“If you have an hour, you can do this”

From the Courier News:

Tax assessment appeals on rise

Knowing how to get a property tax bill reduced has made Terri LaPoint one of the most popular people in town.

In the past couple of years, the Brielle resident has helped about 15 of her friends and neighbors navigate New Jersey’s property tax appeal system.

“People don’t know they can do this. It’s very easy,” she said.

Because property taxes are tied to a home’s assessed value, that meant that many homeowners — herself included — were paying more than their fair share.

The remedy: appealing the assessment to the county Board of Taxation.

LaPoint said everyone she’s helped so far has slashed their assessments by at least $65,000. One couple cut their property tax bill by $1,900 the first year. LaPoint lopped 20 percent off her own assessment, saving herself nearly $1,500 in taxes.

Her advice: If you think you’re over-assessed, find out what comparable homes in your town are selling for, and if the evidence is there, file an appeal.

The deadline is soon: April 1. If your town had a municipal-wide revaluation or reassessment in the past tax year, then the deadline is May 1.

“If you have an hour, you can do this,” LaPoint said. “I mean, you have nothing to lose.”

Cash-strapped New Jersey homeowners, saddled with the highest property taxes in the nation at an average of $7,576 per home, are getting the message.

More than 74,000 property tax appeals were filed last year, triple the amount in 2007, according to the New Jersey Division of Taxation. Residential homeowners filed approximately three-quarters of the appeals.

The total was the highest in 17 years, in large part because of the sharp decline in home values. About 60 percent of all appeals led to a revised assessment, resulting in $3.2 billion in assessed value reductions, a 9.5 percent rollback, state figures show.

That outcome isn’t surprising, given that assessments in many municipalities across the state are badly out of whack.

A New Jersey Press Media analysis of home sales data found that inaccurate assessments likely cost New Jersey property owners as much as $1.6 billion in annual property tax overpayments.

This entry was posted in New Jersey Real Estate, Property Taxes. Bookmark the permalink.

102 Responses to “If you have an hour, you can do this”

  1. grim says:

    From the Daily Record:

    Foreclosure’s slow pace masks peril

    First-time foreclosure filings in New Jersey dropped 5.2 percent last year compared with 2009. Good news? Hardly.

    “It’s a false read,” said Jeff Otteau, a housing market analyst whose East Brunswick-based Otteau Valuation Group calculated the number.

    There are not fewer people in danger of losing their homes, according to Otteau. In fact, 70,598 New Jersey homes were repossessed by banks last year, according to RealtyTrac, which predicts a repeat performance this year.

    What’s happening, Otteau said, is that more banks, facing claims of careless documentation, are deciding to hold off on starting foreclosures. They’re not filing against delinquent homeowners until they get their own houses in order.

    Foreclosure filings are, in a word, stalled in the proverbial pipeline. The problem likely will linger longer in New Jersey than in other states for two reasons, according to Otteau, who pointed out the Garden State lost 33,000 private and government jobs last year.

    “The country gained 900,000 private and government jobs in 2010,” he said. “If New Jersey had moved at the national pace, it should have seen a corresponding gain of 27,000 jobs in 2010. But it didn’t. When people are continuing to lose their income in our state, there’s no reason for foreclosures to improve.”

    Second, New Jersey is one of the slowest states in the country when it comes to “curing” foreclosures — bringing them to completion — primarily because it processes them in the courts.

    Since December of last year, the courts have delayed the process even more. That’s when the state Supreme Court, responding to reports of sloppy documentation on the part of banks, issued a show cause order directing six lenders and service providers to prove their paperwork is correct before any foreclosure cases proceed. The lenders — Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citi Residential Lending, GMAC (Ally Financial), OneWest Bank, Wells Fargo — collectively filed 29,000 foreclosure cases in the state last year. A hearing is scheduled for March 29, according to the state Administrative Office of the Courts.

    “The court essentially said: “If you guys can’t justify your foreclosure practice to us, we’re going to shut down all foreclosures in New Jersey until you figure out this mess,’ ” said Erik W. Mueller, real estate attorney in Ocean Township in Monmouth County.

    “If they really stop the foreclosures altogether, it could take another year to process one,” he added. “Now it’s typically a two-year process, meaning people are living in their home for two years without making payments.”

    Mueller said he already has represented clients who have gone four years without making mortgage payments before their foreclosure was cured, or completed.

  2. grim says:

    From the Record:

    Lenders agree to oversight by state

    Six large mortgage lenders have agreed to have a special master oversee their New Jersey foreclosure proceedings under a tentative settlement announced Friday by the state judiciary. The settlement, if approved by a judge March 29, is likely to speed up the state’s foreclosure pipeline, which slowed dramatically after the state took action against the lenders in December.

    Chief Justice Stuart Rabner had ordered the lenders to show why their foreclosure proceedings should not be suspended in light of concerns over “robo-signing” — when bank employees sign affidavits in foreclosure cases, without reviewing their accuracy.

