July home sales up 17%, hit 4 year high

From Bloomberg:

Sales of U.S. Existing Homes Rise to Highest Since 2009

Sales of previously owned U.S. homes jumped in July to the second-highest level in more than six years as buyers rushed to lock in mortgage rates before they increased any more.

Purchases advanced 6.5 percent to a 5.39 million annual rate last month, beating the 5.15 million median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg, figures from the National Association of Realtors showed today in Washington. Sales were the strongest since a government tax credit temporarily boosted demand in November 2009, and second-highest since March 2007.

“Housing will be an important part of the recovery through the rest of this year and into 2014,” said Gus Faucher, senior economist at PNC Financial Services Group Inc. in Pittsburgh. PNC is the most accurate forecaster of existing-home sales over the past two years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. “We have a better labor market and improved confidence, so the underlying demand is there.”

The 6.5 percent jump in demand last month from June would be the biggest since January 2002, excluding the periods in 2009 and 2010 that were influence by the government homebuyer tax credit and its extension.

Compared with a year earlier, purchases increased 17.2 percent in July on an adjusted basis, today’s report showed.

The surge in demand also boosted property values as the median price increased 13.7 percent in July from a year earlier, the most since October 2005. It climbed to $213,500 last month from $187,800 in July 2012.

There were 2.28 million homes for sales in July, up from 2.16 million a month earlier, according to the report. At the current sales pace, it would take 5.1 months to sell those houses, the same as in June. The inventory was down from 2.4 million a year earlier, and the lowest for any July since 2002.

“It’s not unusual, when you see a spike in mortgage rates, to see a couple months later a spike in closed sales,” said Lawler, a former senior vice president at Fannie Mae in Washington. “People saw the beginning of the trend and accelerated their pattern of buying. In all likelihood, within a month or two, you’re likely to see the pace of sales slow.”

Existing-home purchases are recovering from a 13-year low of 4.11 million reached in 2008. Annual sales peaked at 7.08 million three years earlier. A total of 4.66 million previously owned houses were sold in 2012.

Sales climbed in all four U.S. regions, with the biggest gain in the Northeast.

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

124 Responses to July home sales up 17%, hit 4 year high

  1. grim says:

    Sales up 20.3% YOY SA in the Northeast, up 21.9% YOY NSA.

  2. grim says:

    From Bloomberg:

    Did ARMs Keep the Housing Crisis From Being Even Worse?

    So here’s another reason that we might prefer ARMs to fixed-rate mortgages: Whatever role they played in goosing housing on the way up, they may also have eased defaults on the way down. A new paper from Andreas Fuster and Paul S. Willen notes that during the housing crisis, people with ARMs saw their payments fall by about half, on average, because interest rates fell so far. And here’s what that meant:

    Surprisingly little is known about the importance of mortgage payment size for default, as efforts to measure the treatment effect of rate increases or loan modifications are confounded by borrower selection. We study a sample of hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages that have experienced large rate reductions over the past years and are largely immune to these selection concerns. We show that interest rate reductions dramatically affect repayment behavior, even for borrowers who are significantly underwater on their mortgages. Our estimates imply that cutting a borrower’s payment in half reduces his hazard of becoming delinquent by about 55 percent, an effect approximately equivalent to lowering the borrower’s combined loan-to-value ratio from 145 to 95 (holding the payment fixed). These findings shed light on the driving forces behind default behavior and have important implications for public policy.

    Earlier work had indicated that negative equity was a major factor in defaults. Fuster and Willen are suggesting that this result is sensitive to the size of the payment; if the interest rate is low, people are more likely to keep paying even though their mortgage is underwater. This has important policy implications. Concretely, it means that the Home Affordable Refinance Program, by allowing people to refinance into lower-interest rate mortgages, was probably a very cost-effective way to reduce default.

    On a more theoretical level, this suggests that ARMs will magnify the effect of monetary policy, while fixed-rate mortgages blunt it. In a land of ARMs, every decrease in the interest rate translates into money in the pocket of the average homeowner, and a lower risk of default for banks. In a land of fixed interest rate mortgages, you maybe get the same effect through refinancing, but it’s expensive and cumbersome and people whose mortgages are underwater won’t enjoy the benefit.

  3. Sales topped out in July, and we won’t see that level again for 50-100 years.

    Bring on the wailing and gnashing of teeth. Doom is imminent.

  4. grim says:

    Let’s make sure this one is posted at least 3 times, from the NYT:

    U.P.S. to End Health Benefits for Spouses of Some Workers

    United Parcel Service has told its white-collar employees that it will stop providing health care coverage to their spouses who can obtain coverage through their own employers, joining an increasing number of companies that are restricting or eliminating spousal health benefits.

    U.P.S., the world’s largest package delivery company, said its decision was prompted in part by “costs associated with” the federal health care law that is commonly called Obamacare. Several health care experts, however, said they believed the company was motivated by a desire to hold down health care costs, rather than because of cost increases under the law.

    In a memo addressed to employees, U.P.S. said, “Limiting plan eligibility is one way to manage ongoing health care costs, now and into the future, so that we can continue to provide affordable coverage for our employees.”

    The memo also estimated that about 33,000 spouses were covered under its insurance plan for white-collar employees and that “about 15,000 of these would have health care coverage available through their own employers.”

    In explaining its move — which was first reported by Kaiser Health News and USA Today — U.P.S. told employees, “Since the Affordable Care Act requires employers to provide affordable coverage, we believe your spouse should be covered by their own employer — just as U.P.S. has a responsibility to offer coverage to you, our employee.”

    “In an effort to maintain premiums at or below current cost,” Andrew McGowan, a U.P.S. spokesman, said, “U.P.S. made a change that affects a limited number of employees.”

    While the percentage of employers adopting changes in policies like U.P.S.’s new limits remains in the single digits, it is growing. According to a corporate survey by Mercer, a consulting firm, 6 percent of companies with 500 or more employees excluded coverage for spouses in 2012 if their spouses could obtain coverage through their own employer. That is double the percentage in 2008, Mercer found.

    Mercer’s survey also found that 6 percent of employers required a surcharge for workers who keep their spouses on their health coverage even though their spouses could obtain coverage from their own employer. A Towers Watson survey found that 33 percent of large employers said they would impose such a surcharge by 2015.

  5. grim says:

    Hey Christie – You might want to take note.

  6. freedy says:

    Now you see here grim: NJ is different , we’re really different

  7. charlie says:

    USPS: blame it on ACA if u want, but the fact is that Cos have been cutting healthcare benefits for years. I am fortunate to have worked for the same employer since 1998. Many benefit reductions over these years; with mayor changes in 2003 and 2008; when they reduced employer contribution first and the number of providers and plans later. From about a dozen in providers we have now ONE; and a plan with much higher deductibles for about 30% more off my pocket

  8. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [4] grim,

    I won’t post it again, I promise. One thing I said before though was that this trend predates Obamacare so I thought it a bit disingenuous of UPS to say it was due to Obamacare. Obamacare may have been the straw that broke the camels back but there was a lot of weight there before. Further, it is merely burden-shifting; it doesn’t leave anyone without access nor does it push spouses to the exchanges. It may well have occurred without Obamacare.

