Mortgage settlement near?

From Bloomberg:

Bank Foreclosure Deal Reviewed by States as Delaware Drops Out

State attorneys general reviewed a proposed settlement with banks over foreclosure and mortgage- servicing practices that negotiators are pressing to complete as Delaware said it would reject a deal said to total $25 billion.

Representatives of Democratic attorney general offices met at a Chicago hotel yesterday to discuss the negotiated terms and ask questions, said Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller. Miller, who is helping to lead talks, said an agreement with the banks is getting closer.

“There are still issues to be worked out,” Miller said in an interview. “This is one step along the way, and it was a very productive day.”

State and federal officials have been negotiating a settlement with the five largest mortgage servicers — Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc. (C), Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC) and Ally Financial Inc (ALLY). Talks were triggered by disclosures that the companies were using faulty documents in seizing homes.

The $25 billion deal would fund loan principal writedowns for homeowners and provide refinancings, a person familiar with the matter said before yesterday’s meeting. The proposal also sets requirements for how the banks conduct home foreclosures. The settlement would drop to $19 billion if California Attorney General Kamala Harris decides not to sign on, the person said.

Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden won’t sign on to the proposed agreement as drafted, Delaware Deputy Attorney General Ian McConnel said in a phone interview. He declined to comment on the reason for Biden’s decision.

Biden has been among a group of attorneys general, including New York’s Eric Schneiderman and Harris in California, who have said any settlement shouldn’t protect banks from claims that haven’t been fully investigated, such as claims stemming from the packaging of mortgages into securities sold to investors.

From the NYT:

Political Push Moves a Deal on Mortgages Inches Closer

About one million homeowners facing foreclosure could have their mortgage burden cut by about $20,000 each as part of a long-awaited deal taking shape among state attorneys general, federal officials and the nation’s largest mortgage servicers.

But a final agreement remained out of reach Monday despite political pressure from the White House, which had been trying to have a deal in hand that President Obama could highlight in his State of the Union address Tuesday night.

The agreement could be worth about $25 billion, state and federal officials with knowledge of the negotiations said, with up to $17 billion of that used to reduce principal for homeowners facing foreclosure. Another portion would be set aside for homeowners who have been the victim of improper foreclosure practices, with about 750,000 families receiving about $1,800 each. But bank officials said Monday that the total amount of principal reduction and reimbursement would depend on how many states eventually sign on.

This entry was posted in Foreclosures, Housing Recovery, Politics. Bookmark the permalink.

166 Responses to Mortgage settlement near?

  1. grim says:

    From CNN/Money:

    Has Obama’s housing policy failed?

    President Obama is expected to once again offer ways to help the beleaguered housing market in his State of the Union speech Tuesday night.

    But don’t look for Obama to announce any major new initiatives, a far cry from his debut State of the Union speech in 2009, when he previewed the first of what would become a long line of foreclosure fixes.

    Until now, however, Obama’s efforts to revive the housing market have largely failed. But it isn’t entirely Obama’s fault, experts say.

    “I don’t think anyone could have done anything to stabilize the housing market,” said Ed Jacob, executive director of NHS Chicago, which provides homeownership and foreclosure prevention services. “This housing market was in far worse shape than anyone knew.”

    Obama took office in 2009, promising swift action to address the mortgage crisis. He quickly unveiled his signature foreclosure prevention program, known as HAMP, and his refinance program, known as HARP.

    But the HAMP program, which was designed to lower troubled borrowers’ mortgage rates to no more than 31% of their monthly income, ran into problems almost immediately. Many lenders lost documents, and many borrowers didn’t qualify. Three years later, it has helped a scant 910,000 homeowners — a far cry from the promised 4 million.

    HARP, which was intended to reach 5 million borrowers, has yielded about the same results. Through October, when it was revamped and expanded, the program had assisted 962,000.

    Meanwhile, more than 3.5 million people remain behind in their mortgage payments and more than 1.9 million homes are in foreclosure. And home prices have fallen for six months straight.

  2. Mike says:

    Good Morning New Jersey

  3. grim says:

    From HousingWire:

    FHFA: Principal reduction would cost Fannie, Freddie $100 billion

    A massive principal reduction program applied to underwater loans held by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would cost the mortgage giants more than $100 billion, according to an analysis released by the Federal Housing Finance Agency Monday.

    The FHFA disclosed the analysis conducted in 2010 in response to Democrats requests made last week. They asked House oversight committee chair Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., to subpoena the agency since it failed to send the analysis as requested last year.

    FHFA Acting Director Edward DeMarco has long said a principal reduction program on GSE loans would cost taxpayers too much. As of the end of the third quarter, Fannie and Freddie already owe a combined $151 billion in bailouts to the government.

    “Given that any money spent on this endeavor would ultimately come from taxpayers and given that our analysis does not indicate a preservation of assets for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac substantial enough to offset costs, an expenditure of this nature at this time would, in my judgment, require congressional action,” DeMarco said in a letter sent to Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., on Friday.

  4. grim says:

    From the Record:

    Why not rent-out foreclosed homes?

    Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has proposed one solution to help the country’s ailing housing market: “redeploy foreclosed homes as rental properties.”

    The idea isn’t new, but if it put into action it could help the lenders whose books are stuck with a growing “real estate owned,” or REO, portfolio of homes they have taken back through foreclosures.

    The proposal could also put residents — including families who lost their homes in foreclosure — back into North Jersey neighborhoods pocked with empty homes.

    While it may take some steam out of developers’ rush to construct apartment buildings and investors’ rush to buy them, adding more supply could benefit tenants by reducing rents — or at least stem rent hikes that North Jersey has seen since early 2010.

    That could conceivably leave more money in tenants’ pockets — presumably to spend elsewhere or save. Rising rents have forced renters to fork over a greater share of their take-home pay to landlords. As The Record reported in September, 31.6 percent of the typical Bergen County renter’s income went toward rent in 2010, up from 25.2 percent in 2000, according to U.S. Census figures.

  5. Mikeinwaiting says:

    What is the point, is 20k on your mortgage really going to mean a hill of beans in our area. Oh I forgot you were foreclosed on with phony docs and on street you get $1,800, now that is a joke. Not saying what side I am on as far as the people whom didn’t pay money they contracted to borrow & decided if they did not pay they could stay, just a useless show.

  6. Brian says:

    “The $25 billion deal would fund loan principal writedowns for homeowners and provide refinancings”

    This sounds good to me! Mortgage write down…free money? Where do I sign up?

    Ah I forgot, usually people with good credit that pay their mortgage on time do not qualify.

  7. Outofstater says:

    There shouldn’t even BE a policy on housing. Let the market work. We’ll figure it out.

  8. Brian says:

    Gingrich Firm Releases Freddie Mac Contract:

    “The Republican hopeful’s first contract — spanning 1999 to 2002 and worth between $1 million and $1.2 million, according to two people familiar with the agreement — wasn’t released because officials at the Center for Health Transformation can’t find it, said Susan Meyers, a center spokeswoman who works for the Gingrich campaign.”
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-01-24/gingrich-firm-releases-2006-freddie-mac-contract-as-rivals-raise-pressure.html

    That is so wierd, I can’t seem to find that incriminating paperwork anywhere…..

  9. Dissident HEHEHE says:

    Mortgage deal is gigantic farce to protect the illegal actions of the TBTF banks. The mortgage mod is the just the government claiming they have done something for “the people”. They’ll probably give it some dog and pony show name like “Freedom Modification” or “Patriotic Payback Program”. I’ve no sympathy for deadbeats but the reality is TBTF banks are the biggest f’g deadbeats in the world.

  10. Brian says:

    “Political Push Moves a Deal on Mortgages Inches Closer”

    Will somebody please post back to me when they find out where I can pick up my transfer payment check?

    I will definitely vote for O if he pays me off.

  11. Great. Slice 20K off some mortgages, then the banksters are allowed to resume stealing the country blind in the biggest daylight robbery of all time.

    No one will be helped. 20K off an unpaid/unpayable mortgage is peanuts.

  12. Dissident HEHEHE says:

    Saw this interview with David Stockman the other night on Moyers on PBS; Mish does a good job of summarizing if you don’t have time for the video:

    http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2012/01/crony-capitalism-and-entitled-class-of.html

    I’m surprised Stockman hasn’t been chosen to join the Matt Simmons Hot Tub Club.

  13. Fabius Maximus says:

    #139 Chi (previous thread)

    Chi

    The CBO ran the numbers and tort reform was a tiny piece of picture. Medical Malpractice accounts for 0.2% of heathcare spending and the extra tests account for about 0.3%. If you had tort reform tomorrow, health care costs would not drop.

    It comes down to affordability. Your kid has a sore leg, its no longer a $100 XRay its a $800 MRI. There is no low cost option any more. My buddy takes his wife to the emergency room and is hit with the reality that the on call anesthesiologist is out of network and will cost him $4K. Another gets denied coverage as the ambulance that showed up when he had the heart attack was not pre-certified.

    You say you can’t discuss this with me as I am oozing Liberal bias. Well I would say that your use of the term “Obamacare” takes any pretext of objectivity from you. If you want a straight debate on the issues, drop the ad hominem and step to the plate.

