Repeat buyer credit – Causing Trade-up or Trade-down sales?

From the Philly Inquirer:

Homebuyers rushing to get tax credit before it’s gone

Liv Mansfield is racing the clock, hoping to find and settle, or at least sign a purchase agreement, on a townhouse before the $6,500 tax credit for qualified repeat home buyers expires April 30.

While the credit is not as important as staying in the Wallingford school district, where her younger daughter will enter sixth grade next fall, Mansfield says it will help make expenses associated with the move “a wash.”

“It will help with moving costs, and with getting this house ready for sale,” said Mansfield, who has lived in the five-bedroom split-level Colonial she bought with her former husband nine years ago.

The house, which she says is far larger than what “two people and a small dog need,” will list for under $525,000 and heads for the market Feb. 15.

It seems less is known about the repeat-buyer credit. This incentive was added when the original $8,000 tax credit for qualified first-time buyers, which expired Nov. 30, was extended.

Moody’s chief economist Mark Zandi says the credit will boost sales “modestly,” however, by 300,000, with one-third trade-up buyers.

“I don’t expect the credit to be extended again,” Zandi said. “Each time it is extended, it becomes less effective and thus more costly.”

Builder Bruce Paparone of Bruce Paparone Inc. in Stratford, N.J., said a better understanding of the credit would result in more sales for him.

Still, “the incentive has definitely affected the buying decision of at least five of our last seven sales,” he said.

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173 Responses to Repeat buyer credit – Causing Trade-up or Trade-down sales?

  1. grim says:

    From the Record:

    When will commercial market bottom out?

    When AXA Equitable Life Insurance Co. closed its data center in Leonia last May, the building’s owner, Harvey Berk, struggled to find a new tenant.

    The white, two-story boxy building on Willow Tree Road sat vacant for months, as demand for office space — and property values — continued to drop along with companies’ payrolls. To Berk, commercial real estate’s short-term future looked “very dim.”

    “We decided to sell because we couldn’t rent it. It was as simple as that,” said Berk, owner of Manhattan Management Co. “I saw at least a year horizon of holding it and I didn’t think it was worthwhile.”

    Berk, who bought the property in 1999 for $9.25 million, initially asked $9 million. In December, he sold it for $6.25 million, a roughly 30 percent discount, to Kulite Semiconductor Products Inc.

    “I cried, I screamed, I moaned, I pounded my fist on a table and it didn’t do me any good,” Berk said.

    The Leonia building’s sale highlights the challenges facing owners of commercial real estate — income-producing properties such as shopping centers, office parks, industrial sites, hotels and apartments — as values fall. While commercial property values nationwide ticked up 1 percent in November, values were still 43 percent lower than they were two years ago, according to the latest Moody’s/REAL Commercial Property Price Index. The market for office space, which is tied to employment, has suffered as New Jersey’s unemployment rate has climbed to a 33-year high of 10.1 percent in December.

    Owners are faced with selling at steep discounts or below what they believe their properties are worth. Sales that do occur will help establish a bottom, from which prices may rebound — along with this troubled sector of the economy whose health experts believe is crucial for a recovery.

  2. confused in NJ says:

    Interesting that the loss was on a 1999 purchase. I didn’t see the start of this bubble until 1997/1998, so they actually took a real haircut. They probably should have gotten $7.5M.

  3. grim says:

    From the above link (was just posting that):

    The erosion of home values in Morris County that helped fuel a two-year spike in the number of tax appeals now appears to be influencing a rising number of foreclosure sales in some of the county’s wealthier towns.

    While the total number of foreclosure sales scheduled by the Morris County’s Sheriff’s Office last year, 480, was only slightly higher than in 2008, when 468 sales were scheduled, there has been a slight uptick in the number of more expensive homes on the foreclosure lists.

    This year 17 foreclosure sales for homes with outstanding judgments of $750,000 or more have been scheduled between January and March, while last year in the same period, 11 such sales were held. At the same time, towns that in the past have seen few foreclosure sales, are seeing the numbers grow.

    — In Chatham and Chatham Township, for example, the county recorded three foreclosures last year, while now lists 17 in the Chathams’ Zip Code.

    – Mountain Lakes, which had two foreclosures in 2009, has eight pending this year, according to

    — The Mendhams had 3 foreclosures last year and this year have 17 pending.

    Mary Brown, a Realtor with Century 21 Preferred Realty in Kinnelon, said homes at the market’s top price range were most affected as prices dropped, and buyers for such homes may have been among the higher-paid professionals who lost their jobs during the Wall Street crash and subsequent corporate shuffling.

  4. grim says:

    From the Record:

    Less affluent downtowns in North Jersey are faring better in the recession

    As downtowns across the country are reporting alarming numbers of store closings, the bad economic news is bringing opportunity to some Main streets in North Jersey.

    Despite the financial turbulence, Paterson, Rutherford, Edgewater and Maywood have had more businesses move into town than move out this year. Paterson gained 18 stores and lost seven. Rutherford welcomed 14 businesses and saw two shuttered. Eight new businesses moved into Edgewater and three left; six moved into Maywood and two closed.

    Town officials from Bergenfield, Hillsdale, Pompton Lakes, Hackensack and Little Falls reported that there have been more businesses opening up and fewer closings over the past year compared with the previous year.

    In contrast, downtowns in Ridgewood, Westwood, Teaneck and Norwood report that more businesses shut their doors than opened shop over the past year. Experts attribute the exodus, in part, to high rents.

  5. Yikes says:

    “as a society, we’re just fat and happy and comfortable and we’ve lost that edge.”

    – James Cameron, director, on mars exploration.

    I believe it applies to life in general, too.

  6. Vinnie’s Clam Bar in Raritan is still open.

  7. grim says:

    From the Record:

    Pompton Lakes plume hurts property values

    Families already reeling from news that their health might be imperiled by dangerous chemicals seeping from a defunct DuPont munitions factory may now have something else to worry about: declining property values in their Passaic County neighborhood.

    House prices are dropping more in the neighborhood bordering the plant site in Pompton Lakes than in the rest of that borough and across the county, an analysis of sales data by The Record has found. Moreover, the number of home sales near the site has dropped significantly relative to other parts of town.

    It’s a scenario with echoes elsewhere in New Jersey, a state with a long and troubled industrial past.

