal government giving state and local governments trillions of dollars in loans at below market interest rates as they did with the Wall Street banks through TARP and the various Fed special lending facilities. If the state and local governments got $3 trillion in loans at rates that were 4 percentage points below the market rate, and then they relent this money at market rates, it would largely make up for the shortfall in revenue they have faced. (It would provide them with $120 billion a year in additional revenue.)

    When the governments repaid their loans, plus the below market interest, the Treasury and the Fed would then get all their money back, plus a small premium. This would allow people like Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and the Washington Post editorial board to declare that they made a profit, just as they have with the TARP. This would be one possible solution to the fiscal problems faced by these governments.

    The piece also told viewers at the onset:

    “There is also a trillion dollar hole iln their public pension funds.”

    In fact, this shortfall is overwhelmingly attributable to the plunge in the stock market that followed in the wake of the collapse of the housing bubble. According to Federal Reserve Board data (Table L.119) if pension fund assets had increased at just a 5 percent nominal rate since the 4th quarter of 2007, they would have $935 billion more money at the end of the third quarter than is currently reported.

    While some of us did try to warn of the risks that the housing bubble posed to the economy and financial markets (we were not featured on 60 Minutes, which was busy touting deficit stories even then), the primary fault of state and local officials was listening to Wall Street and the mainstream of the economics profession, not excessive pensions.

    It would also be useful to provide a basis for assessing this “trillion dollar hole” since it is virtually certain that almost none of CBS’s viewers regularly deal with such numbers. The discounted value of GDP will be more than $400 trillion over the next 30 years (roughly the period in which this shortfall will have to be addressed). This implies that additional revenue equal to 0.25 percent of GDP over this period should be sufficient to cover this projected shortfall. By comparison, the increase in annual defense spending associated with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is approximately 1.8 percent of GDP, more than 7 times larger than amount of revenue needed to cover the projected pension shortfall.

    Another point of comparison is the revenue that could potentially be raised from a financial speculation tax. Such a tax could easily raise more than 1.0 percent of GDP, four times the projected shortfall, with the incidence being born almost entirely by Wall Street banks and speculators.

    The article also includes assertions that imply state and local workers are overpaid. In fact, after adjusting for education and experience state and local workers earn slightly less than their private sector counterparts. Public sector workers do get higher pensions on average than workers in the private sector, but this does not offset the pay difference. It is also important to remember that many public sector workers are not covered by Social Security so that their pension is virtually all of their retirement income.
    Interestingly, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is presented as a heroic visionary in this story because of his willingness to make cuts in areas like public and education and to force workers to take pay cuts. In one instance he is shown telling teachers complaining about cuts in their benefits that they should get another job if they are unhappy with their pay.

    While such an approach may be an effective short-term strategy it is absolutely disastrous in the long-term. At any point in time it will be difficult for long-time workers to leave their jobs with the state and find comparable employment elsewhere, especially in the midst of the worst downturn in 70 years. However, as new workers come into the labor force, lower pay and worse benefits in the public sector will make these jobs less attractive. This means that New Jersey’s schools and other public agencies will have less choice in selecting their workforce, which is likely to lead to a deterioration in the quality of education and other public services. This is not obviously far-sighted thinking.

    Dean Baker

  36. The house is taxed the same. It is usually separated onto on a one-acre lot for tax purposes. The preferential treatment is give to the remaining acreage.

  37. yo (35)-

    Is this Baker guy serious? What a dunce.

  38. yo'me says:

    There are ideas I like from him.I like the way he thinks,he is not plain negative.I put it up in the thread so it can be dissected.

  39. NJGator says:

    Bell, CA Nearly Broke After Salary Inflation Scandal

    The city of Bell, CA is nearly broke after city officials used public funds to inflate their salaries, and is now facing painful cuts to the city’s budget, including possibly disbanding its police department and slashing other city services.

