Two and a half thousand billion? Oh bother.

From Financial Times:

States Warned of $2 Trillion Pensions Shortfall

US public pensions face a shortfall of $2,500 billion that will force state and local governments to sell assets and make deep cuts to services, according to the former chairman of New Jersey’s pension fund.

The severe US economic recession has cast a spotlight on years of fiscal mismanagement, including chronic underfunding of retirement promises.

“States face cost pressure, most prominently from retirement benefits and Medicaid [the health programme for the poor],” Orin Kramer told the Financial Times.

“One consequence is that asset sales and privatisation will pick up. The very unfortunate consequence is that various safety nets for the most vulnerable citizens will be cut back.”

Mr Kramer, an influential figure in the Democratic party and still a member of the investment council that oversees the New Jersey pension fund, has been an outspoken critic of public pension accounting, which allows for the averaging of investment gains and losses over a number of years through a process called “smoothing”.

Using data from the states, the Pew Center on the States, a research group, has estimated a funding gap for pension, healthcare and other non-pension benefits, such as life assurance, of at least $1,000 billion as of the end of fiscal 2008.

Chris Christie, the Republican governor of New Jersey, said in his state of the state speech last week that, without reform, the unfunded liability of the state’s pension system would rise from $54 billion now to $183 billion within 30 years.

Mr Kramer’s estimates are based on the assets and liabilities of the top 25 public pension funds at the end of 2010. The gap has risen from an estimate of more than $2,000 billion at the end of 2009.

This entry was posted in Economics, National Real Estate, Politics. Bookmark the permalink.

117 Responses to Two and a half thousand billion? Oh bother.

  1. grim says:

    Drive safe, ice is on the way. Better yet, stay home.

  2. Mike says:

    Good Morning New Jersey

  3. Sore feet says:

    Why is it that GS won’t let their US clients invest in Facebook?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-12212043

  4. Shore Guy says:

    There is a prohibition against private offerings

  5. Shore Guy says:

    What is a few thousand billion dollars when one has the ability to tax? What is a few hundred billion dollars when one has proximity to NY?

  6. Shore Guy says:

    Today, name your car after an indebted state or local government. That way, when you slide off the road into a ditch It a telephone poly, It will be both a tragedy and a simili.

  7. joyce says:

    I’m sure the roads aren’t impossible to navigate, but with all the technology my company has… why chance it at all when you can work from home as be just as productive?
    We are allowed to work from home, but it is frowned upon and they keep a tab … ridiculous.

  8. joyce (7)-

    Get back to work, drone.

  9. If we can’t fund the pension deficit, can we at least make sure Kramer is executed on live TV?

  10. I guess today we’ll find out what percentage of AAPL’s share price is life insurance on Steve Jobs.

  11. dan says:

    I’m shocked, shocked that there’s favoritism and cronyism at the Passaic Valley Sewer Commission!!!!!!!!! I thought about applying for a job there a year ago I saw online and figured there was no way in hell I’d get an interview even though I used to work for one the companies they deal with.

    http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2011/01/passaic_valley_sewerage_commis_2.html

  12. tbiggs says:

    #7 Joyce – even better. I work for a startup. When it was founded a few years ago, I was able to work from home almost every day. Had to come in for meetings, but that was it. A good thing too, since I live in Bucks County PA, and the office is over near Red Bank NJ.

    So, a few knuckleheads abused it last year. The word went out: NO ONE works from home now, for any reason. That means I now am driving 650 miles a week. I even got some small amount of flak for staying home last week during the last snowstorm. Sheesh.

  13. Juice Boxg says:

    Hedge fund manager Orin Kramer floating sales of government assets again. Why should we sell the Turnpike and Parkway for a one shot revenue deal?

    He also disputes that under his leadership the pension lost 25 Billion. Which it definitely did 8 Billion in October 2008 alone.

    I saw the bust coming Orin, yet you did not. How about resign now Orin?

    Why hasn’t Christie gotten rid of him yet?

  14. chicagofinance says:

    grim unmod?

  15. chicagofinance says:

    it disappeared

  16. Juice Boxg says:

    In other States you could build 10 schools for this price.

    http://www.nj.com/news/jjournal/index.ssf?/base/news-5/1295335542224120.xml&coll=3

  17. chicagofinance says:

    I give up

  18. JJ says:

    So went house hunting in the rich towns of LI> funniest thing was saw wonderful house on the outside perfect plot, etc. But inside, wow wow wow. Favorite part was there was kinda of a maids/nanny section by garage, bedroom, bathroom hallway etc. Was two rooms full of boxes spilt over stuff five feet deep on floor and smelled funky. So owner comes in during the tour and goes we never got around to that room we just dumped boxes and stuff in there when we moved in and never got around to going through the junk. I go to realtor on line it says she moved to house in 1996. Realtor shakes his head, Yep that right, she had a room re-done, entry way, dining room as you enter house, new windows, doors and sheetrock but floor was a mess, no paint, no moldings, no electrical boxes in room, just an extension cord from another room, six years like that, yet she refinished basement three years ago and kitchen two years ago. Multiple 1/2 finished projects yet new projects started. Nice house, Women was going through divorce, husband got custody of kids, womens mom is dying, she was smoking and was talking to a cat as if it was a person. Kinda like Grey Gardens. House was going for 1.1 million on a block where homes at peak were going for 1.7 or 1.8. She did not even shovel for open house, realtor said she is done.