    Because of the limited number of sales in the polluted zone since news of the contamination broke in June 2008, it’s possible the pattern is an aberration, due as much to the recession as anything else. Indeed, borough officials and real estate brokers say a more complete picture will emerge after the spring and summer peak home-buying season.

    For example, the median sale price of single-family homes decreased 24 percent in the plume zone, from $372,500 in 2006 and 2007, to $282,500 in the period since the first public reports of hazardous vapors seeping into homes. In 2009, two houses in the plume area went for fire-sale prices of less than $200,000 — the first time that has occurred since 2003. Outside the plume area, the typical price fell 15 percent, from $370,000 to $315,000, while it fell 13 percent across Passaic County.

    In addition, asking prices of homes now on the market suggest a widening gap that real estate agents and sellers attribute at least in part to pollution scaring away buyers.

    The typical listing price in the plume zone for 12 single-family houses last month was about $262,000, some $115,000 under the typical price in the rest of the borough. Those listings were viewed after the state reported in December that residents of the plume area had elevated levels of two types of cancer, kidney cancer and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Although no conclusive link was drawn between the illnesses and the pollution at the site, the chemicals have been shown to cause both forms of the disease.

  8. freedy says:

    yes in hillsdale we have mexican openings.
    same with bergenfield.

    who’s kidding who

  9. plg and cobbler think we should just emulate Holland, and things will be fine.

    They may be more dangerous than the sheeple.

  10. njescapee says:

    Clot, we used to go there, Martino’s or Alfonzo’s nearly every week.

  11. NJGator says:

    Caption from article on Morris foreclosures:

    Between Jan. 7 and March 11, 17 homes valued at more that $750,000 were scheduled for foreclosure sales by the Morris County Sheriff’s Office. That number represents 6.2 percent of the 274 scheduled sales in that period. This home, at 28 Orchard St., Madison, built in 1968, was among them. Its last recorded sale was for $520,000, in 2001. Its 2009 assessment was $376,300. The 2009 taxes were $9,531. The foreclosure judgment: was $1,621,534

  12. Cindy says:,0,5443952.story

    “Hop Aboard for Albania Coast”

    For our Albanian friends…I wish the article had more pictures and fewer words.

  13. grim says:

    Albanian shore is nice, but filled with Albanian-Eagle t-shirt wearing muscle heads doing a kind of Adriatic fist pump, no doubt imported from Staten Island.

    You should see their version of Snookie.

    That said, the area is beautiful and the real estate prices cheap in comparison to what you would need to pay on the other side of the lake, or further south in Greece.

  14. Cindy says:

    Notice the Trulia stat of $89. a square ft. – down 13.6% from last year. That has to be below replacement cost.

    Word from the R/E radio show I listen to sometimes: Keep your price below $450,000 if you expect to sell. The buyers are still first time or investors. No move-up to speak of.

    I don’t see how they can renew the $8,000 tax credit just now. Folks in DC can’t agree on anything.

  15. NJGator says:

    Clot – one more reason why all the bums – in both parties – need to be booted out.

    Need More Evidence the Senate Is Absurd? Look No Further

    If somebody were looking for evidence of the absurd dysfunctionality of the U.S. Senate, they’d need look no further than the nominations process. In a body that actually valued effective governance this would be a straightforward process, where the head of state nominates individuals to largely noncontroversial posts, and the Senate, after a reasonable period of examining the candidates, approves or rejects them. But this is the U.S. Senate, and nothing is that simple.

    While there are bound to be a few appointments that cause a stir—this is politics after all—a large majority have always been, and will continue to be, pretty safe. Sure there will be differing ideologies from administration to administration, but that’s one of the perks of winning the presidency. Remember that whole “elections have consequences” thing? Apparently Republicans don’t, and nor do they have any interest in or respect for the effective delivery of government services, or so the news today would lead one to believe.

    According to Sen. Harry Reid’s office, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), utilizing a quirk of Senate procedure that allows an individual to halt a nominee’s progression, has placed a blanket hold* on all pending nominations. Not just one or two folks that he has worries about. All 70 prospective appointees. And he’s not doing it out of concerns over their suitability or qualifications. He’s doing it to get some pork for his state. From Congress Daily:

    A spokesman for Shelby said the senator has placed holds on “several pending nominees due to unaddressed national security concerns,” including frustrations with the Air Force’s handling of the competition for an aerial refueling tanker. The spokesman did not respond to later requests for comment about the blanket hold. Northrop Grumman Corp. and EADS, the European consortium behind Airbus, and Boeing Co. are vying for the high-stakes contract, potentially worth $40 billion. The Northrop/EADS team would build the planes in Mobile, Ala., but has threatened to pull out of the competition unless the Air Force makes changes to a draft request for proposals.

    So a Republican (remember, they’re the party that’s supposed to be anti government spending) is blocking all Senate nominations because he wants a European corporation to build some planes in his state? You can’t make it up.

  16. Cindy says:

    Did everyone see this who is considering a remodel?

    “What Remodelers Need to Know About the EPA’s Lead Paint Rule”

  17. Cindy says:

    You know…maybe I think about unintended consequences too much but… aren’t folks just going to drive to another city to do most of their grocery shopping?

  18. gary says:

    Buyer at closing table immediately after signing paper: “Oh, I thought it was an $8000 tax credit, nobody told me the credit is just 1% of the sale price!”

    And, I wonder if the buyer realizes they lost thousands in equity the moment they put the pen down.

  19. gary says:

    New in NJ [3],

    Thank goodness Bergen County is insulated.

  20. frank says:

    Polish power.
    Adamek beats Estrada in heavyweight fight

  21. renter says:

    Star Ledger (front page below the fold)
    The article notes that if you included discouraged workers and the underemployed that the unemployment rate is 16.5%. It is nice to see the main stream media discuss this.
    We were playing musical chairs and if you were standing when the music stopped, you must be wondering if you’ll ever get in the game again.

    “Frustrated job seekers deciding to call it quits

    2/6/2010, 7:15 p.m. EST
    The Associated Press

  22. Cindy says:

    21 – Well we have established that Frank is Polish.

  23. grim says:

    Estrada as in Erik Estrada?


    Officer Francis Llewellyn Poncherello?

    A sad day, for sure.