    Some of the officials in this blue-collar Los Angeles-area city made up to $96,000 a year for part-time elected positions — 20 times the national average for a city Bell’s size. Former Bell City Administrator Robert Rizzo, who was charged with 53 different counts, made nearly $800,000 a year. Eight Bell officials pleaded not guilty to the charges in October.

    Jeff Gottlieb and Ruben Vives of the Los Angeles Times report that a review of the city’s financial records to be released next month shows:

    that Bell has been running a deficit totaling several million dollars over at least the last three years under former Chief Administrative Officer Robert Rizzo. The red ink is the result of hefty salaries and pensions for top Bell officials and extensive city-run programs, the review found. To cover part of the deficit, city officials took money raised by the sale of bonds for specific projects and diverted it to the general fund, a likely violation of the law, according to experts on municipal finance.That’s according to “officials familiar with its contents who spoke on condition of anonymity because the document remains under wraps.”

    http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/12/bell_ca_nearly_broke_after_salary_inflation_scandal.php?ref=fpb

  40. Nomad says:

    Retail sales appear to be very strong this holiday season. I am sure a chunk of it is people who reallocate the $$ they should be paying the mtg with to holiday purchases. Is there any database I can use to find how to what extent this is happening or what % of this seasons holiday purchases have been made by people who have blown off their mtg payments.

    I know it is happening but would be interested in something more accurate than a back of the napkin calculation.

  41. jamil says:

    I’m traveling in Rome and I can’t find my bag anywhere. think I left it in the subway.
    If anybody finds it, let me know

  42. joyce says:

    (29)
    I’ve never smoked pot in my life and don’t plan to. But why is the argument always “let’s legalize it and TAX THE SHIT OUT OF IT” I understand that happens to cigarettes, but still. I want pot legalized for freedom’s sake (and reducing crime would be just one nice outcome)… not for the sake of the government’s budget.

    (35)
    Dean Baker is an idiot. I guess anyone willing to read textbooks and regurgitate nonsense can be a professor.

  43. still_looking says:

    Can anyone offer advice?

    key west vacation in the planning for future- places to stay?

    bringing 5.5 yr old, prefer on beach – or close as possible, fishing outside the door is a plus…

    thanks.

    sl

  44. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    “Another way to think about the size of the state and local government shortfall is that we could envision the Federal government giving state and local governments trillions of dollars in loans at below market interest rates”

    [35],

    Dean Baker is a buffoon. The problem is not liquidity it’s solvency.

  45. yo'me says:

    Baker always stood with the over valued dollar needs to come down to be competitive.He blames the Clinton era for this,as the start of american reliance to foreign cheap goods.He is proven right with the dollar value depreciating american export is more competetive.Some will argue about imports are more expensive domestic,specially oil.Oil will always be priced on demand.With increasing demand from emerging markets that can not be prevented but to find alternantive.

    He always called for the housing bubble.I like the way he goes against commentaries from leading newspapers.That gives me to understand who to believe.Still a personal thoughts.

  46. yo'me says:

    In fact, this shortfall is overwhelmingly attributable to the plunge in the stock market that followed in the wake of the collapse of the housing bubble. According to Federal Reserve Board data (Table L.119) if pension fund assets had increased at just a 5 percent nominal rate since the 4th quarter of 2007, they would have $935 billion more money at the end of the third quarter than is currently reported.

    It would also be useful to provide a basis for assessing this “trillion dollar hole” since it is virtually certain that almost none of CBS’s viewers regularly deal with such numbers. The discounted value of GDP will be more than $400 trillion over the next 30 years (roughly the period in which this shortfall will have to be addressed). This implies that additional revenue equal to 0.25 percent of GDP over this period should be sufficient to cover this projected shortfall. By comparison, the increase in annual defense spending associated with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is approximately 1.8 percent of GDP, more than 7 times larger than amount of revenue needed to cover the projected pension shortfall.

    Another point of comparison is the revenue that could potentially be raised from a financial speculation tax. Such a tax could easily raise more than 1.0 percent of GDP, four times the projected shortfall, with the incidence being born almost entirely by Wall Street banks and speculators.