  19. JJ says:

    If you have more than 100 investors you have to do a registration and open yourself up to SEC.

    #
    #
    Sore feet says:
    January 18, 2011 at 6:50 am

    Why is it that GS won’t let their US clients invest in Facebook?

  20. I guess today we’ll find out what percentage of AAPL’s share price is life insurance on Steve Jobs.

    Well, certainly there is the perception that Jobs is instrumental to Apple’s success. How the company will do sans his reality distortion field is a very good question.
    Related note: The app store has Aperture 3 for $80. I was debating for a while between Lightroom and Aperture, was going to go with LR until I saw that price. Pretty nice app after a few days of paying with it.

  21. JJ says:

    Maybe Steve Jobs should create a Liver App.

    toshiro_mifune says:
    January 18, 2011 at 9:30 am

    I guess today we’ll find out what percentage of AAPL’s share price is life insurance on Steve Jobs.

    Well, certainly there is the perception that Jobs is instrumental to Apple’s success. How the company will do sans his reality distortion field is a very good question.
    Related note: The app store has Aperture 3 for $80. I was debating for a while between Lightroom and Aperture, was going to go with LR until I saw that price. Pretty nice app after a few days of paying with it.

  22. Maybe Steve Jobs should create a Liver App.

    Obvs called iLiver, with a tastefully minimalist design by Jonathan Ives.

  23. Libtard says:

    I love Montclair!

    There’s a delayed opening and the roads are 100% clear. Gator and Gates JR. have been freezing at the bus stop for twenty minutes now as there is no school bus in sight. This seems to occur once every two weeks here. Maybe the bus aid was late. Bus aid??? I’ve actually asked Lil Gator to ask the driver why she was late each time. So far, he hasn’t had the cajones to do it.

  24. A.West says:

    JJ,
    Sounds like a good prospect. Sellers’ disarray can lead to a good deal, especially during the off-season when fewer are looking.
    I most recently bought from an out-of-controll seller after the buying season was over. I provided her with closure, and got a decent deal in doing so.

  25. Painhrtz says:

    Ahh Juice bax when I lived in Bergen we called the friends and family club

    Frank Calandriello’s father (who was also mayor of Garfield) is a friend of my grandfather and Garfield has been run like their own fifedom for 40 years. Pretty much how I had a job every summer whne I was a kid. Another Garfield luminary Jim Krone who also works for PVWC was the only interlude in their reign. google articles on him he is bastion of nepotism and cronyism. So glad I live far far away from that corrupt hellhole now.

    I was at my town council meeting in the new town last month what a nice reasonable bunch who actually let you speak. I’m not used to that.

  26. Al Mossberg says:

    Any good doom today? Probably just just the mixed bag of food riots in the 3rd world, Ireland counterfitting Euros and giving them to banks, and further lies, corruption, and fraud.

    Wake me up when the ICBM’s are being fueled.

  27. JJ says:

    Funniest thing I nicely asked her when she is moving and where is she going. She said as you can see I got to get out of here, I am packing and place is in disaray, I am requiring after contract you close within in 90 days and I am downsizing. She then mentioned she grew up not far from my starter home.

    With realtor standing there I tell owner, tell you what I will give you my 60×100 split that is in mint condition throw you a few hundred grand and we can get this deal down right now. Women goes talk to my realtor anything is possible. I go to realtor hope you did not mind, he goes at this point I want to get rid of this women offer away .

    A.West says:
    January 18, 2011 at 10:12 am

    JJ,
    Sounds like a good prospect. Sellers’ disarray can lead to a good deal, especially during the off-season when fewer are looking.
    I most recently bought from an out-of-controll seller after the buying season was over. I provided her with closure, and got a decent deal in doing so.

  28. Confused In NJ says:

    Snow I can deal with, but don’t like this freezing rain & ice at all.

  29. Mikeinwaiting says:

    http://bullionbullscanada.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=16910:dismal-holiday-shopping-season-dooms-us-economy&catid=47:us-commentary&Itemid=132

    “The U.S. retail sector has been simply “running on fumes” for the last two years, desperately hoping that at some point Bernanke’s lies about a “U.S. economic recovery” would become a reality. That has been revealed to have been nothing more than a foolish hope.

    If 2008 and 2009 had been ordinary years in the U.S. economy, then the fact that the 2010 shopping season was slightly worse in the U.S. than those two previous years would have been no big deal. However, given that 2008 and 2009 were the two worst years for the U.S.’s consumer economy in its entire recorded history, doing “slightly worse” than that is nothing short of an economic disaster – and we all know how good a job the U.S. government does in responding to ‘disasters’. ”

    Give it a read.

  30. Juice Box says:

    #29 – Mikeinwaiting – Revolving credit decreased at an annual rate of 6-1/4 percent even after a huge 9.6% drop in 2009. Considering credit card usage suffered huge drops I am surprised retail was as strong as it was.

    People must not be paying their mortgage and using that money to shop.

  31. stu (23)-

    Bus aide probably moonlights as a crack lookout.

  32. jj (27)-

    I’m sure your old neighbors will love you all the more when you install the star of next season’s “Hoarders” into your house.

  33. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Juice when you look at it against CC levels I guess you could say that. But the point for me was that people are buying less goods despite what we may have been lead to believe from the likes of CNBC. This along with higher input cost on raw materials & energy courtesy of the fed will hurt the retail & service sectors bottom line , rally on !As far as the not paying mortgage and shopping theory most people I know in that bad financial straits are buying just what they need and not a hell of a lot more.