  24. Cindy says:

    24. Grim – I’m just hoping everyone can hold off with the Polish jokes…knowing what we now know.

  25. Cindy says:

    Superbowl ads today….I do not think this one made the cut.

  26. The real Super Bowl is at 11 AM…Chelsea v Arsenal.

    Chelsea wins, it’s back to first place.

    Arsenal loses, probably no chance to win the Prem.

    No washed-up bands at the half. No hype. Just 90 min. of straight-up football.

  27. 30 year Realtor says:

    Through 1/29/10 there have been 86 properties sold at the Bergen County Sheriff’s sale this year. During the same period NJMLS reports 266 closed sales in Bergen County.

  28. Pretty soon, everything will be short sales and REO.

  29. Mikeinwaiting "Bicep" says:

    Clot 29 I would tend to agree. My area is getting hit harder due to our hinterland location I see more & more shorts & REOs. funny thing is they aren’t even selling watching the banks go down 10 -15k like every couple of weeks on a few. Mind you these started at

  30. Mikeinwaiting "Bicep" says:

    150k so % wise big drop.It’s is RE armageddon up here. Don’t know how that post went out in the middle of typing.

  31. mike (31)-

    Banks are the biggest dumbass sellers of all. Except when you come all cash. Then, they get real.

  32. freedy says:

    sad to report that the house i sold in
    late 2004 has gone in to lis pendens
    i hope the guys pulls out of it.

    but he has stripped the equity out of it.


  33. I went back to my mother
    I said, “I’m crazy, ma, help me”
    She said, “I know how it feels son
    ‘Cause it runs in the family”

  34. freedy, why don’t you teach that guy how to hit the “reset” button?

  35. freedy says:

    where do i find the taxes on house again.


  36. freedy says:

    i’d actually like to buy it back on the cheap. the taxes really went up on it .

    killed the guy he’s was leveraged when he bought it.

  37. renter says:


    You’ve mentioned this a few times. Why would the bank accept less when the offer is all cash?

  38. renter (39)-

    A lot of these dumps aren’t mortgageable. Also, they don’t want to dick around with buyers who don’t understand what they’re getting into or buyers who may be contingent in any way.

  39. bones deplume says:

    Gotta love newark.

    USAirways Flight originally delayed because crew needed rest. 45 min delay but we knew it in advance. Now, at boarding time they tell us that the potties on our plane are frozen and that the potty truck to fix it is also frozen. So they are trying to borrow a truck from another carrier.


  40. renter says:

    Are most of these offers made on the house “as is” without inspection etc.?

  41. bones deplume says:

    (452) (prior thread)

    Yeah, but socia1isn defies easy definition. I used to descibe it as a vast portion of the continuum btwn capitalism and commun-ism. Simplistic but easy to follow.

    As for those who don’t understand if we are there or not, I would also paraphrase Capt Barbosa: “You’d best start believin’ in socia1ist systems Miss Turner. You’re in one!”

  42. Cindy says:

    Clot @ 35 and 40

    They will have to do a medley. Maybe this to open…

    Then “Won’t Get Fooled Again” at the end.

  43. Cindy says:

    So does Zak Starkey play drums today?

  44. plg says:

    Can I ask any of you socialism averse people an obvious question.

    First, did your concerns over socialism arise before or after Obama took office? What, precisely, has Obama done that is more socialist than any other modern President?

    The reason I ask is because Obama has not really done anything that is particularly “socialist.” He has cut taxes dramatically and instituted a stimulus program, which almost every major economist in the country suggested was necessary. What policies of Obama do you consider socialist?

    If you are suggesting the healthcare reform is socialist I ask you were you concerned over socialism when Bush passed Medicare Part D, which is the most expensive social program in modern history? The total cost of which through 2015 are estimated to be $724 billion. Obama has not suggested a single payer system, which I personally would favor. He is suggesting essentially what Massachusettes has. Regardless of the merits of the plan, people were not screaming about socialism when Mass passed its plan.

    I think “socialism” is code word for different, foreign or perhaps even black. I wish Obama was a socialist, but unfortunately he is not.

  45. grim says:

    Was only a matter of time before he played the race card.

    Here I was hoping we’d have an afternoon filled with Albanian and Polish jokes.

  46. gary says:

    plg [47],

    Wir müssen oben steigen und kämpfen! Wir müssen das Mutterland um jeden Preis schützen! Die Arbeitskräfte unseres Landes sind die loyalsten und heftigsten Leute überhaupt!!!

  47. 3b says:

    #19 gary And, I wonder if the buyer realizes they lost thousands in equity the moment they put the pen down.

    They lost their 3.5 FHA downpayment.

  48. Cindy says:

    48 Grim – AND music videos….

    Will they trash the stage?

  49. gary says:

    I pledge allegiance to the Czar of the United Socialist States of Amerika, and to the Peoples Republic for which he rules, a fractured nation without G0d, divisible, with ketchup and sickles for all.

  50. njescapee says:

    N.J. Gov. Christie proposes sweeping pension, health care changes for public employees

    Should we be impressed?

  51. grim says:

    Should we be impressed?

    I won’t be impressed until he has a track record that backs his boasting.

    Alot of campaign rhetoric to keep his supporters from feeling any kind of electors remorse.

    I give it a probability of about 85% that Fat Man gives up any hope of changing anything and just follows down the path of “same ol’ Jersey politics”.

  52. grim says:

    Until the Governor realizes the only way to enact change in this state is to pit all of the unions against each other, nothing will change.

    Tell the NJEA that the reason for education cuts is the Police and Fire. Tell the Communications Workers they need to take cuts because of the Teachers. Create major rifts in the unions such that they can no longer present any kind of common front. Pit the municipalities against the counties, and the counties against the state.

    Only then will we get Hope and Change.

  53. NJGator says:

    Aside from the health insurance contributions, all proposed reforms only relate to future employees. Wake me up when they start firing people and force the unions to reopen negotiations on current contracts. Yawn…

  54. Fiddy Cents on the Dollar says:

    Socialist Obama-nation….

    The simple-minded zeal with which he pursued the Health Care “Reform” idea, with all it’s single-payer implications, was what signaled his Nanny State intentions.

    He ignored the bigger issue of employment (“Where’s the jobs, Mr. President ??”). His hench-people spent 9 months delivering this Bill, with so many last minute, back room deals, that it was unreadable in it’s final form. Harry Reid will pay for this with his seat.

