Black Friday Open Discussion

This is the time and place to post observations about your local areas, comments on news stories or the New Jersey housing market, open house reports, etc. If you have any questions you wanted to ask earlier in the week but never posted them up, let’s have them. Also a good place to post suggestions, requests for information, criticism, and praise.

For readers that have never commented, there is a link at the top of each message that is typically labelled “[#] Comments“. Go ahead and give that a click, you might be missing out on a world of information you didn’t know about. While you are there, introduce yourselves to everyone.

For new readers that have only read the messages displayed on the main page, take a look through the archives, a substantial amount of information has been put online in the past year. The archives can be accessed by using the links found in the menus on the right hand side of the page.

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111 Responses to Black Friday Open Discussion

  1. confused in NJ says:

    Sussex County was really foggy last night. Plenty of deer too.

  2. Frank says:

    People were waiting at the malls since 3am. Where’s the recession?

  3. Frank says:

    Where’s the recession?

    Shoppers pack stores as holiday season revs up

  4. still_looking says:

    she was right about the mortgage part, no?


  5. still_looking says:

    Uh, Frank?

    Get over to Paramus Park Mall, mmmmkay?

    I need the mall head count.

    Don’t forget to pull your head out of your ass so you don’t bump into the shoppers.


  6. SG says:

    Normally, I don’t go out for shopping early, but this year wanted to see how was the response. So, was at Electronics store.

    The big deals were on LCD TVs. I was there for about an hour and probably only 10 LCD TVs were sold. Most were very small size TVs, 32 inch ones.

    No doubt consumer is trapped. No one buying big screen LCD TVs.

  7. Dissident HEHEHE says:

    stock market implosion get my money out and run

  8. #5 – Get over to Paramus Park Mall, mmmmkay?

    I passed it on the way in to work this morning. Surprisingly dead.
    The Target in Spring Valley (or is that Nyack?) was crowded though.

  9. grim says:

    Nowhere really seemed out of control on my drive in this morning.

  10. Frank says:

    People have cars in TN??? I thought it’s on a horse back there.

  11. Shore Guy says:

    “my drive in this morning”

    What, no bike ride?

  12. grim says:

    Plenty of twisties to attack in my Elise.

  13. meter says:

    @2 – your brain is in recession. Severe recession.

  14. meter says:

    This can’t possibly end well:

    “Without a budget deal, New York will be left with just $36 million in the bank by the end of December, according to current projections.”

    Start looking under the sofa cushions, Empire State.

  15. Schumpeter says:

    I hear the TIffany’s in Dubai is having a door-buster special today.

  16. PGC says:

    #13 grim

    Did you trade the X3 for an Elise? I have a friend just traded his Mini for one. I suspect they will pull him out of a tree at some point. The car is insane.

  17. #13 – I am sufficiently jealous.

  18. 3b says:

    #3 frank: Below is from your article. There is your recession.

    Still, with unemployment at 10.2 percent, many analysts expect that total holiday sales will be at best about even from a year ago.

  19. grim says:


    Just woke up, no Elise. Only my hot rod Legacy.

  20. lostinny says:

    I cannot believe that I am actually hungry.

  21. #20 – Only my hot rod Legacy

    One of the best sleeper performance cars made. Refined, understated and dependable, yet really pretty d**m fast. And no massive rear wing or spoilers to attract the po-po.

  22. Mikeinwaiting says:

    3b Market going to blow this off Monday or are we in for it.

  23. 3b says:

    #23 mike; Well we ar down 225 points today at the open, but that of course is in a shortened holiday session.

    I would expect much behind the scenes activity over this weekend to try and control the situation;Monday will tell.

  24. Mikeinwaiting says:

    3b I would say they will do as you expect & all better by Monday for the most part. On the other hand at a point the computer trading programs of the big money will sell & then watch out below.

  25. still_looking says:


    We have a pile of leftover turkey — :)


  26. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Confused 1 Pea soup on my way home last night.

  27. Out of curiosity, does anyone have an idea of how much US debt Dubai purchases?

  28. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Coast 26 down to a case of beer or 24 mixed drinks. These guys know how to party I’d be passed out.

  29. lostinny says:

    28 SL
    We have a pile of leftover everything. And an entire pumpkin pie. :)

  30. Just a question what theme do you use? Is it a paid theme? Did you hired a freelancer to fix this? I like your design. My weblog is

  31. danzud says:

    Wife and I were watching the news about all the Black Friday sales this morning. Then drove to work passing Xanadu…..hehehehhehe. What recession, Frank?

  32. yikes says:

    even athletes are renting these days! take heed, everyone …

    Brian Rolston, a veteran left wing who came to the Devils in 2008 from Minnesota, said that financially he “got killed” in order to sell his house quickly when he left the Wild.

    “We’re obviously paid well but when you’re hanging onto two mortgages, $600-$700,000, that’s not an easy thing to keep up with,” he said. “We took a big hit on it, but we thought it was better to get out of it than hold onto it.

  33. still_looking says:

    lost 32,

    we have scotch :))


  34. still_looking says:

    rats! is it too early for scotch?



  35. lostinny says:

    36 37 SL
    After the 2 bottles of wine I pretty much finished off myself, I really do not need scotch. I do need some detox. Uggh.

  36. PGC says:

    Watching the Black friday deals on Amazon. BluRay and 32″ LCD selling out in minutes. Most other deals are just selling slowly.

    Garden State Plaza carpark was at Saturday afternoon levels at 7AM. The people are out, but I don’t know if they are buying.

  37. stilllooking says:

    Holiday Wine Trail Weekend is here! In case anyone wants to take a break from “the sky is falling” state of mind.