  14. Brian says:

    14. – Fabius Maximus

    Fabius, what percentage of healthcare costs go to malpractice insurance? If you know them, could you post the CBO numbers for that too?

  15. Brian says:

    Sorry, I see you posted 0.2%. My bad

  16. JJ says:

    The Music Finally Stops for Rallying Munis
    Monday, January 23, 2012

    Yea Muni rally is over. Sadly I only took a little cash off table last week. Lots of new supply hitting market next few weeks and treasuries are rising. Anyone who chased last years big winniner in the first two weeks of Jan got spanked.

  17. JJ says:

    mortgage reductions does zero. deadbeats living in houses they cant afford the solution is to kick them out.

  18. Brian says:

    CBO site says it’s almost 2%. Not 0.2% But your point is still valid.

    “Savings of that magnitude would not have a significant impact on total health care costs, however. Malpractice costs amounted to an estimated $24 billion in 2002, but that figure represents less than 2 percent of overall health care spending”
    http://www.cbo.gov/doc.cfm?index=4968&type=0

    I would theorize, however, that actual savings long term might actually be larger than that, however. You could argue that it might increase supply of availability of services thereby driving down healthcare costs. I continue to hear stories of practices being bought out by larger healthcare companies citing malpractice insurance as a motivating factor. That, to me, sounds like suppy is shrinking.

  19. still_looking says:

    Fab, 14

    MRI instead of Xray? $800 vs $100? Sounds more than. 0.3% to me in cost of extra testing.

    Anesthesiologist? Any emergency surgery needed is qualified and insurance has to cover that “out of network” doc. Why is he charging $4000? His med mal costs, documentation costs, billing costs etc.

    Please. Really. I live this.

    I could see and discharge 75% of chest pain patients based on my history, physical exam, one EKG, and a troponin test in most cases and in probably 50% of them with just the first two it the patient is younger than 35 and and with the first three if older than 35 and no hx, comorbidities, or risk factors.

    If a physician misses one bad diagnosis, the costs are astronomical so physicians in high risk settings will continue to be exorbitantly expensive.

    Most of the patients I see (at 10x the cost) a primary care physician could have seen if he had the time, staff, wasn’t overbooked, and the patient actually tried to see them.

    Ambulance with or without paramedics is covered for MIs (heart attacks.) For non emergencies (mascara brush scraped eye**, toothache, fever) if it is not a volunteer ambulance then, yes insurance will not cover this “taxi” transport.

    **yes, we had a patient who arrived by ambulance because she accidentally touched her eye with a mascara brush and had a (small) corneal abrasion.

    sl

  20. Mike says:

    JJ 19 The more politcally correct term would be “Let nature take it’s course”

  21. Brian says:

    21 – sl

    It sounds like you’re in the medical field right? If you don’t mind, can you give examples of what a malpractice insurance policy might cost? I’ve heard rumors of how expensive they are…

  22. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Brain SL is our resident ER doc. Hi Sl how is it going, MIL still a raving lunatic.

  23. JJ says:

    Doctors, Teachers, Baristas and Lawyers always seem to have an attitude issue.

  24. chicagofinance says:

    Thank you sl.

    Fab: “If you want a straight debate on the issues, drop the ad hominem and step to the plate.” My bias is not political in the U.S. My bias is against Europeans who inherently look at the U.S. and how it functions with disdain. It is not personal against you. However, it has come to the point where I cannot even rely on any business and financial analysis sourced from Europe, European banks, and U.S. headquartered banks with European satellites offices. It is all very simple. The hate America and Americans and it putrifies their analysis. I find it even tougher to tolerate European nationals coming to the U.S. and benefiting from this system, while happily urinating in public on everything they can find.

    Do you think the various libertarian and nihlisitc factors on these threads started in those forms? The problem is not so much Obamacare in the absolute sense. It is exactly what I posted yesterday and what I post consistently. It is out of step with the times. We can have an aggressive populist agenda, but why do it now? The fact that you willingly play along with the “perceived” moral high ground of “feel good” legislation and ostensibly paternalistic government reflects to me you unwillingness to view things through a 2012 prism…..which is critical for any judgement……

    At bottom, the lawyers rule and increase the cost of everything…everywhere…at all times in this country…..things too expensive….reign in their behavior as STEP 1 of ANY plan….everything else is special interest…….

  25. still_looking says:

    Please. Really.

    I took evidence based medicine. We review studies first by looking at the type of study (retrospective, double blind placebo controlled, cohort, prospective, etc.) We then look at who funded the study. Example, study showing that eating peanuts makes your private parts bigger, of course funded by the peanut grower’s association.

    Premiums for malpractice insurance are set so that over time, insurers’ income from those premiums equals their total costs (including the cost of providing a competitive return to their investors) minus their income from investing any funds they hold in reserve. In the short term, however, premiums may be above or below that equilibrium level, with profits fluctuating or reserves rising or falling as a result.

    [Hmmmmmmmmm where is the administrative costs factored in this?? If CEO, VP and upper level managements salaries are included in this, what percentage is it??? Conveniently missing, I see.]

    A full analysis****[of course, can’t expose where the money is really going] of the reasons for the recent rise in premiums is beyond the scope of this brief. But the available evidence suggests that higher costs for insurers (particularly from increases in the size of malpractice awards), lower investment income, and short-term factors such as cyclical patterns in the insurance market have all played major roles.

    Increased Costs

    Payments of claims are the most significant costs that malpractice insurers face, accounting for about two-thirds of their total costs. The average payment for a malpractice claim has risen fairly steadily since 1986, from about $95,000 in that year to $320,000 in 2002 (see Figure 2). That increase represents an annual growth rate of nearly 8 percent [gee, no incentive to file lawsuits there, now is there??] –more than twice the general rate of inflation.

    I could go on, and on and on… but I have to go to work. You know, for free for the first 30% of my shift and then defensively for the full 100% of my shift.

    I’m done discussing this. I live it already. Bottom line is the folks making the big bucks are vested in keeping people stupid about the truth and keep other fighting with others while they steal.

    sl

  26. Juice Box says:

    Accounts in Bermuda, Switzerland and the Cayman islands. I gather Romney wasn’t hiding anything right?

  27. still_looking says:

    I should clarify (and repost the above)

    That data is taken directly from the CBO link.

    sl

  28. Brian says:

    Hmmm. I need to stop eating so many peanuts :)

  29. Confused in NJ says:

    What’s disturbing about the current medical system is no one tells the truth. You can start with JoPa’s recent death in PA. His death certificate said he died of small cell lung cancer in the 79 days from it’s diagnosis. The media added that stress from his firing may have been an additional causal factor. The truth which is never discussed is that they killed him with caustic systemic chemotherapy. Saw the same thing happen to a good friend who had a sholder lump diagnosed as melanoma. Three months later from treatment he died ridiled with cancer and failing organs from the intravenous chemotherapy. Death cerificate said melanoma, but those who were with him the whole time know the truth, they killed him at a cost of $100K. The FDA refuses to require that Generic Drugs be identical to Branded Drugs. The government refuses to negotiate Drug Costs while all other countries do. The FDA adds a Medicare Drug Benefit and insists it be a for profit giveaway. The government implements High Deductible Medical Plans which wind up eroding the Private Sector and are ignored by the Public Sector. The FDA approves drugs whose side effects are heinous and benefits are questionable. The entire system is a profit motivated rather then healthcare motivated. The cost of the doctor is insignificant compared to the cost of Hospitals, Tests and Drugs, yet we keep complaining about the doctor cost.

  30. still_looking says:

    Please. Really.

    I took evidence based medicine. We review studies first by looking at the type of study (retrospective, double blind placebo controlled, cohort, prospective, etc.) We then look at who funded the study. Example, study showing that eating peanuts makes your private parts bigger, of course funded by the peanut grower’s association.

    /snip/ from CBO link above: (bracketed comments mine)
    Premiums for malpractice insurance are set so that over time, insurers’ income from those premiums equals their total costs (including the cost of providing a competitive return to their investors) minus their income from investing any funds they hold in reserve. In the short term, however, premiums may be above or below that equilibrium level, with profits fluctuating or reserves rising or falling as a result.

    [Hmmmmmmmmm where is the administrative costs factored in this?? If CEO, VP and upper level managements salaries are included in this, what percentage is it??? Conveniently missing, I see.]

    A full analysis****[of course, can’t expose where the money is really going] of the reasons for the recent rise in premiums is beyond the scope of this brief. But the available evidence suggests that higher costs for insurers (particularly from increases in the size of malpractice awards), lower investment income, and short-term factors such as cyclical patterns in the insurance market have all played major roles.

    Increased Costs

    Payments of claims are the most significant costs that malpractice insurers face, accounting for about two-thirds of their total costs. The average payment for a malpractice claim has risen fairly steadily since 1986, from about $95,000 in that year to $320,000 in 2002 (see Figure 2). That increase represents an annual growth rate of nearly 8 percent [gee, no incentive to file lawsuits there, now is there??] –more than twice the general rate of inflation.