    Put the Health Care fiasco together with all of this administration’s bailout ideas, and you have a manifesto that Marx would be proud of….and I ain’t talking Groucho.

  55. rent (43)-

    All of them are. Those are the rules of the road.

  56. plg (47)-

    Idiot, go back and read posts here over the past three years. This is not a crowd that fears “different”, “foreign” or “black”.

    Your accusation, though, is both typical of soci@lists and incredibly tired in its application. In fact, it’s rather Sharpton-like.

  57. grim (55)-

    Wonder why nobody has figured this out yet.

    Oh, yeah…nobody on either side of the aisle in Trenton really wants to fix the problem.

  58. willwork4beer says:

    #53 njescapee

    Leaves in place fulltime pensions for current part time political appointees.

    Why not just change the formula? If you’re serving on a board that meets once a month, you should get 12 days pension credit per year, not 12 months. (See Lucille Davy).
    Oh I forgot. That would only hurt politians and their homies. Never mind.

  59. willwork4beer says:

    Politicians even.

  60. plg says:

    What is hilarious is that I am hearing a lot of wild rhetoric without any substance or response to my post.

    No one answered why they weren’t concerned when Bush passed a near trillion dollar prescription drug bill.

    The 600 billion dollar bank bailout was also passed by Bush.

    Do you all consider Bush a socialist?

  61. safeashouses says:

    #63 plg

    Where have you been? I was fuming over that and viewed it as corporate welfare.

  62. plg says:

    I understand you were all upset about the bank bailout, but where were the socialism charges when Bush’s prescription drug bill passed, which will literally costs 750 billion over the next decade.

    It is almost the same size as Obama’s healthcare proposal.

    Where were the socialism charges then?

  63. scribe, The Princess of Paramus says:

    #3 …on that house in Morris …did you notice the caption?

    This home, at 28 Orchard St., Madison, built in 1968, was among them. Its last recorded sale was for $520,000, in 2001. Its 2009 assessment was $376,300. The 2009 taxes were $9,531. The foreclosure judgment: was $1,621,534.

    $1.6 mil? 3x the last sales price?

  64. scribe, The Princess of Paramus says:

    cindy, #18

    taxing food is outrageous

    some pol on Long Island wanted to tax fast food and add $2 to a pack of cigs when NYS has some of the highest taxes in the nation, and the Island has 2 Native American reservations – easy driving distance

    He got booted out in the last election.

  65. njescapee says:

    bush was / is no capitalist. he’s champion of corporate and cronie welfare. that’s socialism for the connected.

  66. plg (63)-

    As a matter of fact, yes. In his complete naivete, Bush was one of the most liberal presidents ever.

  67. plg says:

    Condition-Code Red:

    You really think Bush was just naive?

    Why is Bush’s spending naive and Obama’s socialist?

  68. Barry Goldwater would rub Bush’s d*ck in the dirt.

  69. plg (70)-

    Just to be clear, I consider Bush and O to be the same person.

  70. Both corporate welfare queens.

  71. plg says:

    Condition Code-Red:

    Can I remind you that the Medicare Prescritpion Drug Bill was sponsored by Speaker Dennis Hastert, the Republican Speaker of the House, along with Tom Delay, Republican Senate Leader.

    Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Trent Lott (R-MS) also both voted for the bill.

    These are the same Republicans crying about Obama’s socialist plot to take over America!

    It is all a “scare tactic” and you are falling for it hook, line and sinker!

  72. plg says:

    You know what else is interesting is Joe “you lie” Wilson from SC voted for the prescription drug bill, along with 217 other Republicans.

  73. plg (74)-

    Moron, I’m not a Republican.

  74. Chelsea 2, Arsenal 0. Kinda like anyone here vs plg.

  75. Jamil, where are you when we need you?

    Only another blind ideologue can fight one of its kind.

  76. plg says:

    Why would that make me a moron? You write idiotic comments, and I provided a response.

  77. confused in NJ says:

    The 2003 Medicare Part D and High Deductible Insurance Plans implemented under GWB were not Socialist Plans, rather they were Corporate Giveaways. The prime benefactor of Medicare Part D were the Insurance Companies and the Drug Companies. Had this been a Socialist agenda (e.g., FDR), Medicare Part D like Parts A&B, would be Government Run “Not For Profit” and cost considerable less then current as the Government would have dictated Drug Prices. Also, retirees would not go crazy each year trying to figure out changing drug plans, and there would be no need for a donut hole. The High Deductible Insurance Plans were another Give Away to Private Corporations to sanction there moving Health Care Costs to employees & retirees in the Private Sector. A Decent American President (Not Bush or Obama), would have;

    1. Created Medicare Part D as non profit Government Run, with negotiated Drug Prices, and had FDA change their rules to require Generic Drugs be Identical to Brand with exact same Safety Profile. They would also require the FDA to actually Control Drug Safety to the extent that Anti Depressant Drugs are not allowed to cause Suicide, Asthma drugs are not allowed to cause Asthma related death, Hormone Replacement Drugs are not allowed to cause breast cancer, etc. True Health care begins with making it the objective, not profit. The leading cause of death in this country is For Profit Drugs.

    The interesting thing about (“O”s) proposal is does Nothing Good for the average middle class citizen. Other then spending additional Billions on Coverage for people I don’t know, it offers no cost containment, gives billions to Industry Providers, does nothing to improve health care. What has big Pharma ever cured? Answer, Nothing. The age of Independent Not for Profit Research with Doctors like Salk & Sabin with Non Patented Polio Vaccine was the Age of Health Care. Big Pharma is the Age of Fake Health Care which creates Fake Diseases which can be measured with tests and provides expensive pills to achieve test score without regard to real effects on actual Health.

  78. plg says:

    What is interesting about Obama’s proposal is that he can’t get it passed. What is currently being discussed is being watered down to appease Republicans.

    A “public option” was the best available tool for cost containment. That would not pass because not a single Republican will support it.

  79. plg-

    Stop with the straw man, and somebody here besides Jamil might do something other than ridicule you.

    Right now, I haven’t seen anything from you beyond what a handful of mediocre trolls have thrown up here from time to time over the past three years.

