Zandi: “We’re still in the housing crash”

From Reuters:

Zandi sees earliest U.S. home price rise end: 2012

Economist Mark Zandi says the United States is “nowhere near” a housing market recovery, but he can nonetheless see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Zandi, the chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, sees home prices rising at the earliest at the end of 2012, when buyers snapping up cut-rate foreclosures and short sales will have cleared the market to the point that the percentage of distressed sales starts to fall.

“We’re still in the housing crash,” he said.

Presently, about a third of home sales are of distressed property. That percentage will increase in the near-term as the foreclosure pipeline, temporarily slowed by flawed processing and related lawsuits, starts to flow again.

Additional price declines will be painful, but necessary for the market to bottom and finally rebound.

“I’m expecting the process to reaccelerate as we work through the foreclosure issues, and we work through some of these legal actions,” he said.

Meanwhile, the housing market is already starting to show early signs of healing and the economy is slowly getting stronger.

In some markets, home prices are holding firm. The percentage of homeowners who are 30 days late on their mortgages is falling, Zandi pointed out. And the spread between the discount on foreclosed and other properties is narrowing.

What’s more, he sees stable, significant job growth. The economy has created about 2 million private sector jobs since early 2010.

Businesses are strong enough to do more and will, when they have more confidence in the future.

The question of confidence, however, is a sticky one, Zandi acknowledges, and represents valid challenges to his relatively optimistic view of the housing market over the next few years.

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

150 Responses to Zandi: “We’re still in the housing crash”

  1. grim says:

    From Bloomberg:

    Existing-Home Sales in U.S. Probably Dropped

    Sales of previously owned U.S. homes probably fell in May to the lowest level this year, a sign that housing lags behind other parts of the economy, economists said before a report today.

    Purchases fell 5 percent to a 4.8 million annual pace, the fewest since November, according to the median forecast of 69 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. A 13-year low 4.91 million existing houses were sold last year.

    An unemployment rate hovering around 9 percent and strict lending rules mean it may take years to absorb the 1.8 million distressed properties on the market that are weighing down home values. The state of the housing market is one reason why Federal Reserve policy makers are likely to maintain record stimulus when they meet this week.

    “The housing recovery is still looking pretty distant,” said Aaron Smith, a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics Inc. in West Chester, Pennsylvania. “Buyers lack the confidence and access to credit that are important to driving sales.”

    The National Association of Realtors will release the figures at 10 a.m. in Washington. Estimates for home sales in the Bloomberg survey ranged from 4.5 million to 5.18 million.

    The number of existing homes sold peaked at 7.08 million in 2005. Nonetheless, they comprise about 94 percent of all purchases now, up from about 85 percent six years ago as foreclosures and distressed sales lure some buyers.

  2. Mike says:

    Good Morning New Jersey

  3. Zandi is a fool. He will be poleaxed by the doom.

    No one will be spared.

  4. Wait until the dominoes begin to fall in Europe. It will make fall of ’08 look like a rally.

  5. Shore Guy says:

    I guess we should expect “unexpected” to be used in many stories about continued declines in prices, increaes in unemployment, etc.

  6. gary says:

    What’s the next move, Zandi? A book entitled, “Are You Missing the Economic Boom?”

  7. Shore Guy says:

    Let the dominos fall, I ain’t got control

  8. Neanderthal Economist says:

    Zandi gets it and so does Shiller. They can’t be as negative as they want to be since their careers are on the line. They’re specialized experts paid for their professional opinions about the current state and whats happening now, telling everyone its all going to sh!t in five years isn’t exactly going to line their pockets or make them any friends.

  9. veets (8)-

    Guys like Zandi are nothing more than call girls. All the paid mouthpieces who bent over for TPTB during this debacle should be lined up against a wall and executed. They are making the problem worse by not telling it the way it is.

  10. Neanderthal Economist says:

    You remember what they did to that deutche bank housing analyst who called another 40% dip in ny metro back in 2009, after prices already crashed 20%…. they canned her right before bonus season. Nobody wants to read a faces of death profit of doom economic outlook… moderation and incramentalism are important.

  11. Neanderthal Economist says:

    But hey as long as she got some blogger street credit im sure she’s extatic.

  12. serenity now says:

    #8#9#10 BINGO!!!

  13. The fact that honest opinion is increasingly suppressed and/or punished is why there’s a blogosphere.

  14. Neanderthal Economist says:

    TPTB cherry picked their consultants and did what they wanted. And its not always an honesty thing, some of threse guys are just conservative and are considering alternative scenarios. The script is not written yet, there could be a housing bailout that worksworks, hyperinflation, or foreign investors who want to capitalize on a declining dollar. Why commit to an ultra negative collapse scenario when its unlikely and everyone is always waiting to discredit you and prove you wrong…

  15. evildoc says:

    As long as he fails to realize the “crash” in fact IS the recovery, there remains no hope.

    We don’t object to gas prices crashing.

    Housing is not an investment. It is a cost. Cheaper would be better, but then we’ve been saying that here for like seven years.

  16. Neanderthal Economist says:

    “the “crash” in fact IS the recovery.”
    Yes it is.

  17. Mikeinwaiting says:

    15,16 Bingo!

  18. Neanderthal Economist says:

    15 gets post of the day but its still early

  19. All Hype says:

    Doom (4):
    The confidence vote in Greece today will be interesting. It will match up the bank captured politicians versus the angry people. If they give G-Pap the votes and start the austerity measures it will good old fashioned riots all summer.

  20. 3B says:

    2 million jobs have been created, OK, what kind of jobs? The kind that will enable someone to afford a house and the expenses including of course property taxes that go with it? And for someone who was unemployed and now again has a job, is the first thing there going to do is go out and buy a house?

  21. Anon E. Moose says:

    NE [18];

    Evildoc [15] gets my vote. Let’s call it a day and head to the beach.

  22. 3B says:

    #16 I have been saying that all along, falling prices means the economy is healing and getting rid of the excess. Of course there are causalities, those who paid too much or sucked out all of their equity, but that is the way it goes.That is what Zandi and other so called paid economists should be saying.

  23. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Waiting to see this in print: Home prices will fall over 50 % across the country. “Housing prices will fall inline with incomes this will help consumers & the economy will rebound” Predicted John Smith annalist with big agency Y. “This will go a long way to redress the bubble prices that wrecked the economy and made housing costs a drain on consumer spending” Smith said and a positive for future growth in more productive assets.

  24. Mikeinwaiting says:

    I’m with Moose.

  25. gary says:

    All I know is that Ridgewood is bleeding wealth and it’s contained to subprime. A member of the NAR told me and that’s all I know.

  26. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Gary was she riding a unicorn?

  27. Why allow the economy to heal when we can trigger a massive default, trigger hyperinflation, continue to abet the biggest daylight bank robbery in history and declare wars at the drop of a hat?

  28. 3B says:

    #25 gary, gary, gary!!! Ridgewood is oh so very, very yesterday. We all know that the town in Bergen Co, and NJ, and really in the whole country, perhaps even the world, is the town where prices are up 26% from last year.