  38. Shore Guy says:

    An option most guys do not have when doing what they can to get a degree. From our friends at the BBC:

    “student says she is about to start work as a stripper because of debts she has run up while waiting for her student loan to come through.
    The student says she is desperate after borrowing all the money she can from family and friends.
    The first person from her family to go to university, she says she cannot let them down by dropping out for a year.
    “I’ve tried my hardest. It is not the way I wanted to start uni, but my rent is due”, she said.
    The 20-year-old, who is studying in London and has been doing temporary jobs, says she plans to go to Leeds next week to work in a strip club there. ”


  39. Shore Guy says:


    I have every expectation that people are indeed spending today. This is THE day (or weekend) of sales, or so many have been conditioned. The real question in my mind is, what happens after Monday?

    Last year we cout back by a large percentage abut still spent a bundle. This year? I don’t know. None of us need much and I don’t want much of anything. Could we still spend a few grand this year? Sure. Will we? I seriously doubt it.

  40. still_looking says:

    42 is not by me.


  41. Shore Guy says:

    cout, cut, whatever.

  42. Qwerty says:

    Shore, recall the Christmas massacre last year, or the year before. kid answered the door to a man dressed as Santa, and was blown away when she opened the door.

  43. Schumpeter says:

    Still waiting for that mall headcount, Frank.

  44. Schumpeter says:

    God, he’s useless…

  45. Shore Guy says:


    I missed that (or surpressed the memory). There are some very sick people out there. Remember that the next time you have the ureg to flip-off some insane driver on the Parkway.

  46. Frank says:

    I hear some Arabs are switching back from S500 to camels today.

  47. Shore Guy says:

    suppressed, even

  48. Shore Guy says:


    Better watch out for a lightning bolt, there, Clot.

  49. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Shore 48 My god what is it with these people.
    WTF is right water boarding just will not cut it when they get this guy. Bury in desert up to neck cut eyelids let ants eat brain, this should give the next dirt bag pause.

  50. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Looking at a Suzuki sx4 crossover anyone have any experience with it or Suzuki’s. Reviews are few.

  51. Schumpeter says:

    mike (56)-

    Feed him slowly into a wood chipper.

  52. still_looking says:

    schump 58

    feet first


  53. still_looking says:


    you having as much fun as me right now?



  54. NJGator says:

    Stu and I are Black Friday shopping in Zihuatanejo. Here they have a great deal on Bobblehead turtles and dinosaurs. $1 a piece. We are going to tell Lil Gator and his friends that they are Mexican Zhu Zhu Pets. And the $1 Sol cervezas at the seaside bar are a good deal and so refreshing too!

  55. #57 – Mike – I have no experience with it myself; however there is Jalopnik’s 3 part review of the `08 model.

  56. Shore not on a Mexican beach right now Guy says:

    “cervezas at the seaside bar are a good deal and so refreshing too”


  57. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Thanks Tosh will drive today. Got them 13999 for a 09, new not demo. Same color as your review, auto not stick wife can’t drive. Oh bother.

  58. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Clot 58 put ant eating brains ,slow & painful on the don’t do this or else channel. Put an end to this sort of thing for the most part.

  59. chicagofinance says:

    A holiday heartwarmer from Strumpet Studios…..

    The White Ribbon
    Das weiße Band
    (2009) R
    At a rural school in northern Germany in 1913, a form of ritual punishment has major consequences for students and faculty. But the practice may have bigger repercussions on the German school system — and maybe even on the growth of fascism. Celebrated Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke helms this searing and sumptuously photographed black-and-white drama that stars Susanne Lothar, Ulrich Tukur and Theo Trebs.

  60. chicagofinance says:

    Autobiography of clot:

    The Road
    (2009) R
    In the near future, the world has been virtually destroyed. From the ash-covered, post-apocalyptic remains of Appalachia, the Father (Viggo Mortensen) and Son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) take to the road in search of a better life. The Father’s health is failing, lending urgency to a journey impeded by nomadic bands of cannibalistic humans. Charlize Theron co-stars in this adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel.

  61. #67 -I’ve been looking forward to seeing that. Eichmann also looks interesting.

  62. Qwerty says:

    Amazon giving the AmEx a work out today.

    Brick and Mortar is for suckers.

  63. D says:

    Me, too, Qwerty. I’m just about done with the shopping! woohoo!

  64. zieba says:

    I second that brick and mortar is for suckers. All you need is slickdeals dot net and a fast index finger. Not only am I done but I didn’t pay full price for a single item. Not even participating in a Wal Mart stampede could beat the thrill of stacking two coupons and bing cash back on an item….

  65. reinvestor101 says:


    72.zieba says:
    November 27, 2009 at 3:14 pm
    I second that brick and mortar is for suckers. All you need is slickdeals dot net and a fast index finger. Not only am I done but I didn’t pay full price for a single item. Not even participating in a Wal Mart stampede could beat the thrill of stacking two coupons and bing cash back on an item….

  66. grim says:


    Really? Is the cheapass the person who waits for 16 hours in the cold, outside of Walmart, to save six dollars on an off-brand television, or the person who can get the same deal online?

    I don’t have a problem with being a cheapass, but I sure as hell don’t want to be the jackass outside of Walmart.

  67. grim says:

    Besides, I can get out of paying state sales tax online.

    Is there any better reason?

  68. Shore Guy says:

    “Is there any better reason?”

    1) Takes less time;

    2) Lower carbon footprint, and save both gas money and auto depreciation;

    3) Fewer crowds and exposure to germs;

    4) Better customer service.

  69. Shore Guy says:

    Of course, having one’s car dinged by shopping carts and opening doors, and listening to overtired children melt down, and having a no-nothing sales clerk younger than some of my clothes repeatedly answer “I’m not sure” when I ask questions about products also has a certain charm.