  80. And, playing the race card just shows you’re a jerk.

  81. confused in NJ says:

    49.gary says:
    February 7, 2010 at 11:12 am
    plg [47],
    We must rise above and fight! We must at any price mainland protect! The workers our country are the biggest and most loyal people ever!!

    Sounds Familiar?

  82. chicagofinance says:

    grim: is this your way of revenge for all the kielbasa jokes?

    14.grim says:
    February 7, 2010 at 7:56 am
    Albanian shore is nice, but filled with Albanian-Eagle t-shirt wearing muscle heads doing a kind of Adriatic fist pump, no doubt imported from Staten Island.

    You should see their version of Snookie.

    That said, the area is beautiful and the real estate prices cheap in comparison to what you would need to pay on the other side of the lake, or further south in Greece.

  83. njescapee says:

    Funny thing about all this back and forth about US and state debt / management issues. It appears Texas is among the states in the best condition. Achieved this with legislators that meet once every 2 years. Less is definitely more!!

  84. chicagofinance says:

    47.plg says:
    February 7, 2010 at 10:56 am
    I think “socialism” is code word for different, foreign or perhaps even black. I wish Obama was a socialist, but unfortunately he is not.

    plg: I wish plg would lose his internet connection, but unfortunately he has not.

    I think “socialism” is for people who enjoy projecting a sense of moral authority, when in reality they are far more self-interested than those they acuse of profiteering on the backs of others.

  85. chicagofinance says:

    81.plg says:
    February 7, 2010 at 2:01 pm
    What is interesting about Obama’s proposal is that he can’t get it passed. What is currently being discussed is being watered down to appease Republicans.

    plg: patently false; the watering down is to appease the center, who are wholly incredulous….

  86. chicagofinance says:

    63.plg says:
    February 7, 2010 at 12:45 pm
    I consider Bush an incompetist?

  87. plg says:

    I still haven’t heard a viable explanation for why Bush’s spending was considered naive or incompetent, but Obama’s spending is considered socialist?

    If it is not because he is a black man from hawaii, why is Obama a socialist for trying to pass a healthcare bill roughly the same size as Bush’s prescription drug bill?

  88. njescapee says:

    plg, face it, you’ll never be satisfied. just move on to a different topic or just STFU!!

  89. plg says:


    I understand that personal insults and attacks must work often to silence people, but I view them as an admission of the lack of substance of your failing argument.

    Please, continue the circle-jerk you call a discussion to continue on this site. Proceed with your circle-jerk of blaming everyone in the world for your doom and gloom worldview.

    I want to be a contributing member of this discussion so here you go:

    Yes, the sky is falling and it is Corzine and Obama’s fault. The public employees are leeches. How does that feel, good?

  90. Barbara says:

    I shouldn’t live in any place that has a cold winter season. When I visit my Dad in Fla, I’m a different person. I have energy, I get up in the morning easily, I sleep better. My mood is lifted, I eat less. I belong in a tropical climate.

  91. Stu says:

    Is there anything worse than listening to one person espouse their political leanings over an other. Especially when both parties behave identically. It’s a friggin corporatocracy. Social platforms are simply to garner votes from blocks. It really doesn’t matter who you vote for. The rich will just get richer. Barbed wire anyone?

  92. Outofstater says:

    #93 Barb – It might be SAD – seasonal affective disorder. It’s very common and has to do with the lack of light more than the cold. Try getting outdoors with your face in the sun even if it’s cold. I know what you mean – it feels like you’re living under a blanket all the time. Yuck.

  93. lisoosh says:

    njescapee says:
    February 7, 2010 at 2:42 pm
    “Funny thing about all this back and forth about US and state debt / management issues. It appears Texas is among the states in the best condition. Achieved this with legislators that meet once every 2 years. Less is definitely more!!”

    Lots of US military contracts/money flow into Texas.

    No state is immune.

  94. Barbara says:

    No doubt its SAD but also the cold really gets to me. I like moving easily from outdoors to in and getting all manner of things done by doing so. In the winter I just can’t wait to get back in and stay in.

  95. Barbara says:

    Also, I’m a tinkerer. I like to detail the cars, do minor wall repair, straighten up the tools, garden, sweep the walk etc. I’m just a shut-in in winter.

  96. njescapee says:

    PLG I have a fair solution for government employee compensation. Use private sector analogs for wage and benefits. Wages per federal employee is around 71k Vs. 40K for private sector employee. Drive those costs to parity in a 3 year period. Do the same for state and local government employees. No favoritism, just a straight forward formula. Kinda like socialism but hey it’s fair.

  97. njescapee says:

    FYI, Texas ranked 35 out of 50 in 2005 Federal spending per dollar of Fed taxes paid
    Lisoosh says:
    February 7, 2010 at 3:41 pm
    njescapee says:
    February 7, 2010 at 2:42 pm
    “Funny thing about all this back and forth about US and state debt / management issues. It appears Texas is among the states in the best condition. Achieved this with legislators that meet once every 2 years. Less is definitely more!!”

    Lots of US military contracts/money flow into Texas.

    No state is immune.

  98. New in NJ says:

    Barbara 93 –

    I completely agree. I had a minor heart attack back in October, and I’m quite sure that a contributor to it was my utter lack of activity during the winter months here. I just can’t face going out into the cold. I often find that at the end of the weekend I have not set foot outside of the house since arriving home from work Friday.

    That’s the primary reason why my wife and I plan to move to SE Florida (probably Boca Raton area) when this summer is over.

    Other benefits are that Florida has no income tax, and the cost of living is considerably less. We’ll move from our 2/2.5 rented townhouse in Madison to a 3/2.5 or 3/3 rented house with a pool and pay easily $500 less per month. I’d be really surprised if we are not $10k to $15K better off per year, all while avoiding another NJ winter.

    As is often remarked here, the Florida RE market’s undoing is much farther along than it is here. Even at that there is still considerable downside risk. If there are signs of market stabilization by the end of 2011, however, we might just buy a place.

    We have rented ever since I took a job in DC and we sold our house in NC back in 2004 to move. No need to say that the market here was crazy when we moved here from DC in 2006. We’ve just been sitting it out accumulating cash for the past 6 years.

    As a continuous homeowner from 1978 until 2004, I can certainly say that it will be nice to get into our own place again.