    The six lenders — Ally Financial (parent of GMAC Mortgage), Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Onewest Bank and Citibank — reached the settlement with Edward Dauber, a Newark lawyer hired by the state. The agreement recommends the appointment of Richard J. Williams, a retired Superior Court judge who served in Cape May and Atlantic counties, to be a special master overseeing the lenders’ foreclosure activities for 12 months.

    Under the accord, the lenders must prove to Williams that they are following correct legal procedures in foreclosures. However, their foreclosure activity would not be frozen, and they would not face monetary sanctions.

    Superior Court Judge Mary C. Jacobson is scheduled to review the proposed settlement March 29 in Trenton.

  3. Confused In NJ says:

    Super Moon last night, looked good!

  4. Feh. What we need to do is to start hunting for tax assessors and collectors.

    Bag a couple of these gubmint leeches and start a low-level tax revolt, and this problem can be fixed pronto.

    The only meaningful changes will occur at gunpoint. All the rest is talk and noise.

  5. The gubmint and its minions of leeches are addicts, hooked to never-ending loads of taxpayer cash. When we intervene, they are not going to meekly back down and go away.

    Wisconsin showed the level to which this enemy will stoop. They are more than willing to use the same tactics- which include violence- against taxpayers, as well.

    My wife (who is part-time, non-union) is in a school district where the teachers are now working “to rule”…since the school board has come to realize that unlimited bennies and 4% annual cost-of-living raises are unsustainable. They have tried to conscript her into assembling with the teachers in the parking lot and entering the school at exactly the start of the first period every day and gathering again in the cafeteria to leave together at exactly the time school ends.

    My wife flatly refused to do this and has let TPTB in this crime syndicate know that she considers the existence of the union to be the reason the district won’t hire her full-time (which is the absolute truth).

    Should be interesting to see what they try to do to her.

  6. Of course, it’s all for the children. The person with whom my wife “shares” her job is a recent college grad, has no teaching experience and is completely unable to even control the classroom.

  7. xroads says:

    has the average person caught on to this? anyone in any kind of trouble should be using this to their advantage

    “If they really stop the foreclosures altogether, it could take another year to process one,” he added. “Now it’s typically a two-year process, meaning people are living in their home for two years without making payments.”

  8. Neanderthal Economist says:

    “New Jersey is one of the slowest states in the country when it comes to “curing” foreclosures —bringing them to completion —primarily because it processes them in the courts.”
    This seems like it could be a significant statement from mr otteau. Maybe it helps explain why prices have not corrected as much as other states? But then again bucks county, westchester and long islands prices don’t seem to have crashed much more than nj. Not sure what ny or pa bankruptcy laws are like.

  9. jamil says:

    7, yes, this was one key part of the rationale to vote for the Chosen One.

    “Obama Is Going To Pay For My Gas And Mortgage!!! ”

    To be honest, I think they meant, “somebody else, like those evil taxpayers”, not Obama.

  10. Neanderthal Economist says:

    5 Debt. You say that now but will you have the same outlook when a 3rd world immigrant is working twice as hard as your wife, and willing to do so for half the pay? Not to mention the immigrant has phd in teaching. I think the unions have gotten bloated and greedy in many ways, public and private, but its also a dangerous path we’re traveling down. Unions need to loosen their deathgrip and take a step back, but if eliminated you prob wouldn’t even recognize this country in ten years.

  11. Neanderthal Economist says:

    Everyone who talks super tough on unions listen up. Theres an endless supply of smart, hungry, educated immigrants waiting in line to do your job for half the pay. Yes they’ll work weekends, get in early, stay late and no they don’t need to leave early to go watch their child’s soccer practice. In fact their child isn’t allowed to play sports since it would interfere with their studying. If we could get the children in our most rotted, decaying cities to adopt this mentality, america would be untouchable for the next 100 years.

  12. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Veto 8 You may have something there as a glut never hit in a shorter time frame & crushed the market. This would eventually clear the market & is a better outcome IMHO. Now we will drag along with years of a frozen market continuing marginal declines. The smart money waiting for some form of stability & the hopeful of the Holy Grail of a foreclosure steal in their target area. As far as the other NY counties I don’t know either but I would think it would be much like ours as it is a progressive NE state.
    The physiological effects of this prolong period of slowly lower prices will in the long run do more harm to the market than the “pull the band-aid off”effects of a glut. That & the ever present taxes with increases looming despite Christie’s efforts should keep use in a decline for at least 18 more months. If this spring flops & it seems it is doing so the RE cheer leaders are going to have a hard time selling it next year. We shall see.

  13. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Veto 10, 11 Yes, the other side of the coin. You think unions are going to back off enough to be a good thing with out raping the tax payer. I have worked in 2 school systems, don’t think so. I see your point & concede it could happen. On the other hand these people better learn the finer arts of politics & corruption if they want a job in a NJ school system.

  14. Neanderthal Economist says:

    Protestant Rangers vs catholic celtic rivalry coincide with st patricks week and biggest full moon of 20 yrs. If this doesn’t incite riot, nothing will.

  15. xroads says:

    “If this spring flops & it seems it is doing so the RE cheer leaders are going to have a hard time selling it next year. We shall see.”