  9. grim says:

    I’m no HR or Insurance expert by far … but … from the State of CA – Report by Milliman on the impact of ACA on in-state premiums:

    http://www.healthexchange.ca.gov/Documents/Factors%20Affecting%20Individual%20Premiums%20FINAL%203-28-2013.pdf

    Affordable Care Act Market Changes: 14.0% average increase to premiums

    The influx of newly insured and the related Affordable Care Act provisions affect the overall premium requirements of the carriers and are spread out over all of the current and newly insured members. We estimate this amount to be 14.0%.

  10. Ottoman says:

    “What’s the point of registering lawful gun owners anyway? So newspapers can print those names and addresses for criminals and gangs to access? So that list can be hacked by foreign entities like the Chinese, who recently hacked Pentagon computers? So that list can be handed over to the Mexican government that, oh by the way, has already requested it.” – Wayne Lapierre, NRA

    Of course the American government couldn’t hack the NRA’s database. Nor could it fall into the hands of a Manning or Snowden or someone looking for a quick buck. Looks like paranoia and stupidity go hand in hand.

    http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2013/08/nra-hates-gun-owner-lists-except-its-database.html

  11. grim says:

    I’d trade gun registration for the right to concealed carry. Fair trade?

  12. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [10] ottoman

    Your insult is logically incoherent. Please try again.

  13. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [11] grim

    So long as its across state lines and not subject to ridiculous carve outs.

  14. Ottoman says:

    9 – First, that report says premiums were projected to go up 9% without the ACA

    “We assumed the average increase in premiums from 2013 to 2014, in the absence of the Affordable Care Act changes, to be 9.0%. In recent years, rates filed with the CDI and DHMC have increased by approximately 7-11% for individual insurance products. ”

    Second, some of the premium jump is due to the lower out of pocket expenditures expected by the newer required products. So you pay more upfront in your premium but pay less deductible and out of pocket

    “Some of the expected increase in average premiums is due to an increase in the amount of insurance coverage purchased by the average insured person. This is a combination of buying coverage for newly covered services due to the Essential Health Benefits requirement, estimated as 4.8%, and a higher average Actuarial Value for existing covered services, estimated as 11.5%. In both cases, the increase in premium is due to post-Affordable Care Act insurance covering costs that would have previously paid out of pocket by the insured.”

  15. grim says:

    Disingenuous?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QqONZAN_Us0

    Everybody will have lower rates, better quality care, and better access.” – Pelosi

  16. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    Thank god we have hope and change, lifting us out of that recession that Bush caused singlehandely, right?

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/100980411

  17. Ottoman says:

    11 – remove “well regulated” from the second amendment and you can do whatever you want.

  18. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [15] grim

    Depends. When a republican says something that later is shown to be otherwise, it’s a lie. When a Democrat says something that is later shown to be otherwise, it’s a misstatement.

    Just ask Michael, Fabius, or anon (the bitter one).

  19. Ottoman says:

    universal Medicare here we come! Thanks Obama!

  20. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [14] ottoman,

    That is probably true, however you are eschewing the traditional liberal opposition technique here so you will never get that on Current or MSNBC. Milliman is an industry player, a consultant on plan design. They have an interest in pushing this.

    Why haven’t you attacked the messenger? Do that and you get to be on television.

  21. AG says:

    Lol universal Medicare. What a disaster.

    Hope you can learn to cardiac stress test yourself.

    America needs a good years worth of starvation before they start looking like human beings again.

  22. grim says:

    Don’t think I’m just toting the republican line here, I said it yesterday, I think we need to just pass go and go straight to single payer/universal health care. (shocker!) The issues I have with ACA is it’s just a bastardization, filled with provisions that are going to cause unexpected consequences, like we are already seeing, and we haven’t even opened the exchanges yet, and trust me when I say all hell will break lose in October, the level of confusion will be astronomical. I will say no more since I am involved.

    Maybe I’m wrong, and a 2500 page bill written by lobbyists will be exactly what America needs.

  23. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [19] Otto

    So you concede that this was the idea all along? And you are perfectly okay with the fact that this has been sold to the public as something intended to be the Trojan horse for single payer? Not judging here, I know the answer, just want you to show the colors.

  24. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [22] grim,

    That is fraught with its own problems and upheaval. But you mimic that which I said to some friends across the aisle when this was debated: that this bill was the worst of the three directions we could have taken. It will be a train wreck.

  25. Brian says:

    That issue has been settled Ottoman. Please refer to DC vs Heller and McDonald vs Chicago.

    The 2nd amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms (not just for militias).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/District_of_Columbia_v._Heller

    17.Ottoman says:
    August 22, 2013 at 7:35 am
    11 – remove “well regulated” from the second amendment and you can do whatever you want.

  26. grim says:

    And I’ll say it again, I have no faith that the current legislature, Republican or Democrat, has the ability to reconstruct any major facet of the US economy in a positive way, whether it is healthcare, or mortgage finance. Please stay out, since what we’ll end up with will undoubtedly worse than what we have today. I don’t care what you all do, take a vacation, go to the beach, play some golf, anything, just stop passing laws.

  27. Brian says:

    Ottoman:

    Also, “well regulated” means properly functioning or in good order. When refered to a militia circa 1700’s, this would mean that the militia would need to be in good working order to serve it’s intended purpose. For a militia to be “well regulated” (in good working order), it would need to be well armed.

  28. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [28] Brian

    Further, nearly every state has militia laws that, inter alia, make all able-bodied males of certain age members of the militia. Imagine the flap if Obama packs the court, gets Heller overturned, and Texas conducts a paper muster of its “militia”. Then the Feds have to try to argue that it isn’t “well regulated” or not real.

  29. nwnj says:

    re: UPS

    If everyone who has a spouse that’s eligible for healthcare is forced to take it from their own employer rather than on a single family plan, won’t the net result be exactly the same in the end? I’m sure UPS has employees who are declining the healthcare benefit and getting it from their employed spouse elsewhere.

    On another note, I’m glad that I didn’t take that DBA job offer from them up in Mahwah – bad vibes.

  30. HouseWhineWine says:

    (8) How about this scenario which really does increase the burden? Just happened to my friend..She was technically able to purchase health ins. from her employer but the kicker is they contribute zero $$ to her coverage. So her individual coverage was exorbitant. But this precluded her from getting some version of NJ gov’t based health ins. which was about $$300 cheaper/month. It really is a big mess.

  31. Ccb223 says:

    Grim,

    On healthcare, unfortunately, we couldn’t just stay out. The status quo was the one thing certain to result in catastrophic economic failure looking at the pro formas. Lets give it a chance and see what happens. Well documented that California and New York project significant health care savings as a result of ACA (insurers started to compete for business and prices dropped). It’s early but it seems to me like the states that want to make it work will, and those that want it to fail (mainly many of those with GOP governors that are refusing the free federal money, which is border line criminal in my mind) will make sure it fails…at all costs (mainly at the expense of their own people, especially the bottom rung).

