It really is different this time

From the Star Ledger:

How the real estate market has changed the responsibilities of real estate agents

Emotions run high when buying or selling a house, particularly in today’s real estate market. Sellers feel like they’re practically giving away their houses and may not have the finances to meet a buyer’s demands for repairs. Buyers feel they are the brave ones and should be getting their money’s worth after making such a major financial commitment.

As a result, real estate agents say, their jobs are as much therapist and life counselor as it is staging and showing a property.

“It used to be a tell-and-sell attitude versus the listening and educating and guiding that we do today,” said Roberta Baldwin, an agent-owner of the Keller Williams NJ Metro Group in Montclair. In the height of the market, an agent would host an open house and offers would be in by the end of the weekend. Realtors and clients didn’t develop as close a relationship with each other. Personal finances were not discussed because it was assumed people would make a profit if they were selling and were flush if they were buying.

Now, that has all changed.

“Most of my time is spent fielding phone calls and also calling other people and making sure they’re okay — emotionally okay — and making sure their financial situation is holding,” Baldwin said. “It’s very, very different.”

Baldwin said her heart sinks when someone calls and says a spouse lost a job. “They literally ask you, ‘What should I do?,’ ” she said. The questions come so often, she now brings up the issue at staff meetings with her team and discusses how best to handle the situations.

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112 Responses to It really is different this time

  1. grim says:

    From HousingWire:

    Christie exempts NJ home sales from taxation process

    Individual buyers of single-family homes in New Jersey will no longer be required to notify the state Division of Taxation before the sale closes, according to a new law signed by Gov. Chris Christie.

    In 2007, the New Jersey Legislature required purchasers in bulk sale transactions to notify the division 10 days before the sale closed. The division would notify the purchaser if it had a claim against the seller for taxes owed. If the purchaser didn’t notify the division, it would be liable for those taxes. Individual sales of homes and seasonal rentals were made subject to the requirements until an exemption was signed into law on Sept. 14.

    “We are thrilled to see this critical bill become law,” said the New Jersey Association of Realtors CEO Jarrod Grasso. “The exemptions outlined in the law are necessary to prevent closings on homes from being delayed or even falling through.”

    According to Christie’s office, the legislation signed last week is an effort to boost the state’s real estate market and cut unnecessary red tape.

    “Because of the manner in which the law was written, the sale of single-family homes from individual sellers was made subject to the requirements, resulting in home purchasers having to file paperwork and provide 10 days notice to the Division of Taxation for every real estate transaction, or risk being held liable by the state for the seller’s delinquent taxes,” according to Christie’s office.

    “Cutting the red tape consumers have to contend with is yet another way we can help spur home sales,” Grasso said.

  2. grim says:

    From CNBC:

    Fannie and Freddie’s Boss Speaks Out On Obama’s Refi Plan

    Barely two weeks after President Obama proposed expanding a government mortgage refinance program in order to make millions more borrowers eligible, the man who would have to guide such a program announced yet another barrier to entry.

    The President’s plan would work through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and their existing Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), by potentially eliminating loan-to-value ratios and lowering fees. But fees at Fannie and Freddie are about to go up, according to their conservator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA).

    “A logical next step in conservatorship is to continue down the path already started of gradually increasing guarantee fee pricing to better reflect that which would be anticipated in a private, competitive market,” acting FHFA director Ed DeMarco told an audience of mortgage bankers today day in Raleigh, NC.

    He went on to defend the higher fees as part of the Administration’s plan to ultimately phase out Fannie and Freddie and bring the private market back in to mortgage investing.

    “The long-term path forward, both for the companies and conservatorship, and the best outcome for the country is to gradually move more mortgage credit risk activity into the private sector and to have greater reflection of what would be private sector pricing,” argued Demarco.

    The President’s proposal, like so many of the government’s housing bailouts, will likely be long in coming and short on results. Furthermore, the refinance proposal is an economic, spending stimulus, not a housing market stimulus. There are still millions of borrowers behind on their mortgages, whom this program would not even address. There are also millions more foreclosures heading to the housing market over the next year which will only lower overall home prices further and put more borrowers in trouble. This housing crisis is feeding on itself, while the Administration and federal regulators waste valuable time and energy on politics and proposals that don’t come close to addressing the real problem.

  3. grim says:

    From the FT:

    US homebuilder sentiment at a new low

    US homebuilder sentiment dropped to a three-month low in September amid a stagnant housing market with limited demand for construction of new homes.

    Builder confidence for newly built, single-family homes fell by one point to 14, according to the National Association of Home Builders. The index, which is out of 100, has remained between 13 and 16 for the last six months. Any reading below 50 indicates that sentiment is poor.

    “While still slightly above the low of 13 reached last in June, the level of the index is abysmal in absolute terms and points to extremely depressed conditions in the new housing market,” said Joshua Shapiro, chief US economist at MFR.

    Homebuilders surveyed were also bearish about the six-month outlook, with the index falling two points to 17, and interest from prospective buyers also declining two points to 11.

