Note to NJ – Stop making promises you can’t afford

From the Record:

Standard & Poor’s revises N.J.’s credit outlook to ‘negative’

New Jersey’s finances are still a mess, Standard & Poor’s said Tuesday, and the state’s weak credit outlook will not improve until officials make lasting reforms.

The Wall Street agency did not downgrade New Jersey’s “A” bond rating – already one of the lowest in the country. But Standard & Poor’s did revise New Jersey’s outlook from “stable” to “negative,” usually the first step before a downgrade.

Analysts pointed to a familiar problem, years in the making: a mountain of debt in the area of pensions and health-care packages for retirees.

John Sugden, an S&P analyst who studies New Jersey, said those costs continue to bring “significant long-term pressures” that could “worsen over the next year or two.”

Governor Christie has proposed a $34.8 billion state budget for the fiscal year that begins July. His plan would send $1.86 billion to the strained pension funds, or 40 percent of what actuaries say is needed to fully fund the retirement benefits public workers have earned. Next year, for his last budget, Christie plans to pay 50 percent of the total cost.

Those reduced payments mean that “the state’s underfunding of its pension is contributing to rapidly growing unfunded liabilities and reduced sustainability for its systems,” S&P said.

Fitch Ratings, Moody’s Investors Service and S&P have issued nine downgrades of New Jersey’s bond rating since Governor Christie took office in 2010, often citing the pension-funding predicament. But they all affirmed the state’s lower-than-average bond rating this year.

A spokesman for the state Treasury Department said S&P was the only major ratings agency to change its outlook to “negative” in recent days.

“This outlook change should serve as a wake-up call to Democrat legislators in Trenton: if they do not join the governor’s efforts to make public employee entitlements affordable for taxpayers, and if they continue to fight to enshrine these costs in the state constitution, it will be devastating to the budget and to the economy,” said Christie spokesman Brian Murray.

In a note to investors Tuesday, S&P called for “credible pension reform” and said New Jersey’s outlook would not improve to “stable” until it sees “a demonstrated significant and sustainable funding commitment to the state’s pensions that, at a minimum, reverses the trend of growing liabilities.”

The state pension funds face $40 billion in unfunded liabilities according to the terms of state law, but using newly adopted federal accounting standards, the tab grows to $80 billion. Pension plans managed by local governments are in better shape.

According to Fitch Ratings, the state faces more than $65 billion in unfunded liabilities for retiree health benefits.

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80 Responses to Note to NJ – Stop making promises you can’t afford

  1. Mike says:

    Good Morning New Jersey

  2. Wake me up when one of these extortionate ratings agencies actually downgrades a state based on the facts underlying its shaky slide into insolvency. Until then, these ‘outlook’ pronouncements serve as nothing more than ransom notes.

    “The Wall Street agency did not downgrade New Jersey’s “A” bond rating – already one of the lowest in the country.”

  3. Always remember Puerto Rico was jj’s favorite muni paper play.

  4. 3b says:

    Fab from yesterday. There is nothing I need to defend in my posts. And I certainly do not need a gtg to have you explain things to me. You do have that European disease how dare a mere American comment on European affairs. While Europeans are free to comment on the u.s. America has a ton of problems and that’s an understatement but we are the only game in town today in the world. Europe is falling apart.

  5. Looking for JJ Bondman says:

    JJ where the hell are you?

    Saw this is Bloomberg a few days ago. Does it means people (big China/ME/Russia/rest of the world ) are starting to head for the exit? Do it means what I think it means?

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-03-20/wall-street-s-pile-of-unwanted-treasuries-exposes-market-cracks

  6. nwnj3 says:

    Europe has become a continent of weenies. I subscribe to the theory that it’s a result of the loss of successive generations of alphas and the subsequent embrace of social democracy.

    The Euros who I’ve met in my lifetime and respect highly are from the former commonwealth. They’ve struggled in their lifetime and have a lot of character as a result.

  7. Libturd questioning the gender of Hillary's Cankle fluid. says:

    Wow unfunded liability is 145 billion now up from 90 billion the last time I looked. NJ’s gross tax income is 30 billion. You can now completely shut down the government for 5 years and you wouldn’t even make up the short fall (considering that we are currently underfunding the pensions alone by 50% annually).

  8. The Great Pumpkin says:

    “After more than 600 interest-rate cuts and $12 trillion of asset purchases failed to move the inflation needle enough, central banks may need to head even deeper into uncharted territory.

    The way to get the world out of its disinflationary rut could lie in them directly financing government stimulus — a strategy known as deploying “helicopter money” after a 1969 proposal from Nobel laureate Milton Friedman.”