  32. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [32] ccb

    It memory serves, the money wasn’t free. There were some pretty significant strings. And a governor who can persuade the poor to move elsewhere gets my vote.

  33. nwnj says:

    That mayor yesterday who was whining about his taxes and getting ready to jump to FL should be tarred and feathered before he’s allowed to leave.

    I read on one of the nj.com comments that he was a former state senator, so I googled him up to see what his story was. His disclosure statement can be found here on his wiki page, it looks like he’s pulling down 2-3 public checks at a time.

    Unbelievable the hypocracy of this guy. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_J._McCullough

  34. grim says:

    Economically, state-based health insurance exchanges make little sense. A single, consistent, and mandated federal exchange would make much more sense.

    In what la la land does 50 nearly identical exchanges, providing the exact same function, with wildly redundant staff make sense? I’d rather see one well-run exchange than 50 mediocre exchanges, fraught with corruption and patronage positions.

    Do you really think the state of NJ could do a good job running it’s own exchange? Please.

  35. grim says:

    Jobless claims up 13k to 336k, the less volatile 4 week average down 2,250 to 330,550. The 4 week average is somewhere around a 6 year low now.

  36. Michael says:

    22,27-grim- Well said, sir. I think what solves all this is one thing, end “pay to play”. Get rid of all the got damn lobbyists. Then and only then can we have a chance at a better America. It’s a joke that every citizen realizes how bad the chrony capitalism has become but no one does anything about it. End money donations period. It’s destroying our society.

  37. yome says:

    Maximum out of pocket payment is still confusing today,but this will prevent a family going bankrupt due to a catastrophic illness.

    Who in their right mind will not love this?

    Starting next year, the Affordable Care Act sets maximum limits on how much consumers can be required to pay out-of-pocket annually for their medical care. But some people with high drug costs may find the limits don’t protect them yet.

    That’s because the federal government is giving some health plans extra time to comply with the rules.

    Under the law, the maximum amount a consumer with single coverage will pay out-of-pocket in 2014 will generally be $6,350 while a family could pay up to $12,700. Those totals include copayments and deductibles, but not premiums, and they apply only to plans that are not grandfathered under the law

    http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/Features/Insuring-Your-Health/2013/061113-Michelle-Andrews-out-of-pocket-costs.aspx

  38. nwnj says:

    This theory that the administration are econ geniuses and engineered ACA to fail so they can eventually implement single payer is a joke. Some people(ie Obamacare supporters) can’t admit when they’re wrong.

    Look at all of the major policy decisions they’ve made. They’ve been riddled with unintended consequences and misconceptions, most notably of late are the foreign affairs disasters. That’s what happens when academics are running the show.

  39. ccb223 says:

    One exchange wasn’t politically palatable. Neither was the govt option. As crappy as you think this ACA is, it’s the best sausage that could come out of Washington, and we HAD to try something. Status quo was not an option. Frankly, it’s a miracle anything passed given all the special interests that stood to lose out (AMA, insurance companies, etc.). Let’s give it some time…I agree that October will be a mess but give it a year once people figure out how it works and reasses then.

  40. Michael says:

    34-NWNJ- Thank you, someone sees the light. I said it yesterday and I’ll say it again, this mayor is a sham!!! This guy has some nerve!!!! Amazing how the citizens of our state will hail a sham when he says what they want to hear. Bastard was giving himself a 60% discount on taxes for all these years, and then oks the revaluation, so he can use it as an excuse to jump ship to fl. These are the kind of greedy bastards that give govt a bad name. Govt is not bad, it’s the people in govt taking advantage and rigging the rules to their advantage that are the evil.

  41. Michael says:

    This top 10 list says it all. All the scum bags ruining this country make the top 10.

    So what jobs are most attractive to psychopaths? Here’s the list, originally published online by Eric Barker:

    1. CEO
    2. Lawyer
    3. Media (Television/Radio)
    4. Salesperson
    5. Surgeon
    6. Journalist
    7. Police officer
    8. Clergy person
    9. Chef
    10. Civil servant

    And for those looking to potentially avoid working with the least number of psychopaths, here’s the list of occupations with the lowest rates of psychopathy:

    1. Care aide
    2. Nurse
    3. Therapist
    4. Craftsperson
    5. Beautician/Stylist
    6. Charity worker
    7. Teacher
    8. Creative artist
    9. Doctor
    10. Accountant
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/kellyclay/2013/01/05/the-top-10-jobs-that-attract-psychopaths/

  42. Fast Eddie says:

    Does the term “Health Exchange” bring the image of huddled masses standing on line in the cold for hours waiting for an aspirin and a dixie cup filled with antiseptic?

  43. chicagofinance says:

    cobs: I am not advocating investing in PFF. What I mean is that the existence of instruments such as PFF allow investors en masse to buy into and dump your pref shares with blunt force. It completely screws up the technicals. That said, you probably didn’t appreciate how much they forced up stock price (capped by the potential of the call). Going forward, their influence will be diminished, but net-net an almost permanent headwind for the next several years. I gave you the HOLDINGS list to see whether your CUSIP was in there……

    cobbler says:
    August 22, 2013 at 12:44 am
    chi [167]
    Following (and owning at times) these preferreds for about 10 years. Obviously, they had a huge dip in 2008-09, but were mostly holding within 1 quarterly div from the call price (for the reasons you’d mentioned) the rest of the time. As for ETF’s, these things are way too illiquid to be a part – easily drop 3% from someone dumping 3K shares at the market.

  44. chicagofinance says:

    more like a methadone clinic….

    Fast Eddie says:
    August 22, 2013 at 9:00 am
    Does the term “Health Exchange” bring the image of huddled masses standing on line in the cold for hours waiting for an aspirin and a dixie cup filled with antiseptic?

  45. Comrade Nom Deplume, no longer at the beach says:

    [42] michael

    I want to qualify No. 2 on your list. It should read “Big Firm Lawyers” or “Law Firm Partners”. There is just something about being in that position that breeds dysfunction.

    I’ve known some junior partners at law firms who could serve as the poster children for DSM-V.

  46. Brian says:

    Human beings have always, and always will be fallible. Therefore, since Government will always be run by human beings, it too is fallible. I feel this is why communism sounds good on paper, but always fails in the real world. It gives too much power to government and a small number of people.

    For these reasons, I think it is wise to advocate for smaller government and less control in many areas of our lives.

    The US constitution is a fascinating document. The more I read it, the more I realize how the people that wrote it were very aware of this. I think the thinking of the people who wrote it intended for the US to be a country where individual rights AND responsibilities were cherished. You should be free to succeed or fail of your own power.

    “Govt is not bad, it’s the people in govt taking advantage and rigging the rules to their advantage that are the evil.”

  47. Fast Eddie says:

    See, the problem with liberals is that they are lacking the mechanism that formulates inductive reasoning. It’s a missing component but they don’t see their void in logic because they don’t realize it doesn’t exit.

    This is not to say that they don’t possess an above average IQ or hold advanced degrees, it’s that they don’t know the wealth of information they’ve acquired is almost entirely wrong. You can try to illustrate it but they don’t get it… they never will because they don’t know their thought process is flawed.