    “The fact that the [index] continues to hover within such a narrow, low range reflects builders’ awareness that many consumers are simply unwilling or unable to move forward with a home purchase in today’s uncertain economic climate,” said David Crowe, NAHB chief economist. “While some bright spots are beginning to emerge in about a dozen select metro areas, the broader picture remains fairly bleak due to the weak economy and job market.”

  4. grim says:

    Foreclosures starting to flow again..

    From Inman:

    Surge in default notices portends more REOs

    Foreclosure activity fell for the 11th straight month on a yearly basis in August, but rose compared to July, according to the latest monthly report from foreclosure data site RealtyTrac.

    The increase in foreclosure activity was driven by a 33 percent jump in default notices — the biggest monthly increase since August 2007, the report said. Such notices rose to a nine-month high of 78,880 in August, though they remained 18 percent below year-ago levels.

    At least three states saw particularly high monthly increases in default notices: New Jersey (42 percent), Indiana (46 percent), and California (55 percent).

    “The big increase in new foreclosure actions may be a signal that lenders are starting to push through some of the foreclosures delayed by robo-signing and other documentation problems,” said James Saccacio, RealtyTrac’s CEO, in a statement.

  5. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    First among those who are not Grim

  6. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    Although lately we are all grim.

  7. Mike says:

    Good Morning New Jersey

  8. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    In hardware store yesterday, and saw something new: Ball selling boxes of canning rings. They always sold lids but this is new.

    I had been saving jars for a nompound but could not find rings. The fact that they are on the shelves now tells me my idea of frugal prepping by saving reusable jars isn’t very original.

  9. Confused in NJ says:

    Another Obamacare Big Brotherism;

    —Newly signed-up beneficiaries would pay a penalty if they also purchase private insurance that covers all or most of Medicare’s copayments and deductibles. Administration officials say such insurance encourages over-treatment

    Except for Politicians that get 100% care.

  10. grim (2)-

    You can’t refinance negative equity. It is the mortgage world’s equivalent of cold fusion.

  11. grim says:

    Hardwood guys at the house for the next 3 days. Damn you humidity.

  12. Confused in NJ says:

    Until Corzine, hardwood was a Capital Improvement, not subject to sales tax.

  13. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    (9) confused

    Legislation also contains means-testing element.

    It’s coming. The smart are already planning for it.

  14. AG says:

    Medicare is a joke. Their will be limited acess to care. The process is well underway. All those who depend on g-v will be royally screw-d in the not to distant future.

  15. chicagofinance says:

    Coming this fall to a theater near year

    SHAME – the story of JJ:
    German-Irish actor Michael Fassbender seems a lock for a Best Actor nomination playing a Manhattan s-x addict in British director Steve McQueen’s grim drama, a role that has been compared to Nicolas Cage’s Oscar-winning turn as an alcoholic in “Leaving Las Vegas.” The film has graphic nud- scenes featuring Fassbender and Carey Mulligan — a former Best Actress nominee for “An Education” who’s likely to score a nod here as his suicidal sister.

  16. 3B says:

    The Fed’s special 2 day meeting ends tomorrow. They will supposedly unveil Operation Twist, which the Fed used in the 1960’s sell short paper, buy long (3 to 7 year paper) to drive down long term interest rates. I wonder who will be buying all this short paper? No buyers than we have high short term rates, lower long term rates (inverted yield curve), in an environment where the Fed stated they will keep short rates low until 2013. Day to day financing will require lore issuance of short term paper, adding to what the Fed will be selling to buy longer dated maturities etc.

    I just don’t see how this is going to work.

  17. Confused in NJ says:

    People who use Cell Phones like Teddy Kennedy, should be prohibited from getting Medical Care for Brain Cancer, caused by their overuse of Cell Phones.

  18. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    (14) Ag

    The dem goal is single payer. Obamacare is intended to do what you say, and dems are counting on backlash to squeeze-out to get there.

    If they can’t get it, the dems will conscript the medical community by forcing doctors and hospitals to accept gov patients. Docs that don’t will lose their tax deductions, licenses and hospital privileges, and hospitals will lose tax exempt status.

  19. Mike says:

    Grim No. 11 If you have it keep the air cranking 24 / 7 Seen it happen on many occasions where it buckles up.

  20. Juice Box says:

    3B – foreign purchases of net Treasury issuance is very low right now 5-10% based upon available reports. The turmoil with Euro banks will show a spike perhaps in the coming months.

    QE3, twist whatever we are just reusing Japan’s playbook book except we are not taking the money from savers yet (just killing them with no yield). It is just print, rinse, reinvest, and repeat.

    Anyone who thinks this will not end with high inflation has not been paying attention, the FED wants inflation at all costs. It is how we project our power around the world via dollar hedgemony. Anyone who squawks will get blown away, it’s just how we roll around here.

  21. Juice Box says:

    Grim are you putting down red oak unfinished or engineered stuff?

  22. Shore Guy says:


    Did you catch this out of Chicago?,0,3645513.story

    Data: The rich actually do pay more taxes

    President Barack Obama makes it sound as if there are millionaires all over America paying taxes at lower rates than their secretaries.