  70. Shore Guy says:

    Reflecting back on the NYT story about NY State going broke, I wonder if private equity can buy the place, come in, fire the management, and whip the place into shape?

  71. Shore Guy says:


    You and Stu finish your shoping sitting under a palm tree?

  72. Shore Guy says:

    Nice house:

    Crash Investigator Case Number Homicide Investigator
    Vehicle# 1 Year 2009 Make CADI Model SUV
    Injuries Serious Next of Kin Notified? N/A HEALTH CENTRAL
    Helmet N/A Seatbelt/Child Restraint Unk Alcohol Related? No

  73. Al Gore says:

    “Fleets of armored trucks piled with gold bars and coins have been streaming out of midtown Manhattan in one unexpected consequence of the gold craze.

    Amid gold’s rise — it has gained 32% this year and reached a record on Monday — investors have been loading up on bullion and coins. One big problem now is where to store it. The solution from HSBC, owner of one of the biggest vaults in the U.S.: somewhere else.

    HSBC has told retail clients to remove their small holdings from its fortress beneath its tower on New York City’s Fifth Avenue. The bank …”

    I went shopping today for gold and silver.

  74. Schumpeter says:

    sl (60)-

    It could all revert back to the trading bot madness come Monday.

    I’m only on SRS for hours at a time. Eraserhead and Bergabe will sink the world to prop up their pals.

  75. Al Gore says:

    Anyone have any insight into the situation in Dubai? Or does this sum it up.

    We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. If you are expecting the crisis to end because someone in the White House, Congress, Treasury or The Fed says it is going to end, then you are setting yourself up for a fall. The system is not well capitalized, the housing market is not recovering, and the money in your bank is not safe. There is another wave coming, and even the mainstream has begun talking about a double-dip recession. In our opinion, this is not a double-dip, it is simply the next leg down in the Greatest Depression.

  76. Frank says:

    Some nice homes, Tiger as your neighbor and no income taxes.

  77. Fiddy Cents on the Dollar says:

    I was doing a little research on NJ’s last few governor’s budgets, just to see how we got where we are today.

    I found this article in the NYT about Whitman’s 1999 budget. This was the year the Republican controlled Gov, Assembly & Senate cut state taxes and pointed out that County & Municipalities have to fund their schools…..

    “Gov. Christine Todd Whitman presented lawmakers today with a proposed budget that would return $200 million to property taxpayers, but she made it clear that any cuts in property tax rates would require tough choices by municipal officials and taxpayers about their local services.

    In her annual budget address to the Legislature, Mrs. Whitman called upon taxpayers to demand that local officials eliminate unnecessary layers of government and share more municipal and school services with neighboring cities and towns.

    ”Real reform is going to require really tough choices at the local level,” she said. ”Our citizens should be asking why New Jersey, the most densely populated state in the country, spends more than any other state to bus a child to school. Citizens should ask, ‘Does New Jersey really need 1,600 separate units of local government?’ ”

    Mrs. Whitman made property taxes the theme of her speech, outlining her $19.16 billion spending plan for the coming fiscal year, which starts on July 1.

    With the state’s coffers overflowing with surging tax revenues from the strong economy and a windfall from the nationwide tobacco settlement, Mrs. Whitman has $1.1 billion more to spend in the new fiscal year than she had a year ago.

    In addition to the $200 million in property tax rebates, the first installment of her five-year property tax relief program, her budget also includes $23 million for a program that would freeze property taxes for low-income elderly and disabled homeowners. She also included $22 million to cover the cost of removing 200,000 low-income residents from the state income tax rolls.

    Mrs. Whitman’s plan would increase spending for public schools, higher education and open space preservation and for health care programs for children and the elderly. In addition, she proposed using a third of the $93 million the state expects to receive from the tobacco settlement to cover costs of health care benefits for state employees. Other funds from the tobacco settlement would be earmarked for anti-smoking programs aimed at teen-agers and for other health-related programs.

    Republican lawmakers, who control both the Assembly and the Senate and whose support Mrs. Whitman needs for her budget, had nothing but praise for the spending plan.

    ”This is a Christmas budget,” said the Assembly Speaker, Jack Collins, a Republican from Salem County, as he pointed to a Christmas necktie that he wore for the occasion. ”Everyone should be happy with it. I think that it touched on every segment of our society: education, crime, the elderly and tax relief. I think it should be getting bipartisan support.”

    But Democrats, while careful not to criticize Mrs. Whitman’s plan to send property tax rebate checks to homeowners, said that they thought the budget proposal should have done more to reduce property tax rates. ”New Jersey residents will still be the most highly burdened taxpayers in the country,” said the Assembly’s Democratic leader, Joseph V. Doria of Hudson County.

    Since taking office six years ago, Mrs. Whitman has insisted that local officials, not the Governor and State Legislature, determine local property tax rates. To encourage local governments to consolidate services, Mrs. Whitman said that she had also included $35 million in her proposed budget for incentives. ”It’s time to start handing out aid as a reward for doing the right thing to promote government reform,” she said.

  78. still_looking says:

    Schump, 83

    Me, too. But what a crazy few hours it is :)


  79. Shore Guy says:

    The failure in NJ, NY, etc., to continue to add pension contributions during the “good times” helped promote over spending at the time and the current budget gaps.

  80. Fiddy Cents on the Dollar says:

    Continuing into the NJ Governor’s history —

    The Democrat Jim Florio years (1990-94) were marked by a massive income tax increase. During his single term, the Democrats lost control of the State Legislature for the first time in 20 years…..