    #45 What do you think of this statements?

  47. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    “Oil will always be priced on demand.”

    Yome [46],

    That is not correct.

  48. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    [47],

    I think it’s asinine. Why do these pundits constantly have to find avenues to increase revenue? It’s not a revenue problem, it a spending problem. Cut spending.

  49. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    I was referring to the 1% tax.

  50. chi at the cornell club says:

    30.Lamar Asperger says:
    December 21, 2010 at 9:47 am
    chi (20)- Why do Albanians all try to pass for Italian or Greek?

    For most of the last 150 years there was no Albanian immigration to the US. Many Italians and Greeks came to the US during World War II and its aftermath. What you consider Italian or Greek is also partially Albanian too….mixed with some Ottoman influence. It is just that the Italians and Greeks had a 50 year head start in creating their cultural stereotype in the US.

  51. Libtard says:

    If New Jersey’s retirement benefit hole is close to 60 billion and we have the highest taxes in the country, then I think the trillion dollar figure is probably accurate. The actuary tables on these public sector pension and medical benefits weren’t solvent in the long term when the going was good (bubbles). How the hell do these public servants think they’ll get what they were promised now that the sh1t has hit the fan economically. The unions maintain that they are contractually obligated to receive these benefits regardless of their sustainability. I haven’t had contract law in ages, but I sort of remember something about a contract having to be fair to be legal. It would be pretty easy to prove that these public union’s negotiations, which were supposedly fair, were really trade-offs for their Democratic endorsement. The fact that what they were promised by the elected officials in return for their vote was not really possible, is just icing on the cake. Of course, considering that our courts in this country are also partisan, fat chance of this ever changing.

    Dean Baker is a progressive dope. About the only thing I’ve ever agreed with him on his view that the wealthy use the government to maintain their wealth. It doesn’t take an advanced degree to figure that one out though.

    Yo’me, you are so liberal it’s entertaining to watch. You ought to move to Montclair to see what years and years of progressive governing has done to our town as it implodes under the weight of endless spending on progressive ideas with no return on investment.

  52. joyce says:

    (49)
    Precisely. As mentioned in the earlier post as well, the government bureaucrats always spouting off at the mouth of the “need to increase revenues” or “due to the smaller tax base” or “tax cuts cost the government too much.”

    Complete nonsense. All the government can do is take things away… rights & property

  53. NJGator says:

    Here’s one for the annals of “Selfish Narcissists Have No Shame”. What do you do when you are married with kids and fall in love with your married friend who also has kids? When you break up both marriages to be with your soulmate, clearly the next thing to do is to share your story in the Vows section of the NYT.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/19/fashion/weddings/19vows.html

  54. Nomad says:

    sl –

    try Islamorada.

  55. yo (46)-

    Robert Reich and Glenn Beck also swim against the tide of mainstream media. But just like those two, Baker identifies the problem and blows it on both the diagnosis of its origin and the solution.

  56. Then again, Baker is better than Krugman, who is just plain wrong on everything.

  57. Libtard says:

    Would love to see the ten-year followup to that article Gator.

  58. gator (54)-

    Something tells me jj needs to chime in with some practical advice on this subject.

  59. Why do the words “hit it and forget it” keep ringing in my ears?

  60. JJ says:

    NASSAU CNTY N Y GEN IMPT BDS SER. 2010F 07.40000% 10/01/2035

    Scary, munis pushing through BABs in to a a market with more seller than buyers prior to year end. This Nassau Country one that came out this week is a 7>4% coupon.

    It is a 25 year bond. $10,000 borrowed today is $18,500 in interest payments plus pay back of the $10,000 principal. At a time when ten year yields are 3.5%, crazy.

  61. JJ says:

    FYI Kodak can’t BK they have far more assets then debt, in fact they have hardly any debt, they own tons of IP, buildings, factories etc. Stock is trading at book. If you look at the flip vido by cisco or googles next move they want to get into hardware, be able to make it, have distribution channels and not create a brand from scratch. Heck Mircrosoft too for that matter. The Apple or HP approach.