    Economists at Citigroup Inc., HSBC Holdings Plc and Commerzbank AG all published reports to investors on the topic in the past two weeks, while hedge fund titan Ray Dalio sees potential in the idea. European Central Bank officials are already squabbling about what President Mario Draghi calls a “very interesting concept.”

    “We don’t know for certain that ‘helicopter money’ will be the next attempted silver bullet, however the topic is receiving considerably more attention,” said Gabriel Stein, an economist at Oxford Economics Ltd. in London. “The likelihood is reasonably high of some form being implemented somewhere.”

    The theory — never attempted by a modern major economy — is to fuse monetary and fiscal policies now both running out of room. Cash-strapped governments sell short-term debt straight to their central bank for newly printed money that is then injected straight into the economy via tax cuts or spending programs. The usual intermediaries, like banks, are bypassed.

    The idea is to spur spending and investment directly rather than influence bond yields or sentiment. Central banks can be saved from permanently underwriting governments by establishing growth or inflation limits.”

    ““I don’t think helicopter money gets rolled out quite yet,” said Ewen Cameron-Watt, chief investment strategist at BlackRock Inc. “You need a considerable downturn and further decline in inflation expectations first.”
    Still, if economies do slide anew, Jonathan Loynes of Capital Economics Ltd. in London, noted central banks have shown willingness to revisit once-rejected ideas.
    “The clear lesson of recent years has been that seemingly unimaginable policy measures previously confined to the theory or history books can become reality if extraordinary economic circumstances persist for long enough,” he said.”

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-03-22/billions-from-heaven-helicopter-money-option-wins-fans

  9. The Great Pumpkin says:

    The Great Pumpkin is coming. Wage inflation will be here 2017-2018. 2020’s will be boom years for the U.S.

    “Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard said policy makers should consider raising interest rates at their next meeting amid a broadly unchanged economic outlook and prospects of inflation and unemployment exceeding targets.

    “You get another strong jobs report, it looks like labor markets are improving, you could probably make a case for moving in April,” Bullard, who votes on policy this year, said in a Bloomberg interview in New York Wednesday. “I think we are going to end up overshooting on inflation” and the natural rate of unemployment, he said.

    The Federal Open Market Committee kept interest rates unchanged last week and halved projections for how many times it would hike this year from four times in December after volatility in financial markets and weakening global growth clouded the U.S. economic outlook. Bullard criticized the forecasts, also referred to as the dot plot, arguing that they contribute to uncertainty in financial markets.

    “You really saw that over the first part of this year,” Bullard said, adding that he’s getting “increasingly concerned” about giving forward guidance through those projections. “I’ve even thought about dropping out unilaterally from the whole exercise.”

    ‘Reasonably Good’

    Bullard said he sees joblessness falling to 4.5 percent this year. The rate held at an eight-year low of 4.9 percent last month. Inflation as measured by the personal consumption expenditures index, the Fed’s preferred gauge, as well as core PCE, the rate that excludes volatile components such as food and energy, will be over 2 percent in 2017, he said. The central bank’s inflation target is 2 percent.

    “We’re in reasonably good shape” with regard to monetary policy but “the odds that we will fall somewhat behind the curve have increased modestly,” Bullard said. “We are going to get some overshooting here in the relatively near term” on unemployment “that might cause the committee to have to raise rates more rapidly later on.”

    Bullard said there was a “credible case” to be made to move in March. “We didn’t do it — so now we can look at April and see what the data looks like when we get to April,” he said.

    The FOMC holds its next policy meeting on April 26-27. It won’t be followed by a press conference, which are only held at the end of each quarter. That has led investors to discount policy action at intermittent gatherings in the past.””

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-03-23/bullard-says-jobless-decline-may-warrant-faster-rate-hikes-later

  10. 1987 Condo says:

    Finns to give everyone an allowance and nix welfare….

    This year, the Finnish government hopes to begin granting every adult citizen a monthly allowance of €800 (roughly $900). Whether rich or poor, each citizen will be free to use the money as he or she sees fit. The idea is that people are responsible for their actions. If someone decides to spend their €800 on vodka, that is their decision, and has nothing to do with the government. In return for the UBI, however, the public accepts the elimination of most welfare services. Currently, the Finnish government offers a variety of income-based assistance programs for everything from housing to children’s education to property insulation. Axing these programs should free up enough public resources to finance the UBI. The bureaucracy that currently governs welfare payments will disappear. There will no longer be any need to ask for government help, nor to fill out forms or wait for the competent authorities to examine each dossier to determine eligibility.