    “Middle-class families shouldn’t pay higher taxes than millionaires and billionaires,” Obama said Monday. “That’s pretty straightforward. It’s hard to argue against that.”

    The data tell a different story. On average, the wealthiest people in America pay a lot more taxes than the middle class or the poor, according to private and government data. They pay at a higher rate, and as a group, they contribute a much larger share of the overall taxes collected by the federal government.

    There may be individual millionaires who pay taxes at rates lower than middle-income workers. In 2009, 1,470 households filed tax returns with incomes above $1 million yet paid no federal income tax, according to the Internal Revenue Service. That, however, was less than 1 percent of the nearly 237,000 returns with incomes above $1 million.


    This year, households making more than $1 million will pay an average of 29.1 percent of their income in federal taxes, including income taxes and payroll taxes, according to the Tax Policy Center, a Washington think tank.

    Households making between $50,000 and $75,000 will pay 15 percent of their income in federal taxes.

    Lower-income households will pay less. For example, households making between $40,000 and $50,000 will pay an average of 12.5 percent of their income in federal taxes. Households making between $20,000 and $30,000 will pay 5.7 percent.

    The latest IRS figures are a few years older — and limited to federal income taxes — but show much the same thing. In 2009, taxpayers who made $1 million or more paid on average 24.4 percent of their income in federal income taxes, according to the IRS.


  23. Juice Box says:

    re # 22 – Yeah then this new tax bill won’t hurt them in the wallet then will it? Carried Interest is under threat anyway the decision in Dagres v. Commissioner with allow the IRS to rewrite the rules on it.

  24. 3B says:

    #20 Juice: I guess they forgot that inflation destroys economies, and does nothing for hiring. I still don’t see buyers for all the short term paper, unless foreign investors do absorb it all. 3 and 6 month T-Bills at -0%??? As clot/There would say this will end badly.

    I think it should be called Operation Twisted!!!!

  25. Juice Box says:

    re #25- 3b – There are mini bank runs going on now, perhaps heading to short term UST. Remember Bernake’s famous statement about the bank runs here? Banks in Europe do not have the same rules we do here, there is no separation between your investments and the banks. In the event of failure or Bankruptcy it will be much much worse than Lehman. FYI some Lehman customers are still waiting for their assets.

    Re-hypothecated will be what they tell you when you go to transfer your accounts and investments after they go bankrupt.

    You NOW can see why Turbo Timmay wants Euro-bonds and Euro Tarp and if they don’t act we will to prevent contagion?

  26. Anon E. Moose says:

    3b [25];

    3 and 6 month T-Bills at -0%???

    That’s a great business model – loan me $100 and I will give you back $99.

  27. Juice Box says:

    Alan Greenspan arrived at the FED today. Puling out all the stops it seems to twist
    Bernanke’s arm into QE3 on a massive scale.

  28. Prof. McDullard says:

    Nom, you have mail… on your

  29. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [22] shore guy

    Sure did, and I was just about to post it myself. Finally, someone calling BS on Obama and Buffett. Since Buffett first trotted this out in 2007, there have been those who thought he was slinging numbers fast and loose off the cuff. Now it matters.

    This criticism will get Fabius’ panties in a twist (that, and his gooners losing), but I don’t wanna hear it until someone can answer some questions for me?

    How much does Buffett’s secretary make?
    Is most of his or her income W-2 income?
    Does the secretary’s “tax rate” used by Buffett (reportedly 30%; see link below) include FICA/FUTA witholding? Does it include state taxation?

    Until we get the answers to these, Buffett’s line (which he first uttered in 2007) see, may be a big, smelly, steaming pile of BS. Suppose it comes out that Buffett’s secretary earns 275K per year? That may come back to bite Dear Leader in the behind in a rather nasty way.

  30. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    Only info I have been able to find was that Buffett paid his secretary $60K in 2007.

    That’s kind of tightwadish, IMHO. Makes me wonder if she doesn’t also get BH options as compensation, which would be taxed at marginal rates unless you exercised and held for a year.

    But on the offhand chance she doesn’t, how does one get to 30% effective tax rate on a $60K salary? In 2010, the tax on income up to 33,950 was under 15%, and the tax on the next 50K was 25%, giving a very rough average of 20%. That is for a SINGLE taxpayer and before the standard deduction, which would reduce the tax for this taxpayer, and the effective tax rate.

    Suppose that the taxpayer was married? If the secretary is female, and hubby earns more (very likely if Warren’s secretary would be happy working for so little), then their effective tax rate is likely more. But that introduces a whole host of variables, none of which are likely good for the president.

    or to quote from Private Ryan”Upham, careful you don’t step in the bullsh1t”

  31. chicagofinance says:

    another client got laid off …. SUX

  32. Prof. McDullard says:


    If the rich are already paying a % way beyond what the middle class people are paying, then there should be no problem with O’s position that the rich should not be paying a lower % than middle class people.

    Now, if the argument is that it is possible to arrive at different percentages based on different assumptions, then everything becomes fungible.