    “The Florio administration started during the late 1980s recession, and recessions are notorious for overwhelming government budgets. Faced with a projected 1991 deficit of $3 billion, Florio asked for a $2.8 billion tax increase. It was the largest increase of any state in U.S. history. The money generated would balance the budget, increase aid to public schools and increase property tax relief programs. Governor Florio also eliminated 1,500 government jobs and cut perks for state officials.

    A grassroots taxpayer revolt sprouted in 1990, spearheaded by a citizens group named “Hands Across New Jersey” founded by John Budzash, a postal worker from Howell Township.

    Budzash was a frequent guest on radio and television shows throughout New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania speaking out against the new taxes. Florio was a regular topic on active anti-tax broadcasting from talk radio stations New Jersey 101.5, Curtis Sliwa’s AM Radio Talk Show and Bob Grant’s AM Radio Talk show, both based in New York City. Sliwa, Grant and John and Ken from New Jersey 101.5, along with Alan Keyes, who in later years was a Presidential Candidate in the Republican primary, were guest speakers at two rallies held by Hands Across New Jersey protesting both George H. W. Bush and Florio’s tax increases. Bumper stickers with “Impeach Florio” and “Florio Free in ’93” were seen around the state.

  81. Barbara says:

    florio proposed the tp tax and never lived it down, but here’s the thing my republican peeps, Kean (R) before him spent this state silly.

  82. Fiddy Cents on the Dollar says:

    Ah, thank you Barbara. It seems like ol’ Tom Kean (New Jeh-sey & You — perfect together) really had his foot on the spend-o-meter during his 8 years between 1982-1990.

    From the NY Times 11/5/1989…..
    “New Jersey’s new governor will inherit a state budget that has doubled to $12 billion in eight years but is now static and teetering on uncertain revenue projections.

    Leaner economic times lie ahead, and it is generally acknowledged that Gov. Thomas H. Kean’s successor will have little room to add expensive new programs unless he makes cuts in government and the budget that Mr. Kean and the Legislature have assembled since 1982.

    In six budgets ending in 1987, New Jersey’s spending increased an average of 9 percent a year, compared with average annual growth of 7.9 percent for all other states, according to the Washington-based Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations.

    In the 1987 fiscal year, New Jersey’s spending was $3,034 per capita, compared to the average of $2,685 per capita for all states, according to the Tax Foundation Inc., a Washington group that studies government finance. Only five states – Alaska, Wyoming, New York, Minnesota and California -outspent New Jersey per capita. More Government Jobs

    Jobs in the state’s 19 departments have grown from about 58,000 to nearly 70,000 since Mr. Kean’s first year, state budget officials said. About 10,000 of the 12,000 new positions, or about 83 percent, were created in the four departments that had the sharpest budget growth in the last eight years -the Department of Environmental Protection, up 170 percent; the Department of Corrections, up 159 percent; the Department of Law and Public Safety, up 127 percent, and the Department of Human Services, up 83 percent, according to the State Treasurer’s office.

    Of the $6.1 billion growth in state spending between mid-1982 and last July, state aid to schools accounted for the largest single portion, up $1.6 billion, or 26 percent of the total increase, the Treasurer’s office said.

    School aid is one of the fixed, formula-driven accounts that is taking larger portions of the state budget annually. Others include pensions for state workers and local police officers, firefighters and teachers; employee health and fringe benefits; Medicaid; welfare, and bonded debt service.

    These fixed accounts consume 57 percent of the current budget.

    In his budget message last January, the Governor warned that state spending for school aid, Medicaid, and pensions and health benefits could grow to two-thirds of the state budget by the year 2000, and, unless curbed, could start eroding spending for the environment, public transit, higher education and other programs.

  83. Fiddy Cents on the Dollar says:

    Here’s a nice summary of the last 40 years.

    From the website

    “Back in 1965, Richard Hughes didn’t campaign saying, “Elect me and pay a sales tax.” But a sales tax is what he imposed.

    In 1969, William Cahill’s slogan wasn’t, “Make me Governor and get an income tax.” But he tried to get an income tax, only to fail in the Legislature.

    Brendan Byrne declared in 1973 there would be “no income tax in the foreseeable future.” The foreseeable future turned out to be three years.

    As the 1980s dawned, New Jersey imitated national politics. In 1980 Ronald Reagan was elected president after pledging to reduce federal income taxes and in 1981 gubernatorial candidate Tom Kean promised to cut both the state sales and income taxes. But after taking office in the midst of a budget crisis and economic downturn, Kean instead raised both taxes.

    Jim Florio ran for governor in 1989 saying he saw “no need” to raise taxes. The need became pretty apparent even before Kean walked out the door and Florio walked in.

    What we have here is a list of five governors-Democrat and Republican-who either raised taxes or tried to after decidedly not giving the impression in their campaigns that they would. Why did they turn their back on what they said to get elected? I would argue it was not because they were sado-masochists intent on causing themselves political pain and their constituents financial pain.

    No, they realized what it takes to run a government. And it’s no coincidence that New Jersey didn’t become a truly modern place, with an appropriately activist state government, until Governor Hughes and his successors stepped up to provide the money to get things done. One example: before Hughes won passage of the sales tax and built up the state college system, so many students left New Jersey for college that this was called the cuckoo state after the bird that lays its eggs in other birds’ nests.

    It should also be noted that their actions on taxes were not a guaranteed career-stopper for these governors. Though pundits dubbed Byrne “OTB,” for “One-Term Byrne,” when the income tax passed, he easily won re-election the next year after challenging his opponent to declare how to run the state without the tax money.

    Kean, three years after signing increases in two state taxes, won again with 70 percent of the vote-a margin that might never be broken. And, yes, Florio wasn’t re-elected. But for all of the so-called tax revolt, he lost by just one percent. The candidate who raised taxes by the most ever in New Jersey ran against someone promising the biggest tax cut ever in New Jersey and the voters were pretty close to evenly split.