  48. chicagofinance says:

    Brian: As a person who “sweats the details”, it is why the “feel good” pablum pitched by people such as Pelosi, and consumed full bore by automatons such as Michael, is so offensive. People in power, and many in the public, feel that their instinctive and high minded arguments give them moral authority, but fail to appreciate the unintended results that have been proven consistently throughout the 20th century and into this one. Rather the being egalitarian, these shallow thinkers are frighteningly callous. But it is lather, rinse, repeat for these people…….those who pander and those who seek it…..

    Brian says:
    August 22, 2013 at 9:18 am
    Human beings have always, and always will be fallible. Therefore, since Government will always be run by human beings, it too is fallible. I feel this is why communism sounds good on paper, but always fails in the real world. It gives too much power to government and a small number of people.

  49. chicagofinance says:

    fast eddie…we basically posted the same thing at the same time…..

  50. yome says:

    38
    An increase of 10% in ACA premium is all worth it to me if I can be protected by knowing my max yearly out of pocket catastrophic medical bills than what it is today

  51. Fast Eddie says:

    ChiFi,

    fast eddie…we basically posted the same thing at the same time…..

    That statement is what you call deductive reasoning! :) Either way, pretty amazing!

  52. The Original NJ ExPat says:

    Inventory Tsunami coming?

    I’m seeing a lot of moderately priced properties (<$400K) here in Boston listing and selling at all time high prices. Maybe the scarce inventory we're seeing right now at prices where no one is under water any more will lead to a Tsunami of inventory which will be overwhelming to what will become a sudden relative dearth of buyers. It may not be the safest time to be walking around picking at carcasses on the newly exposed "beach".

  53. Ben says:

    Communism doesn’t sound good on paper at all.

  54. Brian says:

    53 – I think underwater homeowners will find their heads above water….and a portion of them will put their houses onto the market. This will increase inventory, put downward pressure on pricing….people will buy, decreasing inventory again, putting upward pressure on pricing…and on and on and on….

  55. Bystander says:

    ..and I think the assumptions for price increases or “regional improvements” are horse picket. In CT, nice homes on good blocks sell fast. That has improved greatly in last year but most homes have issues either location or outdated. These homes have been sitting for months and many end up in FC. More and more FCs everyday. Plus CT you pay 1% fee to sell home. No way market is improving quickly enough to pull bagholders from negative equity depths.

  56. Bystander says:

    puckey not picket.

  57. Comrade Nom Deplume, no longer at the beach says:

    [53] expat

    I am super concerned about that very prospect. However, as of today, I am clearing the last contingencies on a cash purchase.

    I figure it is worthwhile to buy because I am paying cash. If I were paying a mortgage, I would definitely keep renting and wait for the inventory tsumani and price collapse. But instead of having a monthly housing nut of $2300-3000 per month, I will have less than $1,000. So the price of my target house would have to go down by about $20K just to break even if I kept renting, and then there is the hassle of constant moving and unsettled living arrangements for the kinder.

    I know I will lose value but if you amortize the loss out over the residency period, I think I make out.

    I also believe that the feds and states will do all they can to keep housing values pumped. A precipitous decline does extreme violence to the economy, not just in wealth destruction but economic instability and decline in revenues for governments.

    Even in a Clotesque doomsday scenario, if prices collapse, so does the dollar and our paper investments, and at least this investment provides shelter and land for gardening. Rather a lot of it actually.

  58. Richard says:

    NJ magazine rates its top 100 towns: If you’re not in Mendham Borough apparently you’re missing out. North Caldwell is #3 – next Essex town is Millburn at #62. No show for Hudson.

    http://njmonthly.com/articles/towns_and_schools/bestplacestolive/mendham-the-borough-tops-our-list-of-nj-towns.html

    http://njmonthly.com/articles/towns_and_schools/bestplacestolive/best-places-to-live-in-new-jersey-2013.html

  59. Jason says:

    22-Out of the frying pan, into the fire.

  60. anon (the good one) says:

    the comments people posted are hilarious. From NJ com

    @njdotcom: Man arrested after masturbating with blinds wide open, East Hanover cops say http://t.co/NhsqEGsVk5

  61. Anon E. Moose says:

    Nom [58];

    Don’t forget inflation. J6P can’t stand to loose a nickel of nominal value, but he’ll think he ‘broke even’ if he can sell for what he paid (less commission, natch) and ignore taxes, maintenance, and that the value of the dollar is dropping to the tune of $85B per month with no end in sight.

    So you could sit in cash, or you can convert your cash to house. Either way you lose to inflation, and the house route provides all the tangibles and intangibles (basic shelter; quality of house over the types usually available for rental; long term stability).

  62. chicagofinance says:

    I appreciate the fact that both Manning and Snowden’s actions can be explained due to the merits of their intellectual arguments, and not because there was inner emotional turmoil and a hero complex…….I feel so much better that the NYC area was put in harm’s way for a justifiable cause.

    ‘I am Chelsea Manning. I am female’: Army leaker Bradley Manning will live as woman in prison
    By ALEX DICKINSON

    U.S. Army, Pfc. Bradley Manning poses for a photo wearing a wig and lipstick. Manning emailed his military therapist the photo with a letter titled, “My problem,” in which he described his issues with gender identity and his hope that a military career would “get rid of it.”

    Bradley Manning, the army private sentenced yesterday to 35 years prison for leaking classified documents says he wants to live the rest of his life as a woman.

    In a statement obtained by the Today show, Manning said he wants to start hormone therapy straight away.

    “I am Chelsea Manning. I am female,” the Army private said in the statement, which was read aloud by Manning’s attorney on Today.

    “Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible. I hope that you will support me in this transition.”

    “I also request that, starting today, you refer to me by my new name and use the feminine pronoun (except in official mail to the confinement facility).

    “I look forward to receiving letters from supporters and having the opportunity to write back.”

    Manning was sentenced Wednesday to 35 years in prison for giving hundreds of thousands of secret military and diplomatic documents to WikiLeaks in one of the biggest leak cases in the U.S. since the Pentagon Papers a generation ago.

    With good behavior and credit for the more than three years he has been held, Manning could be out in about 6 ½ years, according to his defense attorney David Coombs.

    Coombs told a press conference at a nearby hotel that early next week he’ll file, through the Army, a request that the president pardon the soldier “or at the very least commute” the sentence to time already served.

    “The time to end Brad’s suffering is now,” Coombs said. “The time for our president to focus on protecting whistleblowers instead of punishing them is now.”

    The former intelligence analyst was found guilty last month of 20 crimes, including six violations of the Espionage Act, as part of the Obama administration’s unprecedented crackdown on media leaks.

    He was acquitted of the most serious charge, aiding the enemy, which carried a potential life in prison without parole.

    – with Associated Press

  63. grim says:

    @njdotcom: Man arrested after masturbating with blinds wide open, East Hanover cops say http://t.co/NhsqEGsVk5

    Couple years back was biking with a guy who had some scrapes on his leg, arm, and face, asked him what the hell happened.