  33. Prof. McDullard says:

    Nom, talking about fungible, it is possible for a super-rich dude with income from tax-exempt muni bonds or income from long term cap gains to pay a very low percentage… In fact, Kerry (rather his wife) got into trouble – perception wise – for that prior to ’04 elections. He did lose credibility with his yacht parking in Rhode Island or wherever, though.

  34. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [36] McDullard

    ATEOTD, it comes down to “fairness”, a very relative concept. So what is fair: That Warren has a 17% ETR while his secretary has about 20% (and likely less?)

    How about the fact that my ETR is much higher than Warren’s, and I am classified as “rich”? Is it then fair that the president lump in everyone earning over 250K with those earning 250 million? A billion?

    On an unrelated note, you were certainly up late. Check your email.

  35. yo'me says:

    IN QE2 the fed bought treasuries by printing money.So,basically destroyed debt by buying our own debt by printing money at a very low rates.Now this debts are due to be paid,we pay ourselves (FED) with useless dollars and in turn they buy more longer term bonds.Debt destruction,only the US can do.

    3B says:
    September 20, 2011 at 9:12 am
    The Fed’s special 2 day meeting ends tomorrow. They will supposedly unveil Operation Twist, which the Fed used in the 1960′s sell short paper, buy long (3 to 7 year paper) to drive down long term interest rates. I wonder who will be buying all this short paper? No buyers than we have high short term rates, lower long term rates (inverted yield curve), in an environment where the Fed stated they will keep short rates low until 2013. Day to day financing will require lore issuance of short term paper, adding to what the Fed will be selling to buy longer dated maturities etc.

    I just don’t see how this is going to work.

  36. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    There are also those that maintain that Warren is talking up his own stock; on the estate tax, BH stands to make out from life insurance sales, so Warren is all for keeping an aggressive estate tax.

    Will it affect life insurance sales and make Buffett richer? Someone at Treasury thinks so:

    David Joulfaian
    U.S. Department of the Treasury

    July 29, 2011

    Life insurance proceeds are generally subject to the estate tax. An exception is when the policy is owned by the beneficiaries and the insured gives up ownership and control, including the ability to change beneficiaries. Should the insured own the policy contract and potentially subject proceeds to estate and inheritance taxes, or relinquish control, with the beneficiaries owning the policy, and escape such transfer taxes? There is an obvious tradeoff between minimizing bequest taxes and giving up control. This paper addresses how the estate tax influences the choice of life insurance ownership. The evidence from a sample of estate tax returns suggests that those facing high estate tax rates are more likely to forgo ownership and have proceeds excluded from their estates.”

  37. JJ says:

    I have never been laid off. I should not say that as it usually brings bad luck but I am on a long winning streak so if it happens hey I am like Mo on the yankees. However, I think perceptions sometimes is reality. I recall my first interview for a good mangement training program on wall street. Actually nine interviews, a pollygraph, drugtest and a psch visit all things you can’t do now. VP asks me point blank how do you feel interviewing for a managment training program with 800 applicants and only ten slots? I told him I feel bad that the other 799 applicants only have a shot at nine slots. Don’t know what guy thought when I said it but it had to be said.

    chicagofinance says:
    September 20, 2011 at 11:27 am
    another client got laid off …. SUX

  38. Al Mossberg says:



    The g_v can try to conscript but it will fail. Try telling a surgery center that they have to take Medicare patients. You cant run a business at a loss unless you are the post office.

  39. Juice Box says:

    Nom 60k for a secretary in Omaha? Cmon already, Buffett may be playing Obama’s tune or playing him like a fiddle but there are folks paying only 15% on carried Interest. If anything he will be retiring soon himself.

  40. yo'me says:

    Your ETR can only be higher than Warren if your income is derive from wages.Business income is mostlly under declared plus deduction and losses.Capital gains and dividend at 15%.Bring the taxes back to what it is during Reagan or even Clinton.That is not increasing taxes,it is rolling it back.Stop the widening gap between the rich and the poor.
    Giving more money to the rich don’t create jobs.Giving more money to the business owner will not make him hire more workers.You need DEMAND! Confidence in the economy will not make business hire more people.Give them more money they will just pocket it just like the trillions of dollars the companies are holding and not investing right now.DEMAND

  41. Al Mossberg says:



    There will be no demand until the inevitable collapse happens. Anyone with 2 brain cells can see where this is all headed. Lets get it over with.

  42. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    It is seriously dead around here.

    Personal tax news of the day:

    I have been fighting a deficiency notice for some time now based on an amount paid but not apparently credited, and the Appeals Office sent me a letter saying that they reached an agreement (with whom, I don’t know cuz I didn’t agree to anything) on my tax case. They say look for a stipulation from the chief counsel’s office to close the case. I think, great, they looked over the docs and saw what I told them.

    The stip comes in, and it is one that calls for me to admit to everything and pay even more.