  34. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    Mike

    Hurray for margin compression?.?.?.?
    The increase in input costs while effective sales prices are flat or dropping ( via the massive and continuous sales) has a leveraged effect on margins. that 5% increase in inputs combined with low traffic may be a 30% cut in profits.

  35. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK!!!!

    At my current job site, a private corporation, a series of day long classes is being run on everything from problem solving to business communications to excel classes. Guess who is funding these classes???? The State of NJ is providing these classes on site at private companies. I guess some state Rep’s brother/sister/wife etc need more work.
    Guess what, they provide DONUTS & COFFEE (Dunkin donuts) for all of the classes as well!

  36. Juice Box says:

    re: #33 – $150 Billion less spending on Credit Cards, yet retail is up? Sure there is some PPI cost push inflation but accroding to the retailers they have been adsorbing the costs and actually lowering prices to compete. It could be inflation driving the small uptick in Retail or the fact that millions aren’t paying there mortgages and instead spending more on retail etc, perhaps a combination of both.

  37. hoodafa says:

    Juice (30), Mike (29, 33): You may find this Bloomberg of interest:

    The Rich Go Spend But With Little Help From Middle Class

    Rich shoppers are driving an increase in consumer spending, bolstering a recovery that masks reluctance among less affluent Americans to join in.

    Sales are up at Tiffany & Co. and Coach Inc., buoyed by demand for $6,000 diamond pendants and $1,200 leather handbags as a stock-market surge pads the wallets of the wealthy. At the other end of the economic spectrum, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s largest discount retailer, reports “everyday Americans” are living paycheck to paycheck as they await an improvement in job prospects.

    More at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-01-18/rich-americans-raise-consumer-spending-with-little-help-from-middle-class.html

  38. hoodafa says:

    Bloomberg story, even.

  39. A.West says:

    Cat (35),
    That’s NJ’s way of courting business. In return for high taxes and a high cost of living and dealing with massive bureaucracy, you get classes, coffee and donuts tought by someone who wouldn’t be qualified to teach at the local community college. That’s the premium service New Jerseyans expect. Just like we cannot be trusted to pump our own gas, we can’t be expected to arrange our own continuing education.

  40. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    Sore,

    College not worth it?

    Not for most people, especially if you have to take out school loans that are essentially impossible to discharge.

  41. House Whine says:

    35- Unemployed need help- training I guess is part of it. Would you rather the unemployed sit home, week after week, and NOT get any training and get paid UI anyway? We spend the money on them, one way or another. At least they are getting out of the house and trying to make better of themselves.

  42. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    A West

    classes, coffee and donuts tought by someone who wouldn’t be qualified to teach at the local community college

    You nailed it. The classes were a joke and anyone who didnt already know what was taught in the classes should be fired. I did however, enjoy the bottomless box of donuts. Thanks for the donuts guys!

  43. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    Whine 42

    ???? Everyone in the class is already employed by my client. I’m not sure how this would have anything to do with UE?

  44. Mikeinwaiting says:

    House 42 I believe they are employed just getting some classes of dubious value on the tax payer.
    As far as training for the unemployed, better than letting the 99 weeks run out and then on to food stamps and sec 8. Pick your poison but the piper must be payed, I am in the camp of teaching a man to fish rather then going the food stamp route.

  45. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    House,

    Perhaps i wasnt clear. The classes are not for unemployed, but for continuing ed at a private company. I have no problem with training programs for unemployed, within reason.

  46. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Cat 44 as I thought , have some donuts for me! New years diet su*ks.

  47. JJ says:

    The only problem I have with my neighbors are they are not dead yet.
    #
    #
    Debt Supernova says:
    January 18, 2011 at 11:47 am

    jj (27)-

    I’m sure your old neighbors will love you all the more when you install the star of next season’s “Hoarders” into your house.

  48. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    The classes are not the issue. The issue is that the state which is arguable bankrupt is paying for these classes for private companies.

  49. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    Nom,

    You might find this interesting

    Eek! A Male!
    Treating all men as potential predators doesn’t make our kids safer.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703779704576073752925629440.html?mod=wsj_share_reddit

  50. Libtard says:

    Captain cheapo deal of the day.

    Anderson Conn Valley Reserve for $30 a bottle at wine library. Usually would sell for $40 minimum and tastes exactly like their regular cab which is really a $70 cab. When visiting the vineyard, I asked Mr. Anderson what the difference was between the Reserve, the Prolouge and the regular estate Cab. Well the regular cab is made of a mix of cab grapes from all over the orchard to balance the flavor. Once they run out of grapes from a particular part of the orchard, the mix the remainder and sell it as their reserve. Once they only have one style of grape left, it’s bottled and sold as their prologue. I bought two cases of their prologue 2004 and I couldn’t distinguish the difference between that and their full blown cab. The prologue went for $30 on sale last time. Now it’s the reserve for $30 which is even a better deal. If you like good wine, this is a fantastic offer for a real flavor bomb at a low cost.

  51. cat (35)-

    I wish the state of NJ would get into the meth business.

    Oops, my bad…they might actually make money at that. Will never happen.

  52. Libtard says:

    And AAPL mght finish positive as predicted.

    If there earnings are good and you bought on the open today, you probably could have pocketed a quick 10%. Selling now would have yielded you a hearty 5%.