    The njar needs a new spin ” It’s a great time to buy and if it isn’t live rent/mortgage free for 2 plus years guaranteed by the NJ court system. sign here…”

  16. xroads says:

    and that would be property tax free as well!

  17. Mikeinwaiting says:

    By the way that was 50-60 mil. event with our 112 Tomahawk launch. We are going to expend a lot more ordnance of various kinds in the next few days. We are also taking on the roll of gas station in the sky to the coalitions with our fleet of refueling planes. Think we are going to ask for the money, not. By the way I think there is battle group somewhere that is not busy who else can we mess with. We just don’t have enough liberation’s, country building & terrorist hunting going on. Did I forget Japan, large
    amount of navy assets there helping out ( a good thing). Sorry our dance card is full bomb you next week.

  18. freedy says:

    So how many coming from Japan will take up the slack here in NJ? we already have a large influx. so, will they solve the housing crisis for Bergen/essex/passaic?

  19. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Xroad, I think about that too often , then think nay not me. I don’t own so will not go there, I have readily advised some underwater people to do so however. If I was in trouble & owned I would go there in a heart beat.

  20. xroads says:


    makes me foolish every time I write the rent check.

  21. Mikeinwaiting says:


    OK, this one may be a go for someone who needs that much house. Notice lack of granite in the kitchen, I like that maybe these people have a brain. Not that I’m head over heels about the kitchen. It is a given that you are not buying unless 50k less than their asking is accepted.
    Both boys on their way out the door one to live with his girl other Marines. Wife, daughter & me now I have to much room (1900 sq). Time to get smaller & cheaper I like that cheaper part.

  22. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Xroads I know, but I like my good credit.

  23. Mikeinwaiting says:

    By the way 3in of snow tomorrow , was going to take the snows off the car this week , glad I didn’t.

  24. Fiddy Cents on the Dollar says:

    Question about relative quality of Builder/Developers —

    Does anybody have any experience with the handiwork of these big name builders ??
    Dan Ryan Homes

    First hand experience is preferable, but a good, juicy anecdote is good too.

  25. Fabius Maximus says:

    It is interesting to contrast O’s handling of Lybia with Ronnies handling of Grenada.

    Libyan Raids Show Obama Doctrine in Action .

  26. jamil says:

    25 indeed. This would be great if O were King of UN.

    Unfortunately for all of us, he is the president of the US.

  27. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Fabius Apples & oranges. Cold war era containment of Cuba’s interest in expanding in south America, our backyard. Not that I doubt O would wait for the UN to protect our interest neck this woods. In one way I like it we have the tech, command control we use it & let the Europe do the dirty work. French planes first ones in my god! It is in their interest (light sweet crude) not necessarily a big deal to the USA. If you think Europe really cares how many Libyans kill each other you got another thing coming.

  28. Mikeinwaiting says:

    27 in this neck of the woods. 2/3

  29. A.West says:

    You’re living up to your name. As a self-styled economist, you’re afraid of an explosion of productivity and economizing. Global economic progress will proceed, and attempting to “protect” an economy or a labor force from offering better products at better prices can only temporarily lull said economy and laborers into a false sense of security before they get slaughtered. The credit bubble was failed temporary refuge #1, I hope trade barriers isn’t temporary refuge #2. You cannot permanently legislate a man’s labor to be worth more than it needs to be to other people, without dragging down the overall economy.

  30. Fabius Maximus says:

    #27 Mike,

    Not really, it is a perfect parallel. Both want to get rid of a regime under the guise of stopping a masacare, but they show two different ways of going about it.
    It was fun to watch the Queen of England give the president of the US the royal equivelant of a “get the fcuk off my lawn”

  31. Happy Renter says:

    #10 “You say that now but will you have the same outlook when a 3rd world immigrant is working twice as hard as your wife, and willing to do so for half the pay? Not to mention the immigrant has phd in teaching….”

    #11 “Theres an endless supply of smart, hungry, educated immigrants waiting in line to do your job for half the pay. Yes they’ll work weekends, get in early, stay late and no they don’t need to leave early to go watch their child’s soccer practice….”

    The situation you describe above is ALREADY the reality that the overwhelming majority of us taxpayers face. No union can protect our cushy jobs – we all need to work our butts off and constantly try to find ways to be more productive while constantly looking over our shoulder at the growing hordes of highly educated/motivated and hungry overseas replacements. There’s no justification for protecting a few select cartels of protected professions (e.g. teachers) on the backs of the rest of us taxpayers who are competing in the real world.

    If the U.S. were a closed system and nothing could be off-shored, unions could work. That’s not the reality in which we live. And since the people paying the bills (i.e. taxpayers) can’t get cushy union benefits, there is no injustice that their employees (gov’t workers, teachers, etc.) can’t get them either.

  32. jamil says:

    Fabius: This is almost too rich.