    The unitiated may see the stip as admitting to the original (and paid) deficiency, but it never says that I admitted to it and paid it already (which was the gravamen of the case). So if I sign this, they can double dip me, and I have waived all recourse. Lousy tax attorney I’d be if I agreed to that. Especially since the transcript shows the payment and shows cash due back to me.

    So the cautionary tale is that the IRS and the gov. are not your friends, and do not have to act with your best interests in mind. In fact, I learned long ago while clerking at the US Court of Federal Claims that the Feds don’t play fair at all. In fact, you’d have recourse against a private actor for doing what they do, but against them, you have either waived your rights or they claim “sovereign immunity.”

    I think I will send the attorney a letter, agreeing to dismiss the case but with MY version of a stipulation and dismissal instead. Since she is a junior grade casepusher, that should give her brainlock.

  43. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [43] yo’me

    so the way to stimulate demand is for the government to take more money and spend it.

    Why stop there? Let the gov. take all “discretionary” income and spend it as it sees fit. That should create a lot of demand, right?

    There is a term for that sort of economic system. The eastern europeans had especially pungent terms for it as well.

  44. Juice Box says:

    Ted Turner on taxing the rich.

  45. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [41] al

    The surgery centers will proliferate, to be sure, and supplant traditional hospitals. Since they are for-profit, the gov. can’t revoke their tax status, and since licensing happens at the state level, the feds can’t revoke those either.

    But they can use the power of the purse: I envision a provision that restricts state reimbursments unless the state mandates that licensed doctors and surg. centers accept gov. patients.

    Tell me it can’t happen.

  46. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [42] juice

    You got better stats? I’d like to hear them.

    As for carried interest, that is just one part of the tax picture, and not a very large one. In fact, it could be handled with one statutory change. So it really isn’t just about carried interest, is it?

  47. Juice Box says:

    re: #49 – yeah and holding for one year is considered long term?

  48. gary says:

    Baldwin said her heart sinks when someone calls and says a spouse lost a job. “They literally ask you, ‘What should I do?,’ ” she said. The questions come so often, she now brings up the issue at staff meetings with her team and discusses how best to handle the situations.

    And of course, a 20% nominal drop in the next couple of years is impossible. Right? Right? Right?

  49. freedy says:

    whats the best way to get a flu shot?

  50. Not Al Mossberg says:

    Re 41 – Sorry, but the govt won’t fail. If you want to see what will happens look at today’s dentist – a lot of starving dentist willing to work for any deal, some gigantic cattle providers, and a few that think they are elites and overcharge and take no insurance and will depend on the unicorns for their futures.

    A little history first –

    Prior to the 80’s Reagan deregulation of health insurance companies – mostly all were non-profits or mutual companies. Now there is a for profit oligopoly with health insurance companies – They know the only way for them to survive is to kill Medicare or be killed by Medicare, so they do their best to kill traditional Medicare by making it like Medicaid and create an alternative with the Medicare Advantage Plans which Medicare subsidizes the insurance companies to run these HMO/PPO plans at actual higher cost than traditional Medicare, but it’s a profit center.

    Hospitals were also mostly non-profits. In NJ -the State Health Dept kept a very nice balance for many years, to wit – a hospital like St.Michaels in Newark that provided HIV & TB Care got rewarded by being allowed to do profitable open hearts. This went out the window after St.Barnabas started empire building with a new source of revenue that it turn out was Medicare fraud and they had to pay back over $700 million. In other States the imbalance shows up like in greater Miami – the county hospital Jackson Memorial is broke, while the county has several very profitable for profit specialty hospitals that do not have an expensive ER to run.

    Even in NJ lately, look at Meadowlands Hospital, which has been in the news. Bought by investors and overcharging for procedures. A few hospitals which have or are in the process of conversion to for-profit status (Bayonne, Meadowlands & Hoboken), all of them by coincidence in Hudson County have taken advantage of a NJ law that requires insurance companies to reimburse hospitals even when out of network at their billing rate – when the law changes -they will all close shop withing 120 days.

  51. Theo says:

    #46 strawman alert

  52. 3B says:

    #51gary It is entirely possible. I do not disagree with you at all.

  53. 3B says:

    gary Take a look at this listing below Currently asking 494K sold in 2005 for 645k!!!!! Blue Ribbony train town, nice street etc.

  54. Happy Renter says:

    “Baldwin said her heart sinks when someone calls and says a spouse lost a job. “They literally ask you, ‘What should I do?,’ ” she said.”

    Hallmark should come out with a line of “Embrace the Oblivion” cards for situations like this; it’s a growing market.

  55. chicagofinance says:

    freedy says:
    September 20, 2011 at 1:06 pm
    whats the best way to get a flu shot?

    Wait for it to stop moving…..

  56. Al Mossberg says:


    That is indeed happening regarding Medicare subsidizing the insurance companies.

    As long as a 2 tier system remains in place I could care less. One for the unicorns like me and one for the g_v parasite class.

  57. Juice Box says:

    gary – listen plus four seconds remember coffee is for closers.

  58. Not Al Mossberg says:

    Part 2

    In short -What you thought was a even natural playing field, was in reality a very micro-managed field with actual altruistic intentions. The managers and their intentions have changed to avoidance of egalitarianism and altruism to profit seeking.