    The introduction of a UBI should loosen the hold of public bureaucracy over Finnish citizens and reverse a century of top-down soxxxlization in Finnish society. In practice, each citizen will automatically receive his monthly allowance and declare it as part of his taxable income. The poorest citizens—who do not pay income tax—will keep their entire allowance, while high-earners will repay a relative portion of their allowance in tax. As always, the devil will be in the details. It’s still not known whether this allowance will replace every welfare program, or if some—such as those that aid the physically and developmentally disabled—will be maintained.

    Remarkably, every major Finnish political party has signed on. The Left is cheered by the idea of government-assistance-for-all. The Right looks forward to the unprecedented drop in bureaucratic control over citizens, an unheard-of extension of freedom of choice, and an unconditional restitution of part of citizens’ taxes.

    The Finnish government is expecting the negative income tax to have a beneficial effect on employment and growth. Regardless of age, the underqualified will be more willing to accept poorly paid jobs, knowing they will continue to receive their UBI. By the same token, employers will be more willing to hire and fire, as the UBI will act as a social damper. As national wealth figures always depend on the number of citizens in the labor market, Finland is hoping for a clear growth spurt. The allowance may also limit the influx of migrants if the government decides to grant the UBI only to citizens and legal residents.

    This project is so simple and apolitical that it’s natural to ask why it has never been tried before. The answer is quite simple. The political and bureaucratic classes fear innovation, and even more so the loss of their direct influence over society. Shrinking the welfare state will scale back politicians’ ability to buy votes. If the Finnish experiment works, all of Europe will follow suit. Something similar happened in the early 1980s, when American monetarism imposed itself and stemmed inflation, and the British privatization trend became globalized. Perhaps in the future we will refer to a “Finnish model” that makes ordinary politics more interesting, governments less heavy-handed, and citizens more responsible.

    http://www.city-journal.org/html/finnish-model-14302.html

  11. walking bye says:

    Condo – You could probably substitute Finnish for US in the last paragraph. Amazing that buying votes is the same around the world. I would have thought the Finns are smarter and above that sort of game.

  12. grim says:

    If I owe you 10 billion, it’s my problem.

    If I owe you 145 billion, it’s your problem.

  13. D-FENS says:

    Boom!

  14. 1987 Condo says:

    people are people……

  15. The Great Pumpkin says:

    11- This is exactly what I was talking about yesterday. So it begins. Govts will have to hand over allowances or provide make work jobs, otherwise, you will have a giant welfare state left to make up for the immense loss of jobs due to hyper efficiency in the economy. The world will be changing fast after the 2020’s boom and bust.

  16. D-FENS says:

    16 – Dude that’s Communism

  17. The Great Pumpkin says:

    Not even close.

    D-FENS says:
    March 23, 2016 at 11:23 am
    16 – Dude that’s Communism

  18. joyce says:

    Pumpkin-face,

    We’ll see if that plan ever comes to fruition. In the meantime, you should try reading it again.

    “In return for the UBI, however, the public accepts the elimination of most welfare services… The bureaucracy that currently governs welfare payments will disappear.”

    “The introduction of a UBI should loosen the hold of public bureaucracy over Finnish citizens and reverse a century of top-down soxxxlization in Finnish society. “

  19. Not RagPumpkin says:

    Whether it is :

    1- 16 – Dude that’s Communism

    2- Finns to give everyone an allowance and nix welfare….
    This year, the Finnish government hopes to begin granting every adult citizen a monthly allowance of €800 (roughly $900). Whether rich or poor, each citizen will be free to use the money as he or she sees fit. The idea is that people are responsible for their actions.

    3 –

    “After more than 600 interest-rate cuts and $12 trillion of asset purchases failed to move the inflation needle enough, central banks may need to head even deeper into uncharted territory.

    The way to get the world out of its disinflationary rut could lie in them directly financing government stimulus — a strategy known as deploying “helicopter money” after a 1969 proposal from Nobel laureate Milton Friedman.”

    4- The darker – More Wars, Brave New World, Logan’s Run, Soylent Green or Elysium.

    5- The brighter – Space Exploratation and get out of the Solar System/Galaxy – settle new world – Start Trek stuff.

    They are all a small variation of the same question. Which is what do you do when a combination of Technology (hyperefficiency) and Ideology (free trade/survival of the fittest Randians) takes care well of a small part of population and forgets the rest.

    Being a cynical @hole and knowing history like I do and remembering all colonial powers saw the poor as waste. They hoped the poor would starve to death, commit a crime and be hanged or put away for life, use as cannon fodder as soldiers, or be sent to the colonies. The last one was very applicable to England which had a humongous overpopulation problem relative to other colonial powers like Spain and France.