    He started laughing, he was riding up the hill on Bradford Ave in Cedar Grove, and just happened to look over at an open window, totally random, woman standing right in front of the window takes her shirt off,” huge boobs galore” (his words, not mine), he does a double take, clips the curb, crashes.

    So he could have pressed charges against the woman for damages? Hell, who knew. Not sure if the cops would have just laughed at him, or called him a perv for looking, and cuffed him.

  64. The Original NJ ExPat says:

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama on Thursday proposed a new plan to tackle soaring higher education costs with a system that would rate colleges and universities based on their value for the money students spend and tie those ratings to disbursement of federal student aid.

    Uh…, so no more federal student aid to any colleges then?

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/obama-unveils-plan-aims-college-more-affordable-134450640.html

  65. cobbler says:

    chi [44]
    Thanks for this take. I looked at the few that PFF holds, really the same extent of randomness as non-holding (looks like the total mREITs are about 1-1.5% of PFF, maybe the ETF managers hold on to them – because of the high dividend rate they are much less volatile than many other preferreds).

  66. Comrade Nom Deplume, no longer at the beach says:

    [63] moose,

    That’s my point, that there is value to sitting in RE versus sitting in cash. Assuming an average rent, you can actually impute a rate of return. And when you factor in that the rate of return (being money not spent on rent or interest) is represented by post-tax dollars, that rate of return is theoretically higher (though not really since you are merely keeping post-tax dollars).

    True, you lose the MID, but why spend money to get only a portion of it back?

  67. Comrade Nom Deplume, no longer at the beach says:

    [66] expat

    By that metric, it means that elite colleges whose graduates go on to make big $$$ and go to top grad schools, should get more aid. It also means that the lower tier schools that the elitists disdain will be forced out. The end result is fewer institutions of higher learning, an end to federal aid flowing to for-profits, and further inequality as the elite schools will be the primary beneficiaries of aid and reduced competition (such as it was).

    Tell me again how this lowers the cost of education???

  68. The Original NJ ExPat says:

    [66]“Americans now owe about $1.2 trillion in student loan debt, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau estimates. If the costs put college out of reach for too many young people, the United States could find itself at a disadvantage compared to other countries.”

    Whoever has the most Communications, Sociology, and Women’s Studies degrees wins?

  69. Comrade Nom Deplume, no longer at the beach says:

    I initially saw the headline and said “good, pop him twice” but after watching this, I think the reaction was over the top.

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1744219-skateboarder-runs-into-child-angry-mom-punches-him-in-the-face?utm_source=cnn.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=editorial&hpt=hp_t3

    The toddler ran onto a skatepark and right in front of a boarder. If it were a sidewalk, I’d say negligence, but this guy was skating in his place and this kid runs in front of him. Accident. And angry Mom was nowhere nearby. She comes walking into the frame later and just goes off on the guy.

    And people here wonder why I carry.

  70. Comrade Nom Deplume, no longer at the beach says:

    [70] expat

    The only legitimate reasons to be in those majors are (1) get good grades for law school; (2) I want to teach this and continue to use oxygen for no good reason, or (3) my parents are gazillionaires and this keeps me out of jail/section 8 housing/maternity ward.

  71. cobbler says:

    Methinks the country with the greatest proportion of smart and literate people wins. I don’t believe the %% of college educated is a good metric for this, at least at the current developed world level. My (elitist?) take is that we need to give meaningful direct support (primarily merit-based) to top 10-20% of the student pool, and create financial incentives for businesses to pay for education of their current and prospective workers (where they can control the majors).

  72. cobbler says:

    That is, instead of loans/grants for the future dropouts and people whose years in school are wasted.

  73. grim says:

    and create financial incentives for businesses to pay for education of their current and prospective workers

    Too much work and money, can’t we just let other countries do it and issue H1B’s? Benefit here is we can lower labor rates at the same time, the reduced attrition is just icing on the cake. Besides, most Americans are f*cking lazy and entitled.

  74. anon (the good one) says:

    65. Yes, ppl are posting that if the self-pleasuring individual was a women, they would be arrested as peeping toms

  75. chicagofinance says:

    PFF tracks a passive index….no strategy….that is why I used the term “blunt force”…

    cobbler says:
    August 22, 2013 at 11:58 am
    chi [44] maybe the ETF managers hold on to them – because of the high dividend rate they are much less volatile than many other preferreds).

  76. The Original NJ ExPat says:

    I think the greatest educational threat to our future is the prospect of our best and brightest going overseas for their educations…and then not coming back. Who knows, in 7 years we might retire to Singapore while my kids go to Yale there. Maybe we never come back.

  77. grim says:

    77 – too hard to follow, don’t quite understand – just tell me where to put my money

  78. The Original NJ ExPat says:

    On a lighter note, some of these photos are pretty good:

    http://thechive.com/2013/07/11/sports-caught-at-just-the-right-moment-39-photos/

  79. chicagofinance says:

    Secret menus are huge these days. From Starbucks to Denny’s, it seems like just about every restaurant has a fansite dedicated to all the great options its servers aren’t allowed to tell you about. They’re a lot of fun too.

    So, with that in mind, here are some of the best ideas people have had with what their favorite restaurants can do:
    #1. Poutine, A&W/Kentucky Fried Chicken

    To get this entry, you’ll need to go to a joint KFC and A&W location, one of those increasingly common fast food mergers where they’ve built both restaurants into the same building. They’re not that easy to find; the last time I saw an A&W “All American Food” was somewhat ironically in Malaysia.

    Still, it’s really worth it in a greasy, hate-yourself-the-next-morning, I-just-slept-with-my-best-friend’s-wife sort of way.

    This fast-food poutine is a serving of A&W French fries smothered in gravy from the KFC counter right next door. This isn’t the traditional way of serving poutine–up in Quebec they serve the dish smothered in cheese curds as well as gravy–but it’s also not typically served up in a small, orange box either. What it lacks in cultural accuracy, A&W’s secret menu option more than makes up for in flavor. This one is well worth trying.

  80. 1987 Condo says:

    Big NASDAQ issue, no ticks since 12:20

  81. ccb223 says:

    Re: 69

    Com — so you just saw the link and assessed the merits of the program in about 5 seconds? You have it all figured out already? Talk about knee-jerk reaction…

    Again, another broken system that needs something to change, some sort of new idea…but because it came from O it’s dead on arrival? College tuition costs are crazy, especially if you factor in grad school and employment prospects. I can speak from experience about the law school epidemic, there’s a big class action against a lot of the lower rung schools for misrepresenting job prospects, etc.

    I think the government rating system is an interesting idea…worth exploring/discussing at the very least. Can’t just assume it’s going to benefit Harvard…it’s supposed to take into account “value” (i.e., cost) as well, and that would be detrimental to the Ivy schools which are the most expensive.

  82. cobbler says:

    FWIW, the most expensive one is Sarah Lawrence college. The costliest Ivy is Columbia (due to room and board in NYC) – still cheaper than NYU.