  99. cobbler says:

    njescapee [99]
    For a comparable job (say, IT or accounting, etc.), federal pay w/benefits is close to the private industry, ditto for the state/local. However, the government could function perfectly well without many of those employees; prohibiting the collective bargaining for government employees at all levels will do wonders for their productivity and budget.

  100. Barbara says:

    new in NJ
    My Dad, a NJ lifer, moved to FLA begrudgingly at the pleading of his wife. Six years later, wife moved back up here, he stayed in Fla. He likes the weather too and the cheap living. He does get a little freaked about his grandkids out and about because of Fla’s reputation for kid touching and killing.
    You are in a nice buying position and we too are large on cash, its nice.

  101. renter says:

    condition (43)
    Thank you.

  102. The most comprehensive info I have found on this subject on the net. Will be back soon to follow up.

  103. cobbler says:

    clot [10]
    Netherlands has an unemployment rate of 4.0% (12/2009) and, mostly, happy people with an average of 6 weeks vacation time.

    What specifically don’t you like about it and why would you prefer us turning into Columbia instead?

  104. Al "The Thermostat" Gore says:


    Bush is as hated as Obama. Game is up. Stop arguing what is clearly evident. It started in 1913 and now the programs cant be funded. Its over plain and simple.

    This country is in some serious sh#t. Im prepared. Are you?

  105. confused in NJ says:

    90.plg says:
    February 7, 2010 at 3:05 pm
    I still haven’t heard a viable explanation for why Bush’s spending was considered naive or incompetent, but Obama’s spending is considered socialist?

    If it is not because he is a black man from Hawaii, why is Obama a socialist for trying to pass a health-care bill roughly the same size as Bush’s prescription drug bill?

    The most onerous part of the “O” Bill is Pelosi’s Mandatory Requirement with Fines and Internment Penalties. You are right, this part is not Socialistic, more Communistic, and definitely Unconstitutional. As a live Free or Die American, this Stalinist approach is a definite No No. I don’t want criminals determining my life at a micro level, especially when they exempt themselves. New Law, CONGRESS Can only pass Laws which also apply equally to them.

  106. Essex says:

    107. Nope.

  107. cobbler (106)-

    Holland is a small, homogeneous country. Countries like this are among the few in which soci@lism has had any sort of success. Not surprisingly, since the influx of foreigners has begun there, problems have presented themselves.

    I don’t want to turn the US into Colombia (when did I ever say that?). However, it might behoove us to acknowledge that soci@lism only succeeds in very specific and limited circumstances.

  108. BTW, I am constantly around a number of people from Holland (all soccer-related stuff).

    The one common denominator among all of them is the desire never to go back.

  109. njescapee says:

    cobbler, government must get rid of thievery such as sick / vacation day accruals so that govt employee can walk away with 100s of thousands of dollars. payout at final pay-rate. private sector = use them or lose them in that year / period.

  110. Mr Hyde says:

    Cobbler 106

    the stats for happiness and social cohesion amongst the nordic nations are very misleading.

    They are some of the happiest and healthiest nations ont he world, but they are also some of the most culturally homogeneous nations in the world as well.

    There is a strong casual link between cultural homogeneity and happiness. Nations/groups tend to be happier in general when the majority of the population has the same idea of what happiness is.

    In highly heterogeneous populations you will be unlikely to ever see the same level of satisfaction and happiness that you will see amongst a homogeneous population, simply because different cultures have different ideas of what makes them happy (in social terms)

    This is highly politically incorrect but has been studied.

    SO while i think there are many things we could learn from some of the nordic nations, its not a panacea, and even if the copied them down to the smallest detail we would not achieve their level of success.

    Look at sweden. There is increasing social discord as the number of non-swedesih/non-nordics become an increasingly large portion of the population.

    If you really want to go down that road then you goal should be cultural homogeneity, not cultural diversity.

    You can also see similar effects in Japan in regards to happiness and homogeneous cultural groups.

  111. cobbler says:

    Again, it is a question of what the collective bargaining agreements are. They should be banned, period – and immediately sick day accruals will stop being an issue (will not exist…).

  112. njescapee says:

    confused, Bernie Sanders the socialist Senator from Vt was asked (on Lou Dobbs show just before he left CNN) if he would choose the public option for his own covereage. His response: only if it was better choice than what he has.

  113. cobbler says:

    clot, kettle:
    Homogeneity of the population doesn’t by itself give happiness. Coming back home, I doubt people in Maine or Idaho are happier than in New Mexico or Georgia (I am not talking NJ because it is a very special place ). I was talking Columbia simply because in a globalized economy U.S. middle class is destined to die away in absence of either strong protectionist barriers or strong income redistribution system – both things you reflexively identify with soci@lism. If it dies away, we become Columbia – hopefully, without narco-guerillas.

  114. Mr Hyde says:


    protectionism is almost a certainty at this point and what income is there going to be to redistribute?

  115. 3b says:

    #106 Holland has a huge problem with it’s immigrant Muslim population who prefer to live in the 12th century.

  116. Mr Hyde says:


    i would appreciate you not putting words in my mouth.

    i never stated my thoughts on the whole socialism issue.

    Using the term socialism destroys any hope of a coherent debate most of the time.

    A better framed debate would be what degree of redistributionist policies, if any are appropriate and how to draw the line.

  117. cobbler (116)-

    Nice try at constructing a sophisticated straw man. However, I’m not coming close to debating “happiness” with you.

  118. Protectionism and soci@lism are two facets of the many -faceted thing known as stupid.

    Protectionism is probably coming, even though the Pandora’s Box of global wage arbitrage has already been opened.

  119. Veto That says:

    al, just curious, what shape is your tin hat?
    Do you use the pointy witch hat, the tin pirate hat or did you go with the tin yamaka?

  120. leftwing says:

    Income redistribution is most certainly not the way to save the middle class.

    More likely to kill it.

    Middle class is not best defined by the amount of money flowing through one’s 1040 but by social norms, including how that income came into one’s possession.

  121. Veto That says:

    Cultural homogenenity

    Hyde, I believe there is a lot to that.
    Not only in terms of happiness but also politically and socially.
    Being a melting pot may be one of our best assets but also has got to be one of our biggest challenges.

  122. Mr Hyde says:

    Veto 123

    You had best take a look at this, an MIT study finds that aluminum foil hats may actually focus the beams…..