  62. JJ says:

    My friends sisterin law same thing is happening right now. the jilted spouses are scrambling to find replacement spouse.

    NJGator says:
    December 21, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    Here’s one for the annals of “Selfish Narcissists Have No Shame”. What do you do when you are married with kids and fall in love with your married friend who also has kids? When you break up both marriages to be with your soulmate, clearly the next thing to do is to share your story in the Vows section of the NYT.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/19/fashion/weddings/19vows.html

  63. jj (63)-

    You should step into that situation and “help” them get past their losses.

  64. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    Gator,

    Generation ME. Its like a particularly nasty virus. But hey, we have to keep the sheep occupied lest they contemplate the meaning of a few trillion in debt.

  65. nj escapee says:

    Still Looking, Lots of places down here, major names and guesthouses. The Reach seems nice. Was completely renovated. Ride my bike past it all the time. Can see schools of tarpon from the pier. It has a private beach and pool, few blocks from the public beaches Great part of town.
    http://www.reachresort.com/

  66. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    Gator [54],

    The jilted spouses should have hooked up; Mike Kekich/Fritz Peterson

    http://www.thewannabesportsguy.com/2009/11/fritz-peterson-and-mike-kekich-swap-wives/

  67. Mr Wantanapolous says:
  68. Confused In NJ says:

    47.yo’me says:
    December 21, 2010 at 11:54 am
    In fact, this shortfall is overwhelmingly attributable to the plunge in the stock market that followed in the wake of the collapse of the housing bubble. According to Federal Reserve Board data (Table L.119) if pension fund assets had increased at just a 5 percent nominal rate since the 4th quarter of 2007, they would have $935 billion more money at the end of the third quarter than is currently reported.

    Unfortunately, the Stock Market is a Ficticious Ponzi Scheme, as evidenced by Ben Bernanke single handedly propping it up currently, while Benefit Payouts are Real and if backed by Bernanke/Madoff type Ponzi schemes, are unsustainable.

  69. Shore Guy says:

    Personally, I think that adjusting the $500 for inflation is still not enough.”

    It is not. In fact, I suspect that any billb that focuses on some amount of revenue is doomed to being gamed. If one has land that would otherwise have a tax bill of $25,000 or $250,000 there is a powerful incentive to claim a fair bit of revenue even if one had none.

  70. Anon E. Moose says:

    Shore [70];

    The numbers can be set so that the taxes collected on ficticious farm income is equal to the property tax subsidy. That way, the state really doesn’t care which way you report, its revenue neutral – simpler enforcement.

  71. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [40] gator

    “To cover part of the deficit, city officials took money raised by the sale of bonds for specific projects and diverted it to the general fund, a likely violation of the law . . .”

    What it does violate is Section 103, and 141 to 148 of the Internal Revenue Code, meaning that those bonds could lose their tax exempt status.

  72. Anon E. Moose says:

    Top Story (NJ Foreclosure Moratorium):

    This housing farce is beginning to look strangely similar to the decline of the Roman Empire – Bread & Circuses. Some deadbeats will get thrown to the lions. A few of them may make it out alive, and get their houses free. Many more will be eaten alive. The masses will watch from the sidelines for entertainment, while their once-great society crumbles beneath them into the Dark Ages.

  73. JJ says:

    Bigger driver of pension short falls going forward are low interest rates, Treasuries, investment grade bonds, GICs, Commercial Paper, CDs have been at extremely low rates. For instance ten year treasuries in 2000 were around 5.6. Popular thing to buy for pensions, however in 2010 they are 3.4. When the 2000’s one matured this year poop, reinvest at 3.4 or take on more risk. Back in 2000 pretty easy to get 8% investment grade ten year bonds, 5% bank CDs, 8% Fannie paper, etc. Lots of pensions have a duration of 10-15. All that 1999-2002 paper in the 10-15 duration are maturing between 2009 and 2011, good luck with that. Taking on more risk or buying stock may work or may blow up in your face, reinvest in superlow Treasuries or CDs and you are equally sunk.