    In defeating Florio, Christie Whitman became the first candidate for New Jersey Governor in memory to keep a promise on taxes. She pledged to cut the state income tax by 30 percent and she did. Never mind that she fixed the only tax in the state that wasn’t broken, and that the lost revenue contributed to heavy borrowing and other questionable fiscal practices, plus large property tax increases that almost cost her re-election. Indeed, after making and keeping that big promise, Whitman’s reward against the relatively unknown Jim McGreevey in 1997 was just the same one percent margin by which she beat Florio after he raised taxes.

  84. cobbler says:

    In most cases (OK, except Abbott districts nonsense) NJ or towns don’t provide more services than the neighboring states with lower tax burden. However, our employees are paid more (particularly, teachers and police), retire earlier and with better pensions – which is the result of a multi-decade pandering to the unions. If there was a chance to lock out all the government employees and then rehire all of them back them at the market wages/salaries, the whole tax issue would go away. Since it can’t be done (unless the state declares bankruptcy which it will not) even the best effort from Christie will not make a meaningful dent in the problem. Long-term, if the state is able to achieve a hard-freeze on the salaries for say 10 years and does something meaningful about pensions and health benefits (again, in line of freezing the accrued benefit + intro of 401K type plan + no retiree medical) the place may eventually get livable. Don’t bet on it, though.

  85. Fiddy Cents on the Dollar says:

    Your tax dollars, at work and at rest –

    From the NJ Business & Industry website

    “Actual State spending, as opposed to the amount appropriated in the State budget, has increased from $243 million in 1955 to $28.775 billion in fiscal year 2006, the last for which actual expenditures are available. During that period, spending increased every year except 1993, when it decreased by nearly $500 million from the year before.

    “In Trenton, spending freezes are very rare,” Kirschner said. “One of the reasons New Jersey is such an expensive State is that government spending goes up pretty much every year, driving the need for ever higher taxes. If the Governor and the Legislature can pull off a real spending freeze, they will be doing the taxpayers of the State a tremendous service.”

    “Cutting spending is essential for getting New Jersey’s finances in order,” Kirschner said. “Our budget problems are not caused by a lack of revenue, but by over-spending. A flat-funded budget would be the first step back to financial sanity.”

    The last Governor to come close was Richard Codey, who is now the Senate President. Under his watch, State spending increase by only $200 million, an increase of 0.7 percent.

    The following chart was originally prepared in 2005 by NJBIA’s research affiliate, the New Jersey Policy Research Organization (NJPRO) Foundation. It was updated using data from the State Budget in Brief publications from fiscal years 2006 through 2008.

    Actual State Expenditures
    Fiscal years 1955 to 2006





















































  86. Fiddy Cents on the Dollar says:

    Lest we overlook the “Pension Fund Time Bomb”

    From Fortune Magazine May 12, 2009….

    “In 1992, Governor James Florio pushed through a re-evaluation of the fund’s assets and thus allowed the state to cut its pension contributions by more than $1.5 billion in 1992. His successor, Christine Todd Whitman, promised major tax cuts and to do that she pushed another “reform “ act which allowed the state to reduce state and local contributions to the fund by nearly $1.5 billion in 1994 and about the same in 1995.

    In order to make up for “lost ground” without more revenue, the state leaders went heavily into the market. In 1997, New Jersey sold $2.75 billion of bonds paying 7.6% interest , putting the proceeds into the pension funds to be invested. Whitman pledged that the plan would save taxpayers about $45 billion. The fund instead earned less than 6% annually.

    Then in 2001, Democrat Governor James McGreevy turned over control of the fund to professional money mangers. Led by his former campaign finance chairman in 1997, Orin Kramer, the fund put more money into the hands of Wall Street professionals and into diversification in alternative investments such as hedge funds and private equities. But it took time to implement that strategy, and money began to go into alternatives in 2006, just before the beginnings of a massive bear market.

    The New Jersey pension decline has “more or less traced the broad stock market’s, the real problem is underfunding, “ the Fortune authors concluded.

    As obligations grew, the New Jersey politicians increased benefits. In 2001, they increased benefits by 9%, which is added another $4.2 billion in liabilities. In 1999, the state allowed local police and firefights to collect pensions equal to 50% of their pay after 20 years of service. Since 1999, benefits have increase liabilities by more than $6.8 billion.

    Corzine did put $1 billion in the fund in 2007 and another billion in 2008. But he had to cut back the state efforts during the major recession, and he allowed a pension holiday which meant that municipalities could skip their contributions for 2009 and maybe beyond. He did raise the retirement age to 62, increased salary requirements for pension eligibility, increased employees contributions and capped pension income. But the gaps between liabilities and assets remain enormous, and makes New Jersey into a basket case study.

  87. Fiddy Cents on the Dollar says:

    The Budget story so far, gleaned thru Googlin’ on a Windy Afternoon….

    New Jersey was governed by the Democratic Machine from 1954 to 1982, interrupted only by William Cahill’s Republican administration from 1970-1974.

    Brendan Byrne (D) 1974 – 1982 may have been the last governor to submit a budget with any reasonable chance of balancing out at the end of the fiscal year of 1982, his last in office.

    Tom Kean (R) governed from 1982 – 1990 and under his watch, the budget doubled to $12B with a deficit of $1B (even though the state Constitution now had a Balanced Budget Amendment). The number of state employees ballooned from 58,000 to over 70,000 in Kean’s term in office. The biggest increases were in the Dept of Human Services, and the Dept of Corrections.