    On the Effectiveness of Aluminium Foil Helmets:

  123. Mr Hyde says:


    being a melting pot was an advantage when we were trying to rapidly populate a large and sparsely populated landmass.

    When you are trying to manage limited resources and achieve the highest level of constructive social harmony possible, being a melting pot is a disadvantage.

    Think of it as a form of social evolutionary dynamics.

    I am not suggesting any one group is better then any other, only that a social group comprised of majority who have similar goals and values will generally be happier and more cohesive then a group of many cultures that may have disparate goals and values.

    You can easily see this happening in Sweden and Norway with the hue influx of middle eastern immigrants not meshing well with nordic culture and values.

    Good luck having a constructive debate on the following before it degenerates due to name calling or trolls; but perhaps there is a place for localized cultural homogeneity while maintaining a high degree of interaction between the local groups.

  124. njescapee says:

    I’m hoping to see a more entrepreneurial middle class emerge in the US. One where folks are more self reliant, know how to survive the treachery and incompetence of government and big business.

  125. still_looking aka Tan-Less says:

    Hyde, 127

    “You can easily see this happening in Sweden and Norway with the hue influx of middle eastern immigrants not meshing well with nordic culture and values.”

    Yep. Problem is that their goal is to outpopulate the rest of us and they are currently winning.


  126. leftwing says:

    Happiness and homogeneity

    I’m not really sure how to tackle the happiness component or even how to define it.

    Homogeneity though certainly makes it much easier to implement policies that benefit the whole of society (and especially the ‘underprivileged’) at the expense of the individual.

    It’s common sense.

    One is more likely to support others when others share the same looks, viewpoint, outlook, heritage, religion, and goals.

    You don’t donate to charities that oppose your views.

    Small, homogenous countries have a much more cohesive population. Our country continues to fragment socially with meaningful segments of the population not only not aspiring to similar goals as the majority but actively disowning such goals. Is it really surprising that the majority do not support sacrificing for someone who actively seeks to dismantle their identity?

    I spent two years in Austria. 98% Roman Catholic, 95% white, 92% Austrian, common history back to 1400s.

    The Austrians have an extraordinary social benefit net, including paying parents for the birth of a child. Because that child is AUSTRIAN, meaning that the parents will raise that child with the same set of values and aspirations as everyone else, everyone is willing to provide that support.

    It makes for a rather sterile and unexciting society, but one that is capable of socializing many obligations across the population.

    Not so here.

  127. Veto That says:

    “Good luck having a constructive debate on the following before it degenerates due to name calling or trolls”

    Maybe if we were more culturally homogeneous, the topic would be less contentious.

  128. Mr Hyde says:


    you hit on my point (which was perhaps not so very clear)

    There has to be some middle ground to a complete mixing pot, and cultural stagnation. In the long term neither is likely to be the best solution.

  129. escapee (128)-

    I’d rather just shoot a bunch of incompetent bureaucrats and politicians.

  130. Sean says:

    Looks like Gov David Paterson of NY may be finished. Resignation coming? Perhaps Client #10?

  131. njescapee says:

    US Constitution guarantees us the right to pursue happiness. It’s OK to be miserable.

  132. Mr Hyde says:


    Maybe if we were more culturally homogeneous, the topic would be less contentious.

    EXCELLENT POINT! everyone who doesn’t look like me should leave now!

    Veto, i think the real issue to any constructive debate on the issue is usually the PC doctrine that we are all the same. We arent, but those differences can be strengths for all involved when harnessed constructively.

  133. sean (135)-

    Will we get a Marion Barry-type tape with it? H00kers and crack?

  134. Al "The Thermostat" Gore says:


    Constitution is being increasingly irrelevant. All they need is the right set of crises to put the final nail in that document.

    Go read the executive orders.

  135. Hyde-

    The worst part of our “pretend” problem is our pretending we’re all the same. Too bad we’ve managed to create a massive parasite class that has no interest in any kind of common societal goal. There are also huge amounts of people in the country who have no incentive or interest in even the most basic assimilation into the culture.

    Hate to sound like Pat Buchanan, but it’s hurting us.

  136. If I were an illegal here, I wouldn’t want to assimilate, either.

  137. Mr Hyde says:


    how about something like this?

  138. Shore Guy says:

    “Do you all consider Bush a socialist?”

    Bush has too much respect for private enterprise, I guess that would make him a fasciest.

    He was also a putz, a fool, an incompetent, a dolt, and the biggest threat to freedom this nation has faced since 1812.

  139. Al (139)-

    Rule of law is out the window. The GM bankruptcy was the last shred.

    Somehow or another, the Supreme Court has been co-opted. How that happened- in and of itself as a topic- is going to make a great book in 25 years.

  140. Mr Hyde says:


    GWB would have made Mussolini proud

  141. Shore Guy says:


    Bewae the ones who want to remove some of your liberty in order to protect you. I would rather live in a more dangerous world with ALL my liberty than a safe world with less.

  142. njescapee says:

    Pat Buchanan is a very thoughtful man and calls it the way he sees it. I had the pleasure to meet him on 2 occasions. His book “A Republic, Not An Empire” is an excellent read and very relevant more than 10 years later.

  143. Al "The Thermostat" Gore says:

    140. Condition, you are talking about the common bond. If the traditions and common history are broken than this nation will indeed fall apart.

  144. Mr Hyde says:


    agree 100%

    “Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety deserve neither Liberty nor Safety”

  145. Shore Guy says:

    Benjamin Franklin was a wise man.

  146. Shore Guy says:

    On a football note, inasmuch as this IS a football day. A classic:

  147. leftwing says:

    In the ‘be careful what you wish for’ and ‘slippery slope’ categories….

    Remember how borrowers aren’t responsible for their actions in taking loans, it was all the big bad bank’s fault? How everyone is putting a fiduciary duty on banks that doesn’t exist?

    Case winding its way through courts, possibly in Britain, where a buyer is suing Citi (in a corporate matter) saying that Citi defrauded the buyer by failing to disclose that the other bidders in auction had dropped out.

    Longshot, but if buyer prevails the situation is directly applicable to home buyers and real estate agents.

    Caveat emptor.

    “At the heart of this case is an allegation as serious as it is simple,” Mr. Sherman says. Citi, he says, “induced Terra Firma to invest $3 billion by manufacturing the appearance of competition in an auction when it knew the auction was a bust. That is fraud.”