    O leads US to war.
    – no exit strategy: check
    – no congressional authorization: check
    – no real goal (protect civilians??)
    – O off to vacation in Rio, March Madness and golf

  33. Neanderthal Economist says:

    “Attempting to “protect” an economy or a labor force from offering better products at better prices can only temporarily lull said economy and laborers into a false sense of security before they get slaughtered.”
    Westy. We need a gradual transition period to educate and prepare our current workforce and next generation. Weening ourselves off union protection slowly is important. We’ve got a workforce and education system that fits beautifully into an economic bubble but is not ready to comptete globally. Shifting cold turkey over the course of five years would hurt. maybe you have earned a specialized niche through hard work and education but the majority of americans were kicking back while you and the rest of the world were studying for cfa and reading microsoft excel books in their spare time for fun.

  34. gary says:

    ” We need a gradual transition period to educate and prepare our current workforce and next generation.”

    Impossible. Perpetual third grade math and verbal skills along with a steady diet of Little Debbie snack cakes will ensure failure.

  35. Neanderthal Economist says:

    West because of you I read atlas shrugged recently and really bonded with the message overall, but ripping unions out from under american workers like removing a bandaid would plunge us into irreversible spiral. Before this can be done we need to institute free community college for all and desire the brains of every citizen to redirect the passion for watching nfl and wwf into interest of academics. Then we all need to take a 10% pay cut to convince fortune 500 companies to hire domestically and then the usa can thrive in a global economy, even under your most extreme pure capitalistic system

  36. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    Just heard Clark Howard recommend bond funds for mini bonds. That is awful advice.

    I hear him say other things that make me raise an eyebrow, but that got the WTF treatment from me.

  37. Neanderthal Economist says:

    34 gary. Im wondering how you’ll fare against asian 9th graders once large corporations implement calculus tests during interviews to decide who gets hired first and at what pay. Are you good at math?

  38. Neanderthal Economist says:

    Im thinking of scheduling a debate against christie to try and convince him that unions create unlimited value.

  39. cobbler says:

    veto [35]
    Natural wealth distribution in a “pure” capitalist society is the one seen in Brazil, Mexico and India, community college or no community college. If A.West thinks he will be within the 1% who does really, really well, good for him; I see the percentage of Indians in a business class cabin on Mumbai flights going up every year. I, personally, would gladly exchange 10 or 20″ in the TV size for the knowledge that we don’t grow the abject poverty in this country to create as cheap and flexible workforce as the one across the border.

  40. gary says:

    Neanderthal [37],

    I’m great at math. I can tell how many bullets are left in the chamber without even thinking about it.

  41. A.West says:

    This is the gradual transition. But time is running out and I don’t see the signs that the american worker understands what they need to do. BTW, I got my start at a community college, yrs before graduating Summa from NYU. That was when I realized that my past laziness and lack of purpose was going to ruin my life if I didn’t focus and exert more effort. This is that moment in time for the US as a whole, but unfortunately it looks like they decided to major in navel gazing.

  42. cobbler says:

    Upon some thinking, I guess Ayn Rand’s books should come with a raffle ticket for a tour of one’s choice of Rio’s favelas or Mumbai slums – and if you win you have to go.

  43. Kettle1^2 says:

    Jamil 32
    but O’s a Nobel peace prize recipient!!!!!

  44. Neanderthal Economist says:

    40. Gary excellent. But now can you take the square root of that and extrapolate out times 300 million people?

  45. Fiddy Cents on the Dollar says:

    Still hoping to get some feedback on build quality….

    Question about relative quality of Builder/Developers

    Does anybody have any experience with the handiwork of these big name builders ??
    Dan Ryan Homes

    First hand experience is preferable, but a good juicy anecdote is OK too.

  46. Neanderthal Economist says:

    Fiddy, don’t know much about build quality but id also be focusing on year it was built. Crappy builder in 1980 was probaby as good as good builder in 2005. Just a guess.

  47. Shore Guy says:

    I will take Nobel laureates for $500, Alex.

    The answer is, this peace prize winner won the prize without ever doing anything of note and then launched air and missile attacks while embarkinh on a trip to find sunshine.

  48. gary says:


    A prep school graduate, a degree in engineering and 15 years in the computer science/IT field means absolutely nothing today. If you can peddle or market dog sh1t to the masses or are willing to be on call 24/7 as a temp worker with no benefits, then, you’ll have a chance. Otherwise, you’ll get bulldozed whether you still have a pulse or not.

  49. A.West says:

    Well, after reading Atlas, I’ve seen both Mumbai and Rio. Also spent some time in Norilsk. Seen people working machine tools Sunday night in Chengdu while their kids study upstairs. So what’s your point? All you need is love? What All of these folks would be better off if Atlas Shrugged was more widely read and understood.

  50. Fiddy Cents on the Dollar says:

    Thanks, NE —

    We’re looking at some of the sub-divisions in the suburbs of Charleston SC. These are the big players in the area, trying to get a feel for who’s who. Del Webb is another big name down there.

  51. gary says:

    Shore [47],

    Amazing, isn’t it?

