July 18, 2011

Bits Bucket for July 18, 2011

Post off-topic ideas, links, and Craigslist finds here.

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Comment by Robin
2011-07-18 00:21:28

Apartments seem to be the hot ticket for the REIC. A constipated foreclosure market artificially holds back housing rental, both house and condo. MERS aka Robo-signing appears to not be a friend of aspiring renters.

WTF is the opportunity or attraction for home buyers? A new wave of repartments or actual building, which was 20% of the economy. I think the momentum trends toward more concentration of family units, yet I see them trending more toward combining resources to command control of a 4 or 5 bedroom house.

How many families? How related? How many offspring per couple?

Would you like to be my neighbor? (Please, GOD, NO!)

Comment by CarrieAnn
2011-07-18 05:07:55

These people are not going to be giving up their stranglehold of their housing based income w/o a fight. I think what many of us first neglected to realize is just how far things will be allowed to go. With the amount of fraud that was part of the system in the last few decades what will happen when those calling the shots think they’re losing their grasp on it? What happens will most likely be pretty ugly.

Comment by polly
2011-07-18 05:21:50

When I was a college student, New Hampshire had a law that defined any house with 5 or more unrelated women living in it as a brothel and subject to being closed down. The sororities and co-ed frats had to be associated with the college to avoid this rule and off-campus shared houses had to be very small, or include enough men to keep from going over the limit.

Now that I think about it, it might have been a town ordinance not a state law. If it was, I imagine that it originated when the college did not accept women at all. Perhaps the townsfolk did not approve of the old maxim, “boys will be boys.”

Comment by combotechie
2011-07-18 05:36:01

“… New Hampshire had a law that defined any house with five or more unrelated women in it as a brothel and subject to be closed down.”

That’s it? That’s all the evidence that is needed to declare a house a brothel? No evidence of prostitution need to be provided?

I love this blog.

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Comment by Big V
2011-07-18 06:44:48

There are all sorts of laws restricting the attire that women may wear while practicing martial arts. I saw a book about it. Like a woman can’t practice martial arts while wearing pajamas unless she is married.

I think there are a lot of men out there with a very irrational fear of women.

Comment by Realtors Are Liars
2011-07-18 07:23:15

“I think there are a lot of men out there with a very irrational fear of women.”

x eleventyzillion.

Comment by denquiry
2011-07-18 07:25:32

I think there are a lot of men out there with a very irrational fear of women.
My divorced buddies wouldn’t call it “irrational.”

Comment by Big V
2011-07-18 07:35:47


Your divorced buddies are all losers. They should have been better husbands.

Comment by In Colorado
2011-07-18 07:54:57

Sure, it’s always the guy’s fault.

Anyway, if a woman picks a jerk with a job, she gets alimony.

If a guy marries a jerkette, he gets to pay alimony. And doesn’t get to see his kids, etc.

My mom used to think there was child abduction epidemic in the country, until I explained to her that the majority of the kids on the mild cartons are kidnapped by their fathers.

Comment by Steve J
2011-07-18 08:11:31

A Florida law: If you’re a single, divorced, or widowed woman, you can’t parachute on Sunday afternoons.

Comment by Big V
2011-07-18 09:08:06

Aw, you made that up Steve.

Comment by alpha-sloth
2011-07-18 09:27:36

Parachute woman, land on me tonight…

Some version of the ‘no five unrelated females’, usually something along the lines of ‘no more than five unrelated adults may live in one house’ is a common method of banning boarding houses and campus party houses in many areas.

Comment by polly
2011-07-18 09:53:59

But there was no ban on 5 unrelated men living together, and the school had been all male. If it was a town ordinance, it was not aimed at cutting down on boarding houses or party houses. It was an old rule.

Comment by X-GSfixr
2011-07-18 10:23:55

“Your divorced buddies are all losers. They should have been better husbands”.

A statement I find personally very offensive.

My ex is a certified POS. I’d give you all the details, and a list of people that would attest to this fact (including all three of my daughters), except that I don’t feel the need to get them involved, just to prove something to you..

You’ll never hear about my story on Oprah, or Dr Phil.

Comment by alpha-sloth
2011-07-18 10:29:06

Yeah, I was just pointing out that, if you take out the sexes part, it’s not such an outrageous way of imposing zoning regulations. We just passed such an ordinance here, to stop people from adding vinyl boxes full of tiny apts onto the back of houses in campus neighborhoods zoned for single or double occupancy, by claiming all the people lived in one big house, and just choose to have key locks on their bedroom/bath/kitchenette suites, and separate mailboxes.

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2011-07-18 10:29:24

Your divorced buddies are all losers. They should have been better husbands. doormats.