  83. HouseWhineWine says:

    College rip-off- start examining salaries and unbelievable benefits and demands made by tenured professors and administrators. While this doesn’t account for all the run-ups in cost it is utterly shocking. A well kept secret by private institutions of higher learning.
    Plus no accountability on their part for proven results once they have tenure. It’s really like they are living in the bubble of academia. The students and families have no idea of these things and if they did they would be in an uproar. At least, they should be.

  84. grim says:

    I don’t really see anything in that plan that does anything to help reduce the cost of tuition.

    The plan would also include provisions allowing those paying off student loan debt to limit their payments to 10 percent of their monthly income.

    Just like 50 year mortgages don’t make houses more affordable, they make them more expensive, significantly reducing student loan debt monthly payments by stretching out the term really just makes the real cost of college more expensive.

  85. joyce says:

    Please stop saying any area or any person(s) was put in harms way. There is zero evidence of that, only speculation. Plus, what’s wrong with informing the public of the heinous criminal acts of the govt?

    64.chicagofinance says:
    August 22, 2013 at 11:32 am
    …I feel so much better that the NYC area was put in harm’s way for a justifiable cause.

  86. anon (the good one) says:

    only a moron thinks that unintelligible equals sophisticated. He’s talking out of his butt that’s why is hard to follow.

  87. homeboken says:

    Joyce – go get laid, your incessant retorts to every comment that goes against your personal world view are exhausting.

  88. Won’t need no stinking kolledge when the wheels come off.

  89. Anon E. Moose says:

    Fast Eddie [48];

    they don’t know the wealth of information they’ve acquired is almost entirely wrong.

    “Well, the trouble with our liberal friends is not that they’re ignorant; it’s just that they know so much that isn’t so.” – Ronald Reagan

  90. joyce says:

    85
    Housewine,

    As you mentioned, I’m not aware of the salary/benefits of professors and administrators. The latter’s being enormous wouldn’t surprise me in the least. All that said, I think the contruction of all the various amenities that have nothing to do with education is also a factor.

    Not to mention, non-profit status doesn’t mean they can’t have net income. It just means they can’t distribute it to whomever. The costs keep rising because they can. They have a never ending supply of customers at any price (as long as people keep going into debt without question, and as long as this type of debt is non-dischargeable).

  91. joyce says:

    Could you replace ‘joyce’ with anyone else’s handle and make the exact same comment?

    89.homeboken says:
    August 22, 2013 at 2:01 pm
    Joyce – go get laid, your incessant retorts to every comment that goes against your personal world view are exhausting.

  92. Fast Eddie says:

    Moose [91],

    Great minds… similar thoughts. :)

  93. Michael says:

    Interesting.

    “Few phenomena in the social order can operate with neutral effect even if supposedly pursued with neutral intent, according to Parenti. The national debt is a good example. Considered merely as a “problem” of excessive government spending, the national debt in fact works well for certain interests, specifically the moneyed class, Parenti claims. By 1977, he noted how the national debt brought a transfer of income from the taxpayers to the wealthy creditors, the holders of government bonds. Parenti concludes it is no accident that the biggest deficit spenders have been conservative presidents like Ronald Reagan and both George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush. The national debt is in effect a way of privatizing public spending and defunding the federal budget, Parenti argues.[8]”

  94. Anon E. Moose says:

    Michael [95];

    But more importantly, what does Simpson’s creator Matt Groening think about this?

  95. Michael says:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324139404579017113415486176.html?mod=hp_opinion

    Opinion
    Jeffrey Singer: The Man Who Was Treated for $17,000 Less; Bypassing his third-party payer, my patient avoided a high hospital ‘list price.’
    Jeffrey A. Singer
    993 words
    21 August 2013
    15:07
    The Wall Street Journal Online
    WSJO
    WSJ.com
    English
    Copyright 2013 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
    Every so often I have an extraordinary and surprising experience with a patient—the kind that makes us both say, “Wow, we’ve learned something from this.” One such moment occurred recently.

    A gentleman in his early 60s came in with a rather routine hernia in his lower abdomen, one that is easily repaired with a simple outpatient surgical procedure. We scheduled the surgery at a nearby hospital.

    My patient is self-employed and owns a low-cost “indemnity” type of health insurance policy. It has no provider-network requirements or preferred-hospital requirements. The patient can go anywhere. The policy pays up to a fixed amount for doctor and hospital bills based upon the diagnosis. This affordable health-insurance policy made a lot of sense to this man, based on his health and financial situation.

    When the man arrived at the hospital for surgery, the admitting clerk reviewed the terms of his policy and estimated the amount of his bill that would be paid by insurance. She asked him to pay his estimated portion in advance. (More hospitals are doing that now because too often patients don’t pay their portions of the bills after insurance has paid.)

    The insurance policy, the clerk said, would pay up to $2,500 for the surgeon—more than enough—and up to $2,500 for the hospital’s charges for the operating room, nursing, recovery room, etc. The estimated hospital charge was $23,000. She asked him to pay roughly $20,000 upfront to cover the estimated balance.

    My patient was stunned. I received a call from the admitting clerk informing me that he wanted to cancel the surgery, and explaining why. After speaking to the man alone and learning the nature of his insurance policy, I realized I was not bound by any “preferred provider” contractual arrangements and knew we had a solution.

    I explained that just because he had health insurance didn’t mean he had to use it in every situation. After all, when people have a minor fender-bender, they often settle it privately rather than file an insurance claim. Because of the nature of this man’s policy, he could do the same thing for his medical procedure. However, had I been bound by a preferred-provider contract or by Medicare, I wouldn’t have been able to enlighten him.

    Hospitals and other providers make their “list” prices as high as possible when negotiating contracts with health plans and Medicare regulators. No one is ever expected to pay the list price. Anybody who has seen an “Explanation of Benefits” statement from a health plan will note a very high charge from the provider, and an “adjusted charge” based upon the contracted fee schedule, which usually leaves the patient with little or nothing in out-of-pocket expenses. The only people routinely faced with list prices are those few people who have insurance like my patient’s—that doesn’t include a pre-negotiated fee schedule with contracted providers—or those who have no insurance.

    Most people are unaware that if they don’t use insurance, they can negotiate upfront cash prices with hospitals and providers substantially below the “list” price. Doctors are happy to do this. We get paid promptly, without paying office staff to wade through the insurance-payment morass.

    So we canceled the surgery and started the scheduling process all over again, this time classifying my patient as a “self-pay” (or uninsured) patient. I quoted him a reasonable upfront cash price, as did the anesthesiologist. We contacted a different hospital and they quoted him a reasonable upfront cash price for the outpatient surgical/nursing services. He underwent his operation the very next day, with a total bill of just a little over $3,000, including doctor and hospital fees. He ended up saving $17,000 by not using insurance

    This process taught us a few things. First, most people these days don’t have health “insurance.” They have prepaid health plans. They pay premiums to take advantage of a pre-negotiated fee schedule arranged for and administered by a third party. My patient, on the other hand, had insurance.

    Second, even with the markdown for upfront “cash-pay” patients, none of the providers was losing money on my patient. Otherwise they wouldn’t have agreed to the prices. With the third-party payer taken out of the picture, we got a better idea of the market prices for the services. It is the third-party payment system that interferes with true price competition, so “market clearing prices” can’t develop.