  52. Shore Guy says:

    The Arab League must have learned from John Kerry; they were for the attack on Libya until they were against it:


  53. Neanderthal Economist says:

    Westy. I assume you saw the matrix with keano reeves. Awesome flick no doubt. The machines are in total control and people are owned, brains plugged directly into the network so they can work 24/7. No families, no weekends, no religion. Just work. That’s our world without middle class and/or unions. And every generation will come to expect less so everybody’s job will always be in jeapordy by someone willing to do more for less.

  54. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    Over 20 years ago, I concluded that the path to job preservation was to have a profession or a trade. Skill alone was pointless if it could be offshored or automated.

    I think that has borne out.

  55. jamil says:

    55, or union

  56. Neanderthal Economist says:

    Nom. Law will be offshored, technologized and slave labored out the same as every other industry. Ras a starter, people are already doing their own research to fight speeding tickets, resolve disputes and file their wills. Flat fee divorces are coming soon and then it will continue to snowball from there. The majority of what lawyers do anyway is take really straight forward situations and overcomplicate them with overly wordy, unlegible old english writing and unnecessary references to statutes that they don’t understand themselves without looking them up on legal wikipedia.

  57. Barbara says:

    everyone has made good points. All I am going to say is this: We are less a nation, more of a conglomerate since globalization. Also, compared to the rest of the world, we have been coasting since WW2, time to start questioning American exceptionalism and just give the credit to carpet bombing. It was fun while it lasted, time to learn how to work the land.

  58. Neanderthal Economist says:

    The legal profession has thus far escaped redunancy of technology mostly because of the bar, and other lobby driven contingents similar to nar that do everything possible to protect their own cash cow cartels through loopholes and roadblocks.

  59. Shore Guy says:


    What you describe us bad lawyering. Good lawyers cut through he thicket and their writing is clear and concise. Alas, there are many hacks out There, buy hey tend to be “retail” lawyers who practice at the county seat.

  60. Shore Guy says:

    But they

    Ftigen Android

  61. Shore Guy says:

    Friggen, even.

  62. Neanderthal Economist says:

    Shore. Even the best lawyers know they are paid per page and I’ve watched the best in the state very closely. The more confused and in the dark they keep all parties, the more billable hours can be charged.

  63. Neanderthal Economist says:

    62. Lol. Android keyboard is the absolute worst.

  64. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    (64) neand

    True dat

  65. toomuchchange says:

    A. West: You seem surprised and upset that your fellow Americans aren’t volunteering to give up and give in to the pressure to make America more like the rest of the world, where most of the people are destitute have-nots while the lucky few at the top lives of luxury (behind barded-wired walls, of course) as they exploit their fellow citizens and make regular deposits to their offshore bank accounts —

    Maybe your fellow Americans aren’t as dumb as you think.

    They are dumb enough though because they’ve been putting up with far too much for far too long.

    I agree that we need to start on a new path. I thought the country would start talking about a solid way forward from our Great Recession by now, but it has not. Clearly President Obama will not lead on such a discussion. I don’t know who will, which is too bad.

    My own hope is that we find a way to achieve and sustain moderation. This would mean that in exchange for working hard for a reasonable number of hours, the average American would be able to live a decent life without extreme debt or consumption that cannot be sustained. We would tax ourselves sufficiently to pay for the government services that we want. A new willingness to “put America first” would be necessary, too, and I think beneficial for all of us. While global trade exists, global citizenship does not; America is our country and we should take steps as a country and as individuals to help all Americans prosper, not just people like us.

    One obvious thing we should have been doing since 2009 is cutting back on nonessential foreign workers. There’s no reason to keep on importing additional competitors to the few jobs we have. There’s also no reason to keep on giving automatic citizenship to everyone who’s born here, even the children of illegal immigrants and tourists. We have to start becoming aware of the cost of the promises that we make. If America is going to become a smaller country in many ways in the future, our population should not be set in motion to increase by the hundreds of millions, which is what is happening now.

  66. Shore Guy says:

    Alternative fee arrangements are the future of law. The thing holding them up is clients who still prefer hourly rates.

  67. Neanderthal Economist says:

    “Time to start questioning American exceptionalism and just give the credit to carpet bombing.”
    Barb, i wonder if an anti union argument would claim that we are exceptional carpet bombers mostly because its a non union job.

  68. Shore Guy says:

    The worst abusers of hourly billing that I Hager encountered are the matrimonial lawyers.

  69. Shore Guy says:

    Even the slide-out keyboards on the Android phones suck.

  70. Neanderthal Economist says:

    Hager huh? Me too.

  71. Neanderthal Economist says:

    “One obvious thing we should have been doing since 2009 is cutting back on nonessential foreign workers.”
    The only thing we can do over the near term to compete with the third world is to become them. Over the long term we need to rebuild our culture and education system, which takes a generation lag at least to start yielding any results at all.

  72. Kettle1^2 says:

    Toomuch change

    toy ar asking for nationalism which is a dirty word inmoden global economics.

    We also have to recognize that there is no competion unless you have a working frame work of rules. Right now in globalization we don’t really have that. You can’t call slave labor and toxic wastelands such as china has created competition. The only people who benefit from that scenario are a handful of corporate executives. The only way to benefit the greater masses through globalization and competition is to set a minimum standad for everyone.
    The current model is an assest stripping race to the bottom.