    Jim Florio (D) 1990 – 1994 took office and immediately called into question his predecessor’s math skills. His calculations put the deficit at $3B, and he was determined to fix it all in a single year. In his first 2 months, he raised the Income Tax by $1.5B (highest bracket went up to 7%) and Sales Tax by a like amount.
    Yep, Political Suicide.

    Christie Whitman (R) 1994 – 2001 Won her election by 1 point (just a plurality of the votes, not a majority). Red State Whitman followed her Republican roots by lowering the tax rate on the highest brackets and cutting back the sales tax. There went any hope of reducing the deficit, her state budget in 1995 was $15.5B. And local property taxes were rising to make up the shortfall in state aid to municipalities. She got herself promoted by GWB to the EPA, proving the Peter Principle to be alive in the new millenium. Who could ever forget her frisking the perp in Camden, or her statements about the air quality at Ground Zero.

    McGreevey (D) 2001 – 2004 What else could he do, but follow the trend of blaming his predecessors for the mess that is our budget. His solution was to cut spending on programs like Elder Care and Family Care, and to raise nuisance fees. He still submitted a budget of $23B, with a $5B deficit.
    I happened to be on vacation on the Outer Banks when he “Outed” himself. What an embarrassment to have to explain this clown to the locals.

    And Finally Corzine…$29B, with $8B in red ink.

  88. reinvestor101 says:

    Sales tax evader.

    76.grim says:
    November 27, 2009 at 3:44 pm
    Besides, I can get out of paying state sales tax online.

    Is there any better reason?

  89. Schumpeter says:

    You think McGravy, Whitman, Kean, Corslime…that any of these people wouldn’t shoot you & your kids between the eyes without thinking? Well, think again.

    You & I are units of production, to be taxed dry in order to satisfy the political whims of these thieves.

    Nothing will change the behavior of the political class, short of having a little Ceaucescu Christmas party with a few of them.

    Once these crooks see a couple of their brethren facing a firing squad or swinging from the gallows, they’ll clean up their acts, right quick.

  90. yikes says:

    krugman beating the “tax the speculators” drum

    “Why is this a good idea? The Turner-Brown proposal is a modern version of an idea originally floated in 1972 by the late James Tobin, the Nobel-winning Yale economist. Tobin argued that currency speculation — money moving internationally to bet on fluctuations in exchange rates — was having a disruptive effect on the world economy. To reduce these disruptions, he called for a small tax on every exchange of currencies.

    Such a tax would be a trivial expense for people engaged in foreign trade or long-term investment; but it would be a major disincentive for people trying to make a fast buck (or euro, or yen) by outguessing the markets over the course of a few days or weeks. It would, as Tobin said, “throw some sand in the well-greased wheels” of speculation.”

  91. chicagofinance says:

    NOVEMBER 28, 2009
    Dubai Jitters Infect Debt of Sovereign Spendthrifts


    LONDON — Dubai’s debt debacle is stoking a new fear for investors across the globe: potential government default by heavily indebted nations.

    The Dubai government roiled markets this week with its move to delay debt payments owed by its flagship holding company, Dubai World. The company is stressed by tens of billions in debt that funded spending on glitzy real-estate projects from the Middle East to Las Vegas.

    On Friday, investors feared Dubai’s move would plunge global financial markets into the kind of chaos seen earlier this year. But while Asia suffered heavy losses, markets regained their poise as the European and U.S. trading day progressed. By late Friday, European stocks finished 1.2% higher, while in the U.S., the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 154.48 points, or 1.5%, at 10309.92.

    Deeper stress lines were felt in the sovereign-bond market, where the cost of insuring against defaults in places like Hungary, Turkey, Bulgaria, Brazil, Mexico and Russia rose, fueled by concerns that emerging-market nations may have trouble honoring their debts even as the economy heals. The worry is that sovereign debt may now represent another aftershock of the global financial crisis.

    “First, people were worried about mortgage debtors. Then, highly leveraged banks. Now the ball has rolled all the way to Dubai,” says Mattias Westman, chief executive of Prosperity Capital Management, which has about $3.5 billion under management, almost all of it in Russia. “It’s just a lack of confidence in debtors.”

    The price of a $3.5 billion sukuk, or Islamic bond, issued by a subsidiary of Dubai World, plunged to 57 cents on the dollar Friday from 110 cents on Wednesday, according to two investors.

    Dubai’s troubles resonate far beyond the desert fantasyland that its borrowing created, fueling concerns that financially stretched nations like Greece and Hungary may struggle to pay off debts.

    Investors and analysts say they’re worried about the health of Greece’s heavily indebted economy and banks, which could suffer as the European Central Bank moves to pull away some of its financial-support measures. These measures have included ultra-cheap bank funding.

    The gap between the yield on a Greek government bond and relatively-safe German debt — a key gauge of market fear — jumped to a peak of 2.2% Friday, before falling slightly. When the pan-European Stoxx 600 index fell 3.3% on Thursday, Greece’s market fell twice that amount, over 6%.

    Another window into the growing concern about government creditworthiness is the credit-derivatives market. Investors are now paying much higher prices to insure themselves against bond defaults in countries like Turkey and Bulgaria.

    When Dubai announced its debt standstill on Wednesday, the cost of insuring against a Dubai debt default more than doubled. The cost of debt-default insurance also rose for a range of countries, including Hungary, Brazil, Mexico and Russia.

    While the cost of debt insurance for stressed countries hasn’t hit levels seen at the height of the financial crisis, “the recent rises are altogether more sinister in our view, as they reflect genuine concerns about default within the euro-zone,” said Steven Barrow, a currency analyst at Standard Bank in London, in a note Friday.

    Dubai itself demonstrates how quickly countries can veer off the road to recovery and into trouble.