    Confused In NJ says:
    December 21, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    47.yo’me says:
    December 21, 2010 at 11:54 am
    In fact, this shortfall is overwhelmingly attributable to the plunge in the stock market that followed in the wake of the collapse of the housing bubble. According to Federal Reserve Board data (Table L.119) if pension fund assets had increased at just a 5 percent nominal rate since the 4th quarter of 2007, they would have $935 billion more money at the end of the third quarter than is currently reported.

    Unfortunately, the Stock Market is a Ficticious Ponzi Scheme, as evidenced by Ben Bernanke single handedly propping it up currently, while Benefit Payouts are Real and if backed by Bernanke/Madoff type Ponzi schemes, are unsustainable.

  74. NJGator says:

    Nom 72 – Could the bond holders then sue the city, since it was only malfeasance by city employees that caused the bonds to lose tax exempt staus which financially harms the bond holders?

  75. chi at cornell club says:

    albani: help me……I had six Oban and the Tirana Nellie Furtado charged me for one….I have another meeting and I am wrecked…it is only 2:50PM….

    I am drinking 4 or 5 coffees………

  76. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    OT Alert

    Whoodathunkit that Dietrich would check out before Fish???

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_obit_steve_landesberg

  77. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [75] Gator,

    Possibly. We are in uncharted waters.

  78. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [76] chifi

    No F’ing sympathy. Say nothing, take notes, and if you think you are going to be sick, take out your phone, look at it, and quietly walk out.

    I did that at my 30th reunion. 5 Glenmorangies later, my wife dragged me out before I could make an ass of myself in front of people who only remember me as a dork.

  79. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [76] Chifi,

    And if she is from Tirana, make sure you check your credit card statement later.

  80. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    I have a friend whose daughter wanted to go to Harvey Mudd to study engineering. At the time, I recall thinking “WTF, why?”

    Now I know why: http://www.cnbc.com/id/40703034?slide=16

  81. moose (73)-

    And just like a degenerate Roman, you continue to blame everyone except the progenitor and beneficiary of the whole Ponzi: the banksters.

  82. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [81] redux

    BTW, Cornell didn’t make the top 15.

  83. I bet Chi has gone back to his office to put his clients all in on NFLX.

  84. make money says:

    chi (20)-

    Why do Albanians all try to pass for Italian or Greek?

    Clot,

    Not sure about Greek, but definitively Italian. Italy is like Holywood to Albania. Everyone grew up watching italian TV, models, fashion, cars, all while we were being held hostage in our own country by the Enver Hoxha regime. We speak teh language, know the culture, and when we got here we worked for Italians so that just added to our aspiration to be like them. We took over the Pizza business in NYC. Construction. Cement. Roofing. Restaurant even organized crime. Our names were dificult to pronounce so we changed them to the Italian equivalent. Ex. Valbon became Vinny. Just trying to fit in and make it in NYC.

  85. make money says:

    Chifi,

    You always seem to forget the way us paesanos treat each other.
    We are well known for our hospitality. Reminds me when I sold one of my properties to an Albanian guy from Prizren…I shaved 10K at closing and told him to take his family to Ulqin on vacation. Should have seen the guys face.

  86. JJ says:

    Harbey Mudd, WTF, $126,600 mid career salary, a freeging garbage man, cop or elementary school teacher makes that.

    1. Harvey Mudd College

    Mid-career median salary: $126,000
    Starting median salary: $68,900

  87. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [87] JJ

    Sorry, I don’t write them or compile the stats. Complain to CNBC. Besides not everyone lives in your universe where a woman’s way to the top involves hotness, pole-dancing, and working on WS.

  88. JJ says:

    Short sale question – Saw a house that is a short sale and found out the amount owed bank is #1,250,000. House is a listed at $1,149,000. Don’t know bank but was told bank will “entertain all offers”. It is a new listing.