    I’m going with Elysium like, with a decrepit nuclear war scarred planet.

  20. 3b says:

    One minute you are talking about super efficiency in the economy and no jobs so massive welfare state. In the same breath you are telling us wage inflation is coming along with a boom! I can’t see how you can continue to contradict what you say in the space of minutes!

  21. Raymond Reddington formerly Phoenix says: says:

    The two biggest welfare programs in the USA are Social Security and Medicare.
    Have fun telling their constituents they will be getting an “allowance” instead of unlimited drugs and unlimited treatments/surgeries.
    Good luck with that…

  22. chicagofinance says:
  23. Libturd questioning the gender of Hillary's Cankle fluid. says:

    I can’t watch youtube at work…I’m guessing either cowbell or Depeche Mode.

  24. Raymond Reddington formerly Phoenix says: says:

    23 guy in video all talk, did not put hands on anyone.

  25. The Great Pumpkin says:

    No contradiction. One is short term and the other is long term. In the short term, the people that do have jobs will experience wage inflation in the hopes of creating overall inflation in the economy. This will create a large boom that will be followed by an even larger bust. By the time the bust comes (end of 2020’s or beginning of 2030’s) you will see the next big push in efficiency to deal with the debt. This will be the beginning of the end of human labor and the beginning of a new type of economy in which the majority do not work. Automation should be taking over almost every aspect of our life. The world will be a much a different place in terms of the 9-5 job economy. That will be a relic of the past just like the 40 hour work week.

    3b says:
    March 23, 2016 at 11:52 am
    One minute you are talking about super efficiency in the economy and no jobs so massive welfare state. In the same breath you are telling us wage inflation is coming along with a boom! I can’t see how you can continue to contradict what you say in the space of minutes!

  26. 1987 Condo says:

    I was wondering when I’d see the “Jetson’s” economy I was promised in the 70’s!

  27. The Great Pumpkin says:

    The fact that it has become main stream talk says a lot.

    joyce says:
    March 23, 2016 at 11:39 am
    Pumpkin-face,

    We’ll see if that plan ever comes to fruition. In the meantime, you should try reading it again.

    “In return for the UBI, however, the public accepts the elimination of most welfare services… The bureaucracy that currently governs welfare payments will disappear.”

    “The introduction of a UBI should loosen the hold of public bureaucracy over Finnish citizens and reverse a century of top-down soxxxlization in Finnish society. “

  28. joyce says:

    28
    Reduction in bureaucracy and welfare services does not equal to massive welfare state, genius. They are trying reduce it. I doubt it will happen, but please try reading at least at a 4th grade level.

  29. The Great Pumpkin says:

    What is the biggest issue facing citizens in almost any country in the world? JOBS. What are the chances that we create more jobs with more efficiency (automation/co-worker picking up laid off worker’s production)?

  30. 3b says:

    #26 pumps if the job elimination is coming and in many respects already starting. Then there is simply no reason for this wage inflation you speak of.

  31. The Great Pumpkin says:

    Yes, isn’t this what I always stated? You have these options to deal with the problem of less human labor needed to sustain same production; you can increase welfare state, make-work jobs, or just hand the consumer an allowance to spend how they please. Pick your poison, but it won’t be based on competition/supply and demand fundamentals. It’s basically going to be one giant welfare state no matter how you look at it.

    joyce says:
    March 23, 2016 at 1:06 pm
    28
    Reduction in bureaucracy and welfare services does not equal to massive welfare state, genius. They are trying reduce it. I doubt it will happen, but please try reading at least at a 4th grade level.

  32. D-FENS says:

    Just make those jobs. Make them. Supply us with more money.

    Snap your government fingers.

    Make the jobs. We want you to make them.

  33. joyce says:

    Yes, isn’t this what I always stated? ”

    No its not and I’m done playing

  34. 3b (21)-

    At the risk of offending someone, I’ll still state that Punkin’ is nothing more than a low-level troll with spastic tendencies.

    “One minute you are talking about super efficiency in the economy and no jobs so massive welfare state. In the same breath you are telling us wage inflation is coming along with a boom! I can’t see how you can continue to contradict what you say in the space of minutes!”

  35. The Great Pumpkin says:

    The fed wants wage inflation to spur inflation. They want growth to return. They are trying their best to fix this economy. So it’s going to come for the people that have jobs. You see it with the minimum wage going up in the next 5 years. So for the people that have jobs, they will see wage inflation. They are already starting to see it.

    3b says:
    March 23, 2016 at 1:07 pm
    #26 pumps if the job elimination is coming and in many respects already starting. Then there is simply no reason for this wage inflation you speak of.