  148. sas says:

    I just love that puppy bowl on Animal Planet.


  149. Mikinwaiting "Bicep" says:

    SAS My daughter was watching that.

  150. I can’t believe Citi could pull the wool over any company’s eyes.

    Terra Firma must be one spectacular bunch of dummies.

  151. cobbler says:

    Looks like I started a good discussion about merits and problems of cultural homogeneity, without immediate calls for me being executed. It had been decided here that Holland and Austria are culturally homogeneous, thus they could afford huge social welfare programs since the people feel like helping their brothers or cousins. Logically, they face a challenge from the middle-eastern immigrants that they were dumb enough to invite in. However, Canada, Australia and especially NZ are not homogeneous (actually close to us but with the different minorities), and still have these programs at a level close to the Nordic countries. Also, people in quite homogeneous Mountain states (say, Idaho and Wyoming) have, if anything, more aversion to any sort of government programs than in diverse NY or CA. To me, this relates more to the extent religion dominates the societal way of thinking, and to the uniquely American understanding of the concept of liberty.

  152. cobbler says:

    Talking about protectionism: at my daughter’s string rehearsal this morning the Asian kids were uniformly playing as well or better as the Caucasian kids 5 years older… What should the government do about it?

  153. sas says:

    ok, so we got this new reality TV show about CEO bosses trying to do the everyday job.

    here is a little inside scoop.

    this is a PR script. There is a building movement against CEOs and CEO & boards of directors mass looting up companies.

    This PR show is done to make CEO look “cool” or “a nice guy” “one of us” mentality.

    don’t fall for this Jedi mind trick. Its a PR stunt.

    Its like in the 80s, CEO were doing one step away from a mass raping of people.

    so, what did they do? they got stool pigeons like Lee Iacocca, and all these wanna be management type books.
    they started doing PR as to make people want to be managers. market as success, the cats meow.

    meanwhile, they broke up unions, drove down wages, moved jobs offshore, deskilled labor, and made you think cheap was a good buy… and now you don’t know qulaity of it hit you between the eyes.


  154. Mikinwaiting "Bicep" says:

    Cobbler 158 That is a very serious matter maybe Congress should hold a hearing.Steroids is my guess.

  155. njescapee says:

    easy, give those asian kids violin broken bows to handicap them.

  156. sas says:

    “Talking about protectionism: at my daughter’s string rehearsal this morning the Asian kids were uniformly playing as well or better as the Caucasian kids 5 years older… What should the government do about it?”

    they already did something about it.
    There are nice little tests and things of that nature to get into the country. basically, you have to be smart and they leave the dumb ones back in their country of origin.

    so when someone says to me, why are all these Chinese or asians so smart… i say easy…. you just dont see the dumb ones, US only imports the smart ones.


  157. njescapee says:

    i.e., broken violin bows

  158. cobbler (157)-

    I’m pretty sure I called for your execution. If not, I’ll do so now.

  159. sas (162)-

    That’s why all the Chinese you see in the US are Cantonese or from Shanghai. At the very least, they are from rice-producing areas.

    Chinese from grain-dependent areas, such as Mongolia, are the “failures”. Totally different society.

    Gladwell handles this topic well in Outliers.

  160. sas says:

    thats why no one in Washington for the Dept of Education really gives a rats arse about science and math scores in your school or your kids “class”room.

    we just import talent and education with that visa..i think its the H1B visa or something like that.


  161. sas says:

    “thats why no one in Washington for the Dept of Education really gives a rats arse about science and math scores in your school or your kids “class”room.”

    or no one cares about math and science in the schools.
    we just import the talent.

    so, anytime some says “its for the kids” or “better schools”.

    ha ha ha,,,,
    I laugh in there face.


  162. cobbler says:

    I meant nobody called for my execution in today’s thread (until your #157). I don’t know what to do with you, though: clearly, sending you in a reeducation camp is counterproductive as you will slow down the reeducation process for other inmates. I guess, you’ll have to be deported to Belize.

  163. PGC says:

    #133 Ket

    “There has to be some middle ground”

    That is what is really lacking here and I’m close to calling it a day. .

  164. danzud says:


    First, the end of any chance McCain had of winning was with his support of the bank bailout. That and the lady with glasses who was only worth something when oil was north of $100.

    I think Obama’s a socialist because his focus this year has been to increase government control of our lives by taking over health care at the expense of the “evil” insurance companies as Pelosi said. He also wanted to impose the cap and trade laws and now wants to raise taxes which while he says will be only for those over $250k will I believe somehow trickle down to anyone making over $50k. When Obama initiates policies that discuss less government control of our finances and our daily activities, I can drop the socialist label.

    Bush at least lowered tax rates to give more dollars back to the people and tried to have people have more control and direction over their retirement funds which was shot down in 2005. Please don’t make me defend Bush any more than that but the question is why is Obama a socialist while Bush isn’t

  165. lisoosh says:

    “Cultural homogenenity”

    Grew up in one. Hate just transfers across socio-economic and class lines.

    Humans will always search for a way to differentiate themselves and self-select their group.

  166. bones deplume says:

    Okay to the extent I got plg started with the whole socialst thing, I apologize.

    Eventually made it to Utah. And caught the end of the game. Wow. Not much snow here but conditions are supposed to be good. We’ll see. I’m thinking that tune-up on the ice of VT will come in handy.

  167. plg says:


    “He also wanted to impose the cap and trade laws and now wants to raise taxes which while he says will be only for those over $250k will I believe somehow trickle down to anyone making over $50k.”

    He made a campaign pledge that he would repeal the Bush tax cuts, which were never paid for and are contributing to the deficit, on those making over 250K. He still is saying the same thing. Now you can imagine that will apply to those making 50K, but that has never been suggested and will not happen. That is suspicion and innuendo and nothing more.

    You are aware that Obama passed a massive tax cut in the stimulus bill? 40% of that 700 stimulus Billion bill was in the form of tax cuts. He also carried forward the Bush tax cuts on those making under 250K. So Obama has and will cut taxes as much as Bush did.

    If you don’t think the healthcare companies need to be better regulated than you are blind to the healthcare crisis taking place in the country.

    The facts do not support that Obama is any more or less of a socialist then Bush. The fact is that the term is a scare tactic devised and used by the GOP and Fox News.

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