    Dubai’s surprise move to delay the debt payments of its corporate crown jewel, Dubai World, came just as many economic indicators, and anecdotal evidence, were pointing in a positive direction. Among the optimistic signs for the region: Oil prices have rebounded strongly this year after falling sharply during the global financial crisis. On Friday, oil sank 2.5% to $76.05 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange as investors fretted over the impact of the Dubai debacle on the economic recovery, but that’s still up significantly from its lows earlier this year.

    At the same time, though, years of lavish, debt-fueled empire building is now coming home to roost. For years, the city-state was the epicenter of a dizzying boom in the Persian Gulf. Its ambitions also extended abroad: to golf courses in Scotland and South Africa; the Barneys department store chain in New York; and real estate in Las Vegas, where in 2007 it joined up with casino company MGM Mirage to develop an $8.5 billion condo, hotel and retail colossus called CityCenter — just as the Vegas real-estate market reached its peak.

    The oil-fired investment and spending binge culminated in 2008 when crude hit more than $140 a barrel. But by the time of Dubai’s biggest bash later that year — a $20-million hotel opening on a man-made palm-shaped island developed by Dubai World’s property subsidiary — the global financial crisis was already washing ashore.

    Sovereign-Debt Shake-Up

    Click to enlarge graphic.
    .Dubai’s debt restructuring drove up the cost of insuring against default in other countries as well
    .Since then, it has been a steady slide toward Wednesday’s debt standstill. Squeezed by frozen credit, international property speculators bowed out of Dubai’s market. Prices started a year-long, steep descent. Government-controlled and private developers postponed or cancelled projects, shed workers and stopped paying bills.

    According to the Association for Consultancy and Engineering, a trade group of British builders, Dubai entities owe as much as £200 million to British contractors alone.

    Analysts expect Dubai’s core property market to take years to claw back to 2008 levels.

    Even after hundreds of projects were cancelled or postponed this year, new construction is expected to double Dubai’s supply of office space by 2011, according to property consultancy Colliers International. In a sample study, the consultancy found office-occupancy rates in recently finished buildings at just 41%. At the end of the third quarter, prices of office space were down by 58% from a year ago.

    Still, international bankers and executives had started pointing to anecdotal evidence of recovery before the standstill announcement. “You see ‘for rent’ signs on every building,” says Ziad Makhzoumi, chief financial officer of Arabtec Holding PJSC, one of the Mideast’s biggest construction companies. “But you don’t see them on every floor.”

  92. chicagofinance says:

    NOVEMBER 27, 2009, 7:26 P.M. ET.
    Dubai Panic Is Overdone


    Markets may be overreacting to Dubai World’s shock debt standstill. European and Asian stock and bond markets have fallen while safe-haven currencies such as the dollar, euro and yen are up. That’s hardly surprising. The Dubai government sprang this news on the eve of a four-day holiday. For Dubai to now claim it had anticipated the market reaction to its “sensible business decision” is preposterous. Dubai stands accused of irresponsibility, incompetence and bad faith. Few will trust now anything it says.

    Even so, there’s a good chance that Dubai’s problems will prove a local issue. The sums involved are small in the global scheme of things. The emirate’s total debt outstanding is reckoned to be $80 billion, huge in the context of Dubai’s $75 billion GDP, but not enough on its own to threaten the financial system since any actual losses would be a fraction of the total. The only Western bank whose exposure looks material relative to its overall loan book is Standard Chartered, but it has a robust capital position to absorb losses. And while oil-rich neighbor Abu Dhabi has refused to support Dubai World, there’s no evidence that Abu Dhabi will pull the plug on Dubai entirely.

    Of course, it is possible Dubai’s woes could trigger a new global credit crunch if enough investors flee to safe havens, draining liquidity from other vulnerable markets. It doesn’t help that this shock was delivered so close to the end of an unexpectedly strong year in the credit markets, when many investors are looking to lock in profits. If anything, this may bring forward the usual seasonal slowdown in the markets. At this stage, however, the risk of contagion is small. Most at risk would be neighboring Middle Eastern markets where there has been no shortage of similarly reckless spending. Dubai’s neighbors are also among its biggest creditors. But unlike Dubai, the other Gulf states have vast oil wealth, making it unlikely they will lose access to funding.

    But so long as central banks continue to pump extraordinary liquidity into the system, the markets should be able to accommodate local shocks. With interest rates low and signs of recovery around the world, that liquidity will continue to find its way into risky assets. The real risk will come in 2010, as the liquidity starts to be withdrawn and the full-scale of government deficit problems become apparent. At that point, risk premia may start to rise, leading to higher interest rates and the dreaded “double dip”, forcing a new wave of losses. Dubai has provided a necessary wake-up call to frothy markets currently pricing in a robust recovery. But the greater systemic risks are likely to lie elsewhere.

  93. NJGator says:

    Shore – We are indeed done shopping. No more ports. Sailing back to San Diego. 2 more days at sea. No more cheap beer. Just some fruity c*cktails on the pool deck.

    Lil Gator seems to be enjoying kids camp more than hanging with us. Not sure if I should be ecstatic or just a little bit sad.

  94. d2b says:

    Just like that at $60B default is yesterday’s news. I’m trying to figure out why I don’t max out my heloc and CCs and stop paying my bills.

  95. Schumpeter says:

    Called my nephew who works on the Street to get his take on Dubai.

    He called it “Vegas, without tits and ass. Who wants to go there?”

  96. Anon E. Moose says:


    That’s funny, because I’ve heard Vegas called “Disneyland with tits” – flashing lights, loud noises, lots of buffets, etc.

  97. Hi,

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  98. John Budzash says:

    Wow, you guys proved the need for initiative and referendum in NJ. While I don’t agree with everything said here, different viewpoints are made EXTREMELY well and even more EXTREMELY well informed. You guys are like a freakin library of facts and figures about NJ and seem to have the common sense that is sorely needed but so far never displayed by a Governor in NJ.