  36. Ever see a little chihuahua or terrier that starts running in circles in some sort of manic discharge of energy?

    That’s Punkin’.

  37. 3b says:

    #36 pumps: well in the same vein we can just replace the people with jobs with the people without jobs. People without jobs will work for less then people with jobs. So why would we have wage inflation?

  38. 3b says:

    #35 splat: I wonder does he really understand what he posts and all the contradictions or is he just messing with the board?

  39. nwnj3 says:

    He’s a classic troll. He’s not engaging in any conversation. He’s spamming the site with his nonsense and when someone makes a point that contradicts him and is undeniable he ignores it completely.

  40. Anon E. Moose says:

    Condo [27];

    Do you want to work for Spacely Sprockets or Cogswell Cogs?

  41. The Great Pumpkin says:

    That’s the whole problem facing the fed…they want to avoid deflation at all costs. The whole point of getting wage inflation going is to get more money in the consumer’s hands to promote inflation and growth in the economy. The economy has been suffering from lack of growth due to too much of the profits going to the top due to the outsourcing of jobs/automation. The capital has not reached the consumer. So they are trying desperately to get wage inflation going to save the economy.

    So your proposal will not work, it will only exasperate the problem. Austerity measures will lead to deflation and take out this economy with a deflationary spiral that you will never escape from. Then clot will have his day with armed packs roaming the country side.

    3b says:
    March 23, 2016 at 1:53 pm
    #36 pumps: well in the same vein we can just replace the people with jobs with the people without jobs. People without jobs will work for less then people with jobs. So why would we have wage inflation?

  42. The Great Pumpkin says:

    Troll? I’m not trolling anyone. I’m having a discussion. If you don’t like what I’m saying, it doesn’t mean I’m trolling you.

    nwnj3 says:
    March 23, 2016 at 2:20 pm
    He’s a classic troll. He’s not engaging in any conversation. He’s spamming the site with his nonsense and when someone makes a point that contradicts him and is undeniable he ignores it completely.

  43. Not RagPumkinate says:

    This is a beauty that I found while goofing off, of how the GOP Elites see the poor, I mean white poor (aka Ragnar’s family)

    The revulsion for his supporters can be quite striking in its candor
    The National Review on their own white, working class Republican voters
    Spoiler alert – they’re human garbage

    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/432876

    It is immoral because it perpetuates a lie: that the white working class that finds itself attracted to Trump has been victimized by outside forces. It hasn’t. The white middle class may like the idea of Trump as a giant pulsing humanoid middle finger held up in the face of the Cathedral, they may sing hymns to Trump the destroyer and whisper darkly about “globalists” and — odious, stupid term — “the Establishment,” but nobody did this to them. They failed themselves.

    If you spend time in hardscrabble, white upstate New York, or eastern Kentucky, or my own native West Texas, and you take an honest look at the welfare dependency, the drug and alcohol addiction, the family anarchy — which is to say, the whelping of human children with all the respect and wisdom of a stray dog — you will come to an awful realization. It wasn’t Beijing. It wasn’t even Washington, as bad as Washington can be. It wasn’t immigrants from Mexico, excessive and problematic as our current immigration levels are. It wasn’t any of that.

    Nothing happened to them. There wasn’t some awful disaster. There wasn’t a war or a famine or a plague or a foreign occupation. Even the economic changes of the past few decades do very little to explain the dysfunction and negligence — and the incomprehensible malice — of poor white America. So the gypsum business in Garbutt ain’t what it used to be. There is more to life in the 21st century than wallboard and cheap sentimentality about how the Man closed the factories down.

    The truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they deserve to die. Economically, they are negative assets. Morally, they are indefensible. Forget all your cheap theatrical Bruce Springsteen crap. Forget your sanctimony about struggling Rust Belt factory towns and your conspiracy theories about the wily Orientals stealing our jobs. Forget your goddamned gypsum, and, if he has a problem with that, forget Ed Burke, too. The white American underclass is in thrall to a vicious, selfish culture whose main products are misery and used heroin needles. Donald Trump’s speeches make them feel good. So does OxyContin. What they need isn’t analgesics, literal or political. They need real opportunity, which means that they need real change, which means that they need U-Haul.

  44. 3b says:

    #42 pumps: you just proved my point. You consistently contradict yourself. When you try and defend your contradiction you just end up continuing to contradict yourself. Its amazing!

  45. Nomad says:

    Why government handouts and helicopter money? With a crumbling infrastructure, why not a massive WPA like program to put a few million people to work and fix the roads, bridges, train tracks, ports etc. People working, buying more drives a bit of inflation, reduces unemployment and maybe even changes the mood in our country a bit. Better someone gets a paycheck from work vs government handouts. Other than everything what am I missing.