  53. stu (52)-

    I hear there’s also a special on dime bags over by your elementary school today.

  54. stu (54)-

    Who knew selling life insurance on Jobs could be so profitable?

  55. Painhrtz says:

    Cat, how am I not surprised. Yes, because most private employers really need extensive training on basic computer skills. hope you had a boston creme for me.

    As far as getting into the illegal narcotics business, we already have a steady supply of unemployed pharma pleebs. Take 20% of all profits and enlist Camden and Trenton thugs as a private army. It could work.

    I will nominate myself as a despotic druglord if no one else is willing to take the mantel.

  56. Wendy says:

    @54 Libtard – how exactly would one make 10% off AAPL? opened at $327, now at $341.75, that’s less than 5%. are you saying it’s still on the way up?

    this is just more evidence that fundamentals mean NOTHING today. the melon is going to hit the pavement; think you can time your exit before the big splat?

  57. JJ says:

    So first house I looked at one of the owners of the house was snotty to me. I told realtor I was willing to go much higher but lady who owned the house was nasty and therefore bad karma.

    Interesting I read that good looking realtors get 5% more for houses than ugly realtors as people like buying from good looking people. Clotpol has been saying for years he sells houses at good prices and now I believe him.

  58. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    Life In America’s Most Dangerous City About To Become “Living Hell” As Layoffs Of One Quarter Of Government Labor Force Begin

    Life in Camden, NJ has never been fun. Frequently ranked as America’s most dangerous city, whose only claim to fame are the corporate offices of Campbell’s Soup, Camden is about to get even more dangerous as it is among the first to experience wholesale cuts to its government labor pool. Bloomberg reports that “as many as 383 workers, representing one-fourth of the local government’s work force, are expected to lose their jobs, including about half the police force and one-third of the city’s firefighters.” It seems cuts have already commenced: “police officers are turning in their badges as part of deep municipal layoffs that began Tuesday.” It’s a good thing then that unlike the rest of the world, New Jersey does not (yet) have surging food inflation as otherwise one may be tempted to argue this could be a rather interesting hot spot in the future, especially with the local police force deciding to find better pastures even as it starts collecting 99 weeks of unemployment benefits.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/article/life-americas-most-dangerous-city-about-become-living-hell-layoffs-one-quarter-government-la

  59. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    Stay classy Camden PD!

    A local pastor says “the fear quotient has been raised,” and a police union took out a full-page newspaper advertisement last week warning that Camden would become a “living hell” if layoffs were not averted.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-01-18/deep-layoffs-take-effect-in-struggling-camden-nj.html

  60. Libtard says:

    Wendy (58):
    Post earnings, I would assume another 5% pop. If the earnings weren’t going to be good, then Jobs wouldn’t have announced his illness one trading day prior (most likely). Of course, I also predicted the Jets were going to lose 20 to 10 on Sunday.

  61. Nicholas says:

    I think that you might be making the assumption that cc usage is the only form of electronic payment and therefor all-important. That assumption is flawed. Recently people have been migrating away from cc usage to debit card usage.

    The reasons why could be due to various reasons, some of the most common: CC company realizes that the new cc rules are very restrictive and that debit cards have very little regulation and thus they are forcing more consumers to use debit cards through advertising and making cc harder to get. Another possibility is that more people are forgoing cc’s for debit cards for greater control over finances.

    Either way, some of the online debit card tools are definitely attractive and give you more control over your finances, a spend as you go, save as you go type architecture.

    Don’t confuse declining cc transactions with declining retail, I would aggregate the data from all electronic purchases before I made judgements of that magnitude. Consider cash purchases also.

  62. 30 year realtor says:

    Just researched sites from Bergen, Passaic, Essex and Morris County Sheriff’s offices looking for total foreclosures sold in 2011. Hudson does not post this information. Unless they are not up to date on their sites, there has been only one property sold at sheriff sale in these counties so far this year.

    Impact of robosigners and assorted fraud by banksters is taking hold. This appears to be the new trend sweeping the nation. Wonder what the estimated cost of delays on this stuff is for the banks? Wonder where my new inventory will come from? Wonder what the real estate market will be like when this eventually all hits the market in a compressed time period?

  63. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    30 yr 64

    what % of that tidal wave of RE will have to be torn down or essentially worthless due to seasonal damage.

  64. Painhrtz says:

    Cat I just read that and was going to post it. Pass the taxpayer savings on them in the form of Kevlar. Simple math, those who can move will, the criminal element that remains will be self perpetuating and East St Louis is going to have a credible challenge this year. Boo-Yah

    Some new slogans for Camden:

    “We don’t have cops, you can’t have a gun, just give us your wallet”

    “Camden, making Lowell Masachusetts look good since 2011″

    “Camden, live here because East St. Louis and Compton are for Pu$$ies!”

  65. Double Down says:

    JJ, emotions and karma don’t belong in a business transaction. House hunting is about price, location, lot, square footage, and layout.

  66. Juice Box says:

    Yeah we are #1 and it’s different here.

    S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices
    2010, A Year In Review

    http://tinyurl.com/4wxf4jm

    Tidbit on NY Condo Market.

    “As Chart 6 shows, the New York condominium market has, so far, fared better in the housing downturn compared to Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco, in terms of preserving price appreciation. Boston, Los Angeles and San Francisco prices are now back to their late-2003/early-2004 levels, whereas New York is only back to early-2005 levels.”