  29. make money says:

    It must be cool to have your currency appreciate 45% against the USD in 3 years. Surging real estate prices in Brazil and the currency’s 45 percent gain against the U.S. dollar since 2008 are sending Brazilians to South Florida in search of bargain vacation homes and property investments. That’s helping bolster Miami’s condo market, with total sales increasing 92 percent in the first four months of 2011 from a year earlier, according to data from the Florida Association of Realtors.

  30. nj escapee says:

    make, I was up in Miami 2 weeks ago. It was wall to wall shoppers and diners at Bayside. Folks buying up lots of stuff at the Disney store. USA is on sale baby!

  31. toomuchchange says:

    “significant job growth. The economy has created about 2 million private sector jobs since early 2010.”

    Mr. Zandi sounds like President Obama and the rest of the ostriches in Washington.

    Two million new jobs is great vs. the job losses we had in prior years. But two million jobs in a year and a half is a drop in the bucket, not a triumph, when it comes to our jobs deficit.

    Two million jobs is lousy vs the many million of unemployed who lost their jobs (some now for three years or more) plus the estimated 125,000 new entrants to the job market every month.

    Last time I heard, Bernake thought five years minimum to return to full employment. Frankly I don’t see how that’s going to happen, not with 14 million out of work today and legal immigration work visas still above 1 million a year.

  32. Jase Rion says: (money section)

    Existing home sales fell 3.8% in May to a 4.81 million annual rate. Realtors’ group cites high gas prices and severe weather.

    yeah, ok, NAR!

  33. Nice to see we’re settling comfortably into Third World jerkwater status.

  34. homeboken says:

    31 – You are correct, 2.0m equals about 110,000 new jobs per month. In order to regain employment levels that we had pre 2008, we need job growth of 500,000+ per month, for a sustained period.

    It is very easy to manipulate stats to suit ones interests.

  35. homeboken says:

    Realtors’ group cites high gas prices and severe weather.

    Of course this is true…”I would have purchased that $500,000 POS if only I could afford $15 worth of gas to drive out and sign the closing documents.”

  36. toomuch (31)-

    How many of those 2mm jobs are McJobs and birth/death funny business?

    My guess is, virtually all of it.

    The good jobs are gone, and they are never coming back.

  37. US necronomy now based on selling each other fraudulent financial instruments and gourmet hamburgers.

  38. Oh…and the export of inflation.

  39. danxp says:

    ridgewood has 160+ properties on mls… just sayin…

  40. 2nd try.

    Bill Gross puts higher edumacation on outlook negative:

    ​”A mind is a precious thing to waste, so why are millions of America’s students wasting theirs by going to college? All of us who have been there know an undergraduate education is primarily a four year vacation interrupted by periodic bouts of cramming or Google plagiarizing, but at least it used to serve a purpose. It weeded out underachievers and proved at a minimum that you could pass an SAT test. For those who made it to the good schools, it proved that your parents had enough money to either bribe administrators or hire SAT tutors to increase your score by 500 points. And a degree represented that the graduate could “party hearty” for long stretches of time and establish social networking skills that would prove invaluable later on at office c@cktail parties or interactively via Facebook. College was great as long as the jobs were there.”

  41. I read the above as Gross’ tacit admission that we are in a depression.

  42. Painhrtz - Salmon of Doubt says:

    hobo I go tthe same feeling, bu tthe one thing I take away from it is universities are filled with worthless fluff. If you can get a degree in Sankrit what f*cking skills do you have when you come out. At least I could operate lab equipment, jeez even teach if I wanted abuse. The education system needs to be adjusted in this soon to be third world scheiss hole back on core competicies reading, science and math, you could even throw history in there as long as it stresses reading comprehension. Increase technical and vocational education and establish real standards for college. Not the everyone gets a pony BS we have now

  43. 3B says:

    #32 If one were concerned about high gas prices one should not be buying a house.

  44. 3B says:

    #39 Maybe they are all trying to move to the land of Unicorns.

  45. toomuchchange says:

    41 – Bill Gross-PIMCO article

    I have mixed feelings about his college comments.

    He also spoke at length about jobs and I found that quite interesting:

    “Fiscal balance alone will not likely produce 20 million jobs over the next decade. Government must take a leading role in job creation.”

    Similarly, the high tech paragons of the 21st century – Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook et al. – never were employers of high school or B.A. college graduates in significant numbers. Production of hardware, to the extent that any was needed, quickly gravitated to foreign ports of call where workers were willing to produce an excellent product for 1/10th of the U.S. wage. The past several decades have witnessed an erosion of our manufacturing base in exchange for a reliance on wealth creation via financial assets. Now, as that road approaches a dead-end cul-de-sac via interest rates that can go no lower, we are left untrained, underinvested and overindebted relative to our global competitors. The precipitating cause of our structural employment break is both internal neglect and external competition. Blame us. Blame them. There’s plenty of blame to go around.

    * * * * *

    Solutions from policymakers on the right or left, however, seem focused almost exclusively on rectifying or reducing our budget deficit as a panacea. While Democrats favor tax increases and mild adjustments to entitlements, Republicans pound the table for trillions of dollars of spending cuts and an axing of Obamacare. Both, however, somewhat mystifyingly, believe that balancing the budget will magically produce 20 million jobs over the next 10 years.

    * * * * *

    Additionally and immediately, however, government must take a leading role in job creation. Conservative or even liberal agendas that cede responsibility for job creation to the private sector over the next few years are simply dazed or perhaps crazed. The private sector is the source of long-term job creation but in the short term, no rational observer can believe that global or even small businesses will invest here when the labor over there is so much cheaper. That is why trillions of dollars of corporate cash rest impotently on balance sheets awaiting global – non-U.S. – investment opportunities. Our labor force is too expensive and poorly educated for today’s marketplace.

    * * * * *

    In the end, I hearken back to revered economist Hyman Minsky – a modern-day economic godfather who predicted the subprime crisis. “Big Government,” he wrote, should become the “employer of last resort” in a crisis, offering a job to anyone who wants one – for health care, street cleaning, or slum renovation. FDR had a program for it – the CCC, Civilian Conservation Corps, and Barack Obama can do the same. Economist David Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff sums up my feelings rather well. “I’d have a shovel in the hands of the long-term unemployed from 8am to noon, and from 1pm to 5pm I’d have them studying algebra, physics, and geometry.” Deficits are important, but their immediate reduction can wait for a stronger economy and lower unemployment. Jobs are today’s and tomorrow’s immediate problem.

  46. jamil says:

    Tell me again, what is the contribution of the overpaid parasitic teacher’s union in NJ?

    “When it come to excellence in education, red states rule — at least according to a panel of experts assembled by Tina Brown’s Newsweek. Using a set of indicators ranging from graduation rate to college admissions and SAT scores, the panel reviewed data from high schools all over the country to find the best public schools in the country.

    The results make depressing reading for the teacher unions: the very best public high schools in the country are heavily concentrated in red states.

    Three of the nation’s ten best public high schools are in Texas — the no-income tax, right-to-work state that blue model defenders like to characterize as America at its worst. Florida, another no-income tax, right-to-work state long misgoverned by the evil and rapacious Bush dynasty, has two of the top ten schools.

    Newsweek isn’t alone with these shocking results. Another top public school list, compiled by the Washington Post, was issued in May. Texas and Florida rank number one and number two on that list’s top ten as well.