    /end snip
    I could go on, and on and on… but I have to go to work. You know, for free for the first 30% of my shift and then defensively for the full 100% of my shift.

    sl

  31. still_looking says:

    Mike,

    Hi! We are still plugging along. Yes, still as narcissistic as ever. We have learned to deal with it for now. We celebrated our 7 yr anniv yesterday~ and are really happy.

    We keep looking for a GTG and thought of hosting another one at some point, but we’ll see.

    sl

  32. still_looking says:

    Dammit, Chifi,
    All I had to do was quote you instead….

    At bottom, the lawyers rule and increase the cost of everything…everywhere…at all times in this country…..things too expensive….reign in their behavior as STEP 1 of ANY plan….everything else is special interest…….

    Thank YOU. This is the real summary. Folks making the rules don’t really give a royal shit about you or me or doctors or kids with cancer and no insurance. They care about how they are gonna bag seven or eight figures. NOTHING else. This is the true reality. Stop demonizing everyone else in the system.

    sl

  33. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [11] Dissident

    “I am now a Bruins fan”

    Glad to have you on board

    [25] JJ

    Attitude? I got yer $@#$% addytood right here.

    [28] Juice,

    Not to intrude on your worldview but in the rest of the world, if its on your tax return, its not hidden.

  34. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [34] SL

    ” the lawyers rule and increase the cost of everything”

    Lawyers don’t sue people. People sue people.

  35. still_looking says:

    Malpractice example:

    My OBGYN left NJ for NM. He was great. Great bedside manner, kind, intelligent, careful, reasonable. With NO claims against him — not even being NAMED in a suit. Clean. His premium was almost $100,000. Yes. you read that right.

    He makes a shitload more money, less aggravation, more free time working for a hospital in NM. He told me that even Medicaid there is like a real insurance – unlike here.

    If I see a Medicaid patient, I used to get paid $7.00. No matter what the problem was. heart attack, bruised leg, nosebleed, chest pain. Now it’s up to $24.00 .

    sl

  36. A.West says:

    I’m offended that so many people think that SL, as a reward for her years of study and experience, should be made the slave of any random bum who cares to wave his open sores at her, with the government serving as her slavemaster.
    No wonder doctors are going on strike, by withdrawing their services from those who believe they have a moral right to compell them to work on anything but their own terms.

    http://www.aynrand.org/site/DocServer/ARC_Health_Care_Is_Not_A_Right_2009.pdf?docID=2161

  37. yo says:

    #31 Confused
    I said yesterday,I am done with the subject but I need to clarify one thing about your statement.The hospital is no more than a hotel now a days,providing hospital beds.The ER is owned by company of doctors.Doctors test are being sent to their own facilities.After a couple of days from the hospital they get sent to a ITACH.Which is a step down from a hospital where patient need more attention.And while a patient is in the hospital the doctor orders a transfer of patient to where he has affiliation.Which means,he gets paid for every patient he sends there.

  38. still_looking says:

    Nom, 36

    My point is the folks making these rules (in government- mostly lawyers) are determined to keep the money flowing in the direction of their own (lawyers.)

    I agree with people sue people. But the people who incentivize it, are lawyers, our government.

    Their incentive isn’t to get people healthier, insured, increased access to doctors — fixing the system isn’t t0 their advantage.

    sl

  39. Barbara says:

    Can anyone make an argument for the direct value health insurers have on both our health and our health care system? I’m being a little rhetorical but I may also be missing something.

  40. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    I will tell you this, re: healthcare. The spouse is a mid-level attorney for a mid-major pharma co here in NJ. She focuses on regulatory. Lotsa people say she knows her shiite.

    I spent 4 plus years as a banking regulatory attorney, and an equal time as a tax attorney, so I see the labrynthine regulatory structures we have in banking and employee benefits, just to name a couple of areas. Yet compared to pharma, these areas are the Wild, Wild West. Pharma is so hyper-regulated, a scientist or officer can’t zip his fly without providing myriad disclosures and reports to state, federal, and foreign regulators. And as one who understands the logic (and yes, there is a logic) to things like tax policy and financial regulation, the sheer degree of regulation in pharma, and the utter illogic to some of it, makes my head explode.

    And as to the fact that some drugs are not 100% effective, or have side effects, well, there are some laws that Congress couldn’t repeal with 100% of the vote. Those are the laws of nature. Don’t like a particular drug’s profile? Don’t take it, or come up with a better therapy (the latter will make you rich if that is any incentive).

  41. yo says:

    Confused,
    I forgot to mention the reason Hospitals closed in our areas due to lack of funding on charity care.That’s it.Those were the kind of patient the doctors left them.The ones that will pay gets sent to their facilities,the non paying ones stayed in the hospital.

  42. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [40] SL

    Two reforms (and one isn’t even a reform) would change it overnight:

    1. Appoint judges that will actually impose Rule 11 sanctions
    2. English system: Loser pays litigation costs

  43. JJ says:

    Trouble with doctors are doctors themselves. The wrong type of people become doctors. When I went to Stonybrook pre-med students consisted of asian, indian and jewish nerds who studied night and day and were soley in it for the money.

    Then they are expected to graduate and have a practice which involves, people skills, marketing, customer relations, managing staff, dealing with insurance companies, ap/ar, legal issues, insurance, dealing with pharma reps, leasing equipment etc. etc. and none are skilled in that or have the personality to do it.

    The people who may have wanted to me a doctor, which are many, who would be better at it are not allowed as unless you sell your soul to the devil in HS and College studying around the clock night and day to gain a 4.0 gpa you can’t get into medical school. So well rounded, B+ students, with part time jobs, presidents of their fraternity, played a sport, did some charity work, have a life are prohibited from becoming a doctor as they can’t get into medical school.

    40 years ago it was common to see a white irish/italian catholic doctor practicing family medicine. Today no white irish/italian catholic wants anything to do with being a doctor. And today very very little jewish kids want to be doctors.

    Oddly the majority of america is white or black yet all are doctors are asian/indian. Pretty odd. Medical schools in the 1970s/1980s attempted to diversify and now they went from 90% white to 90% asian/indian in 30 years.

    BTW I think 100K is dirt cheap for malpractice. Heck you could just sneeze or have someone bump your arm during surgery and kill a 50 year old man supporting seven kids and a stay at home wife and be sued for 5 million.

  44. Don’t call it healthcare. It’s sickcare. And, TPTB + gubmint + media all conspire to make you sick, then drive you into a system that empties your wallet.

    http://www.oftwominds.com/blogjan12/learning-from-doctors01-12.html

  45. still_looking says:

    Nom, 44

    I can dream about it though, can’t I? :)

    sl

  46. still_looking says:

    Barbara, 41

    Of course they serve a purpose.
    Making their executives wealthy and people more ill.

    sl

  47. Confused in NJ says:

    We wouldn’t be concerned with malpractice if many of the treatments weren’t so deadly.

  48. xolepa says:

    People sue people, fine. But it’s the lawyers who set up the whole system. Why do you read almost on a daily basis that a judge allows a lawsuit ‘to proceed’ based upon his/her interpretation of the law. It’s because the ruling perpetuates the judge/legislator is also a lawyer relation. 1 example of how this has personally affected me:
    My tenant puts his fist through a glass storm door while being in a rage and after drinking a keg of beer with his buddies on a July 4th party. Glass explodes and cuts his arm. He sues me for cost of medical treatment (uninsured) and pain and suffering, et al. Lawyer states that glass wasn’t up to code. This house was just purchased 1 year prior. I did not touch it, prior. Was I really negligent? If it wasn’t for the lawyer, the dumb turnip would have sucked it up.

    Now as to how lawyers have affected business decisions, another example:
    BMW and Mercedes developed the first ant-brake skid systems in Europe in the early 1980s. They decided to hold off introducing the technology in the US for 5 years because they had to test the legal waters for that entire time. Saving lives took a back seat to making sure that they wouldn’t be sued for some unknown reason. How many lives could have been saved in this country if ABS was allowed to be implemented 5 years earlier?

  49. The base argument still to be resolved is whether or not healthcare (not sickcare) is a human right or a commodity, subject to market forces.

    Until we define what health even is, don’t expect any of the components of the sickcare industry to resemble functional entities.

    Of course, the players in the sickcare biz have created so much inflamed diversion from the real core of the issue, it’s likely no rational discussion will ever take place.

  50. Painhrtz - I ain't dead yet says:

    Nom since I’m in compliance in pharma some days I want to hang myself. since my function manages clinical compliance I know SL’s pain as I hear it every audit I’m on.

    Confused chemo is essentially poison and barbaric but unfortunately it is still the best method of treatment for aggressive cancers. As far genrics vs branded, they go through a stingent bioequivalency and bioavailbility process before release. While the formulations may vary slightly the actives essentiall are the same with a similar method of action. Without boring you with drug clearance, pharmacodynamics and kinetics. Drugs are designed to treat a large swath of the population, they cannot account for differences in physiology and genetics. What works for some could exacerbate a major medical condition in another

  51. Stuffing your face with Big Macs, watching 7 hours of TV/day, smoking, drugging, drinking to excess and general de-evolution into a Wall-E bag of blood will probably lead to cancer/cardio issues/@ddiction/obesity (pick any 3 of the 4).