  67. Anon E. Moose says:

    Juice [68];

    So being late to the party is a bragging point?

  68. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    Pain,

    Perhaps we should open a kevlar outlet right next to the local walmart. They can cash their checks then walk right in for the latest level IV.

  69. JJ says:

    Yes they do. I like the house and I would have had to pay market value. In that case I am paying less. I dealt with divorces, drunks and wackadoos in buying homes in distress and got deals. If I am paying market price they need to kiss my butt. I asked this lady four times for a four plan and then I brought a measuring tape and she was all snooty like I did not trust her the house was 4,500 square feet. She even was snotty to my four year old when she had to use bathroom, she goes well I guess it is ok if she must pee. The we go to say goodbye and lady was like I am in the middle of giving out a recipie so don’t bother me. I don’t buy from a-holes unless I am getting a deal, women loves house a little too much.

    Double Down says:
    January 18, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    JJ, emotions and karma don’t belong in a business transaction. House hunting is about price, location, lot, square footage, and layout.

  70. Painhrtz says:

    Or we can sell them inferior product, made out of baking sheets that look like kevlar. just tell them the crooks are using special kevlar penetrating bullets. then sell them the better unit at an upgraded premium. ahh capitalism

    Pretty much expect that dump to look like Mogidishu in a few years, wait it already does.

    sorry if already posted:

    http://www.theolympian.com/2011/01/16/1508210/camden-nj-braces-for-deep-police.html#

  71. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    Pain,

    You are clearly a superior capitalist! I bet we could get all of the used Camden PD body armor for pennies on the dollar if we pay off the right official.

  72. Painhrtz says:

    Cat think they are taking them as a parting gift, the only way they can safely navigate out of town after they turn in their badge and gun. i do like how your thinking though.

    Maybe we an get the guy who invented the grizzly suit to invent a Camden suit.

  73. Juice Box says:

    re: # 72- Camden has nothing on Detroit. They don’t even report crime there anymore.

    Check out the latest news. Only 72 schools for a projected 58,570 students!!!!!

    Half of Detroit’s schools would be shut down and high school class size would rise to 62 students under a deficit reduction plan proposed by Detroit Public Schools Emergency Manager Robert Bobb this week.

    The Detroit News reports that Bobb says these changes will be needed if the legislature does not act to restructure DPS finances. The school system has a $327 million deficit.

    The proposal calls for closing 40 schools in fiscal 2012 and 30 schools in fiscal 2013. That would leave DPS with 72 schools for a projected 58,570 students, down from about 74,000 now. The district closed 30 schools this fiscal year, which is expected to save $23 million. The planned closings in fiscal 2012-14 would save more than $33 million.

    Bobb said the district could save another $12.4 million from the school closures if it “simply abandons” the closed buildings. Past policy has been to keep the closed schools clean and secure, officials said, but the district could cut costs by eliminating storage, board-up and security.

    Possible financial restructuring plans include splitting the district in two to create a new district that could receive new funding from the state, legislation that would allow tobacco settlement money to be used for schools, and broader use of charter schools.

  74. Painhrtz says:

    juice this is the best part

    Bobb said the district could save another $12.4 million from the school closures if it “simply abandons” the closed buildings. Past policy has been to keep the closed schools clean and secure, officials said, but the district could cut costs by eliminating storage, board-up and security.

    Government is now making like the public awesome

  75. Double Down says:

    JJ, all I’m hearing are factors in price.

    The owner is also stupid for staying in the house during a showing; her and the realtor deserve each other.

    4,500 square feet sounds like a white elephant, but if you like the place, throw in a non-negotiable bid: pass or fail. Take the seller antics out of the equation.

  76. Juice Box says:

    re # 78 – I also like how they are just going to cut 14,000 students in the next two years. I guess they will just graduate them all early..

  77. JJ says:

    I did. Lady is a bitch, she was freekin out cause my my four year old daughter and her own realtor over a stupid little carpet by front door. If we got near it in our bare feet she would get all antsy even after she warned us not to step on it. Then she steps on it and the realtor goes jokingly you are telling a four year old not to step on a carpet and then you go and walk on it, she then goes it is my house I do what I want, I don’t allow anyone in my house to touch my rug it is for my feet only. WOW – WACKADOO alert. WACKADOO alert.

    #
    Double Down says:
    January 18, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    JJ, all I’m hearing are factors in price.

    The owner is also stupid for staying in the house during a showing; her and the realtor deserve each other.

    4,500 square feet sounds like a white elephant, but if you like the place, throw in a non-negotiable bid: pass or fail. Take the seller antics out of the equation.

  78. Juice Box says:

    re # 71 – JJ I can picture it now the carpetbagger traipsing around house with a tape measure and his kids LOL. She probably thought you were from Hempstead and wanted you out.

    It would take the better part of the morning to measure out a 4,500 sq foot house properly and draw up a rather simple scale layout to properly to figure out the correct square footage. If your measurements were off by just a little it might have come up much smaller @ 4,000 sq ft JJ. What would you do then ?

  79. grim says:

    a police union took out a full-page newspaper advertisement last week warning that Camden would become a “living hell” if layoffs were not averted.

    Is this a warning or a threat? I can’t tell.

  80. Juice Box says:

    re: # 81 – Being familiar with the area, I doubt there will be a perceptible difference.