    There’s something else interesting about the two lists: on both lists only one of the top ten public schools was located in a blue state. . . . There were no top ten schools on either list from blue New England states like Massachusetts, Vermont and Connecticut. Nor were there any in the top 25. By contrast, Alabama made both the Newsweek and the Washington Post top ten. ”

  47. Shore Guy says:

    From the Pimco piece:

    In the end, I hearken back to revered economist Hyman Minsky – a modern-day economic godfather who predicted the subprime crisis. “Big Government,” he wrote, should become the “employer of last resort” in a crisis, offering a job to anyone who wants one – for health care, street cleaning, or slum renovation. FDR had a program for it – the CCC, Civilian Conservation Corps, and Barack Obama can do the same. Economist David Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff sums up my feelings rather well. “I’d have a shovel in the hands of the long-term unemployed from 8am to noon, and from 1pm to 5pm I’d have them studying algebra, physics, and geometry.” Deficits are important, but their immediate reduction can wait for a stronger economy and lower unemployment. Jobs are today’s and tomorrow’s immediate problem.

    Those who advocate that job creation rests on corporate tax reform (lower taxes) or a return to deregulation of the private economy always fail to address dominant structural headwinds which cannot be dismissed: 1) Labor is much more attractively priced over there than here, and 2) U.S. employment based on asset price appreciation/finance as opposed to manufacturing can no longer be sustained. The “golden” days are over, and it’s time our school and jobs “daze” comes to an end to be replaced by programs that do more than mimic failed establishment policies favoring Wall as opposed to Main Street.

  48. Shore Guy says:

    Vee haf vays:


    This erosion of anonymity is a product of pervasive social media services, cheap cellphone cameras, free photo and video Web hosts, and perhaps most important of all, a change in people’s views about what ought to be public and what ought to be private. Experts say that Web sites like Facebook, which require real identities and encourage the sharing of photographs and videos, have hastened this change.

    “Humans want nothing more than to connect, and the companies that are connecting us electronically want to know who’s saying what, where,” said Susan Crawford, a professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. “As a result, we’re more known than ever before.”

    This growing “publicness,” as it is sometimes called, comes with significant consequences for commerce, for political speech and for ordinary people’s right to privacy. There are efforts by governments and corporations to set up online identity systems. Technology will play an even greater role in the identification of once-anonymous individuals: Facebook, for instance, is already using facial recognition technology in ways that are alarming to European regulators.

    After the riots in Vancouver, locals needed no such facial recognition technology — they simply combed through social media sites to try to identify some of the people involved, like Nathan Kotylak, 17, a star on Canada’s junior water polo team.

    On Facebook, Mr. Kotylak apologized for the damage he had caused.


  49. Painhrtz - Salmon of Doubt says:

    Jamil the deal my nephews are getting in FL for high school is pretty sweet. Science and Arts HS. Both are in the math tract, each can finish HS with an Associates degree accpeted to any Florida College or University as long as they maintain a certain grade level through to their HS graduation.

  50. Nation of Wussies HEHEHE says:


    Layoffs Watch ’11: Morgan Stanley (Update)

  51. Shore Guy says:

    This will be interesting to watch to see how it plays out:

    (Reuters) – Republican Jon Huntsman, the former U.S. ambassador to China, entered his party’s 2012 presidential race on Tuesday pledging to make “hard decisions” to prevent America sinking into a debt disaster.

    Huntsman upset the White House in April by quitting his job in Beijing to take on his former boss, President Barack Obama who appointed him in 2009.

    The former governor of Utah, Huntsman, 51, is lagging in polls of Republicans but has a high profile in the media and worries the Democratic Obama administration because of his possible cross-party appeal.

    Speaking, with the Statue of Liberty in the background, Huntsman pledged to turn America around.

    “For the first time in our history, we are passing down to the next generation a country that is less powerful, less compassionate, less competitive and less confident than the one we got,” Huntsman said. “This, ladies and gentlemen, is totally unacceptable and totally un-American,” he said.

    He was speaking at Liberty State Park in New Jersey, the site where former President Ronald Reagan launched his bid for the White House in 1980.


  52. Which bank owns Huntsman?

  53. Libtard in the City says:

    “Which bank owns Huntsman?”

    All of them!

  54. Libtard in the City says:

    “Huntsman was buoyed by a political action committee, Horizon PAC, that a group of his close advisers formed. Their website doesn’t mention Huntsman by name and simply states that it will “support candidates who will have a long-lasting impact on America….[and to] elect a new generation of conservative candidates for local and state offices all across America.”

  55. nj escapee says:

    Harrisburg Hoping God Can Help Balance the Books

    If all the brightest minds in Harrisburg’s government can’t solve the city’s financial problems, maybe God can.

    That seems to be the thinking in Pennsylvania’s capital city, where Mayor Linda Thompson and a host of other religious leaders are about to embark on a three-day fast and prayer campaign to cure the city’s daunting money woes.

    Maybe Greece should have thought of this.

    “Things that are above and beyond my control, I need God,” Thompson told WHTM TV, the region’s ABC news affiliate. “I depend on Him for guidance. Spiritual guidance. That’s why it’s really no struggle for me to join this fast and prayer.”

    But judging by its financial picture, the city of 49,000 in the central part of the Keystone State may not even have a prayer.

    According to a recent analysis from the state’s Department of Community and Economic Development, Harrisburg is likely to end the year with a nearly $3.5 million deficit in its $58 million budget, and things are only expected to get worse.

    Current DateTime: 08:48:09 21 Jun 2011
    LinksList Documentid: 43480782
    Leave Meredith Alone! All Really is Not Well in Muniland
    How Miserable? Index Says the Worst in 28 Years
    A Show of Hands to Decide Fate of Greek Prime Minister

    By 2015, the deficit is likely to be $10.4 million, which will eat up about 16 percent of the city’s general fund budget.

    It can’t be much surprise, then, that the city finds itself essentially as a ward of the state under the auspices of Act 47, a receivership program that is basically the final firewall between the capital city in the nation’s sixth-largest state and bankruptcy court.

    “The City of Harrisburg is facing a direct, immediate and grave financial crisis,” the DCED wrote in a massive 422-page analysis of the government’s perilous condition. “The financial crisis is so severe that the City teeters uncomfortably on the verge of bankruptcy that could be triggered at any moment by parties outside its control.”

    The study further warns of possible “catastrophic results” in which bankruptcy might come from “the stroke of a judge’s pen.”

    And they wonder why Meredith Whitney is worried about municipal debt defaults.

    Harrisburg’s financial problems are multi-pronged but stem primarily from a disastrous 2003 incinerator project that was supposed to be a revenue driver but instead ended up costing millions in cost overruns and malfunctions. As a result the city still owes $220 million on the bond issue. The debt service on that project alone is $18 million per year, which amounts to nearly one-third of the entire 2011 budget.

    In short, irresponsible public spending combined with crippling fixed costs and an inability to grow have sent Harrisburg’s leaders to their knees in search of spiritual guidance—and perhaps a little extra generosity from the collection plate.

    If this is all sounding very Greek—and, yes, American—it should.

    Greece’s Prime Minister George Papandreou may feel like dropping to his knees and asking the heavens to bail the country out of its debt-induced mess. But he’s no more likely to find success than anyone in Harrisburg.