    Take the examples of Lasik eye surgery or cosmetic surgery. These services are not covered by insurance. Providers compete on the basis of quality, outcomes and price. And prices have continually dropped as quality and services have improved—unlike the rest of health care.

    When my patient returned for his post-op visit we discussed the experience. It was clear to both of us that the only way to make health care more affordable is to diminish the role of third-party payers. Let consumers and providers interact through market forces to drive down prices and drive up quality, like we do when we buy groceries, clothing, cars, computers, etc. Drop the focus on prepaid health plans and return to the days of real health insurance—that covers major, unforeseen events, leaving the everyday expenses to the consumer—just like auto and homeowners’ insurance.

    Sadly, we are heading in the exact opposite direction. ObamaCare expands the role of the third party and practically eliminates the role—and the say—of the patient in the delivery of health care. Will they ever learn?

    Dr. Singer practices general surgery in Phoenix, Ariz., and is an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute.

  96. Michael says:

    97- Free market based capitalism, show me one damn market that is based on the free market Adam Smith had spoke about. It doesn’t exist. As long as money is involved, greed will take over, and lead to individuals rigging the game called “capitalism”. Sadly, I don’t think a true free market based capitalist system will ever exist.

  97. cobbler says:

    [97]
    Tell me again, how does it work for a stroke?

  98. joyce says:

    (80)

    Expat,

    #34 on that list is great

  99. Michael says:

    Btw, chi finance and fast Eddie, please show me one economic system that has worked long term without self destructing. I’m waiting….still waiting. Guess ill be waiting forever. It’s not about being on one side. It’s about analyzing the past and trying to improve existing systems. Sitting here and saying it has to be this way and only this way (because it’s the right way) comes off just as obnoxious as saying “I know it all”. Just saying. As much as you think I’m some crazy liberal, I’m not. I can accuse you of being some crazy tea bagger but I much rather stay away from that lame right and left argument.

    At least scholars research and try to attack the problem with logic. Doesn’t make them right but it means they are attacking the problem with research, logic, and deep critical thinking. I can live with that.

  100. joyce says:

    Before prices skyrocketed however many decades ago that was, how did it work then for emergencies such as a stroke? Honestly curious, I dont know.

    99.cobbler says:
    August 22, 2013 at 2:18 pm
    [97]
    Tell me again, how does it work for a stroke?

  101. Michael says:

    102- All I know for sure is this, healthcare system can’t keep going on this same course. It’s impossible to keep going with min 10% increases every year. I really believe they need to get rid of health insurance. It causes people to not care about the bill, only their co-payment. Health insurance creates an artificial market that becomes the “goose that lays the golden eggs”. Without health insurance creating this false market, the prices would not be able reach these insane levels.

  102. joyce says:

    Health insurance right now is 99% not insurance.

  103. cobbler says:

    joyce [102]
    Decades ago, there were no treatments for stroke except for putting an icepack on the head. Patients were either dying, or getting paralyzed, or recovering without much costs involved except for the nursing care by hospital or relatives. In fact, in many cases people with the stroke had been left home as there’d been no purpose in hospitalizing them.
    I gave stroke as an example of an extremely expensive to treat condition where the patient (or his relatives) is absolutely unable to shop around or negotiate.

  104. Anon E. Moose says:

    Joyce [104];

    +1. What we call health ‘insurance’ is simply how we pay for health care. Health care is inevitable, and you cannot insure against the inevitable.

    Remember one additional thing about our current health care system — it was built that way by the providers and others industry participants who are for the most part well paid for their efforts — it was built that way because that is the way they want it. Docs would rather deal with insurers because they are more likely to be paid something by the insurers than what they are likely to get (adjusted for collections headaches) from chasing individual patients after the fact. Think about how every doctor collects the portion of the bill they can only collect from the patient (usually, the co-pay) — in advance at the time of service.

    Health insurance is more like AAA – if your car brakes down, your annual fee pays for your tow; vs. negotiating with the impeccably scrupulous tow truck driver on the side of the road.

  105. 1987 Condo says:

    #85, the high paid tenured professors can not be forced to retire, so they continue high salaries and benefits into their 70’s, 80’s, etc…..with maybe 1 class a week….colleges can’t re-set their wage expenses for another decade or so at best

  106. joyce says:

    Moose,
    I agree (with most). Remember the article I posted about the doctor getting fed up with insurance and medicare and just going straight cash (+ check/credit card) as well as the one surgical center. I’ve seen in the news a few doc’s doing that, however just the one place for surgeries. To me this contradicts your assertion that doctors would rather deal with ins. companies over individuals. And those articles, for what it’s worth, claim that the doctor makes more, the individual spends less… due to the fact that are cutting out the scrupulous middle men (not the tow truck driver).

    You can insure against a lot of healthcare expenses. Not everyone breaks a bone, not everyone develops certain diseases, has a stroke, etc.

    And lastly, I believe the system is built that way because the people with the most political clout want it that way.

  107. joyce says:

    That’s fair. I really do not know the history and timing of when certain treatment options became available. Regarding your last sentence, that’s where I would have no problem mandating the posting of prices ahead of time (which is how almost every industry operates). That’s a regulation I could get behind. Of course, that alone would not bring down prices but it would be part of a package that will work. Again admitting my history on this subject is weak at best, wasn’t a “major medical” policy relatively common back in the days of people paying cash for routine exams/procedures?? They were low premium, high deductible and covered emergency type situations.

    105.cobbler says:
    August 22, 2013 at 3:06 pm
    joyce [102]
    Decades ago, there were no treatments for stroke except for putting an icepack on the head. Patients were either dying, or getting paralyzed, or recovering without much costs involved except for the nursing care by hospital or relatives. In fact, in many cases people with the stroke had been left home as there’d been no purpose in hospitalizing them.
    I gave stroke as an example of an extremely expensive to treat condition where the patient (or his relatives) is absolutely unable to shop around or negotiate.

  108. 1987 Condo says:

    #108…I have been involved in the healthcare/benefits industry since 1979..and I can get more in depth on Grim’s future Healthcare blog, in general…the “payers” have discount deals with the “docs” and the paperwork and resultant office expenses (staff) to accommodate all the carriers/requirements takes a big chunk of money, that is why they go to cash….nothing nefarious was created..the current system has grown from the 40’s employer based indemnity and has changed and been complicated by continual attempts to reduce costs and state and federal mandates added over the last 70 years….like all “markets” it will work out…may not be quick, and it certainly won’t be painless….

  109. A cynical me says:

    There are many ways:

    Pre-Medicare> A Doctor comes to your home, diagnose what happens and tells you mother is an invalid, and you got to take care of her. A week later mother accidentally fell down the stairs, and you find her dead.

    The Chinese Way > A Doctor comes to your home, diagnose what happens and tells you mother is an invalid, and you got to take care of her. You buy 6 gallons of milk and you force feed her till she drowns in milk.

    Post Medicare > A Doctor comes to your home, diagnose what happens and tells you mother is an invalid, and you got to take care of her. You ship her to a nursing home, where Genesis Eldercare will bill Medicare/Medicaid $6000+ a month for wiping her behind with minimum wage off the boat immigrants.