  81. Painhrtz says:

    Grim rhetorical question reagrding the quote in the article, isn’t Camden already a living hell? Is it now being ranked on a Dante scale?

    What has the police department done to correct it? Nothing!!!

  82. homeboken says:

    Bringing a 4 year old to a house hunting trip is child abuse. Let alone JJ with his tape measure running around for the better part of the morning.

  83. Painhrtz says:

    Last article for the day

    Enjoy the soak y’all

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110118/ap_on_re_us/us_college_learning_3

  84. JJ says:

    Let me tell you a true story.

    There once was a rich man name Pratt who had a mansion in Brooklyn. One day an young Irish Catholic Priest knocked on his door to give last rites to one of his poor sick irish servants. Mr. Pratt the rich protestant said no Irish Catholic Priest is coming through my front door you go in the back like the rest of the servants.

    The Great Depression came many years later and Mr. Pratt lost a lot of money and the the house was sold on the court house steps to the Catholic Church who wanted to make it a Bishops Residence for the new Arch Bishop of Brooklyn. The now middle aged priest knocked on Mr. Pratts door again and an older Mr. Pratt answered door himself as servants were no longer around. The arch bishop announces remember many years ago when a young catholic priest knocked on your door to give last rites and you would not let him in. Mr. Pratt says yes so what. The Priest goes well that was me I am not Bishop of Brooklyn and get the hell out of my house.

    I will take my tape measure if you wont give me measurements. Measured Five Bedrooms, kitchen, Den, Living room, study, hallway. She had three requests to give measurements. Another five minutes I was going to measure her husbands slong cause he must be a big dick to put up with her. .

    Juice Box says:
    January 18, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    re # 71 – JJ I can picture it now the carpetbagger traipsing around house with a tape measure and his kids LOL. She probably thought you were from Hempstead and wanted you out.

    It would take the better part of the morning to measure out a 4,500 sq foot house properly and draw up a rather simple scale layout to properly to figure out the correct square footage. If your measurements were off by just a little it might have come up much smaller @ 4,000 sq ft JJ. What would you do then ?

  85. Shore Guy says:

    And we worried that the Soviets would destroy our cities.

  86. JJ says:

    I brought three kids, wife, monster truck. Wife almost told lady off as she liked realtor and knew realtor would not do it herself. Funny part is if I asked to come back they would let me. I told the other lady I met that day, I will throw you my starter house and a few hundred grand if you want and we can do this today and she was not offended. I am making offers. I bring whole family and I make an offer. Second realtor said low ball away that is what these people need a taste of true market value. Heck I bought my current house in five minutes. I had a check at the open house and said lets dance, signed the binder and gave up money. I am like the pawnbroker, want cash quick on the spot I am buying cheap. Like my old greenwich BMW in 2008. Like my house Christmas 1999, like another place I bought December 1991. Like Citi, AIG, GMAC, bonds March 2009. I smell blood I bite. I bring stability to prices by creating a bottom. Citi bonds at 50 cents, GMAC bonds at 40 cents, I am in and buying and you know what people join me at bottom. I want to help this rich town in the same way.

    homeboken says:
    January 18, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    Bringing a 4 year old to a house hunting trip is child abuse. Let alone JJ with his tape measure running around for the better part of the morning.

  87. chicagofinance says:

    What happens when you are coming off a serious cocaine bing and need to clean up for CNBC….
    http://www.cnbc.com/id/15840232/?video=1750294905&play=1

  88. chicagofinance says:

    bing = binge

  89. chicagofinance says:

    Agribusiness giant Cargill Inc. is planning to give up its majority stake in fertilizer company Mosaic Co. in a transaction worth about $24.3 billion, people familiar with the matter said.

    A deal could be announced as soon as Tuesday evening, these people said. But they cautioned that the talks, which are ongoing, could take longer to resolve.

    The transaction foretells a significant reordering of Cargill, a closely held company that is one of the largest but least-known U.S. corporations.

    The deal would leave Mosaic, one of the world’s biggest producers of phosphate and potash, without a majority shareholder and more attractive to potential acquirers, the people familiar with the matter said. Mosaic, based in Plymouth, Minn., has a market capitalization of about $38 billion.

  90. Juice Box says:

    Here is a debate I would like to see.

    Schumer vs Christie.

    http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/18/schumer-criticizes-christies-plan-to-divert-tunnel-funds/

    I hope Christie goes ahead and vetos all of the NY PA plans for the airports and rail tunnels etc. Stick it to Chucky.

  91. chicagofinance says:

    Try again from this morning…..

    For Bednarski:

    JANUARY 18, 2011

    Name Your Poison: How a Banned Polish Vodka Buffaloed Its Way Into the U.S.
    With a Potentially Toxic Chemical Removed, Liquor Flavored With Bison Grass Heads Stateside

    By DANIEL MICHAELS

    BIALYSTOK, Poland—Distillers here have the American spirit—vodka from where the buffalo roam. But this c-cktail has a twist: It’s banned in the U.S.

    Now, after nearly a decade of work on two continents to formulate and brand a legal version of the alcohol, its producers are taking a shot at the American market. The booze, called Żubrówka, is unusual because it is flavored with a rare, pungent wild grass enjoyed by European bison. Each bottle has a blade of the grass in it for the drinker to admire.