    While repeated efforts from to reach Thompson were unsuccessful, a statement from her office reported by Reuters said the praying and fasting will include a contingent of about a dozen Christian, Jewish and Muslim religious leaders. Some locals interviewed by media said the effort might help.

    But the sentiment of Harrisburg residents—and likely many of those storming the streets in Athens—appeared to be summed up by one resident interviewed by WHTM.

    “I’m not starving myself for Harrisburg,” said Jori McElwe of Middletown. “No way.”

  56. chicagofinance says:

    Hobo With a Shotgun says:
    June 21, 2011 at 7:13 am
    veets (8)- Guys like Zandi are nothing more than call girls. All the paid mouthpieces who bent over for TPTB during this debacle should be lined up against a wall and executed. They are making the problem worse by not telling it the way it is.


    The End Is Nigh (Farleigh Dickinson Edition):
    NJ professor accused of running prostitution site

    MADISON, N.J. — A New Jersey college professor has been arrested in New Mexico and accused of operating a prostitution website.

    David Flory teaches physics at Fairleigh Dickinson University’s campus in Teaneck, N.J.

    On Sunday, police arrested the New York City resident in Albuquerque, N.M., on 40 counts of promoting prostitution. Police say Flory owns a vacation home in Santa Fe.

    Albuquerque Police Lt. William Roseman told The Record newspaper Flory’s website, Southwest Companions, was designed to give users access to more women once they gained Flory’s trust.

  57. chicagofinance says:

    Mikeinwaiting says:
    June 21, 2011 at 9:22 am
    Gary was she riding a unicorn?

    Riding into work today and a guest appearance from Biggy-Upon-Hackey.

    Car in front of me had a bumper sticker reading “Warning – I Stop for Unicorns!”

  58. Painhrtz - Salmon of Doubt says:

    That’s great, your such idiots that you will pray to the invisible sky wizard to save you from your budget deficit. Why not sacrifice a virgin and be done with it? Worked for the Aztecs after all.

  59. Theo says:

    #59 I had Flory for Astronomy class back in 90-91 or so. We were not provided access to prostitutes or even strippers.

  60. Harrisburg. One of many cities that will BK and fall into state receivership.

  61. 7.5 hours until the negative credit event.

  62. Painhrtz - Salmon of Doubt says:

    Theo definately were not getting offered strippers and ho’s on the biology side of FDU, but Flory was always chumy with the good looking coeds. then again most professors are.

  63. That Flory dude’s got skills.

  64. jj says:

    Bill Gross is soooo out of touch. Four year vacation? The vast majority of college students today don’t graduate in 4 years it takes them 5-6 years. Heck lots of majors are now five years like accounting and pharmacy. The days of the four year degrees ended with the 1960’s. I spent five glorious years in college, switching majors, schools and dropping classes etc. Work sucks why start early.

  65. Anon E. Moose says:

    I LOVE this title: “Everybody’s a S©umb@g!

    They’re talking about Wall Street, of course. I for one can’t wait for the sequel, starring David Lereah.

  66. Nation of Wussies HEHEHE says:

    God To Harrisburg: Drop Dead!

  67. Outofstater says:

    #47 Our local high school in Georgia made the Newsweek list. For $2,000 per year in property taxes. I know one of the HS teachers pretty well – she’s my neighbor and she is as enthusiastic and excited about teaching as she was as a new teacher 20 yrs ago. I don’t know how she does it. She just loves teaching those kids and she doesn’t even have a union to tell her “it’s all for the kids.”

  68. NJEA is not a union. It is an organized crime racket.

  69. Outofstater says:

    #71 I completely agree with you. I’m wondering if the RICO laws would apply to the NJEA as well as to the Elizabeth BoE.

  70. Shore Guy says:

    Greek savers rush for gold

    By Kerin Hope in Athens

    Published: June 21 2011 13:50 | Last updated: June 21 2011 19:01

    Greek citizens are emptying savings accounts and buying gold as they brace themselves for the possibility of a sovereign default and runs on the country’s banks.

    Pledges by George Papandreou, the Socialist prime minister, that his government would “save the country” have been widely discounted by a cynical public.


  71. jj says:

    How do you teachers down south afford a million dollar home, a bmw, the health club memberships and family trips to Atlantis and Disney with only 2k in property taxes?

    Outofstater says:
    June 21, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    #47 Our local high school in Georgia made the Newsweek list. For $2,000 per year in property taxes. I know one of the HS teachers pretty well – she’s my neighbor and she is as enthusiastic and excited about teaching as she was as a new teacher 20 yrs ago. I don’t know how she does it. She just loves teaching those kids and she doesn’t even have a union to tell her “it’s all for the kids.”

  72. jj says:

    “Greek Savers” are as rare as a Rabbi with a Christmas tree

  73. spyderjacks says:

    I spent a couple of weeks in Greece back in the early eighties. Their motto is
    “Don’t worry: Live for today. Tomorrow will take care of itself.”

  74. How well is tomorrow taking care of itself in Greece these days?

  75. Essex says:

    Heeeeey it’s time to bash some teachers! Yeah!


  76. All Hype says:

    T minus 1 hour until Greece become debt slaves. I cannot wait to see ads for the HSBC Acropolis.

  77. Al Mossberg says:

    Miners saw some real action today. These boys are dirt cheap.

  78. Libtard in the City says:

    Can one seriously call themselves a teacher if that can’t comprehend that the math that underlies the costs for their benefits don’t add up? Not to mention that there is not a one-to-one relationship with compensation when it does not correspond with performance.

    Perhaps the public serpent union should have thrown some of their cash in the direction of the fat man, rather than to the Wall Street moron.

  79. Al Mossberg says:

    Watching Greece doom live is far more entertaining than cable tv.

  80. Shore Guy says:

    If Greece is on sale, I am sure the Turks will be happy to buy.

  81. Shore Guy says:

    Buy one province get another free.

  82. Punch My Ticket says:

    HSBC Acropolis

    LMAO. They could probably also get a huge amount of money from Red Bull to brand, say, all of Crete.

  83. Essex says:

    81. I see a few different scenarios unfolding for education. One is that eventually tenure and collective bargaining die and the profession becomes like most companies, a revolving door. That may sound like a good idea to some so we’ll see how it works out. You’ll also see more competition for really ‘good’ teachers and since they won’t be locked into schools through tenure a system of free agency could evolve for those with proven skills. Secondly, it will be virtually impossible to get folks to teach in bad places. Those schools will continue to spiral down. But it won’t matter as most on this board have mentioned, the world needs cannon fodder too.

  84. Essex says:

    It will also be interesting to watch how the bankrupt states and cash strapped districts continue to pay out the retirees at current levels who are getting better packages and if anything resembling a lucrative payout will remain in say 10 years.

  85. Essex says:

    For most families, like mine, who have both public and private sector employees in the mix — putting all of the retirement eggs in one basket is about as wise as say holding Lucent stock was in 2001. Go figure.

  86. Shore Guy says:

    It is a good thing all of us posting here will be dead in 2100:

    Mass extinctions of species in the world’s oceans are inevitable if current trends of overfishing, habitat loss, global warming and pollution continue, a panel of renowned marine scientists warned Tuesday.