    The above is TPTB’s plan for virtually every individual Amerikan (that, and ossifying your brain with 13 years of public edumacation).

    Don’t follow their plan, and chances are good you’ll have far fewer impoverishing encounters with the sickcare system.

  52. xolepa says:

    Now , I feel for SL as I have one son in medical school and another most likely going that way, too. The oldest has his sights set on a high-risk specialty. The younger is graduating from college this year and is not sure which way he will go. The lawyers, to me, are the bullies of the professional world. They first designed this road to perdition. and I believe it’s partially a result of well, jealously. A lot of them are not that bright, but they are bright enough to seek guidance from others that know more than they do. The hardest Law school in the country to get into is easier than any medical school in this country. The average acceptance rates at medical schools is now 1 out of 25. The average acceptance rate at Yale law is 1 out of 10.

  53. Anon E. Moose says:

    JJ [19];

    mortgage reductions does zero. deadbeats living in houses they cant afford the solution is to kick them out.

    Huzzah!

  54. In the TPTB’s world, you are entitled to throw yourself (at the expense of society) a 100K+ farewell-to-life party, replete with expensive, painful and heroic treatments that will not restore you to health or even buy you years of further life. All of this falls under the euphemism of “End of Life Care”, and our mass overindulgence in this final act of overbloated consumption is yet another way the individual Amerikan is being bled and robbed.

  55. Confused in NJ says:

    52.Painhrtz – I ain’t dead yet says:
    January 24, 2012 at 10:16 am
    Nom since I’m in compliance in pharma some days I want to hang myself. since my function manages clinical compliance I know SL’s pain as I hear it every audit I’m on.

    Confused chemo is essentially poison and barbaric but unfortunately it is still the best method of treatment for aggressive cancers. As far genrics vs branded, they go through a stingent bioequivalency and bioavailbility process before release. While the formulations may vary slightly the actives essentiall are the same with a similar method of action. Without boring you with drug clearance, pharmacodynamics and kinetics. Drugs are designed to treat a large swath of the population, they cannot account for differences in physiology and genetics. What works for some could exacerbate a major medical condition in another

    The FDA has been sitting on a Generic Azithromycin complaint since 2005 that the Generics made by Sandoz and Teva, active ingredients, are not equivalent to the branded drug by Pfyser. If you buy a generic by Greenstone you’re O.K. because it is owned by Pfyser. Having taken both Greenstone O.K., and Sandoz N.G., I can attest to the difference. After I complain to the FDA I find out they knew all along & did nothing. The FDA is worthless as far as protecting US citizens. They have no ability to actually gurantee the drug chain from non US based manufacturers.

  56. Don’t even get me started about when I enforced my dad’s DNR instructions and got told by his doc that I was “killing him”.

  57. Painhrtz - I ain't dead yet says:

    Oh and another thing. I don’t take anything more than aspirin though I have moved up to alleve for some joint pain.

    If/when I get cancer (the enevitable outcome if organ failure doesn’t get you first) I’m not getting chemo unless my survival rate is above 75% otherwise. No go. I had a scare a few years ago and I’m not even 40 yet. Re-evaluated my life a little, changed priorities, but I’m OK with going. Cancer, like heart attacks, is nature’s timer going off. I’ll take quality over quantity.

  58. Westjester says:

    Re #44 law and lawyers
    Want a lifetime job? Make a ridiculous discrimination complaint to HR. Once it is dismissed, on any attempt to terminate you later, sue arguing retaliation.
    It is as if the law was specifically designed for incompetent a$$holes.

  59. J La says:

    Once again, John makes a point that’s spot on. Doctors are scientists, not business people. Most never imagined having to deal with the fallout from the birth of managed care in the 1990’s. Most practices shared the administrative duties amongst themselves and that is just not a reality anymore for and doctor that wants to make any money.

  60. J La says:

    and = a

  61. In the end, we’re all dead.

  62. seif says:

    #46 – great read. thx.

  63. Libtard and the City says:

    Have to weigh in. ChiFi is 100% right on the need for tort reform. My bro is an injury lawyer and I see the living he has obtained and often here of cases with questionable legitimacy.

    I recall when I was younger and more impressionable (call it 20 years ago), I read something from Chomsky (I think) where he said that the problem with society was that all of our discretionary income goes to the lawyers, the insurers and the health care industry. All three were essentially conspiring to empty our wallets, when what all three offered should really be available for free. Why should we have to pay for legal help? Why should we have to support the middleman (insurance industry)? Why should medicine be such a profit center?

    When I read it back then, things weren’t quite as bad. Today, things have gotten much, much, worse.

  64. Libtard and the City says:

    Too busy to proofread. Sorry.

  65. JJ says:

    I am poor tenant, I have no insurance, I cut arm on rich landlords door who is insured. Why would the poor person pay out of pocket, it is same as just sending you an extra $500 in rent check just for fun.

    Granted he cut himself on door himself, but it was your glass door that cut him.

    You tenant had a bad lawyer if they only sued you. Some lawyers would have sued the storm door maker, your insurance company, the doctor, the town for not catching the zoning violation. Gotta shake a lot of trees to get a lot of coconuts.

    A glass sstorm
    xolepa says:
    January 24, 2012 at 10:10 am
    People sue people, fine. But it’s the lawyers who set up the whole system. Why do you read almost on a daily basis that a judge allows a lawsuit ‘to proceed’ based upon his/her interpretation of the law. It’s because the ruling perpetuates the judge/legislator is also a lawyer relation. 1 example of how this has personally affected me:
    My tenant puts his fist through a glass storm door while being in a rage and after drinking a keg of beer with his buddies on a July 4th party. Glass explodes and cuts his arm. He sues me for cost of medical treatment (uninsured) and pain and suffering, et al. Lawyer states that glass wasn’t up to code. This house was just purchased 1 year prior. I did not touch it, prior. Was I really negligent? If it wasn’t for the lawyer, the dumb turnip would have sucked it up.

  66. xolepa says:

    Sorry, JJ, but the B/B+ students can’t cut it today anymore when you consider the amount of competition for available slots. And from my wife’s experience (she’s an RN by education) those B/B+ doctors are just as greedy, probably more. That item on Asians is sheer fallacy as many of the pre-med forums contain multitudes of comments from Asians stating that they have been passed over because well, they are Asians. You are looking at this through a NJ/NY/CT glass. The Asians seem to dominate here, but that is not the case all over.
    On the other hand, you are right in that they have less people skills. But that is mostly cultural. Their sons and daughters will be totally different in personality as they will be free of the ancestral yoke. Ask me how I know about the yoke. And I am not Asian.

  67. yo says:

    The point I am trying to bring up yesterday is;We all know,one of the biggest bitter of the budget deficit is health care and we know we pay more than 2x than other develop countries and yet we can not even get our leaders debate a real solution to the problem.It seems the acceptable answer is cut medicare and let prices keep on going up.And keep on complaining about unsustainable deficit.If Obamacare is not acceptable,bring up a solution that will bring cost down to inline us with other countries.Or let other countries run our healthcare system.Sarcasm

  68. The Original NJ Expat says:

    If a new car company sprang up selling family sedans that got 100mpg and was able to sell them for $9000 brand new, it would radically change the car market and bring the price down on virtually all family sedans. Would we be coming up with government programs to “keep families in their cars” and “fix the auto market”? What if people who were under water on their Camrys and Accords started “walking away” and buying replacement cars at a lower price?

  69. JJ says:

    I don’t know. I went to a really high rated american born asian doctor recently who had a A average out of Harvard Medical School. He was kinda uppidity. Now I expect the guy who can fix a classic Ferrari Transimission to be all uppidity. But a doctor, really. Just hand me a tissue to blow my nose and give me my script.

    If I had a Harvard Medical Degree my family would be like big deal not clean out the sink. Asians regardless of how long in the country put doctors up on a pedistal. My indian friend who works on wall street and makes like 500K and has an MBA hears from her Dad why can’t you have a real job and be a doctor like my friends kids. Most doctors are rarely home for their family, don’t really make much after costs are considered, bring home germs, work long hours and cheat on their wifes. But in asian culture that is a good job. In american culture, a bond trader at an IB who works 9-5 and is home every night with kids and helping wife is a better job. I would never want any of my kids either being a doctor or marrying a doctor.

    Plus being a doctor is the stupidest job in the world. My doctors run practices where they do all the work and staff sits there and chit chats. Other business the staff do all the work and the owner sits back and chit chats. The doctor can’t even have his staff help him see patients. Kinda crazy business model.

    xolepa says:
    January 24, 2012 at 10:58 am
    Sorry, JJ, but the B/B+ students can’t cut it today anymore when you consider the amount of competition for available slots. And from my wife’s experience (she’s an RN by education) those B/B+ doctors are just as greedy, probably more. That item on Asians is sheer fallacy as many of the pre-med forums contain multitudes of comments from Asians stating that they have been passed over because well, they are Asians. You are looking at this through a NJ/NY/CT glass. The Asians seem to dominate here, but that is not the case all over.
    On the other hand, you are right in that they have less people skills. But that is mostly cultural. Their sons and daughters will be totally different in personality as they will be free of the ancestral yoke. Ask me how I know about the yoke. And I am not Asian.