    Bison grass grows in one of Europe’s most remote and pristine corners, in and around an ancient forest that straddles the border with Belarus. The vast primeval woods, protected by a special United Nations designation, are home to one of Europe’s last herds of bison, which are cousins of the American buffalo.

    Żubrówka has been a Polish national drink for centuries and a cult favorite internationally for decades. But in the U.S., it’s tab-oo because the Food and Drug Administration prohibits a potentially toxic chemical that occurs naturally in bison grass, coumarin. Until recently, only a few black-market bottles were available, mainly in the Polish neighborhoods of Brooklyn and Chicago.

    “It was something like forbidden fruit,” says Katarzyna Plonska, export marketing manager in Warsaw for Central European Distribution Corp. CEDC, a U.S.-based alcohol producer, owns the sole Polish distiller allowed to use the Żubrówka name, Polmos Bialystok.

    Żubrówka boosters say outlaw status put their vodka in a league with absinthe, a liquor long banned in the U.S. and other countries because of health concerns about a chemical in it, thujone. Thujone-free absinthe is now available in America.
    Chemists at Polmos spent years struggling to concoct coumarin-free Żubrówka that tastes like the original. Around 2005 they hit on a blend that they’re keeping secret.
    CEDC began limited sales in the U.S., but marketing Żubrówka proved thorny. Low-quality knockoffs without coumarin have been available in America for many years, sullying Żubrówka’s name. The name itself also complicated branding. While the word is less daunting to foreigners than many Polish words are, “American people can’t remember it,” says Ms. Plonska.

    Marketers hit another problem: The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office years earlier deemed “Żubrówka” a generic type of liquor, like gin, and not linked to a specific company. “We spent a great deal of money on attorneys trying to explain to them that, no, this is a brand,” recalls Rich Roberts, a vice president at CEDC in Washington. In 2007 he stopped trying.

    But Mr. Roberts couldn’t stomach promoting a name he didn’t own. He also assumed American drinkers would shorten it, the way Russia’s Stolichnaya vodka became known as Stoli. So he sat down and listed every contraction of Żubrówka that sounded possible, including Żubu, Żub and Ż. To be safe, his trademark lawyers checked what could be registered.

    The winner was Żu. The pun on “zoo” is intentional, company officials say, though the z in Żubrówka sounds in Polish like the g in “espionage.” The whole name is pronounced zhu-BROOF-ka.

    “It’s a fun way to invoke the bison and the natural element,” says Michelle DeFeo, vice president for champagne, wine and vodka at the American arm of French drinks giant Rémy Cointreau, which last year teamed up with CEDC to sell Żu in the U.S.

    To immerse American marketers in Żubrówka before Żu’s launch in November, Ms. Plonska toured Polmos Bialystok with Ms. DeFeo and six colleagues. The self-named “Żu Crew” then visited Bialowieza Forest, where the bison and their herbaceous treat live.

    “I assumed it would be a big field of grass,” says Katherine White, Żu brand manager at Rémy Cointreau in New York. She and the group woke early on a cold, rainy September morning to stalk the elusive plant, which sells for about $1,000 a bushel.
    Only a handful of locals know where to find the grass, when to pick it and how to dry it for maximum flavor. An expert explained how the grass grows as individual blades that hug the ground—not as vertical bunches that are easily spotted—and is distinguishable mainly by telltale whiteness on the underside.

    “It was a real aha moment,” says Ms. White, who has traveled widely but says she was still impressed by the area’s unspoiled nature.

    Bialowieza is Europe’s largest wood that has never been deforested. The U.N. in 1979 designated it a site of world-wide cultural significance. Poles call it the country’s “green lungs,” and its unspoiled beauty confers on Żubrówka an extra whiff of purity.

    The U.S. ban therefore seems that much odder to Żubrówka fans. The FDA forbade coumarin as a food additive in 1954. It can act as a blood thinner and may be mildly toxic to the liver and kidneys. It is used in rat poison. But it also occurs naturally in foods including strawberries and cherries.

    “I never understood the federal ban,” says Andrew Bak, brand manager at Adamba Imports International, a distributor of Polish foods in Brooklyn that has sold its own Żubrówka for many years. Mr. Bak says obeying U.S. law “was just a matter of a chemist extracting the coumarin.” He says the flavor of his blend is indistinguishable from the original Żubrówka.

    Agnieszka Balaban, a Pole living in New York, says most Żubrówka available in the U.S. before Żu was “low quality and not as good as the real one” from Bialystok.
    Ms. Balaban, who runs a caterer called Vodka Party, says she’s excited about Żu because Żubrówka is a hit at her events, but getting bottles has been impossible for her clients. Her husband, Witold, a Żubrówka aficionado, says he can’t taste a difference between Żu and the original recipe.

    Back in Bialystok, locals are proud of reaching America, but some purists are wary. “Something is missing; it’s like a light version,” says Zdzislaw Janowicz, owner of liquor store Alcohols of the World. “The real one is something special,” says Mr. Janowicz, who tried Żu in Chicago. “It has the smell of the forest.”

  92. chicagofinance says:

    grim unmod

  93. JJ says:

    It was only 1998 when 20 year treasuries paid over 9%. They are still trading. WOW Triple AAA for 20 years.