    The combination of problems suggests there’s a brewing worldwide die-off of species that would rival past mass extinctions, the 27 scientists said in a preliminary report presented to the United Nations.

    Vanishing species — from sea turtles to coral — would upend the ocean’s ecosystem. Fish are the main source of protein for a fifth of the world’s population and the seas cycle oxygen and help absorb carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas from human activities.

    “Things seem to be going wrong on several different levels,” said Carl Lundin, director of global marine programs at the International Union for Conservation of Nature, which helped produce the report with the International Programme on the State of the Ocean.

    Some of the changes affecting the world’s seas — which have been warned about individually in the past — are happening faster than the worst case scenarios that were predicted just a few years ago, the report said.

    “It was a more dire report than any of us thought because we look at our own little issues,” Lundin said. “When you put them all together, it’s a pretty bleak situation.”

  87. Shore Guy says:

    June 21, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    Island of Lesb0s, brought to you by…. (John, a little help here)
    Mass extinctions of species in the world’s oceans are inevitable if current trends of overfishing, habitat loss, global warming and pollution continue, a panel of renowned marine scientists warned Tuesday.

    The combination of problems suggests there’s a brewing worldwide die-off of species that would rival past mass extinctions, the 27 scientists said in a preliminary report presented to the United Nations.

    Vanishing species — from sea turtles to coral — would upend the ocean’s ecosystem. Fish are the main source of protein for a fifth of the world’s population and the seas cycle oxygen and help absorb carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas from human activities.

    “Things seem to be going wrong on several different levels,” said Carl Lundin, director of global marine programs at the International Union for Conservation of Nature, which helped produce the report with the International Programme on the State of the Ocean.

    Some of the changes affecting the world’s seas — which have been warned about individually in the past — are happening faster than the worst case scenarios that were predicted just a few years ago, the report said.

    “It was a more dire report than any of us thought because we look at our own little issues,” Lundin said. “When you put them all together, it’s a pretty bleak situation.”

  88. Shore Guy says:

    June 21, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    Island of Lesb0s, brought to you by…. (John, a little help here)

  89. Anon E. Moose says:

    Today’s NJ REO laugher is a Garage Mahal centrally located in the middle of nothing currently asking $50k MORE than the judgment amount c. 2008. If it was worth even the judgment amount THREE YEARS AGO (i.e., second inning of the game) don’t they think the former owner would have gotten out with their scalp?

  90. nj escapee says:

    Island of Lesb0s -> Key West, FL

  91. Shore Guy says:

    It may well be that tenure gets replaced with 5-6 year employment contracts with a just cause provision for dismissal.

  92. Shore Guy says:

    nje, really?

  93. Essex says:

    89. Horribly depressing. I’m a surfer and find these types of reports so amazingly sad.

  94. After reading about this prof at FDU today, any future NJ teacher contract had better specifically prohibit pimping and managing strippers.

  95. nj escapee says:

    Disoriented 300-pound sea turtle takes dive in Keys pool
    The female trespasser in the pool was naked, except for her shell.

    Residents at an oceanfront property on Lower Matecumbe Key awoke Sunday morning to find an unexpected guest in the pool — a large sea turtle, apparently a loggerhead.

    “She was lively, swimming around in a beautiful pool,” said Lt. Glenn Taylor of Islamorada Fire Rescue, a shift leader who coordinated the rescue.

    The turtle, weighing more than 300 pounds, apparently dug two nests on a nearby beach and wound up going inshore rather than back out to sea. It was a “false crawl,” with no eggs laid in the nest.

    Taylor and four Islamorada rescue trucks responded to the scene near mile marker 77 a little after 7 a.m.

    “We only had one or two people per truck, and I didn’t know how many people or what equipment we were going to need,” Taylor said. “We wound up using gear from a couple of different trucks.”

    Firefighters used two pikes — long poles topped with hooks — and a tarp to fashion a makeshift net. Two department members, wearing their work clothes, waded into the pool and used the net to guide the turtle toward stairs at the pool’s shallow end.

    “It took some doing,” Taylor said. “She was a very powerful girl who definitely had her own mind.”

    Six firefighters on the scene and two residents of the home helped the turtle out of the pool and put her on the right path to an oceanic return.

    “She was pretty stressed out by then and took a few moments to rest,” Taylor said. “Then she headed into the water. We all watched her swim away, and everybody was smiling.”

    Loggerhead sea turtles — the most common species in the Keys — tend to nest from late April to late October in the Keys, said Jo Ellen Basile, manager of the Turtle Hospital in Marathon. After nesting, they usually head back into the sea attracted by the moonlight.

    “It’s almost certain that if she went the wrong direction, it was because she was disoriented by the lighting” around the house, Basile said. “In this case, she probably crawled toward the lights at the pool and splash.”

    A manager at the Conch Key Cottages found a turtle beneath one of the units last week, Basile said. When sand blocking the turtle was removed, the female made her way back to the water. “In daylight, they go straight to the water,” Basile said.

  96. Al Mossberg says:

    Looks like half the representatives just walked out of the chamber.

  97. hughesrep says:


    Short term I think you’ll end up with a lot of old and a lot of real young teachers, nothing in between. Take away the good benefits and decent pay and female teachers are less likely to go back after they start getting married and having kids, especially if they have to pay for daycare.

    You’ll end up with the old jaded ones hanging on for the paycheck and the new ones who know nothing.

  98. Essex says:

    97. That dude has major street cred right about now though.

  99. Essex says:

    Currently it is in the school’s best interest to lock in good teachers to contracts (and they do) It is not like in the private sector where you can job hop more easily. Also the pay scale is a little weird in that once you leave one job you cannot always negotiate a better package — if the system goes to a more ‘open’ type of hiring system, this could pay off for some teachers. Also the current teaching force is predominantly female. I know one dude who teaches who has an great portfolio of conquests just in his building alone.

  100. Happy Renter says:

    Put the knuckleheads on notice: there’s plenty of dirt out there; start digging.

  101. Essex says:

    103. ? English please?

  102. jj says:

    I like the day of young good looking single teachers who left as soon as they were married. So Mad Man days. School Marms and Spinsters mixed with young hot things eager to please. Hot for Teacher could never be written about NJ schools in 2011.

  103. Essex says:

    105. You are dead wrong JJ. There are some amazing hotties in the schools. Today.

  104. Shore Guy says:

    By RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR, Associated Press – 7 mins ago

    WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama’s health care law would let several million middle-class people get nearly free insurance meant for the poor, a twist government number crunchers say they discovered only after the complex bill was signed.

    The change would affect early retirees: A married couple could have an annual income of about $64,000 and still get Medicaid, said officials who make long-range cost estimates for the Health and Human Services department.

    Up to 3 million more people could qualify for Medicaid in 2014 as a result of the anomaly. That’s because, in a major change from today, most of their Social Security benefits would no longer be counted as income for determining eligibility. It might be compared to allowing middle-class people to qualify for food stamps.

    Medicare chief actuary Richard Foster says the situation keeps him up at night.

    “I don’t generally comment on the pros or cons of policy, but that just doesn’t make sense,” Foster said during a question-and-answer session at a recent professional society meeting.

    “This is a situation that got no attention at all,” added Foster. “And even now, as I raise the issue with various policymakers, people are not rushing to say … we need to do something about this.”