  73. Neanderthal Economist says:

    The dirty little secret of the law profession is that 90% of jobs are based off of existing templates yet all the bills reflect jobs that were started from scratch.

  74. Outofstater says:

    So, what’s new in Japan today? Haven’t heard much. So that means everything is just fine, right? Seems a little odd to me.

  75. toomuchchange says:

    72 – Neanderthal Economist

    “One obvious thing we should have been doing since 2009 is cutting back on nonessential foreign workers.”
    The only thing we can do over the near term to compete with the third world is to become them. Over the long term we need to rebuild our culture and education system, which takes a generation lag at least to start yielding any results at all.

    I don’t understand what you mean here.

    Are you saying for the time being, the only thing to do is to displace American tens of millions of workers with a bunch of outsiders and that we’ll all work for third world wages? And then in the meantime, Americans will work hard to do what it takes to regain their First World standard of living?

    I don’t think that will work.

    Think of the jobs that have disappeared that aren’t coming back because of technological advances. Just think of the income inequality that we have now. How will a greatly increased population, with greatly decreased average wages and chronically high unemployment, achieve any kind of “cure” for what ails us? I don’t think the First World/Third World way of life for an entire country is something can be turned off and on with any kind of spigot, not at all.

  76. Fabius Maximus says:

    #47 Shore

    I’ll take illegal Republican invasions for $1000.

    The answer is: This central American republic was invaded by Ronnie on the same day Pointdexter and North went up on charges.

  77. toomuchchange says:

    Separate issue but healthcare costs and projected increases in heathcare costs are eating us alive.

    To survive we’ll have to get them down to a manageable level. That we spend-spend-spend and have so many without coverage is ridiculous and a crying shame.

  78. cobbler says:

    I am with toomuchchange (who is it, btw?) except maybe the immigration thing. If we switch to the point system similar to Canada or Oz, we’ll be better off than with zero immigration. No country had ever suffered from having too many smart people.

    While global trade exists, global citizenship does not; America is our country and we should take steps as a country and as individuals to help all Americans prosper, not just people like us. is an amazing line – I’d love to see it as a campaign slogan, I promise to donate money and effort.

  79. Shore Guy says:

    Trapped I’m the Rose Garden for $200.

    Should have choked on the pretzel for $100.

    Tinhorn dictators for $1,000

  80. Shore Guy says:

    Transplants for people over their life expectancy shaould not be a cost born by society, nor should medical costs that stem from reckless behavior. I am not saying people should be prevented from anything just that they bear the costs associated with what they do, especially when things go wrong.

  81. toomuchchange says:

    79 – I am not saying “no immigration” — not at all.

    But our immigration policies should match the country’s needs. The paramount concern should not be employers’ desire for cheap labor or the desire of former immigrants to have as many of their extended family members come over here as possible. We just don’t have the resources, jobs or the room for all these extra people, the same way as we don’t have the resources, jobs or room to continue giving automatic birthright citizenship to any and all babies born here anymore.

    Current high levels of immigration hurt most Americans while benefitting the immigrants themselves and their employers. Why, for example, should Americans sacrifice for immigrants who offer no needed skill but are the siblings or parents of prior immigrants? Why should an American worker have to train his H-1b foreign replacement before being laid off? This happened recently to a poster here. Yet that is what is happening now and has been going on for the past 30 years.

  82. Shore Guy says:

    On a related note I know someone whose insurance Shelley out we’ll north of $100,000 for her ivf. I am very fond of her and her offspring but, really, society should pay for this?

    The same holds true for via-g-ra. Guys have spent far more than the costs of those pills to get laid. If someone can’t get it up and wants to, let them pay the cost.

  83. Shore Guy says:


  84. toomuchchange says:

    79 again — Cobbler

    Thanks for the compliment. Any person or party who wants to use that as their slogan, they are more than welcome. Won’t be the Democrats or Republicans as currently constituted though, we know that. But of course parties don’t last forever, which is something the Ds and Rs should think remember.

    Who am I? Right now, an unemployed person who’s run out of unemployment. For obvious reasons I think about the future and what’s going to become of me and what’s going to happen with our country. Starting in 2010, I think, I comment from time to time — befor that I was a loyal lurker for several years. I miss some of the people who were regulars, like Cindy.

  85. Neanderthal Economist says:

    Tomuchchange, what you don’t understand is that a large percentage of our population is unemployable according to global standards, plus they demand too much money and benefits. The corporations respond to this by hiring immigrants who do a better job with no benefits for 40% of what you would charge them. Any large profitable company has mastered the ability to pit employees against one another to increase productivity and that’s whats happening there. When I say we need to become the third world to compete with it this is what im talking about.

  86. Jesse says:

    If I were Governor, the very first thing I would do is put a 3 year plan in place over which I would phase out Property Taxes. The Government should not have the right to your land and charge you rent for it, homeowners should not be enslaved to the government for the properties that they own.


  87. Lone Ranger says:

    “Trapped I’m the Rose Garden for $200.”