    I use the dentists as a reference because that really has always been a sort of free market. Free market in providers and reimbursement since the 90’s with insurance payment reductions.

    Just a final word. Be thankful to Medicare. One of their regulations are the reason you no longer see a big room 30 person hospital ward.

  59. Al Mossberg says:



    Yes that can happen but there are ways around that. Lets say the g_v comes in and says private surgery centers have to take a certain amount of Medicare patients per year. All the surgery center has to do for the high cost cases is say the patient is not medically stable enough for outpatient surgery and then ship them to the hospital. So the mandate gets met. Surgery centers take the low cost skin cancer cases while the hospitals get stuck with the elderly hips, knees, and hearts.

  60. Juice Box says:

    Freedy is your company giving out free ones? If not the local Walgreens, CVS, heck even Walmart if you dare is giving them out for a fee.

    Apparently if you wait until December the FLU Shot it will be discounted heavily.

  61. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [50] juice

    “yeah and holding for one year is considered long term?”

    I’m sorry, but I am not getting your point. Was there one, and if so, could you flesh it out a bit?

  62. prtraders2000 says:

    Speaking of private hospitals, did anyone see this story about Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center? Article makes some outrageous claims. Hospital billed 1,000% to 3,000% more than competing hospitals. However, President of hospital claims that they only get 7% of what they bill to treat accident victims. I can never understand how this hospital billing works. How can they bill so much more than what the insurance companies pay? There bills are so out there that they make no sense. Does anybody pay retail for hospital services?

  63. homeboken says:

    Nom – Can I get your email from Grim? I have a question relating to your business that I hope you can help me with.

  64. Barbara says:

    Bcbs of nj only recently went for profit. Very slimy deals on Trenton, made page 6 at best but there were some spirited debates on online forums. Can’t wait to see my renewal rate in March. And by can’t wait, I mean, I’m buying a lot of peroxide, K flex and ‘tussin for the family.

  65. Kettle1^2 says:

    all disclaimers, account for political slant as you see fit.

    From ProPublica:

    The number of Americans earning below the poverty line in 2010: 46.2 million people
    Official U.S. poverty rate in 2007, before the recession: 12.5 percent
    Official U.S. poverty rate in 2009: 14.3 percent
    Official U.S. poverty rate in 2010: 15.1 percent
    Last time the poverty level was this high: 1993
    Poverty line in 2010: $22,314 for a family of four, or $11,139 for an individual
    Rough amount people in poverty are living on per week: $200 or less
    Poverty rate in the American suburbs: 11.8 percent, the highest since 1967
    Percentage of the population making less than half the poverty line in 2010: 6.7 percent
    Percentage of the population making less than half the poverty line in 2007, before the recession: 5.2 percent
    Poverty rate for white Americans in 2010: 13 percent
    Poverty rate for African Americans in 2010: 27.4 percent
    Real median household income in 2010: $49,445
    Decline in median household income since 2009: 2.3 percent
    Decline in median household income since before the recession: 6.4 percent
    The last time median household incomes have been this low: 1996
    Real median household income in 1999, in 2010 dollars: $53,252
    Median income for full-time male workers in 2010: $47,715
    Median income for full-time male workers in 1973, in 2010 dollars: $49,065
    Official unemployment rate in August 2011: 9.1 percent
    Total number of unemployed people in August: 14 million
    Number of people who were employed part-time for economic reasons in August 2011: 8.8 million
    Number of people not counted in the labor force who wanted work: 2.6 million
    Net jobs created in August 2011: 0
    Total number of long-term unemployed people as of August 2011: 6 million
    Number of unemployed workers per job opening, as of July 2011: About 4.34 (3.2 million openings and 13.9 million unemployed people in July 2011)
    Total number of uninsured Americans in 2010: 49.9 million
    Percentage of Americans who didn’t have health care in 2010: 16.3 percent
    Percentage of Americans who didn’t have health care in 2007, before the recession: 15.3 percent
    Percentage of children who were uninsured in 2010: 9.8 percent
    Percentage of children in poverty were are uninsured in 2010: 15.4 percent
    Percentage of American households that had enough to eat throughout the year in 2007: 88.9 percent
    Percentage of American households that had enough to eat throughout the year in 2010: 85.5 percent

  66. Kettle1^2 says:

    Median income for full-time male workers in 2010: $47,715
    Median income for full-time male workers in 1973, in 2010 dollars: $49,065

  67. Confused in NJ says:

    TOKYO (AP) — More than a million people in central Japan were urged to evacuate Tuesday as a powerful typhoon approached, triggering floods that left two people missing.

    Public broadcaster NHK said about 1.3 million people have been ordered or advised to leave their homes, including 80,000 people in Nagoya.

  68. Juice Box says:

    re # 64 – Nom Capital gains tax revenues are only a small part of tax receipts, you cannot even fund the two wars with it. My point is leave the % alone and increase definition of long term. This only really hits the top .03% so no need to worry.