  70. yo says:

    I paid over a thousand dollars for a bulky Sony stereo system in the 80’s.A more efficient system today comparable to that system will cost me under $200.Tiny speakers and it can play alot of kinds of music.
    Does this compare to the car?

  71. JJ says:

    Silly comparision. Mortgages were flawed from get go as they assumed home prices would always rise over time. Car loans on other hand assumed car would depreicate rapidly from get go. So shorter terms, higher interest rates and bigger downpayments. It has been said if banks used the softrware methodolgy GMAC uses to make car loans in making home loans their would have been no real estate meltdown.

    The Original NJ Expat says:
    January 24, 2012 at 11:09 am
    If a new car company sprang up selling family sedans that got 100mpg and was able to sell them for $9000 brand new, it would radically change the car market and bring the price down on virtually all family sedans. Would we be coming up with government programs to “keep families in their cars” and “fix the auto market”? What if people who were under water on their Camrys and Accords started “walking away” and buying replacement cars at a lower price?

  72. JJ says:

    No it compares to housing as you are underwater on your 80s stereo. You should ask for a bailout.

    yo says:
    January 24, 2012 at 11:15 am
    I paid over a thousand dollars for a bulky Sony stereo system in the 80′s.A more efficient system today comparable to that system will cost me under $200.Tiny speakers and it can play alot of kinds of music.
    Does this compare to the car?

  73. yo says:

    Growing up in the 3rd world where new Toyota cars cost the same as a house and appreciate in value due to lack of available cars in the country during that time.Houses in reality should depreciate in value like cars because they have a lifespan.High demand is what makes houses appreciate.

  74. Anon E. Moose says:

    This settlement shakedown smells exactly like the tobacco settlement (I’d love to go find where I predicted that, because I did). At least in the tobbacco settlement, the cost was recouped through cigarette prices — i.e., smokers paid money to the tobbacco companies, who laundered it to the states, as compensation for the tobbacco companies lying to smokers. Nice how that worked out, huh?

    This time around the merry-go-round, it won’t be the deadbeats paying, because if they could pay, they would pay, and there wouldn’t be any problem. So the bubble sitters get to pay off the banks, to launder money to the states, because the banks loaned money to deadbeats who everyone (but the deadbeats themselves, apparently) knew weren’t going to repay.

    Government locusts just feeding on the next crop, 17 years later.

  75. yo says:

    JJ,
    10 year treasuries keeps on going up.Any prediction for 2012?

  76. Cam Girls says:

    I’m now not certain where you are getting your info, but good topic. I needs to spend some time finding out much more or understanding more. Thanks for great info I was looking for this info for my mission.

  77. Anon E. Moose says:

    John (Don’t you know who I am?) F(***ing). Kerry sports two black eyes at a White House event for the Bruins.

    http://www.thepostgame.com/blog/dish/201201/senator-john-kerry-more-beaten-white-house-nhl-stars

    He says it happened during a hockey game. Maybe a disagreement with Theresa?

  78. yo says:

    Moose,
    Good one!

  79. JCer says:

    American arrogance is what keeps healthcare expensive. 95% of the time in France, Italy, or Switzerland the outcomes of healthcare treatments are equivalent to here, yet the real costs of their system are much lower than ours. Why our politicians are not trying to figure out what makes their systems SO MUCH CHEAPER, rather than trying to figure out who will pay for healthcare is beyond me. I think tort reform is one elephant in the room, I think regulation and the compensation structure(insurance company billing) causes ridiculous costs for things. I think hmo’s and the billing structures(which are byzantine) really add to inefficiency, how many office personnel are needed in a small practice just to handle routine insurance claims. We have system where the motivators are not quality of care or efficiency, but profits for certain parties and the crisis is exacerbated not only by the increased cost of care/procedures/visits/etc but also the lack of relatively risk-less investments that will generate decent yield which were a fundamental part of the insurance industries business model. The idea of free market in healthcare is a fallacy, prices can be set far too easily and in general people will spend all they have to get healthy.

    Obamacare is a farce because it just provides care to all by essentially changing who will pay and it really does nothing to address the massive problems in America’s healthcare system which are really the cause of having so many uninsured.

  80. gary says:

    Moose [76],

    Where’s your compassion for the poor (pronounced: pour) and needy? Don’t you know that from each of us according to our ability, need to give to each according to his needs? :o

  81. The Original NJ Expat says:

    The car analogy was far from perfect, I was merely attempting to show that a market can be changed permanently at any point in time. The stupidity lies in the government trying un-ring a bell and force a market back to the way it used to be. This futility is even more ridiculous if the way it used to be was a distortion and not a real market at all.

  82. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [60] Westjester

    When I was at State Street, I knew a guy who did exactly that (claimed hostile workplace due to man-hating female VP in charge of unit). Later, I ran into him and he told me he was trying subtly to get me to do the same (could not outright tell me because he signed confidentiality agreement) because I could have paid for law school.

  83. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    So Obama is outsourcing tax policy now?

    http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/44/26/49421421.pdf

    My drinking game for tonight is to have a shot for every OECD policy point that he makes in the SOTU.

  84. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    The drumbeat starts . . . .

    From taxprofblog:

    Charlotte Crane (Northwestern) presents Legitimate Expectations in Tax Transitions: Are Roth IRA Conversions Different? at Case Western today as part of its Faculty Workshop Series:

    Congress has rarely been tempted to test its power to adversely change tax treatments of investments in ways that would have substantial retroactive effects, despite the assurance from academia (most notably in the writings of Graetz and Kaplow) that there are few if any limits on such power beyond the limits of pragmatic politics. If, however, substantial numbers of high-wealth taxpayers have taken advantage of the ability to convert from traditional IRAs to Roth IRAs, future Congresses may feel pressure to reneg on the promises made to Roth converters, and make tax law changes that affect the exemption of distributions from such Roth IRAs. Roth converters may be especially vulnerable if it turns out that such high wealth converters were able to selectively transfer investments likely to have particularly high returns into Roth IRAs.

    This paper explores whether Roth IRA converters have claims so qualitatively different from those of other investors in tax-affected positions that their expectations should be honored. It concludes with a caution against the deep entrenchment of tax exemptions, because of the obstacles such entrenchment creates for the evolution of the federal taxes. Roth converters will be among those with the highest interest in preserving the income tax, since it is that tax that they have pre-paid.

    And the abstract from SSRN, if you are still unclear where she comes out:
    “Abstract:
    Beginning in January 2010, taxpayers may convert balances in traditional IRAs into tax prepaid Roth IRAs. Those who decide to do so will be relying on current law that allows the payment of a tax now to replace any future income tax on the earnings within the Roth IRA and on withdrawals therefrom.

    In this paper, I explore whether these taxpayers should be afforded any exception from the generally accepted idea that changes in tax laws that affect pre-existing investments raise no special concerns. I conclude that although the Roth IRA holder, especially of the Roth IRA holder who has converted a traditional IRA into a Roth IRA through the prepayment of income taxes on the account, is qualitatively different from most investors facing tax changes, this difference gives rise only to political, and not constitutional, concerns.

    I further conclude that the current Congress would be wise to remove the ability of current IRA holders to convert their accounts into Roth IRAs, and thus to minimize the political challenge future Congresses will face given the expectations of the holders of such accounts.”

    If that canary develops a cough, make sure you follow Meat’s investing advice.

    “The sound of gunfire, off in the distance. I’m getting used to it now”

  85. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    okay, salt mine time

  86. JJ says:

    I would guess 2.25 to 2.5o range by year end. Novice treasury investors may think a move from 1.9 to 2.4 is no big deal, but impact on the mark to mark pricing of their treasury bond will shock them.

    Europe will get through this crisis and once treasuries are not the only safe soveign plan in town yields will slowly rise. Remember Fed funds are pricing in a summer and fall rate hike in 2013. A ten year bond will be impacted by that.

    Rising rates actually mean economy is doing better. So yield hunters will move to junk bonds, div paying blue chips and pref stocks. Risk Trade on.

    Low mortgage rates do not improve housing as much as a strong economy, jobs and rising 401K balances. Also the old people will be happy to see 5% CDs again.

    yo says:
    January 24, 2012 at 11:35 am
    JJ,
    10 year treasuries keeps on going up.Any prediction for 2012?

  87. A.West says:

    Seif (79),
    To be fair, that 1980’s receiver was ultra-high end for its time. The Yamaha is mid-priced and designed for 5 channel listening. The Yamaha would win if you’re listening to a surround sound movie with a powered subwoofer, I bet.

    I recently upgraded to an Onkyo 3009 receiver, with a 20-yr old 2-channel HK amp powering the fronts, coupled with dual SVS 12-inch subs. It can shake the couch from under you. Mostly used for home theater in my projector room.

  88. grim says:

    My stereo still has vacuum tubes, and I happen to like it that way.

  89. A.West says:

    I saw on Fidelity that my old town Scotch Plains gets an AA muni rating and is issuing a bunch of debt with a tax equivalent yield of from 1.2% to about 2%. Why would I bother to invest my money? I’ll just send some more money over to our Chinese bank accounts where the 1-yr CD rates are 3.5%, and we can get probably 3-5% currency appreciation. Risks are definitely different, but yields in the US aren’t even in the game. Government is just manipulating rates to convert zero yields into banker bonuses and political lobbying funds. Do banks even finance real activity in the economy any more?