    Grim, as a technical whiz, do you think BlockChain is going to revolutionize things and if so, when?

  46. The Great Pumpkin says:

    43- You can just fix everything wrong currently with the economy by cutting jobs and lowering pay. Hasn’t this practice been destructive enough or are you people blind? So call me a troll for realizing this practice can’t keep going or the economy will cease to exist.

    Remember what the function of an economy is. Remember what the function of an economic system is. They serve to hold society together by efficiently allocating resources we need to survive. They do not exist to make society better for just a few. When that scenario starts to happen, that means the economic system is starting to break down and fall apart. Just think about it, before you call me a troll.

  47. The Great Pumpkin says:

    This has always been my position.

    Nomad says:
    March 23, 2016 at 2:33 pm
    Why government handouts and helicopter money? With a crumbling infrastructure, why not a massive WPA like program to put a few million people to work and fix the roads, bridges, train tracks, ports etc. People working, buying more drives a bit of inflation, reduces unemployment and maybe even changes the mood in our country a bit. Better someone gets a paycheck from work vs government handouts. Other than everything what am I missing.

    Grim, as a technical whiz, do you think BlockChain is going to revolutionize things and if so, when?

  48. The Great Pumpkin says:

    How? Please explain.

    3b says:
    March 23, 2016 at 2:32 pm
    #42 pumps: you just proved my point. You consistently contradict yourself. When you try and defend your contradiction you just end up continuing to contradict yourself. Its amazing!

  49. joyce says:

    Who the fcuk suggested that, troll?

    The Great Pumpkin says:
    March 23, 2016 at 2:35 pm
    43- You can just fix everything wrong currently with the economy by cutting jobs and lowering pay. Hasn’t this practice been destructive enough or are you people blind?

  50. Fast Eddie says:

    Omg, why are you people engaging her? It’s becoming annoying! It was fun at first but please, enough already!

  51. Fast Eddie says:

    Her = Pumpkin

  52. 3b says:

    #49 pumps see your post 47. That’s how. Bear in mind 3 items upon review. Your belief in big wage inflation coming, your belief in a boom coming, and your belief that many or most jobs will be eliminated. Which in and of itself is not necessarily wrong. That’s all I can do for you.

  53. walking bye says:

    Ding ding ding, ok new topic enough already

    Things already had gotten rough for Paul Saran and his Au Bon Pain franchise at Woodbury Common Premium Outlets last November, when the malls owners began building a wall to isolate the last business in a defunct food court it had replaced months earlier. Now things are even rougher, and a little surreal. Unable to oust a longtime tenant with more than two years left on his lease, Simon Property Group has torn down most of the food court around its holdout business, leaving Saran and his employees to continue their labors in a walled-off building fragment. All that remains of the food court is Au Bon Pain and its seating area, a couple of bathrooms and a large demolition zone surrounded by plastic barriers and chain-link fences.
    It is not a welcoming or even noticeable place to grab a croissant or sandwich. Au Bon Pains sales were down 90 percent in February, said Saran, who suspects that was his landlords intent.
    The two parties have fighting in court since last year over Au Bon Pains lease and the fate of the old food court.
    The malls owners declined to discuss the dispute in November, and did so again last week when asked about the half-demolished food court. Our general policy is not to comment on matters that are in active litigation, a Simon Property Group spokesman said in an emailed statement, the same one he made last fall. Nonetheless, we have acted in accordance with our agreements as we continue to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in Woodbury Common to enhance food and retailer offerings, customer amenities ! and parking facilities.
    Saran says the demolition began around mid-February and stopped by the end of the month, in a half finished state with building girders exposed. A plain sign on a temporary fence outside reads: Au Bon Pain. Restrooms. Customers entering from one side must navigate a path of plastic barriers, unlit at night.
    I just hope for their sake theres no calamity here, Saran said as he showed a reporter that winding entrance.
    Saran has had his franchise for Woodbury Common for 10 years and says he still wants to remain there, in spite of his conspicuous standoff with his landlord.
    He has said the conflict began when the malls owners offered to let him move to the new food court, at triple his current rent.
    I have been a good tenant, he said. There have never been issues – except for greed

  54. Essex says:

    i once watched a failed Blimpies in W. Caldwell end a marriage.

  55. The Great Pumpkin says:

    Sorry, not trying to stay on this topic, but just wanted to clear this up.