  69. Juice Box says:

    Goota love the fact they are now screaming on CNBC the loan mortgage standards are too high. Lenders cannot make loans anymore bla bla bla. More credit better for middle class. Hahahaha, I should stay home more often and watch CNBC.

  70. chicagofinance says:

    Believe it or not, a good amount of this material is valuable. I did not view these videos, so I do not know how much was cut. I DVRed the show and saw the whole thing….only two or three sucked and that Ross guy was hysterical (dressed as Qadaffi)….

  71. prtraders2000 says:

    I’ll tell who don’t pay their fair share of taxes. People who cheat. Couple of years ago a guy comes into our office, professional IT man making 150k in NYC, for tax prep. Says wife has a part time job, really nothing, she does makeup. Says forget I even mentioned it. Year and half later they’re getting noticed for over 80k in revenue not picked up for her being a makeup artist on a couple of movie sets!! Bet she had even more income just wasn’t 1099ed. Well the guy didn’t pay us. He didn’t even pay the day care for his kid as they refused to confirm their EIN to me for the dependent care credit (said he owed them over 1k). If we could find a way to make people just pay what they are suppose to within the framework of the current system, we would be way ahead. Hmmmmm VAT tax anyone. I don’t care for tax prep anyway.

  72. Just Toast says:

    On the healthcare discussion, you are seeing concierge medical programs popping up – for example:
    so if ever a single payor system, those with the means may decide an extra couple hundred bucks a month is worth it.

  73. Just Toast says:

    Barb – was it you who posted yesterday that Verizon took 60 days to get your Fios up and running – if so, do you know if that problem was limited to your part of NJ or was it statewide?

    Any suggestions on what one might do to not wait 60 days? No phone, internet for 2 mos is not an option for me.


  74. Juice Box says:

    Toast no wifi hotspots you can glom off of?

  75. Just Toast says:


    can go to places w free wifi but when working from home, would rather not work off public wifi. perhaps I should find out if cablevision or comcast has service in the area – property already wired for Fios though – maybe that will make it easier for me or maybe not. ahh the garden state.

  76. Juice Box says:

    #78 – toast you can do a month to month Mifi from any of the Cellular carriers. Fast and reliable if you have coverage for 4G even better.

    I just purchased the new Droid Bionic, it downloads at over 12 meg speeds and has mifi capability for an extra $30 a month.

  77. Just Toast says:

    Juice, thanks, appreciate the suggestion.

    Had heard MiFi are tough to configure and kick you off the network but perhaps that was when it was new and people did not know how to use them. I need to find out if it works for PC and Mac – assume it would.

    Next tough question is what to do about TV – I like Bloomberg in the background during the day and can’t sleep without something on at night. Found this website to determine local TV signals and odds that a set of rabbit ears will get me through.

    Once upon a time it was a B&W set, no remote and my choices were the big 3 networks and UHF – good to know that at some point, I’ll have several hundred channels of mindless crap to pick from.

  78. Not PT Trader2000 says:

    Regarding #65 – Hospital Billing

    The way Meadowlands and other newly for-profit hospital are making a bundle is generally in multiple ways a variation of this:

    – They void all the insurance company contracts. All patients are by default (except for Mcare & Mcaid) out-of-network. Because of a NJ State law supported by the NJ Hospital Association, the insurance company has to pay the out of network hospital (not the out of network physician provider) based on the hospital charge.

    For argument sake – so you need a colonoscopy- your doctor is in network and hospital is in network & you got to pay 20% in network deductible – in network hospital charges $5,000 – so your out of pocket is $1,000 (hospital gets $4,000)- If you go to Bayonne or Meadowlands – your doctor is in network, but hospital is out of network – your out of network deductible is 50% – out of network hospital charges $20,000 – (hospital gets $10,000 from insurance company ) & technically you are liable for $10,000 from the out of network hospital- but they waived it using tricks like a complimentary or low fee membership in the hospital’s what ever you want to name club. You like it because you paid $20 vs $1,000 and got your procedure. The for profit hospital made $10,000 vs $4,000 if deal with insurance company.

    Medicare & Medicaid is a different animal altogether. Medicare Part A for hospital uses a formula for procedures based in a given geographical area to find cost+small profit & them pays the hospital 90% of that number + bonus & penalties based on many other things (infection rates, residency programs, etc) If you are a hospital you can survive on this (look at Palisades Medical Center – it lives off 5 nursing homes & the labor & delivery of medicaid patients through North Hudson Community Action clinics), but to prosper you need a gimmick – Hackensack had Ferguson and his money raising boys Sanzari & Fletcher.

  79. Just Toast says:

    Not PT Trader – are you familiar with this organization in the city:

    They are trying to increase the transparency for out of network procedures.

  80. Not PT Trader2000 says:

    Part 2 –

    Now of course. The quids pro quo to get physicians to bring their patients to your newly for-profit hospital is where the shenanigans and indictments to be will be.