    I know somewhere you’ll find the key.


  88. Neanderthal Economist says:

    I used to think that offshoring would be limited to non client facing, back-office paper pushers and behind the scenes operations until i walked into starbucks last month and gave my order to a dude who straight up could not speak a lick of english. Then there was the american express customer service rep calling from mumbai who faked an american accent better than my own, and im born and raised american coming from a family who has been american for hundreds of years.

  89. Shore Guy says:


    I was thinking of Carter, 1979-80 but, I’ll take Bruce.

  90. cobbler says:

    what you don’t understand is that a large percentage of our population is unemployable according to global standards, plus they demand too much money and benefits.
    I don’t think there are any global standards of employability – and if there were, very few people are incapable of working if they know there is no alternative. “Too much money and benefits” is a different story. Average pay in Bangladeshi ready-to-wear clothing industry is $43 a month – large share of the stuff we can buy at the Gap is produced there. Where exactly do you propose making a stop on the downhill slide? We don’t have many choices – either we become Brazil (actually a bit worse as in Brazil they don’t need to spend money on heating), or get tariffs and capital controls in place, and embrace toomuchchange’s moderation where “in exchange for working hard for a reasonable number of hours, the average American would be able to live a decent life without extreme debt or consumption that cannot be sustained.”

  91. NJ Toast says:

    Too Much – actually, the healthcare issue is part of the problem. It’s a cost that impacts the costs of goods and services produced.

    Here is an interesting idea: http://www.gobloomhealth.com

    Another company in California is working with large companies, building a database to show pricing for a variety of health services and then sets and average price for a given procedure. It then is up to the patient obtain that service on their own. If the price they pay is above the average, the extra $ comes out of their pocket. If it is is below the average price, the share in the savings.

  92. NJ Toast says:

    Stu, since you are the coffee maven, do you know anything about this outfit?


  93. NJ Toast says:

    and = an

  94. Fabius Maximus says:

    #80 Shore

    Just Cause for $500

  95. nj escapee says:

    The Rising Irrelevance of Obama
    by Patrick J. Buchanan

    “This will not stand!” declared George H.W. Bush.

    He was speaking of Saddam Hussein’s invasion, occupation and annexation of the emirate of Kuwait as his “19th province.”

    Seven months later, the Iraqi army was fleeing up the “Highway of Death” back into a country devastated by five weeks of U.S. bombing.

    When Bush spoke, the world sat up and listened.

    Consider the change.

    “It’s time for Gadhafi to go,” said President Barack Obama two weeks ago. “So, let me just be very unambiguous about this. Col. Gadhafi needs to step down from power and leave.” And did he go?

    Receiving Obama’s ultimatum, Gadhafi rallied his troops and took the offensive. His army is now 100 miles from Benghazi.

    Obama urged the king of Bahrain not to crush the peaceful protest in Pearl Square and to accommodate the legitimate demands of its Shiite majority.

    The Saudis, seeing a threat to their oil-rich and Shiite-populated eastern province should the Bahraini monarchy fall, sent 2,000 troops across the King Fahd Causeway. Bahrain then brutally swept the “outlaws” from the streets of its capital, Manama.

    Among the few things that may be said with certainty about the Arab revolution of 2011 is that it has revealed the rising irrelevance of President Obama in that part of the world.

    With impunity, Benjamin Netanyahu defied his demand that Israel cease to build on the West Bank. The Palestinian Authority, despite Obama’s pleas, then went ahead with a U.N. resolution condemning Israel.

    Caught flat-footed by the uprising in Tunisia, the White House could only offer belated congratulations to the demonstrators who had deposed and driven out our longtime ally, President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

    After Tunisia, Vice President Joe Biden insisted the embattled Hosni Mubarak was not a dictator in Egypt. Obama sided with Mubarak and then said he ought to go. Then, when the Saudis and Israelis protested that we were abandoning a friend of 30 years, Obama concluded Mubarak should stay.

    When the army suddenly sent Mubarak packing, the White House hailed the revolution as the harbinger of an Arab spring.

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton burbled that her 15-minute stroll through Tahrir Square was “a great reminder of the power of the human spirit and universal desire for freedom and human rights and democracy.”

    Some of the young demonstrators, recalling America’s 30-year friendship with Mubarak and ambivalence over his ouster, refused to talk with her.

    In denouncing Syria and Iran for crushing peaceful protests, the Obamaites acted consistent with the democratic values they preach. In their muffled response to the brutal treatment of demonstrators in Bahrain and Yemen, they put national interests above national ideals.

    Indeed, it is this clash between our professed ideals and our perceived interests that has produced the reigning confusion in Washington and the near paralysis of American policy in the Middle East.

    “Nations have no permanent friends or allies; they only have permanent interests,” said Lord Palmerston. America lacks that kind of certitude. She is conflicted. She cannot make up her mind. Do our interests come first or our ideals? How can they be in conflict?

    From World War I to the Carter era, U.S. national interests drove U.S. foreign policy. In Wilson’s war “to make the world safe for democracy,” we partnered with five empires. In World War II, we allied with Stalin. In the Cold War, we accepted the friendship of autocrats and dictators and caudillos and generalissimos who shared our fear and loathing of communism.