    The coming wage inflation, and boom that follows, will be a result of the fed’s policies. Obviously, it’s being artificially produced by the fed as opposed to organic growth, and this is the problem. The huge bust that will follow will try to be fixed like all previous busts, through means of efficiency in trying to bring down the debt produced at the height of the boom. Only this time it will be different. We will be hitting a point where the old economic model no longer applies due to major advancements in automation that will take place in the next 15 years that makes human labor a novelty as opposed to a necessity. I also expect the income inequality to hit staggering levels in this next boom and bust. At this time, there will be protests and demands made by the people suffering from the lack of jobs available. Think of the previous 99% movement, but on steroids, because this time, it won’t only be 20 somethings protesting, but a majority of the population both young and old. Big changes will be coming.

    I may very well be wrong, but this is how I see it.

    3b says:
    March 23, 2016 at 2:54 pm
    #49 pumps see your post 47. That’s how. Bear in mind 3 items upon review. Your belief in big wage inflation coming, your belief in a boom coming, and your belief that many or most jobs will be eliminated. Which in and of itself is not necessarily wrong. That’s all I can do for you.

  56. The Great Pumpkin says:

    3b says:
    March 23, 2016 at 1:53 pm
    #36 pumps: well in the same vein we can just replace the people with jobs with the people without jobs. People without jobs will work for less then people with jobs. So why would we have wage inflation?

    joyce says:
    March 23, 2016 at 2:42 pm
    Who the fcuk suggested that, troll?

    The Great Pumpkin says:
    March 23, 2016 at 2:35 pm
    43- You can just fix everything wrong currently with the economy by cutting jobs and lowering pay. Hasn’t this practice been destructive enough or are you people blind?

  57. joyce says:

    You’re fcuking retarded. 3b said that to show you that there will continue to be downward pressure on wages, preventing wage inflation. He wasn’t proposing a plan.

    Idiot.

    The Great Pumpkin says:
    March 23, 2016 at 4:20 pm
    3b says:
    March 23, 2016 at 1:53 pm
    #36 pumps: well in the same vein we can just replace the people with jobs with the people without jobs. People without jobs will work for less then people with jobs. So why would we have wage inflation?

  58. yome says:

    Paul Ryan changing stance. Getting ready to run for President?

    “There was a time that I would talk about a difference between ‘makers’ and ‘takers’ in our country, referring to people who accepted government benefits. But as I spent more time listening, and really learning the root causes of poverty, I realized something. I realized that I was wrong. ‘Takers’ wasn’t how to refer to a single mom stuck in a poverty trap, trying to take care of her family. Most people don’t want to be dependent. And to label a whole group of Americans that way was wrong. I shouldn’t castigate a large group of Americans to make a point.”

  59. chicagofinance says:

    As Fast Eddie said……her…..and she is not even in NJ

    3b says:
    March 23, 2016 at 1:55 pm
    #35 splat: I wonder does he really understand what he posts and all the contradictions or is he just messing with the board?

  60. The Great Pumpkin says:

    “Can these policies (also implemented in other Nordic and northern European countries) be adapted to accommodate a fully flexible workforce? Let’s go back to one of Roxane’s sentences: “Hyper efficiency, automation, wealth transfer, and income inequality go together.” While this has been the path of least resistance, we just saw that tax and employment policies can in fact deliver both higher growth rates and adequate income equality. But can these policies work in an environment of increased unemployment? I recently talked to a CEO of a telecommunications company that had been sitting on a technology improvement that would not only dramatically reduce the company’s costs and improve customer service but do so by reducing the company’s workforce by 40,000 people. Self-driving vehicles, which are coming much faster than people realize, will take away the need for drivers around the world. This will be painful everywhere, but devastating in megacities such as Mumbai and Lagos, where millions of people earn their living from driving. The least skilled and the least educated will likely not find new full-time employment. Even with the optimistic and inevitable forecasts that new technologies will open up new economic frontiers, we all know the difficult truth: In real time in defined geographies, job losses do not equal job gains one for one. We can see this future and have time right now to produce a different outcome.

    A more efficient economy is also an economy that creates fewer jobs and does away with job security. Given a generation, the platform + peers structure could result in as big a change in the basic construction of our economies as the invention of mass production in factories did. We need to create new social mechanisms to spread out the gains of the new platform economics — perhaps even a Basic Income allotted to every person, in addition to the Flexicurity principles. Without this, the social consequences could be dire, bad enough to upset the entire applecart in time. National basic income schemes are getting serious consideration even in fiscally conservative nations like Switzerland, which has a national referendum scheduled in 2015 on the topic following a successful citizens’ initiative in 2012. Much better for us to get off on the right foot: a maximally fluid and efficient economy that makes full use of our social, material, and technical possibilities, with the necessary safety nets. Basic income is the long-term answer to the increasing precariousness of ordinary people in a global economy that can shift their jobs to the other side of the world in a heartbeat.