  90. chicagofinance says:

    Do you want to reduce healthcare costs in this country? Have everyone forced into High Deductible Health Care plans. It is essentially the same concept as a co-pay at the doctor. The thought is that patients required to pay $5, $10, $20 (i.e. some nominal amount) tending to make a recognition that services are being provided for a cost.

    I am in a plan with lower premiums, and the gap for my deductible is more than offset by the lower premiums. HOWEVER, if I want to go to the doctor have him hit my pee-pee with a reflex hammer, I have to pay him $85 or whatever the network charge is. In the broadest sense, I am indifferent, because overall I am better off with this plan. However, to the typical clot coined “bag of blood”…..don’t tell me that they will think twice about waltzing into Dr. Zhivago for dried lips at $75 a pop, when they could spend it instead on Doritos and Soda……

  91. JJ says:

    Well you are supporting your local town buying munis and the interest is tax free. ING Direct is only paying 1/2 of one percent on a CD and it is taxable.

    China banks are not FDIC insured and carry great FX risk. The CDs should be paying junk bond returns. A Bank of America TRUP is paying 8.5% and I would say a China bank should pay at least that.

    I bonds, Trups, Step-ups, B Rated Munis, blue chips stocks paying over 4% etc are all better options if you are looking for yield. Of course you wont end up on the OFAC/AML list with american stuff, the china stuff gets you threre quicker

    A.West says:
    January 24, 2012 at 12:50 pm
    I saw on Fidelity that my old town Scotch Plains gets an AA muni rating and is issuing a bunch of debt with a tax equivalent yield of from 1.2% to about 2%. Why would I bother to invest my money? I’ll just send some more money over to our Chinese bank accounts where the 1-yr CD rates are 3.5%, and we can get probably 3-5% currency appreciation. Risks are definitely different, but yields in the US aren’t even in the game. Government is just manipulating rates to convert zero yields into banker bonuses and political lobbying funds. Do banks even finance real activity in the economy any more?

  92. JJ says:

    chicagofinance says:
    January 24, 2012 at 1:02 pm
    HOWEVER, if I want to go to the doctor have him hit my pee-pee with a reflex hammer, I have to pay him $85.

    Chifi, when strange men touch your pee pee I think you should be the one charging $85 bucks.

  93. Mike says:

    Speeding car goes under gas tank in Elizabeth driver burns to death http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2012/01/authorities_yet_to_id_driver_w.html

  94. chicagofinance says:

    JJ: did you see the tenders on the BOA/ML debt?….they are only going for $100K chunks…..

  95. Juice says:

    re: # 35 – Comrade he was hiding his offshore accounts and tax returns period not from the IRS but from everyone else. Effective rate of 13.9%? How about the substantial blind trust under his wife’s name held by GS?

    Note to candidate move your money into UST well in advance of any decision to run for office even the GOP voters don’t like Wall St cronies these days.

  96. chicagofinance says:

    Are we going to get some story from JJ about the 13 year old boy with the family vacuum?

    grim says:
    January 24, 2012 at 12:46 pm
    My stereo still has vacuum tubes, and I happen to like it that way.

  97. JJ says:

    Yep, which is good. I got paid consent money to alter terms, my bonds were not called and I still collect 8.25 coupon.

    Stock trades at 60% of book, bonds trade at 95% of par, swap from bonds to stock makes since.

    chicagofinance says:
    January 24, 2012 at 1:19 pm
    JJ: did you see the tenders on the BOA/ML debt?….they are only going for $100K chunks…..

  98. The Original NJ Expat says:

    Does anybody know how often or when institutional ownership of a stock is reported? A small cap mining stock I own just jumped from 41% to 55% as reported by my TD Ameritrade account. I’m sure I checked it within the last week and it was 41%.

  99. A.West says:

    I think JJ (71) was irritated that the Harvard educated asian doctor didn’t give him a fat coupon before bending him over and slipping something up his brownie pipe.
    He didn’t get a prospectus in advance either.

  100. JJ says:

    I am highly disappointed in what you think of me. I did use a coupon.

    A.West says:
    January 24, 2012 at 1:46 pm
    I think JJ (71) was irritated that the Harvard educated asian doctor didn’t give him a fat coupon before bending him over and slipping something up his brownie pipe.
    He didn’t get a prospectus in advance either.

  101. xolepa says:

    Now for my take on subwoofers: Ten years ago my oldest was in high school and supplemented his soccer refereeing money with DJ work. Bought all the equipment himself, except one day we decided to finish my Home Theater setup. I purchased a 13 foot section of sewer pipe. 3/4″ inches thick all the way around and 22″ in inner diameter. I used the 15″ Adire Audio tempest driver (and a handy router) to build my 4 foot high cylindrical. With the remaining section, we built two more for his DJ setup using Adire Audio Maelstroms (18″). Any of those subs will out perform those delicate SVSs. Since he had a dedicated amp, 2 x1000W, those babies created havoc in the neighborhood. Got the police called on us after 5 minutes of play once. This is the same kid who went on to medical school, was president of Clubs in a certain Ivy league school. Was a suicide prevention counselor in that town. On the college’s disciplinary committee. Won scholarships for voluntary service there, too. Just doesn’t seem to fit JJ’s stereotype of the medical school nerd.

  102. JJ says:

    chifi, bonus money investment time, what do you have this year? I did munis 11, investment grade 10, junk 9 and cds in 8. But now I am at a loss what to invest in.

  103. NJGator says:

    Shore and other Bruce fans. Did you hear that Springsteen has been added to this year’s Jazzfest lineup for Sat. April 29. Nawlins GTG anyone?

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/music/bruce-springsteen-joins-jazz-fest-lineup-in-new-orleans-for-first-time-since-2006/2012/01/24/gIQALDvaNQ_story.html

  104. Confused in NJ says:

    95.chicagofinance says:
    January 24, 2012 at 1:02 pm
    Do you want to reduce healthcare costs in this country? Have everyone forced into High Deductible Health Care plans. It is essentially the same concept as a co-pay at the doctor. The thought is that patients required to pay $5, $10, $20 (i.e. some nominal amount) tending to make a recognition that services are being provided for a cost.

    High Deductible plans implemented in 2003 use IRS tables. They require you pay the first $2,400 out of pocket before anything is covered in network. Once you exceed $2,400 out of pocket they pay 90% in network. Out of network is $8,000 out of pocket, after which they pay 60%. This is the 2003 Bush standard for High Deductible Plans.

  105. seif says:

    107 – i saw that. i am already booked for 2nd weekend…but he has plenty of local dates to catch him.

  106. JJ says:

    Kinda does. volunteer work, project with Dad, soccer ref.

    Dads in my world were dead, ran-off or checked out. People with four bald tires, bad breaks and no car insurance can’t do volunteer work and School was something you squeezed into day. What the heck is a disciplinary committee? I mean I have seen in any given week, swapped term papers, cut classes, cheating on tests, open drug sales, stolen car parts etc. Am I supposed to report it all?

    My world in college consited of night shift people, unwed mothers, ticket scalpers, drug dealers, bartenders, stewardesses etc. The marginal world you see in the book “nickeled and dimed” I recall my gfs checked out dad, three daughters, one divorced, one with two illegimate kids and my gf with 8 people in a two bedroom apt was in total shock when in the only time he spoke to me yelled at me about being worthless and I told him I graduated college in a few weeks, guy was in a total state of shock. I don’t think he ever knew someone who even went to college let alone graduated. People like me would make good doctors. I know the real deal. I recently took a class at a city community college and it brought me back to my old days.

    Now I am well off I dont know where to score drugs, what bars are open all night, where the hos are, where unwed mothers live, where to get food stamps, where to get a shady mechanic to pass a junked car, where to get bongs and used tires. Where to hock stuff to buy a text book, which stores use the manual credit card machine so when they swipe it if you are over limit it goes through, don’t know where town bookie or loan shark is, don’t know where hos go to settle up with pimps, don’t know a lot. But theses things still exist

    Sadly majority of america the 99% fit in the mold I described above. My stereo I got from garbage picking on my paper route. Apparantly people threw stereo outs when some parts of it still work, brought home like 12 of them over two years and got enough parts to make one work.

    I used to DJ too, but apparantly when the owner of said equipement finds out he is not happy.

    xolepa says:
    January 24, 2012 at 2:07 pm
    Now for my take on subwoofers: Ten years ago my oldest was in high school and supplemented his soccer refereeing money with DJ work. Bought all the equipment himself, except one day we decided to finish my Home Theater setup. I purchased a 13 foot section of sewer pipe. 3/4″ inches thick all the way around and 22″ in inner diameter. I used the 15″ Adire Audio tempest driver (and a handy router) to build my 4 foot high cylindrical. With the remaining section, we built two more for his DJ setup using Adire Audio Maelstroms (18″). Any of those subs will out perform those delicate SVSs. Since he had a dedicated amp, 2 x1000W, those babies created havoc in the neighborhood. Got the police called on us after 5 minutes of play once. This is the same kid who went on to medical school, was president of Clubs in a certain Ivy league school. Was a suicide prevention counselor in that town. On the college’s disciplinary committee. Won scholarships for voluntary service there, too. Just doesn’t seem to fit JJ’s stereotype of the medical school nerd.