    How much generally are banks ballpark willing to take a loss on a short sale? I want to put a low ball in but not totally insult so don’t want to put in something like 500K, but don’t want to get too bid too high.
    House last sold in Dec 2000 for 600k and before that in 1980 for 135K house was only sold twice since built

  89. make money says:

    JJ,

    Most of these geeks are happy making 6 figures and figure that hey have made it in life. They spend their time discussing green tea, global warming, yoga, best yogurt flavor, and dancing with the stars.

  90. JJ says:

    I guess if you are ugly and don’t work on wall street $126K is a good salary. If fact I don’t know anyone who is ugly and doesn’t work on wall street who earns above 126K.

    Comrade Nom Deplume says:
    December 21, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    [87] JJ

    Sorry, I don’t write them or compile the stats. Complain to CNBC. Besides not everyone lives in your universe where a woman’s way to the top involves hotness, pole-dancing, and working on WS.

  91. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    JJ

    I found a ride that can suitable accommodate your you and your persona.

    http://www.limoforsale.com/adDetail.aspx?aid=50443

  92. make (86)-

    Better to have given him $100 so he could go shave his wife’s back.

    “Reminds me when I sold one of my properties to an Albanian guy from Prizren…I shaved 10K at closing and told him to take his family to Ulqin on vacation. Should have seen the guys face.”

  93. ricky_nu says:

    JJ – what town?

  94. make money says:

    Better to have given him $100 so he could go shave his wife’s back.

    Clot,
    That’s not an Albanian phenom but a European one.

  95. jj (89)-

    Since when is a BSD like you worried about insulting a bank?

    The guy who wrote the shit loan underlying that property got his bonus a long time ago. They ain’t gonna go claw it back, and the people in the banks doing the workouts of all this stuff are too stupid to read, much less be insulted.

  96. make (95)-

    Don’t get me wrong. I love the swarthy Southern Euro types. Really.

  97. Hell, I’m beginning to think that dealing with these banks’ loss mit people is starting to make me stupid.

  98. My son plays soccer with an Albanian kid. His mom looks like she can kick all our asses.

  99. jcer says:

    JJ, I have been in short sale hell, it is a big joke. Banks have no preset loss they are generally trying to get an offer within 10% of their appraisals and BPO’s. Typically it seems to me the listing broker knows the “right” price(Unless they have no clue or are using your bid to make another look better) and will ask you to offer close to it. Generally you can just bat an offer out there and see what the bank will do, it will go forever(esp. if it is Bank of America, I offered 10 months ago and they never responded!).

    The other huge problem with these things is they like to close in 2 weeks, it is as you’d expect the banks are dumber than you or I could imagine. It seems like they accept things they shouldn’t and don’t accept things that make sense.

  100. Funny how many people think the USG controls Wikileaks and Assange.

  101. Punch My Ticket says:

    Gator [75] and Nom [78],

    You missed the obvious possibility … sue the underwriter. It makes no sense to sue the obligor. They are the ones that are short of money, no? So go after the deep pockets.

    FWIW I worked in muni finance in the dark ages in Chicago. Years before, in the dark dark ages, some banker had underwritten a deal for a park district in some dinky little burb – maybe a million or even less – and the commissioners stole all the money. Just stole it. Took the bond proceeds, remodeled their kitchens, and went to Hawaii. The bondholders sued our firm on the theory that we should have known they were rascals. Our lawyers made us settle the case.

  102. relo says:

    HTJ: Those in the biz might have a trend for you, but I’d be surprised if there is a discernable pattern to what’s accepted in SS (as jcer says). Who holds the note would be the star, otherwise, too many variables.

    SL,

    How long are you going for? Key West will be a snooze for a kindergartener after a few days. You and the Mr., however, may never want to leave. Stu, we stayed at one of those timeshere deals (was new at the time). You would be proud.