    Indeed, administration officials and senior Democratic lawmakers say it’s not a loophole but the result of a well-meaning effort to simplify rules for deciding who will get help with insurance costs under the new health care law. Instead of a hodgepodge of rules, there will be one national policy.

  105. Shadow of John says:

    “There are some amazing hotties in the schools”

    Hey Essex stop oogling the HS girls.

  106. Confused In NJ says:

    Man robs bank to get medical care in jail
    By Zachary Roth

    Some people who need medical care but can’t afford it go to the emergency room. Others just hope they’ll get better. James Richard Verone robbed a bank.

    Earlier this month, Verone (pictured), a 59-year-old convenience store clerk, walked into a Gaston, N.C., bank and handed the cashier a note demanding $1 and medical attention. Then he waited calmly for police to show up.

    He’s now in jail and has an appointment with a doctor this week.

    Verone’s problems started when he lost the job he’d held for 17 years as a Coca Cola deliveryman, amid the economic downturn. He found new work driving a truck, but it didn’t last. Eventually, he took a part-time position at the convenience store.

    But Verone’s body wasn’t up to it. The bending and lifting made his back ache. He had problems with his left foot, making him limp. He also suffered from carpal tunnel syndrome and arthritis.

    Then he noticed a protrusion on his chest. “The pain was beyond the tolerance that I could accept,” Verone told the Gaston Gazette. “I kind of hit a brick wall with everything.”

    Verone knew he needed help–and he didn’t want to be a burden on his sister and brothers. He applied for food stamps, but they weren’t enough either.

    So he hatched a plan. On June 9, he woke up, showered, ironed his shirt. He mailed a letter to the Gazette, listing the return address as the Gaston County Jail.

    “When you receive this a bank robbery will have been committed by me,” Verone wrote in the letter. “This robbery is being committed by me for one dollar. I am of sound mind but not so much sound body.”

    Then Verone hailed a cab to take him to the RBC Bank. Inside, he handed the teller his $1 robbery demand.

    “I didn’t have any fears,” said Verone. “I told the teller that I would sit over here and wait for police.”

    The teller was so frightened that she had to be taken to the hospital to be checked out. Verone, meanwhile, was taken to jail, just as he’d planned it.

    Because he only asked for $1, Verone was charged with larceny, not bank robbery. But he said that if his punishment isn’t severe enough, he plans to tell the judge that he’ll do it again. His $100,000 bond has been reduced to $2,000, but he says he doesn’t plan to pay it.

    In jail, Verone said he skips dinner to avoid too much contact with the other inmates. He’s already seen some nurses and is scheduled to see a doctor on Friday. He said he’s hoping to receive back and foot surgery, and get the protrusion on his chest treated. Then he plans to spend a few years in jail, before getting out in time to collect Social Security and move to the beach.

    Verone also presented the view that if the United States had a health-care system which offered people more government support, he wouldn’t have had to make the choice he did.

    “If you don’t have your health you don’t have anything,” Verone said.

    The Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s health-care overhaul passed by Congress last year, was designed to make it easier for Americans in situations like Verone’s to get health insurance. But most of its provisions don’t go into effect until 2014.

    As it is, Verone said he thinks he chose the best of a bunch of bad options. “I picked jail.”

  107. livinginpa says:

    110 No way Miss Stodden is 16…just sayin’

  108. Essex says:

    Related News:

    U.S. ·
    Municipal Bonds

    Christie Approval Rating Is at Lowest in Year as Women Turn More Negative
    By Terrence Dopp – Jun 21, 2011 1:10 PM ET


    New Jersey Governor Chris Christie

    New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg

    New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s approval rating slid to the lowest in a year as support waned among women, a Quinnipiac University poll found.

    Christie, 48, got approving marks from 44 percent of registered voters surveyed, the poll released today showed. Just 36 percent of female voters liked the first-term governor’s job performance, while 53 percent of men approved.

    The gender gap widened from February, when 46 percent of women and 58 percent of males approved. Since taking office in January 2010, Christie has cut funding for schools and family planning, sparred with union members including teachers, and sought to scale back government-worker benefits he says the state can’t afford.

    “I don’t think he can overcome it,” Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said of the gender gap. “Men tend to vote Republican and women tend to vote Democratic, and Christie is an extreme case.”

    The latest survey said 49 percent of voters dislike Christie’s policies, matching those that like him as a person. Women split 41 percent to 40 percent on liking him, compared with men at 58 percent to 25 percent.
    Crunch Time

    Michael Drewniak, a Christie spokesman, pointed to a 7 percentage-point gain in the governor’s Quinnipiac approval ratings last year between June and August, following passage of his first spending plan. The governor cut $10 billion, including funding for schools and cities, to help a $10.7 billion deficit in the budget year that ends June 30.

    “The governor is about where he was last year,” Drewniak said in an e-mail. “Clearly, the budget and making the difficult but necessary decisions to repair the state’s deep fiscal problems and massive budget deficits had an impact last year, and quite likely this year.”

    Compared with the Legislature’s handling of the budget, the governor isn’t doing so badly. Democratic lawmakers got disapproving grades from 66 percent of respondents, while 20 percent approved, the poll said. Those tallied split 47 percent approve to 48 percent disapprove on how Christie is handling the budget.

    More than half, 55 percent, disapproved of the way the governor is dealing with school issues. Women voters disapproved 60 percent to 34 percent.
    Education Policies

    Christie has proclaimed 2011 the year to overhaul education and has pushed for expanding the number of charter schools, changing teacher tenure rules and tying their pay to student performance. The state Supreme Court has ordered him to restore $500 million in funding to the poorest districts to reverse cuts since he took office.

    More than half of survey respondents, 56 percent, said the state should spend more to improve schools in the poorest communities. Sixty-two percent said funding should increase to improve all schools in the state.

    If the money went to schools, 65 percent said they would support a “millionaire’s tax.” Christie vetoed a similar measure last year and has said he doesn’t support raising taxes to balance budgets. He and the Legislature face a June 30 deadline to pass a spending plan.
    Family Planning

    In addition to the tendency of women to vote Democratic, they usually react more negatively than men to the governor’s confrontational tone, Carroll said.

    “How many women do you know who like really belligerent guys?” Carroll said. “Most guys like that. Women don’t.”

    Christie cut $7.5 million from family-planning funding in his first spending plan, leading six clinics to close. He has proposed a similar level in next year’s budget .

    Among all voters surveyed, Christie’s job-approval rating fell from 47 percent in April and from a term-high 52 percent in the February poll. His 44 percent grade in the June 14-19 telephone survey matches his previous low in a June 2010 poll.

    Christie’s disapproval from voters climbed to 47 percent, the highest of his term, the poll found. Fifty-four percent of women dislike the governor’s job performance.

    About half of respondents, 51 percent, said media coverage of Christie riding to his son’s baseball games in a state helicopter was “much ado about nothing,” Quinnipiac said. The governor and Republicans later reimbursed the state about $3,400 for two trips aboard the chopper.

    “Voters like their ‘Jersey guy’ governor better as a person than they like his policies,” Carroll said.

    Quinnipiac pollsters contacted 1,610 registered voters and the poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.4 percentage points, the Hamden, Connecticut-based school said.