  81. Not PT Trader2000 says:

    Grim – Message in moderation

  82. Barbara says:

    Just toast they said it was state wide. Clear has a month to month wifi thats reasonable. I finally get connected tomorrow. The iPhone got me through but I had to up my plan to avoid overages

  83. yo'me says:

    This is good until the for -profit hospital starts to let the patient be responsible for the unpaid balance.Which can run into thousands not knowing you will not be covered by your insurance.Just like years ago,I had insurance that covers 80% of my bills and I am suppose to be responsible for 20%.For argument sake I got a bill for $100 dollars.Insurance pays hospital $60 instead of $80 claiming UCR (usual Customary Rate) is $75.Now I am responsible for 20% of the $75 plus the difference that is not paid.This is not going to end up well for the consumers

    “For argument sake – so you need a colonoscopy- your doctor is in network and hospital is in network & you got to pay 20% in network deductible – in network hospital charges $5,000 – so your out of pocket is $1,000 (hospital gets $4,000)- If you go to Bayonne or Meadowlands – your doctor is in network, but hospital is out of network – your out of network deductible is 50% – out of network hospital charges $20,000 – (hospital gets $10,000 from insurance company ) & technically you are liable for $10,000 from the out of network hospital- but they waived it using tricks like a complimentary or low fee membership in the hospital’s what ever you want to name club. You like it because you paid $20 vs $1,000 and got your procedure. The for profit hospital made $10,000 vs $4,000 if deal with insurance company.”

  84. Not Toast says:

    Re 83

    I posted, but went into moderation.

    In short -the organization is not going get far. Except for Mcare & Mcaid info, all of the insurance deals are private & propietary info. held by the likes of United Healthcare which by coincidence was cheating many providers with a software that it created and was used by many other insurance companies. The error was found by health finance researchs I think at USC ?.

    Getting the big boys to open up their books or let themselves be regulated is like getting Goldman Sachs or JP Morgan Chase to agree to see their trading black boxes and allow you to regulate the OTC CDS market.

  85. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    (66) boken,

    My blog email is public

  86. jamil says:

    just to p1ss of letarded

    “Obama is great at math. He divides the country, subtracts jobs, adds debt and multiplies misery”

  87. Libtard in Glen Ridge says:



  88. Fabius Maximus says:

    #8 Nom

    That’s not a canary. The rings are very hard to find as there is very low turn over on them. Some do rust over time, you do lose them if you pass them to someone and they return the jar only. For the most part they should survive the for life of the jar and if you break the jar it goes to to the spare pile.

    By the way, were you shopping for my O win?

  89. 3b (16)-

    Operation Twist will not work. It cannot work. It will only fail and further exacerbate the problems it was intended to solve.

    The whole economy is a fail. The UST is a fail. The Fed is a fail. We are just dousing the corpse of all the failed, dead ideas with bags of lime…trying to mask the stench of death.

  90. Fabius Maximus says:

    Poll of the day. The real OMFG number in here is Ramussen with O +7.

  91. 3b (25)-

    The Fed will buy all the short-term paper. They are going to give the signal to China, Japan, Russia and other large foreign holders (who all want to dump that crap) to get out en masse…and allow them to top tick it, to boot.

  92. Fabius Maximus says:

    Rant of the day from Mrs Fabius. Quite appropriate.

    “had I known I would spend most of the day on thewebsite I probably would not have gotten out of bed.. I really wish I could list the CVS minute clinic as my kids’ primary care physician.. I also wish I could go back to Portugal where you can get antibiotics from the pharmacist, and they’re under $2..”

  93. moose (28)-

    Almost as good as your pipedream that you will someday buy a house.

    “3 and 6 month T-Bills at -0%???

    That’s a great business model – loan me $100 and I will give you back $99.”

  94. babs (67)-

    That money would be better spent buying guns and ammo.

  95. Gooners look ripe for relegation.

  96. All I know is, your side plays like shit.

  97. Fabius Maximus says:

    #101 Clot

    Thats lame. How about this?
    Sh1t on the front and sh1t on the back

  98. Wonder what a Cesc shirt goes for at the Emirates these days.

  99. Any truth to the rumor that Wanker wants Robert Pires back for his first 11?

  100. Sadder truth is that Viera could probably outplay your whole midfield right now.

  101. Fabius Maximus says:

    #103 Clot

    A lot more than a Joey shirt at St James!

    You can never win this pi$$ing match.

  102. Fabius Maximus says:

    Pires no way.
    Patrick, I was sad to see leave, but we got the best from him and Cesc blew him away.
    He had a good career, but now he is done.

  103. scribe says:

    From Wednesday’s WSJ:

    Home Forecast Calls for Pain
    Prices to Stumble Through 2015, Economists Say, Weighing Down Recovery

  104. scribe says:

    Good night, New Jersey

  105. Confused in NJ says:

    Texas Governor Rick Perry, a leading Republican candidate, said any further Fed money printing would be “almost treacherous, treasonous,” and his principal GOP rival, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, said he would replace Bernanke, a Republican first appointed by President George W. Bush.

  106. A special Happy Birthday to my favorite person!

  107. My roommate is not moving out so I made the right decision.

Comments are closed.