    As a Gen X, and great lover of the admirable way the Boomer Locust generation has behaved. I say we import the Chinese way.

    On serious note, without Medicare, hospitals would not look like they do now. Medicare was the rule maker that ended General Wards. They are the safety valve when State Health Dept are incompetent or crooked (looking at you FL) and are able to stop the show by forbidding Medicare/Medicaid payments. The last time they did it aggressively was South Shore Hospital in Miami Beach in around 2003 or so.

    cobbler says:
    August 22, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    [97]
    Tell me again, how does it work for a stroke?

  110. joyce says:

    condo,

    I didn’t mean to imply anything nefarious in a doctor eschewing insurance and only taking cash. Just what you said, to avoid the expenses associated with dealing with them insurance companies.

    And I love this btw, I hope it was sarcasm, “…and been complicated by continual attempts to reduce costs “

  111. 1987 Condo says:

    #112..not sarcasm, but since I worked in the bowels of a major “insurance” company for 20 years…there are so many state regs and legal requirements to provide a health plan your head would spin, keep in mind, if I have an employer with employees in multiple states, each state insurance commission requires their own regulatory approval process, plus each state requires different minimum coverages, plus each state controls premium increases, plus new mandates require new filings, so that starts the process again, then COBRA comes in, then states enact state specific cobra like rules, so sales needs retraining, Operations needs to redo systems, lawyers get involved, physicians have to be “re-contracted” and their staff needs to be retrained, then CSR systems need to be changed and those folks need to be retrained…that’;s about 1% of the fun, now multiply that by 50 states and 50 years and here we are!!!

  112. 1987 Condo says:

    Post script, by the time my company, Prudential Healthcare, was purchased by Aetna in 1999… we were losing $200 million a quarter…..folks in Newark were partying when that sale went through…..

  113. Back in the day, you took a shot of whiskey, bit down on a towel, and they sawed off your leg with a hacksaw.

    Get ready to revisit that era.

  114. Comrade Nom Deplume, knee jerk savant says:

    [83] ccb

    Perhaps you want to enlighten us about how it works then? I saw one criteria, that of outcome. The implication is better outcomes, more aid. How do you measure that? Grades? Invitation to grade inflation. Jobs? You know some schools will want interns, volunteers and baristas included.

    You speak of knee jerk reactions. Go read post 83 and tell me why it isn’t one.

  115. Comrade Nom Deplume, knee jerk savant says:

    Found this abstract of an NBER paper on US and Canadian health care.

    http://healthcare-economist.com/2007/10/02/health-care-system-grudge-match-canada-vs-us/

    Discuss!

  116. chicagofinance says:

    Michael says:
    August 22, 2013 at 2:27 pm
    Btw, chi finance and fast Eddie, please show me one economic system that has worked long term without self destructing. I’m waiting….still waiting. Guess ill be waiting forever. WHAT DOES THIS COMMENT EVEN MEAN?

    As much as you think I’m some crazy liberal, I’m not.
    YOU ARE NOT A LIBERAL. YOU ARE A SHALLOW THINKER. MENTALLY LAZY?

    At least scholars research and try to attack the problem with logic. Doesn’t make them right but it means they are attacking the problem with research, logic, and deep critical thinking. I can live with that.
    I AM HAPPY YOU CAN LIVE WITH IT. PLEASE TRY SUBSCRIBING TO IT.

  117. joyce says:

    113-114

    condo,

    That’s kind of what I meant by sarcasm. All of those ideas to reduce cost completely backfired (were those unintended consequences what was really desired all along?).

  118. chicagofinance says:

    Movie Review
    Weiner & Me

    Don’t get XXX-cited over Sydney Leathers’ p0rn movie ‘Weiner and Me’
    By KYLE SMITH

    Weiner and me

    I didn’t even have to pay to see Sydney Leathers’ hardcore XXX movie, “Weiner and Me,” and yet I want my money back. Plus disinfectant.

    Not since Ron Burgundy told his date, “I want to be on you” has there been a more awkward attempt at tenderness than the infamous Anthony Weiner sexts to Sydney Leathers that inspired her to wonder (on Howard Stern) whether the mayor wannabe was “a little too busy jerking off to do anything for the city.”

    At last, though, Weiner can watch a lookalike getting it on with Sydney Leathers, thanks to a p0rno released yesterday on the Vivid Celeb Web site.

    The best of the four sections is the comedy opening in which Leathers, playing herself, auditions three faux Weiners (plus a guy with a saxophone who is introduced as “Bill Clinton”).

    Sydney and the tryouts, including a guy in a Keith Richards wig shouting his lines like a demented mix of Al Pacino and Christopher Walken, read off the actual sweet nothings Weiner and Leathers texted to each other. Like Weiner’s, “What are you wearing? Much for me to take off? I hold you by your throat.” And Leathers’ immortal, “Specifically your health-care rants were a huge turn-on.” And Weiner’s “I love health care. I love health care. OK, very important.”

    Leathers selects a lookalike winner — and then the pair runs through the Weiner Sutra of sex positions. But not before a warm-up session in which Leathers entertains herself with two buzzing battery-operated devices and a phone.

    The epilogue is the bit Weiner won’t be watching. Leathers tells her story directly to the camera: The two chatted on Facebook after “he poked me out of nowhere.”

    She continues, “He was actually Number One in the polls before the scandal broke and then I ruined that for him. So, sorry! Except I’m not. The funny part about the situation is that he was the aggressor even after the fact that he had been caught the first time. So it’s like, really, I don’t know, he’s a moron.”

    Leathers also confesses she sometimes faked the phone sex (“Like, ‘Oh, yeah, I’m touching myself,’ even if I wasn’t really.”) but “definitely would have f–ked him if I had the chance.”

    Alas, Sydney, he’s taken. Anyway, why give away what you can sell on camera?

    As Steve Martin once said, “Sex is one of the most beautiful, wholesome, natural things that money can buy.”

  119. Michael says:

    “Btw, chi finance and fast Eddie, please show me one economic system that has worked long term without self destructing. I’m waiting….still waiting. Guess ill be waiting forever. WHAT DOES THIS COMMENT EVEN MEAN?”

    It means exactly what it means. You guys claim to adhere to superior economic principles based on the way you belittle my economic thoughts. So I’m asking you, what is the ideal economic system? Obviously, I’m going to be waiting for an answer forever, because there is none. Every single empire in history fell apart due to the failure of its economic system. No matter what kind of economic system, it falls apart under its weight with time. Some last longer than others, but all fail miserably at one point, bringing the empire to an end. Point I am trying to make, don’t be so short cited as to think you adhere to some enlightened version of economic principles. They all fail. Go back to work with your boys in the finance industry and crash the economy into the ground again based on your superior economic skills.

  120. Michael says:

    122- Just do me one favor, just make sure you and your boys don’t ask for a govt bailout this time.

  121. Comrade Nom Deplume, knee jerk savant says:

    The left is going to have to work a bit harder to blame this one on “the gun culture”.

    http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/23/us/world-war-vet-beating-death/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

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