  107. JJ says:

    Dow Advances 60% Under Obama

    I love you man!!

  108. Confused in NJ says:

    93.grim says:
    January 24, 2012 at 12:46 pm
    My stereo still has vacuum tubes, and I happen to like it that way

    I still play my Vinyl Beatle Records on a tube amplified diamond needle sterio turntable.

  109. Westjester says:

    Re#86
    Nom
    The only reason I found about this is someone I know is in the line of fire and is sufferring. It is a long story.

  110. Juice says:

    re: # 60- “It is as if the law was specifically designed for incompetent a$$holes.”

    That pretty much sums it up.

  111. Painhrtz - I ain't dead yet says:

    Confused #9? White Album can only truly be appreciated on vinyl and a three day LSD trip. I don’t miss college like JJ, I just don’t remember much of it. JJ For the record I was premed but couldn’t see sacrificing the better part of my life on a career I wasn’t sure about. That is the sole reason I’m not a doctor. Doctors are like ministers it is a calling, sure their are bad ones, but the majority do it because they couldn’t imagine themselves doing any thing else. Whether it be for the prestige, money or the patients, they only see themselves as doctors.

  112. xolepa says:

    What the heck is a disciplinary committee?

    Did you ever see the movie Animal House?

    The real version, not double secret probation. And once you saved a kids butt that kid owes you big time. And the kids in these schools are not sorry asss. Fathers are CEOs, parents are doctors, etc. They climb positions up the ladder quite fast, once their footings are set.
    Part of the reason for striving to get into these colleges is educational. That’s for the real nerds. The kids who really understand what it’s all about is the opportunity to make friends who can really help in the long run. It’s not what you know…

  113. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [99] juice

    “Comrade he was hiding his offshore accounts and tax returns period not from the IRS but from everyone else.”

    Wouldn’t you? I don’t like people knowing where and how much I have in banks, etc.

  114. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [113] westjester,

    It gets better. Suppose someone sues. Now there is a public record. But if that person comes to you for a job and you ding them, they can sue you for not hiring them. Then you have to prove you didn’t know about, or did not rely upon, the fact that they sued for discrimination.

    Nice, huh?

  115. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [99] juice

    ” Effective rate of 13.9%? How about the substantial blind trust under his wife’s name held by GS?”

    And your point is?

    It doesn’t sound like you were going to vote for him in the first place. You are free to vote that way, it’s your right. But you are trying to make arguments for illegality or some undesirable behavior out of thin air. If you don’t want Americans to have offshore bank accounts, pass a law. Now when I look at what you are arguing, and I reduce your points to the irreducible nut, I conclude that you are basically mad at him for being successful. There’s a term for that.

  116. Excellent post. I used to be checking continuously this weblog and I am inspired! Extremely helpful info specifically the closing section :) I take care of such information much. I was seeking this particular information for a long time. Thank you and good luck.

  117. Painhrtz - I ain't dead yet says:

    Snookie posting here?

  118. The Original NJ Expat says:

    “Then there is the psychology of the rich. Many of the rich got rich because they were smart or hard working or figure out what someone needed. They made money because they found opportunities and took advantage of those opportunities. They are smart enough to see that this “wealth effect” is being created by artificial stimulus and not real true demand. The Fed is creating demand for “risk assets” but not for products. The rich will find ways to accumulate and sell “risk assets” because that is where the Fed has been able to stimulate demand. That doesn’t generate longer term growth for the economy, but why would the rich spend money to build factories or create new products when the actual demand for products hasn’t changed? They won’t. The fact that the rich know QE just creates demand for risk assets is one of the biggest (and least discussed) reasons for the failure of QE programs to generate growth in the real economy.”

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/fed-should-hire-mechanic

  119. Westjester says:

    Re #118
    Nom

    Even if you can demonstrate that you did not use a rejected discrimination complaint in termination, the plaintiff is going for a jury trial and will pose it as a little guy vs. the big guy to the clueless jury. The judge won’t interfere.
    Bye-bye all administrative attempts to improve things. All that’s left is the lateral arabesque.

  120. JJ says:

    Double Secret Probation. I never went to a school with a honor code. If you got caught cheating teacher could give you automatic F. Thats it. But some teachers would not give the midterm till after the drop date. And some teachers the final was cumaltive.

    Therefore, if you got like a 60 on the midterm that counts for 50% of grade. Final is six weeks away you need a 100 to pull a B. But since final is cumaltive you know odds are you will get an F anyhow or at best a D which still wipes out your GPA . At that point student rolls the dice, cheats on final to try at least to get an 85 so he can pull a C+ for course. It is a binary event at this point, F or C+ the drop option is gone. Plus kids on financial aid have no money to re-do course on own dime in summer school.

    Greatest move to hoop was a guy I went to SB with. Stupid SOB in class got a 100 on midterm which was a scantron sheet and everyone got like a 60 on midterm. He blew curve which was going to cause dozens to fail class. Back then they posted grades on wall so we knew it was him. When confronted he refused to take it easy on final. People were like dude just at least get a 90, it is still an A. So he refused. So when he dropped off his scantron another student followed him. Another student pulled the fire alarm in hall and his sheet ws yanked from pile and he got zero on test. Whole curve went back to normal!!

    I find the whole straight A valevictorin stuff amazing. If a class curves someone is going to take you out. I saw books stolen night of exam in library, I saw term papers stolen at night out of teachrs lounge. I saw a teached jacked for his briefcase of exams. Mostly asian on asian stuff. Stoners don’t care. The cheating at community college I went to a while back was top notch.

    xolepa says:
    January 24, 2012 at 3:04 pm
    What the heck is a disciplinary committee?

    Did you ever see the movie Animal House?

    The real version, not double secret probation. And once you saved a kids butt that kid owes you big time. And the kids in these schools are not sorry asss. Fathers are CEOs, parents are doctors, etc. They climb positions up the ladder quite fast, once their footings are set.
    Part of the reason for striving to get into these colleges is educational. That’s for the real nerds. The kids who really understand what it’s all about is the opportunity to make friends who can really help in the long run. It’s not what you know…

  121. Juice says:

    re: #119 – Nom – your words do not take the bad taste out of my mouth, and really the bad taste is all I need to know when choosing anybody for anything. Romney can structure his investments in ways to avoid the 35% UBIT, and the laws allow it, and I know it’s your stock n trade and all so I won’t bother trying to cross swords on tax laws.

    However it does stands out in a Presidential election as just another example of how our system of government and tax code benefits the people who spend the money on campaign donations and lobbyists for simply just more crony capitalism and more of the same. Anyone planning on voting Republican I have spoken with recently wants another choice than the current field but apparently things have gotten so bad in the party that their isn’t another Ronald Regan left, so four more years it will be.

  122. JJ says:

    I 100% disagree.

    Back when Ford, GMAC, AIG, Citigroup, Hartford, BAC were at deaths door I stepped up to plate like a true american and started buying and buying and buying till it hurt. People like me on buy side provided price support and liquidity and in turn saved these companies and million of jobs. Sure I eventually sold at a profit. But just like a GI returning from war getting a tax break on taxes I too deserves the spoils of a hard fought war. I was truly doing the lords work.

    The Original NJ Expat says:
    January 24, 2012 at 3:36 pm
    “Then there is the psychology of the rich. Many of the rich got rich because they were smart or hard working or figure out what someone needed. They made money because they found opportunities and took advantage of those opportunities. They are smart enough to see that this “wealth effect” is being created by artificial stimulus and not real true demand. The Fed is creating demand for “risk assets” but not for products. The rich will find ways to accumulate and sell “risk assets” because that is where the Fed has been able to stimulate demand. That doesn’t generate longer term growth for the economy, but why would the rich spend money to build factories or create new products when the actual demand for products hasn’t changed? They won’t. The fact that the rich know QE just creates demand for risk assets is one of the biggest (and least discussed) reasons for the failure of QE programs to generate growth in the real economy.”

  123. The Original NJ Expat says:

    After Obama’s next term, I can’t wait to see what Biden does with the 8 years after that;-)

  124. The Original NJ Expat says:

    The only thing I know is that 12 years from now it will still be Bush’s fault.

  125. Painhrtz - I ain't dead yet says:

    Expat – You think after 4 more years of Chairman O that he is just going to rig the election for Plugs the Human Gaffe Machine. He will find away to FDr himself into a few more terms. If only we could get him to contract polio some how ; )

  126. Theo says:

    #128

    I think that will be the general concensus at that time.

  127. JJ says:

    all I know if O can get another 60% up in dow I will kiss his narrow butt.

  128. chicagofinance says:

    Apple megacrushes, but not freed to trade yet….

  129. yo says:

    The Presidential election is like a beauty contest.They debate who sound the smartest in sound byte but in reality,they can promise you the Brooklyn bridge if Congress and Senate does not sign,you will be lucky to even taste the salty water of the Hudson.