    UNITED STATES TREAS BDS 9.12500% 05/15/2018
    Basic Analytics
    Price (Ask) 143.063
    Yield to Worst (Ask) 2.620%
    Yield to Maturity 2.620741%
    Interest Accrual Date 05/15/1988

  94. 30 year realtor says:

    Cat #65 – Not as many as you may think. First you have to separate low value inner city and rural areas out of the mix because it doesn’t take much to become a tear down in those areas. When you take the bottom third out of the equation I think one in 50 would be a generous estimate. Even the home down the block that pops when it thaws and the fire department pumps out the basement, can be saved.

    Of recent days I have had only one property that the bank spent more on water, taxes, legal fees, commission, etc…than the home sold for. Beauty on S. 10th by South Orange Ave. Sold it for $9,900 and got a $3000 commission. I believe the property had been sold at sheriff sale 3 times in the last 10+ years. House wreaked of piss and fraud!

  95. Anon E. Moose says:

    ChiFi [91];

    Food prices are making ’05 housing increases look tame, and the Fed printing full tilt boogie 24/7/365 with no end in sight. In the face of that, Cargill gives up their stake in a fertilizer company, in exchange for cash? Are they planning to buy more land? Offshoring capital? What part of this picture is missing?

  96. Sore feet says:

    JJ – just put in an offer with an expiration date and see where the chips fall. If she yanks your chain, after your original offer expires, put in another offer that is a bit lower with another expiration date. If she really wants to sell, she will bite. If she does not bite, she might be too much of a wack job to deal with anyhow. She might have to go through the process with you and others before she comes to her senses if that is even possible.

    I remeber hearing a guy speak on how to get a deal on real estate and everyone kept asking him “what if the seller doesn’t take your offer”. His response was to cross out the # 500 he had writted on the chalkboard in front of the class and below it write 499. Patience and persistence. Rinse and repeat.

  97. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    Hey LOOK!

    Its a picture of the NJ economy:

    http://www.shorpy.com/node/5056?size=_original

  98. A.West says:

    I was surprised to read the following from my Mayor in the Bridgewater newsletter:
    Will Montclair residents receive a similar message?

    “Governor Christie has been an outspoken
    agent for change in Trenton and
    with his 2010 budget cuts he transformed
    our municipal budget with a
    reduction of $1.9 million in State revenue.
    We met our obligations by negotiating
    wage freezes with our employees,
    reducing our staff, making drastic
    cuts to our operating expenses and
    eliminating popular programs. The
    Governor has made significant strides
    in changing the culture in government
    and I largely support those changes, but
    they do have an impact on how we do
    business.
    Let me make it perfectly clear that
    Bridgewater was never a poster child
    for excessive government spending or
    municipal taxes out of control. In the
    last seven years we have held municipal
    taxes stable and have consistently had
    one of the lowest municipal tax rates.”

  99. grim says:

    chi,

    I have a bottle of the real stuff here.

  100. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    Clot, 30yr

    i think i have seen this kitchen in a few homes around here:

    http://www.shorpy.com/node/9730?size=_original

  101. Renter says:

    About 10 years ago, a realtor told me I was an idiot for renting because I was not building up something called “equity”.

    Sorry to waste your time.

  102. cat (102)-

    Looks like about half of N. Plainfield.

  103. west (100)-

    Have you gotten used to people in Bridgewater patting themselves on the back yet?

    If you need a quick dose of it, go over to the high school. You’ll hear it within five minutes of walking in the door.

  104. renty (103)-

    Chances are that person’s now a former Realtor, who has a new career sporting an orange or blue smock.

  105. chicagofinance says:

    101.grim says:
    January 18, 2011 at 6:12 pm
    chi, I have a bottle of the real stuff here.

    critique?

  106. grim says:

    I need to get my hands on a bottle of the Zu. Someone sent me this link a few weeks back:

    http://www.luxist.com/2010/11/26/zu-artisan-crafted-bison-grass-flavored-vodka/

    critique?

    I have no idea what the base vodka tastes like, since I’m not sure it’s available, so trying to describe what the bison grass adds in difficult. Ultimately, we’re talking about a flavored vodka here (infused, whatever), certainly concocted before infused vodkas became popular here. It’s smooth, it’s a little bit earthy. A hint of lemongrass maybe, only with less of the citrus.

    That said, this was never highbrow stuff, we drank this when I was over at school in PL. Mixed it with juice or Coke, it was cheap. If I was committing some sort of crimes against liquor, nobody stopped me. Poles joked that the yellow tinge was because they put bison piss in it.

    It would make a great vodka martini, and would work equally as well paired with a good gin in a vesper.

  107. A.West says:

    I guess I’ll get to see the high school plenty in about 7 years. I doubt the back patting can compare to that done north and east of us in Basking Ridge and Warren though. I hear that the administration is still bitter about some changes in the NJ Monthly ranking system that dropped them out of the “top 20″. Which in turn helped knock a few 100k off my purchase price in comparison.

    I suppose if I want to meet a group where everyone is uniquely super special, I’ll need to enroll my kid at Pingry, which is even closer to me.

    Still, I am glad that the mayor is learning to live with constraints rather than just moaning about how our children deserve more and more spending. She goes on to point out that muni spending only represents 12% of my tax bill, so it’s still the state education establishment that needs destruction.

  108. Sore feet says:

    Cat 102 – if you do get one of those kitchens, have the oven appraised and then sell it – it’s worth several thousand $$.

  109. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Grim on the Vesper do it upside down: 3 parts vodka, 1 part gin ,1/2 part Lillet Blanc.
    Use Stoli 100 and Bombay Sapphire, yummy make you a dummy.

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