    When John Foster Dulles was the face of U.S. foreign policy in the 1950s, the neutralism of nations such as Nehru’s India and Sukarno’s Indonesia was seen as immoral.

    But with the end of the Cold War, moral clarity vanished.

    We are now divided over whether kings, dictators and autocrats who share our interests but regard democracy as lunacy or a luxury they cannot afford can be America’s allies and friends.

    There is a second cause of conflict roiling the American mind.

    Even as Moscow was abandoning communist ideology and China was giving up her dream of world revolution, the United States was converting to an ideology of global democracy. At some point in the past 20 years, it became the historic mission of America to make the whole world democratic.

    And should we fail in this mission, George W. Bush reminded us, the end of American freedom would be ensured.

    So, having defeated — or rather outlasted — our enemies with a pragmatic policy of accepting the friendship of any and all who would stand with us in that great Cold War struggle, we set out to remake the world in our own image, even as Moscow and Beijing had sought to do.

    As they failed, so will we.

    As for Obama, with our foremost Asian ally going through the agony of its worst natural disaster and with revolution raging through the Arab world, he has given us his picks for the Final Four in the “March Madness” of college basketball — and set off with Michelle to party in Rio.

    How relevant is he? And how relevant are we?

  96. Fabius Maximus says:

    #83 Shore

    It is not society picking up the cost of of that $100K 1VF it is the other plan members that get their rates jacked up. Medicade will not cover 1VF.

    Also your friend I suspect is out of pocket for a big chunk of change as the meds required are not covered by a lot of prescr1ption plans and are very expensive.

    The V1gra point is a good one and also points out one of the biggest inequlaties in the US healthcare system. Men can get the little blue pill covered, but women can’t get birth control or prenatal vitamins covered under many plans.

  97. cobbler says:

    Fabius, the pre-natal vitamins are not covered for the same reason Tylenol is not: there is cheap over-the-counter alternative available. Prescription vitamins for the newborns are covered. Regarding birth control for women, most plans actually cover it – but it is a tricky issue. By definition, medical coverage is supposed to pay for treatment or prevention of a disease. Pregnancy is not a disease, period. For that matter, I don’t know about any plan that covers c0ndoms for men. Blue pill, otoh, is supposedly treating an officially recognized medical condition (we can agree or disagree, but…) – however the sponsor can remove it from coverage and get a somewhat cheaper plan as a result. I guess, HR people negotiating with the insurers feel ED at times.

  98. cobbler says:

    I don’t like this one:
    The government is also preparing SDF tanks to remove rubble from around the reactors that has hampered operations by these trucks by emitting high-level radiation from otherwise all-goes-as-planned article at http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2011/03/79868.html

    This is the first time since Chernobyl the highly radioactive rubble is on the ground – is it something ejected from the spent fuel pools?

  99. toomuchchange says:

    Neanderthal Economist —

    We cannot become a nation of above average people, where everyone will have at least a bachelor’s degree. We will always have a mixture of people and there will be more below average and average folks than above average folks. That’s true of every nation, except maybe some of the Middle Eastern countries where the native population is vastly outnumbered by foreign workers.

    Can we work on increasing high school graduation rates, post-secondary education and bring up and keep up the job skills and interpersonal skills of all our workers? Sure. I wish we’d been doing that already. I question our willingness to commit the necessary funds for this, however. States and local governments are already overburdened and education costs are already skyrocketing, partly because we’re educating millions of students who shouldn’t even be here. (I do agree with providing K-12 education to all children; however, I do protest the necessity of spending these huge sums. Right now I can hear the elites of Mexico laughing at us, because we’re stupid enough to let them ship their poor up here while they continue to pay little in taxes and exploit the Mexicans unlucky enough to still live there.)

    You seem to be willing to give companies a choice about whether to hire an American or foreign worker. Why? We should be changing laws and regulations so that Americans rarely have to compete with foreign workers directly, here in America. There’s lots of jobs that cannot be outsourced. If we don’t take a stand now, the employers’ addiction to the high profits and other rewards for exploiting workers will only get more entrenched and harder to break.

  100. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [100] change

    I said it before, and I’ll say it again. Obama does not succeed, and we don’t pull out of this slide, without protectionism of a magnitude that we haven’t seen in many of our lifetimes. I mean nearly closed borders. I see no scenario where we grow our way out.

  101. toomuchchange says:

    101 – Comrade Nom Deplume

    You and a couple of others here, including Kettle have brought that up and I say — if protectionism is the answer, then let’s have protectionism.

    There seems to be a lot of close to religious devotion to the pseudogod of Free Trade among economists. Also lots of politicians seem to like free trade as an ideology to claim, if not to practice.

    Do you know of any economists, academics or politicians of any note or influence who see things the way you do? Are there at least voices of sanity — which in this case means protectionism — in the wilderness, or is it only us “little people” out here, without goverment pensions or tenure, who want America put itself first and save us and our country from drowning in long term debt and unemployment?

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