  109. schabadoo says:


    Ahh, yeah. Have to assume you didn’t read the article. Was this really their methodology?

    “In order for schools to be considered they had to fill out a questionnaire, sent out by Newsweek. Newsweek simply took the word of the schools, about 11%, that filled out and returned the questionnaire. Newsweek didn’t independently verify any of this information.”

  110. Essex says:

    47. Let’s gut the schools — heck we can send our kids to private schools and what if we can’t let em go to work. Who needs book learnin’ anyhow. I wanna be more like Texas. Yessiree

  111. Shore Guy says:


    She reminds me of a girl with whom I went to high school. At 15 she looked like a $1,000/night call girl. When she disappeared from school, I always kinda assumed that that is where she went.

  112. Shore Guy says:

    “Christie Approval Rating Is at Lowest in Year ”

    The only way for a governor to save the state is to become hated. Too many programs need to be cut, which will hurt nearly everyone in some way or another, for any governor to retain high approval ratings while doing the right thing. When Christie is down to 25% and is not a viable candidate for reelection, he will have achieved meaningful changes for the state.

  113. Shore Guy says:


    That has to be the worst lipsyncing I have ever seen.

  114. Essex says:

    116. I don’t buy it. I think he promised jobs and tax reductions and neither one has come to pass.

  115. Essex says:

    117. Sorry, did she say something….? I was distracted.

  116. Essex says:

    115. My wife was an early bloomer…..D cup by high school….scenester/model in her twenties….and now slumming in my bed for the past couple of decades.

  117. Shore Guy says:

    Hey, NJC, I bet you never served this to anyone backstage:

  118. Shore Guy says:


    I found here more revolting thatn ti-tilating. Looks like any of a dime-a-dozen trashy intellectually-limited chicks, of the 4th of July Asbury Park type, that we used to mess around with in Seaside when we were in HS. There really isn’t as much there there as I think you see. After one has seen a goodly number of jiggly pert breasts they lose the hypnotic power they hold over 15-year old boys.

  119. Essex says:

    122. I only listened to about 10 seconds….

  120. Shore Guy says:

    I don’t know that I would brag about her having been a scenster if that is what you mean.

  121. Essex says:

    Author of “Winner Takes All Politics” discussing how the organized business efforts of the last few decades have essentially sold the Country right out from under the democracy. Continuation of these practices soaks the middle class tax payer and allows business to contribute next to nothing to the tax base.

  122. Essex says:

    125. Check.

  123. Kettle1^2 says:

    10% interest rates certainly isn’t going to help those housing green shoots….

    Do Deteriorating US Demographcs Predict 10%+ On The 10 Year?
    Submitted by Tyler Durden on 06/21/2011 09:55 -0400

    Demographics Paul Volcker

    Courtesy of GTAA’s latest fixed income update, we wanted to present a curious chart which looks at the correlation between US social demographics (in this case, the ratio of retirees to savers) and the 10 year yield. As the chart demonstrates, the two data series have a strong correlation of 0.91 since 1960, and based on predicted social dynamics, corroborated by various independent budgeting organizations, the demographic ratio is expected to continue growing at the current rate and hit highs last seen in 1981. The obvious question: does this mean that the 10 year, now once again close to all time record low yields, will follow through and revert to 1980 Paul Volcker levels, or will the Fed attempt to offset not only the impact of the business cycle and record systemic leverage, but also take on nature and aging directly?

  124. Neanderthal Economist says:

    “I’m a surfer and find these types of reports so amazingly sad.”
    You’re a surfer as much as im a realtor because I blog here. lifeguard long board shaped like boat doesn’t count. Kook!

  125. toomuchchange says:

    Top 10-25, etc., schools:

    Does knowing anything about a few schools in America tell us much about the rest?

    I tend to doubt it. New York City has a number of splendid public high schools as well as tons of average and bad schools. Does the fact that just about everybody at a few places gets wonderful SAT scores and goes to a great college inspire any of the thousands of drop-outs to stay in school? Does it make the public at large any more interested in public education?

    It seems to me that with education, the cream of the bad crop can be wonderful.

  126. 3b says:

    #113 Much the same as the whole Blue Ribbon designation. When it was in effect, schools applied for it; it was not awarded.

  127. 3b says:

    #112Christie Approval Rating Is at Lowest in Year as Women Turn More Negative.

    Maybe some of the same women I have seen over the years at BOE/Mayor & Council meetings, (my apologies to the women on the board), but some of them very nice women, but absolute clueless robotic morons.

  128. 3b says:

    #106There are some amazing hotties in the schools. Today

    If you are talking about the young girls (students), than that is very disturbing. Talk about slimey.

  129. Neanderthal Economist says:

    Being a clueless robotic moron has nothing to do with gender. There might be more women in the teaching profession who are directly affected by his hard line on unions. That’s just a guess. Or maybe women just find his belly fat utterly repulsive.

  130. joyce says:

    Is there a difference between the sales tax a business remits to a government and the income tax it pays? (or tariffs, duties, et al)
    I know a sales tax is itemized on the receipt when a customer buys something, but isn’t the cost of the inevitable income tax just imbedded in the price of the goods/services?
    If the business cannot pass these costs onto the consumer, they go out of business… no?

    Honestly, I’m asking… if I’m wrong I’m wrong

  131. Neanderthal Economist says:

    His neck alone is larger than most people’s whole body. He looks like he can start grabbing at public employees, stuffing their whole bodies into his enormous mouth and neck by the handful four or five at a time like a pellican.
    Think about it. You’re not going to argue with a guy who literally wants to eat you.

  132. Shore Guy says:


    You are wrong.

  133. Shore Guy says:

    Sales tax dies not come out of a merchant’s hide, it is collected by the business on behalf of the state but paid for by the consumer.

  134. joyce says:

    Isn’t that similar to saying renters do not pay (indirectly) property taxes?

  135. Essex says:

    133. Oh for Christ’s sake. You are completely and totally a Goldman Sachs scumbag.

  136. Essex says:

    I wish the gubmint had let the banks die.

  137. Shore Guy says:


    No because the sales tax dies not affrct a company’s p&l. It dies nit raise or lower a company’s income. It us just an administrative function carried out on behalf of government.

  138. Shore Guy says:

    Dies nit is also sometimes spellef does not, at least outside droid land

  139. Shore Guy says:

    Wow! Hip hop connected with murder and drug distribution. What were the odds?

  140. joyce says:

    That administrative function has costs/expenses associated with it which does lower net income.

  141. Barbara says:

    117. shore

    Looks like they filmed it in the back of a Tom’s River tackle and bait shop. MIRITE?

  142. nj escapee says:

    Indian Company Under Scrutiny Over U.S. Visas
    Published: June 21, 2011

    A giant Indian outsourcing company with thousands of employees in the United States is facing an expanding federal investigation prompted by claims from an American whistle-blower that it misused short-term visitors’ visas to bring in low-cost workers from India.

    N. R. Narayana Murthy, a founder and recently retired chairman of Infosys.
    Accusations that the company, Infosys Technologies, repeatedly violated the terms of business visitor visas were first raised in a lawsuit filed in February in Alabama by Jack Palmer, an Infosys project manager. Aside from Mr. Palmer, at least two other Infosys managers in the United States have submitted internal whistle-blower reports pointing to Indians on business visitor visas who were performing longer-term work not authorized under those visas, according to internal documents and current Infosys managers.