    Fiddy cent —- Wow ! You must know where you were to find out where to go! Run for Governor PLEASE!!!!!!!

    The only way I have ever seen to make NJ ‘affordable’ is to dismantle our Government and start again. Duplicitous agencies, shared resources, eliminating political payoff jobs and all non essential jobs should be eliminated. We have lost our manufacturing base in the USA due to horrible trade agreements and in NJ because of insane high taxes, especially property taxes.

    I have high hope for Governor Christy, but I am aware of his flaws as well as his good qualities. I doubt he will accomplish much simply because as a party candidate he ’owes’ a debt to the Republican Party and those debts are always repaid via jobs and contracts as well as to preserve the ‘status quo’ My hope is that as Governor he will continue to seek out corruption and hold a hard line on ethics to set a standard that will last long after he leaves office.

    In the last 4 years Many Republicans told me they knew they ‘blew it’ when they held veto proof majorities in the 90’s. They failed to deliver on all of their enormous promises of lower taxes, less spending, better government and passage of bills for Term Limits and Initiative and Referendum. I hope Governor Christy realizes that he MUST keep his promises and he MUST do something about property taxes in NJ or he too will be 1 term.

    Ok Whitman did lower income taxes for wealthy people as a way to pay her political debt for donations to get her elected, however she earned the unaffectionate nickname ‘Madam Fee Fee’ for increasing every fee in the State of NJ !

    Her ‘Common sense government’ failed to use common sense at all and her bonded debt alone aimed NJ into the tunnel of Hell.

    NJ MUST also stop letting the courts legislate. When a law gets to the idiotic state as in Abbot, the law or constitutional requirement should be repealed and written again so as to stop the silly throwing away of tax dollars that repeatedly put a band aid on a gaping chest wound.

    In 1991 I along with the late Lou Wary, proposed a new ’Quality Education Act’ that would have mandates as to how tax dollars would be spent on education for a basic core curriculum. For example; For each 20 students a school must have 1 microscope, 1 computer, etc. For each 200 students the school must have 1 tuba, 2 drums, 2 microscopes, 2 baseballs, 1 basketball, etc etc.

    While these items and numbers are purely hypothetical, I hope it shows that by mandating how the cash is spent it will guarantee that students get the benefit of the money and it will not be eaten up with teacher and administrative raises as it has been in the past with little trickling down to the students. No one can guarantee a ’thorough and efficient’ education. The parents and students must be held responsible to seize the opportunity the rest of the taxpayers present to them. If they don’t, they only need look in a mirror to find the reason for their failure

    Affordable Housing is another expensive and bad joke on taxpayers. Why should anyone have to subsidize the cost of another persons home? Factually the more affordable the government makes a house for Joe, the less affordable it makes the homes of Sally, Jane, Jack and George who must pay Joes tax burden as well as their own. I worked with people who made far more than I did yet I paid more in taxes than they did because they bought ’affordable homes’

    This country was built and built strong and flourished when we had no or low taxes. Today we are over regulated. Manufacturing fled NJ and the USA like an Apollo Rocket. Take a train trip from Pt Pleasant to NYC and you’ll pass hundreds of closed factories or vacant lots where some once stood. They provided badly needed jobs and taxes for the communities they were in. The Chevy Blazers once built in Linden are now built in South America and the factory is a vacant lot. How have the trade agreements helped the USA and especially NJ?

    The long vacant former site of Anchor Glass in Aberdeen proved what I said before Ross Perot added passing NAFTA would create only “a great sucking sound of jobs going to Mexico” Shortly after NAFTA passed and against their promises to employees they quickly moved their operation to Mexico

    We also need a leader who will face and deal with the problem of illegal Aliens in NJ And the USA. My estimate is each one costs Taxpayers around $40,000 a year for welfare for food stamps, housing, heat and utilities, charity hospital care, pre and post natal care, and education. Here’s a fun fact. Most or all illegal’s have several babies. They get a social security card for each kid. The SS card has no birth date or age on it so they either use that card to get a job or they sell the use of that card to someone else who gets a job. Since the name on the card and name of the actual adult are different, there is no obvious connection to the real person verses the name on the card, so they can still claim they have no income as parents of kids who get welfare benefits !!!! Of course welfare does not check the SS of the children for employment because they are kids!

    NO I do NOT oppose immigration. I oppose ILLEGAL immigration and people who come here only to sponge off the rest of us. A few years ago I was in Tijuana and a Mexican man told me why he wanted to go to the USA “man you don’t gotta work there man, the government pays you to stay home man and they give you food too!”

    While many people from all countries come here wanting to be American and work hard and succeed as good citizens even more just come for the free ride. Many years ago when the Soviet Union broke up, many people came here seeking political asylum. They had no papers proving their age and many who were 35 claimed to be 45. Why would they do that?
    They knew they could then retire with SS benefits when they were actually 55 instead of 65!!!!

    There are many tricks that are well known to various immigrant communities who tell people in the ‘old country’ what to do and how to do it when they come here and these are just small examples

    While I have high hope for Governor Christy, NJ and the USA needs to elect an independent as governor and president
    Otherwise there will be no change……well at least until the Chinese Government forecloses on all the American Governments bonded debt they have bought GO SHE FA SHAY!!!!!!!!!!! (happy new year )

  99. Sportsbook says:

    I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the good work Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

  100. Tenebrae says:

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  101. Lilith says:

    Check out this list of grocery deals

  102. It’s funny that you after all spoke up! I have been waiting for someone to bring this out to the open! Anyway… nice post. I will be back.

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