    How would we pay for these benefits? We know that when employers outsource labor, even within the same country, they do so to avoid paying for health insurance, worker’s comp, disability insurance, and retirement benefits (see FedEx’s lost suit in their claim that its California delivery drivers were independent contractors). All these services have to be paid for by somebody; the costs are simply being moved to the shoulders of the government. Thomas Piketty, the economist who burst into public consciousness with his bestselling book Capital in the 21st Century, calls for a global wealth tax that is impossible to evade by changing jurisdictions. This seems like a radical proposal indeed, but given the spread of multinational corporations and off-shore profits, can multinational taxation be far away?

    Other models might include a value-added tax (VAT), a luxury tax, or, better yet, a carbon tax. The more you consume, the more you pay. It would be hard for either companies or individuals to hide from a global carbon tax, particularly if the tax was collected at the point where the carbon was mined or drilled rather than at the point of use. Using the revenues from a global carbon tax to protect and reinvest in the environment, as well as provide for national basic incomes, could compensate for damage to the environment we all share. This would set up the right system of incentives for rapidly decarbonizing the global economy while giving ordinary people the economic freedom and support that they need to be genuinely productive in this new world of ours. What could be better?”

  61. The Great Pumpkin says:

    62- And this quote is dead on.

    “Hyper efficiency, automation, wealth transfer, and income inequality go together.”

  62. not rag (44)-

    Great. The Natty Review calls for Grapes of Wrath II.

  63. 3b (45)-

    Punky seriously cannot hold two opposing ideas in his mind at the same time without some sort of neural explosion of shorted circuits happening.

  64. Nomad (46)-

    I think what we may all be missing is that gubmints don’t go straight to programs like this because it would be an admission that we’re in a full-on depression.

    “Why government handouts and helicopter money? With a crumbling infrastructure, why not a massive WPA like program to put a few million people to work and fix the roads, bridges, train tracks, ports etc. People working, buying more drives a bit of inflation, reduces unemployment and maybe even changes the mood in our country a bit. Better someone gets a paycheck from work vs government handouts. Other than everything what am I missing.”

  65. Essex says:

    66. that money got spent on Mid east surges.

  66. The only surge I ever feel these days is bile trying to come up my alimentary canal.

  67. “It’s sad that “we the people” continue to allow deranged captured academics, under the complete command of the banking cabal, to control the destiny of our country. They have failed for 103 years, but we continue to bow down to these central bankers as if they knew what they were doing. They do know how to debase the currency, obfusc@te true inflation, prop up financial markets through monetary manipulation, and generate prodigious amounts of propaganda and misinformation to coverup their true purposes. The people will sit idly by until these deranged rats destroy the world.”

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-03-23/yellen-draghi-kuroda-deranged-lab-rats

  68. Juice Box says:

    Nice evening for Cigars and Scotch , can’t wait to open the pool.

  69. 3b says:

    #57 pumps: I give up! You are impossible!!

  70. 3b says:

    #65 splat: he makes my head hurt! It’s unbelievable!!

  71. 3b says:

    #61 Chgo : I thought pumps was formerly known as Michael who used to give tennis lessons to middle age women in north Jersey. And whose aunt sold him a 2 family house. I also thought he lived in Wayne. Did I miss something?

  72. 3b, people here keep engaging this fool. Like serving crack to Robert Downey.

  73. 3b says:

    #74 splat: me too on occasion. But I thought pumps was Michael?

  74. FYI traders – I sold a *lot* of Telecom, Materials, and Energy today for two reasons. 1. Dollar is too strong and on a trend of strengthening. 2. Volatility is too low. When I say low, I mean, think of dribbling a basketball. Low volatility is when it hits the floor, high volatility is at the top when you push it back down with your hand. You can dribble it high, or you can dribble it low, but it has to come off the floor each time. Well after the fed meeting the ball hit the floor and stuck. 4 days of the lowest volatility that I’ve seen in a row, you have to go all the way back to 2007 to see something similar. The problem with extremely low volatility is that it is exactly the seed of extreme, sudden, and high volatility. If you take the ratio of the VIX to the VXV 0.80-0.85 is considered extremely calm waters. It almost never goes below 0.80, and if it does, it’s just for a single day. This ratio had been below 0.80 for 4 straight days and came up today to just 0.81639. It could be just the calm after the storm, but it seems more like the eye of the storm to me. YMMV;-)

  75. expat (76)-

    The way this doomsday machine is set up now, the next event will be when everything goes bidless.

  76. Essex says:

    Friskies??

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