    In May, Infosys acknowledged that it had received a subpoena from a federal grand jury in Texas seeking information about the company’s use of the visitor documents, known as B-1 visas, which are easier to obtain. This month, N. R. Narayana Murthy, an Infosys founder, expressed his concern about that investigation at a board meeting in Bangalore, India, in his final address before he retired as company chairman.

    “As I leave the board, I feel sad” about the subpoena, he said. “The issue will be decided on its merits in due course,” said Mr. Murthy, who is something of a legend in global business for building the company over three decades from a $250 investment into an outsourcing powerhouse with $6 billion in revenues.

    In papers filed in Mr. Palmer’s lawsuit, Infosys denied all his accusations and asked a federal judge to remove the dispute from court and send it to arbitration. In a statement, Infosys said it was committed to “absolute compliance” with American visa requirements and had undertaken an internal review of its practices.

    “Infosys is a large and rapidly growing company,” the statement said. “We have made changes over time to certain of our policies relating to the business visa program and we may continue to make improvements in those policies and controls.”

    The Infosys inquiry coincides with a broader attack in Congress on longer-term visas, known as H-1B, that Infosys and other Indian companies rely on to bring Indian technology workers to the United States. With unemployment for Americans stubbornly high, lawmakers have become increasingly reluctant to defend H-1B visas, which give temporary residence to highly skilled foreigners. In recent years, the top companies receiving those visas were not American names, but Infosys and another big Indian outsourcing company, Wipro.

    Last week, Representative Zoe Lofgren of California, the senior Democrat on the immigration subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee, introduced a bill that would increase the wages employers would have to pay H-1B workers, in an effort to ensure they do not undercut Americans. The measure is specifically aimed at Indian outsourcing companies. Last year, Congress added an extra $2,000 to the fee for H-1B visas, in another move aimed at the Indian companies.

    Yet the criminal investigation is perhaps the most worrisome development for Infosys, which enjoys a reputation as one of India’s best-run and most respected companies. The events began with Mr. Palmer, 43, a project manager from Alabama who was hired by the company in 2008. In a sworn affidavit he submitted to the federal court, Mr. Palmer said his differences with Infosys management began after he was summoned to a meeting in Bangalore in March 2010. Top executives, he said, discussed ways to “creatively” get around H-1B visa limitations “to fulfill the high demand for its customers at lower cost.”

    In general, B-1 visas are granted to business visitors coming to the United States for short stays to attend meetings, conferences or training sessions, or to install specialized equipment. Visitors may not be employed for contract work like H-1B workers, nor can they be paid salaries in this country. There is no annual limit on business visitor visas, whereas H-1B visas are restricted to 85,000 a year.

    Mr. Palmer said his supervisors asked him to write letters inviting workers to come from India for sales and training meetings, letters he believed were false. “I refused to write the letters,” he said.

    After word got out of his refusal, Mr. Palmer said, he was chastised by his managers and began to receive threats by e-mail and telephone. In October, Infosys has confirmed, Mr. Palmer filed a whistle-blower report about B-1 visa holders from India assigned to projects he or others managed. His report said the B-1 visa holders were doing the same tasks as workers on H-1B visas, including writing and testing software code. Mr. Palmer said he personally knew of at least 60 Indian workers doing contract work on B-1 visas.

    Mr. Palmer still works at Infosys. He feels isolated and besieged within the company, according to Kenneth Mendelsohn, his lawyer in Montgomery, who has instructed him not to speak publicly about his experience.

    Times Topic: Infosys Technologies Ltd.“I’m protecting him as best I can so Infosys doesn’t fire him,” Mr. Mendelsohn said. But Mr. Mendelsohn provided documents and e-mails that he said Mr. Palmer has shared with investigators from the State Department Bureau of Diplomatic Security, the Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department.

    In one e-mail, another Infosys manager confirmed to Mr. Palmer that three Indians on B-1 visas were “working on client sites” on a contract with Baker Hughes, an oil services company in Houston.

    In an e-mail exchange with Jeffrey Friedel, a top lawyer for Infosys, Mr. Palmer described the work assigned to one B-1 visa holder on a project for Heidrick & Struggles, an executive search company in Chicago. “His project task consists of reviewing designs and then to physically create and write test scripts,” Mr. Palmer wrote. “This process is repeated over many weeks.”

    Referring to the same employee, another manager wrote that he was “working on a B-1 visa” and cautioned his colleagues not to include the man’s name in any contracts. “We can’t put name on B-1 people for contract,” the manager wrote.

    In an e-mail in December, Mr. Friedel assured Mr. Palmer that the issues he had raised “have made it clear to management that certain changes need to be made to our systems.” Mr. Friedel enumerated seven steps the company would take to prevent misuse of visitor visas.

    But only this month, another Infosys manager became alarmed after discovering by chance that B-1 workers were among the team members on a project under the manager’s supervision. “There was no significant difference between the B-1 and the H-1B employees in the type of work they did,” the manager, who was granted anonymity out of fears of retaliation by the company, said in an interview.

    At least one of Infosys’ major clients, Wal-Mart, has been contacted by investigators about its contracts with Infosys. Greg Rossiter, a Wal-Mart spokesman, declined to comment. There has been no suggestion of wrongdoing by any Infosys client mentioned in the visa investigations.

    A State Department official in India said Infosys and other Indian companies had made use in recent years of an exception in the complex visa guidelines that allows them to send workers to the United States on B-1 visas for up to six months for certain short-term projects that might otherwise have required an H-1B visa. Since last year, the State Department has clamped down on the use of that exception and is considering whether to eliminate it, the official and several outsourcing executives in India said.

    Mr. Palmer, who is known as Jay, filed his lawsuit claiming that Infosys had failed to protect him from threats from within the company he received after submitting his whistle-blower report, and had unfairly withheld more than $100,000 in bonuses he was owed. Described by his lawyer, Mr. Mendelsohn, as “on an emotional roller coaster,” Mr. Palmer has reported receiving a new death threat against himself and his family as recently as April.

    While denying Mr. Palmer’s claims, Infosys has noted that Indian employees with business visitor visas are a small part — less than 2 percent — of its teams in the United States. The company reports a total of 15,500 employees in this country, including 10,100 on H-1B visas. North American clients account for 65 percent of the company’s revenue.

    At least one top Indian executive overseeing United States immigration procedures has resigned from the company, Infosys said.

    But Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee who closely monitors United States visa programs, said he remained skeptical of Infosys’s intentions.

    “It appears the B-1 visa program has become a subterfuge for companies wanting to avoid the cap-and-wage requirements of the H-1B visa,” Mr. Grassley said.

  143. chicagofinance says:

    Essex says:
    June 21, 2011 at 6:48 pm
    115. My wife was an early bloomer…..D cup by high school….scenester/model in her twenties….and now slumming in my bed for the past couple of decades.
    Found some footage of you in college…..

  144. 3B says:

    #41 Wow!!! Well there is nothing sadder and more pathetic than a frustrated middle aged man who leers at High School girls. Try therapy; it may help you.

Comments are closed.