  103. JJ says:

    Cold Spring Harbor New York. Couple bought it for 600K in Dec 2000 and has a 1.250,00 mortgage. Even crazier kitchen and baths are not too bad, but dated late 1980s but with formica countertops so owner did not put a nickle into house but borrowed $1.250,00. Even crazier bank let him borrow under revocable trust. House is in a great town but on a very busy road, I want to throw a low ball in but buy only if it is a super great deal as when I sell I am still stuck with busy road problem. Plus looks like guy stop maintaining it sometime in 2008 when the writting was on the wall he is walking away. You stop basic maint for two or three years it gets dicey. He also still has lots of 1970s wood paneling, funny you would think with all the borrowings at least some would have made its way back into house.

    Wish I could figure out who bank is as I would have a better bidding strategy

    http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/549-Woodbury-Rd_Cold-Spring-Hrbr_NY_11724_M34389-28333

    ricky_nu says:
    December 21, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    JJ – what town?

  104. still_looking says:

    relo 103

    10 days. He’s good just on a beach or trekking through wildlife.

    sl

  105. Zack says:

    What is the median compensation on Wall Street for someone in IT with 8-10 years of experience. Area of expertise: Microsoft Products (.Net, database etc)

  106. AG says:

    Lamar,

    I think Eric Holder has been reading your posts about ultra violence.

    “”The threat has changed from simply worrying about foreigners coming here, to worrying about people in the United States, American citizens — raised here, born here, and who for whatever reason, have decided that they are going to become radicalized and take up arms against the nation in which they were born,” he said. ”

    http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/attorney-general-eric-holders-blunt-warning-terror-attacks/story?id=12444727&tqkw=&tqshow=GMA&tqkw=&tqshow=GMA&tqkw=&tqshow=GMA

  107. JJ says:

    Dice.com has lots of those type jobs, maybe 120K base with a 40K bonus at a brand name brokerage house.

    Zack says:
    December 21, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    What is the median compensation on Wall Street for someone in IT with 8-10 years of experience. Area of expertise: Microsoft Products (.Net, database etc)

  108. relo says:

    106: SL,

    I’d at least look into Sanibel or Captiva, assuming you haven’t already.

  109. relo says:

    SL,

    ps – If it’s going to cost you more than $2k for accomodations, you can probably just buy a condo. Watch out for the chinese drywall and HOA in arrears. ;)

  110. Anon E. Moose says:

    JJ [105];

    I thought I saw some very similar pictures on an auction property a few months back. I seem to rember that property was in a gated deveopment and didn’t have a road problem (though really, how close to the road are you there?). Anyway, 3% compund appreciation over the 2000 price is $806k. If they take a 30% haircut from the phantom equity value the number is $875k. I find it hard to believe that a party that has any desire to unload the property could seriously turn their noses up at an 8-handle offer (but some used house sales hack will surely prove me wrong).

    The decision they get to make is the same one that every seller gets (and no seller gets more). The buyer sets the price, the seller sets picks the day. So the seller’s decision is: do they want to sell today, for the price on the table — Yes/No? If they want more than you offer, they have to wait for another day.

  111. JJ says:

    room in rome or black swan trailor, which is hotter?

  112. JJ says:

    It is a regular house on 1.6 acres off busy road and property is hilly, hence the front 1 acre of house is useless as it is a hilly woody property near a busy road, the top is ok, but in my opinion it is really a 1/2 acre house. I was thinking offer 750K and stop at around 825K, a bargain is a bargain but I don’t want to live off a busy road and pay taxes on the land I can’t use unless it is a bargain.

    Anon E. Moose says:
    December 21, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    JJ [105];

    I thought I saw some very similar pictures on an auction property a few months back. I seem to rember that property was in a gated deveopment and didn’t have a road problem (though really, how close to the road are you there?). Anyway, 3% compund appreciation over the 2000 price is $806k. If they take a 30% haircut from the phantom equity value the number is $875k. I find it hard to believe that a party that has any desire to unload the property could seriously turn their noses up at an 8-handle offer (but some used house sales hack will surely prove me wrong).