  130. chicagofinance says:

    opened at over $460 FWIW

  131. JJ says:

    Apple is like the giants.

    Only apple product I have is an Iphone I got for free with a two year contract. the email on it sucks. much easier to fire off emails to the cube dwellers on my blackberry, no clue why it keeps going up. Samsung is a better product

  132. JJ says:

    Chifi, BPOP reports in morning. They have not paid back TARP but did a few really good tender offers on bonds below par and cleaned up a lot of debt and built capital, stock is like 1.5 and is rated a strong buy at citi. Earnings call will be good stuff

  133. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [125] juice,

    Not really trying to tell you why you have that taste in your mouth. It’s your belief, buff said.

    I’m trying to point out to everyone else why you have that taste in your mouth.

  134. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    Argh. S/b nuff said. Anyone else notice a delay in Android spell check?

  135. Confused in NJ says:

    Interesting that the media is chasing Mitt Romney wealth, but ignored John Kerry’s equal wealth through marriage.

  136. chicagofinance says:

    You are one sick fcuk…….

    JJ says:
    January 24, 2012 at 5:23 pm
    Chifi, BPOP reports in morning. They have not paid back TARP but did a few really good tender offers on bonds below par and cleaned up a lot of debt and built capital, stock is like 1.5 and is rated a strong buy at citi. Earnings call will be good stuff

  137. relo says:

    140: Everyone was pretending to be well off then. Kerry had a Forbes relation somewhere down the line too.

  138. chicagofinance says:

    Letters to the Editor WSJ

    The energy industry made a fatal error in estimating the number of jobs likely to be created by the Keystone XL pipeline project. It didn’t hire the consultants who calculated the ridership numbers for the California high-speed rail project.

    Paul Chechak

    Rochester, N.Y.

  139. yo says:

    Nom from yesterday

    (MoneyWatch) President Obama’s move Wednesday to reject a permit to build the Keystone XL pipeline drew fire from supporters of the project, with a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner telling CBS that the decision threatens to “destroy tens of thousands of American jobs.”

    Yet exactly how much work Keystone, a proposed 1,700-mile pipeline that would transport oil from Alberta, Canada, to the Texas Gulf Coast, would generate remains in dispute. Transcanada (TRP), the energy giant bidding to build the pipeline, projects the undertaking would create 20,000 jobs in the U.S., including 13,000 positions in construction and 7,000 in manufacturing.

    That figure, based on a report by a consulting firm hired by Transcanada to assess the project’s economic impact, has been widely cited by Keystone backers on Capitol Hill. Other estimates advanced by supporters of the pipeline have been even more optimistic, with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce claiming it could create 250,000 permanent U.S. jobs.

    Obama denies Keystone XL permit
    Official: White House to nix US-Canada pipeline
    Transcanada: New route for pipeline nearly done

    But subsequent analysis suggests that Keystone’s job-creating potential is more modest. The U.S. State Department calculated last year that the underground pipeline would add 5,000 to 6,000 U.S. jobs. One independent review of Keystone puts that number even lower, with the Cornell University Global Labor Institute finding that the pipeline would add only 500 to 1,400 temporary construction jobs. The authors of the September report also said that much of the new employment stemming from Keystone would be outside the U.S.

    Transcanada itself cast doubt on its employment forecast when a vice president for the company told CNN last fall that the 20,000 jobs Keystone would create were temporary and that the project would likely yield only “hundreds” of permanent positions.

    Another reason for the discrepancy appears to stem from what that 20,000 figure really means. As Transcanada has conceded, its estimate counted up “job years” spent on the project, not jobs. In other words, the company was counting a single construction worker who worked for two years on Keystone as two jobs, lending fuel to critics who said advocates of the pipeline were overstating its benefits.

    The Cornell researchers concluded:

    The construction of KXL will create far fewer jobs in the U.S. than its proponents have claimed and may actually destroy more jobs than it generates….

    The claim that KXL will create 20,000 direct construction and manufacturing jobs in the U.S. is unsubstantiated. There is strong evidence to suggest that a large portion of the primary material input for KXL — steel pipe — will not even be produced in the U.S.

    In a statement, President Obama attributed the decision to block construction of the pipeline to “the rushed and arbitrary deadline insisted on by Congressional Republicans,” saying it “prevented a full assessment of the pipeline’s impact, especially the health and safety of the American people, as well as our environment.”

    The furor is likely to continue, highlighting the intense election-year politics around Keystone. In urging Obama to approve the project, for instance, Boehner said on Wednesday that the pipeline would create 100,000 new jobs.

  140. yo says:

    Cornell GLI Study Finds Keystone XL Pipeline Will Create Few Jobs
    Previous Studies Are Misleading; Project May Kill More Jobs Than It Creates.

    http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/globallaborinstitute/research/Keystonexl.html

  141. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    (144) yo
    Well, then fight it, and get your friends to fight it too. But if you think that streams of US tanker trucks are gonna bring oil from Canada to US refineries, then I want some of what you were smoking.

    What I thought most viable would be a pipeline to the Great Lakes and tanker it out. But I don’t know if that is economical or even possible, and even if it is, the US would scream bloody murder.

    True test of wills is if the Canadians opt for the cross rockies pipe to Vancouver. But at least you will have the comfort of knowing that no US persons will be involved.

  142. A.West says:

    BTW, the purpose of investments isn’t to create jobs. It’s to produce the maximum of economically useful output with the minimum of economically scarce inputs.

    If someone invented a robot that could build you a house, grew your food, cook it for you, play music and videos to entertain you, supply unerring medical cures for you, all for the cost of $10, politicians and leftists would protest that it was a “job killer”.

  143. Fabius Maximus says:

    #20 Brian,

    I am looking at this document from the CBO.
    http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/106xx/doc10641/10-09-Tort_Reform.pdf

    Big point here is that Tort Reform is not Tort elimination. The proposals the CBO have always looked at would reduce premiums by about 10% which would be a 0.2% savings as a lot of the heavy lifting has been done by some states already. Now there’s a libertarian concept. The main point however stands, the proposals could be signed tomorrow and would have little impact on affordability of premiums.

    I will follow up on the rest later, but its time to bath kids.

  144. Juice Box says:

    Foxconn dorm anyone?

  145. Fabius Maximus says:

    #21 still
    I understand that you get hit from all sides. Outside of the day to day risks of the ER, you have paitents you have to bill, that complain that insurance should be picking up the cost. You have the insurance companies pusing back for cost relief on what you are billing them. I sure you get the same level of push back from the hospital, Medicad administration, practice and on and on.

    You do a job I could never do and I applaud you. My issues are with the system and not the people.
    The easiest way I can use to explain my views is that it all comes down to money. While this is an area of compassionate care, shareholder value drives much of the system. For instance, in the hospital you work in, what does the president and CEO think about tort reform? For me, I see a conflict. While he is signing a very big insurance check, the number on the check will have been negotiatged on a one to one rate with the insurer at a more favorable rate than you could get as a single practitioner. Now while that check has a big number on one side of the balance sheet, there is the revenue genereated from the Radiology labs and Hematology labs that 99% of the tests you write are sent to. I would assume that your hospital has an MRI suite that is running multiple machines 24×7. While it is a fantastic medical tool, the ROI on the supply side aint to shabby and way more than an XRay.
    Did Marie Curie patent XRays?

    For my friend with the anesthesiologist, he ran into a combination of “Balance Billing” and an employer that self insures. The guy with the heart attack was requrired to “retro-certify” his ambulance trip within 48 hours of the trip.

  146. Fabius Maximus says:

    #26 Chi

    “My bias is against Europeans who inherently look at the U.S. and how it functions with disdain. It is not personal against you. However, it has come to the point where I cannot even rely on any business and financial analysis sourced from Europe,”
    I would call that a crossed bias. As a European, I don’t look at US Healthcare with disdain but more with incredulous wonder that a system can be so fcuked up and the first real attempt at reform is labeled as social1st and met with complete intransigence. I’ve used this system for 14 years and everytime some new part of the system pops out with some dumb regulation or rule that costs me more money.

    “The problem is not so much Obamacare in the absolute sense. ” If that is not the problem, then why frame it in those terms? For me the problem is not lawyers, but lobbyists. There is too much money to be made with the system it is, so some people don’t want to change a good thing. Problem is that most of the money is made of the payers in the system who are locked into a very effective economic monopoly.

  147. Fabius Maximus says:

    Keystone was a political no brainier. You want a quick decision, its no.

    Now the US has not built a refinery in decades and the country could use the capacity, so why not build closer to Canada, why does it have to run to Texas. Run the pipeline to Wyoming or Montana, they could use the economy. While the oil may go by pipeline, the byproducts, gas, fuel oil, kerosene etc are mostly shipped domestically by rail.

  148. sas says:

    he should of called a time out.

    SAS

  149. Fabius Maximus says:

    To put a little local scope on this healthcare discussion, a few years later I still have trouble processing this story.
    http://www.theridgewoodblog.net/2009/04/valley-hospital-bids-2m-for-pascacks.html
    While I understand Valleys actions from an economic and shareholder value point of view, paying $2mil to spike a license is just wrong.

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