    The decision they get to make is the same one that every seller gets (and no seller gets more). The buyer sets the price, the seller sets picks the day. So the seller’s decision is: do they want to sell today, for the price on the table — Yes/No? If they want more than you offer, they have to wait for another day.

  113. relo says:

    HTJ: Just give in and move to Jersey. We need the revenue.

  114. ag (108)-

    Eric Holder can kiss my white ass.

  115. Sovereign Man:

    “Gold “ATM” machines are sprouting up in Europe and Asia– you can pop a few hundred euro (or your credit card in some cases) into what looks like a vending machine, and out comes a small, assayed bar of gold.

    I’ve been following the spread of these machines with great interest, and I noticed that the first of them arrived to the United States in Boca Raton, Florida a few days ago.

    Don’t get me wrong– this one machine doesn’t constitute a top. Not even close. There would have to be thousands of these machines across the country at McD0nalds and Starbvcks before that happens. If you need extra convincing, ask your neighbor what the price of gold is.

    Years from now, though, I’m willing to bet that the sucker who ends up paying the highest price ever for an ounce of gold before the metal starts to decline will probably do so standing in front of one of these machines at a shopping mall somewhere in suburbia.”

    http://www.zerohedge.com/article/sovereign-man-what-look-when-gold-market-tops

  116. grim says:

    From the Record:

    Troubled Tenafly home remodeler files for bankruptcy

    Tally’s Construction Co. Inc. of Tenafly, which has been criticized for allegedly failing to finish home renovations, has filed for bankruptcy.

    In filing Monday in federal bankruptcy court, Tally’s listed liabilities of almost $1.5 million and assets of a little over $1 million — mostly consisting of the company’s headquarters at 38 Harold St. in Tenafly. The company said it lost $88,359 on revenues of $2.8 million in 2009. The company filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, in which the debtor’s assets are liquidated to pay creditors.

    Tally’s, which is owned by Bert and Bertina Tallaksen of Oradell, formerly had a solid reputation. But vendors, employees, subcontractors and homeowners complained that the company recently began failing to pay bills and finish jobs. A related company, Tally’s Inc., was pushed into involuntary bankruptcy last month by four subcontractors who said they were owed a total of more than $170,000.

  117. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    Tally-ho, hark away, tally-ho hark away
    Tally-ho, hark away me boys away, hark away

  118. chicagofinance says:

    Nasim Taleb?

    Lamar Asperger says:
    December 21, 2010 at 3:33 pm
    make (86)- Better to have given him $100 so he could go shave his wife’s back.

  119. NJGator says:

    Student loans leave crushing debt burden

    The cost of a college education is rising faster than the cost of medical care and as much as three times as fast as consumer prices in general. But that’s just the beginning of the price of admission.

    This is the story of a debt crisis few are talking about.

    Americans now owe more on their student loans than they do on their credit cards — a debt fast approaching $1 trillion with no end in sight.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40772705/ns/business-cnbc_tv/

  120. BlindJust says:

    JJ – Busy road is a deal breaker for me w/ 3 young children regardless of the frontage. Why not wait until Spring as the deal today may be had then on a more desirable location?

  121. BlindJust says:

    Zack – JJ is spot on. You may also check careerbuilder.com, theladders.com and monster.com. Keep the c2c or w2 consulting option open as well as most firms try then buy. Rates will range from $60 to $80 per hour.

  122. joyce says:

    121

    and why is college tuition rising so much faster than other goods/services?

  123. cobbler says:

    joyce [124]
    All services which can’t be outsourced and where is a barrier to entry are going up much faster than the general inflation rate (top colleges’ tuition, private music lessons with a good teacher, licensed plumber’s services, cost to cut a tree in your backyard, hospital charges to a non-insured, garbage removal, etc.). Tuition at low-ranking schools is going up mostly because loans and grants are available. No sane person would pay 40K/yr to get an FDU diploma.

  124. joyce says:

    it was a rhetorical question

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