Comment by Arizona Slim
2011-07-18 10:33:07

We just passed such an ordinance here, to stop people from adding vinyl boxes full of tiny apts onto the back of houses in campus neighborhoods zoned for single or double occupancy, by claiming all the people lived in one big house, and just choose to have key locks on their bedroom/bath/kitchenette suites, and separate mailboxes.

Here in Tucson, the Neighborhood Preservation Zone appears to be the solution to the above problem. It came about as a result of all those mini-dorms that have been popping up (like middle fingers) in the neighborhoods near the University of Arizona.

I use the word “appears” because of the sleazoid developers who are fighting tooth and nail against the NPZ. Here’s a classic example of such a sleazoid.

Comment by Big V
2011-07-18 10:56:44

Hey X-GS:

Men who refer to the mother of their children as a “certified POS” are all lousy, no-good abusers. Your ex-wife produced three children for you and, in return, you tell the world she’s a POS. Great going, I’m glad she’s finally out from underneath your thumb.

And Rio:

A man who is divorced has proven himself not to be a doormat? I would argue that he has provided evidence of his immaturity.

If y’all are gonna insist on accusing innocent women of being prostitutes because they live in a communal environment or practice martial arts in their pajamas or wear skirts on hot days, then y’all are gonna continue to not be wanted by the women who surround you.

Comment by aNYCdj
2011-07-18 11:01:50

Big V:

Ever notice most of the Rap stars hate their baby momma too?

Not many of them take fatherhood as being serious.

Men who refer to the mother of their children as a “certified POS” are all lousy, no-good abusers.

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2011-07-18 11:07:32

then y’all are gonna continue to not be wanted by the women who surround you.

But I live in Brazil. (wink)

Comment by Happy2bHeard
2011-07-18 11:19:21

I have told all of my children that the single most important decision they will make is the choice of spouse. If you get that right, then you can weather the storms.

There are psychos, manipulators, and abusers in both genders. Both genders are susceptible to addiction. A blanket statement blaming one or the other for divorce rates is just wrong. Most divorces result from differences in handling money.

Comment by Arizona Slim
2011-07-18 11:31:21

Most divorces result from differences in handling money.

My folks have been married for more than 60 years. I think part of the reason for their staying together is this:

A cheapskate (my father) married a tightwad (my mother).

And, if our family had a motto, it was “We Can’t Afford It.” Which really meant that my folks probably could afford it, but their financial priorities lay elsewhere.

Comment by X-GSfixr
2011-07-18 12:30:43

Big V,

You don’t know me, my ex, or my situation. my daughters were all 10-22 years old when all this crap was going down, and non of them considered me “abusive”. Either physically or mentally.

Now that they are either married, or in relationships, they marvel that I stuck as long as I did.

You are obviously a divorcee. And the “Poster Child” for the reason I don’t date divorcees.

I get along fine with 40-50ish never married professional women. Mainly because I don’t feel the need to micro-manage someone who has 20-30 years to demonstrate she can take care of herself.

Comment by X-GSfixr
2011-07-18 13:11:15

Now Big V has me started…..

You dispute my “POS” evaluation. Let me list the reasons for my evaluation, and tell my why I’m wrong.

-One affair (that I know of). With the Church Minister, no less.

-Pi$$ed away enough money on horses to put two kids thru college. I’d usually find out about the horse acquisitions when the checking account statement showed up.

-Regularly left me at home with the kids on weekends. On weekends I had to work (about one weekend a month), took them to my parents place on Friday nights, disappeared until she came back to pick them up on Sunday night.

-Accused me of giving her an STD in front of the kids and friends. (Of course, when the tests came back negative, nobody ever went around and admitted they were wrong).

-Regularly got herself into various messes, and when she couldn’t deal, throw her hands in the air, and left me holding the $hitbag.

I’ve got nothing to apologize for. Didn’t fool around, put her thru college (RN degree), raised the kids. Her typical (and still current) modus operandi around the house was to come home every night, and lock herself in the master bedroom, alone, with the TV, the romance novels, and the bag of Doritos.

My mistake was marrying her when I was 21, and letting the “little head do the thinking for the big head”. Didn’t look at her mom, to get a good hard look at how she was going to be. And putting up with her crap for 10+ years, thinking things would “get better” when she got out of college.

I filed only when I removed my blinders, and became convinced that she was going to file on me as soon as the girls were in college. Her big mistake was pissing away so much money that the divorce cost me less than staying married.

Comment by Big V
2011-07-18 13:12:08


How would your duaghters know the diff? They think it’s normal for the man to call the woman a POS. Their role model is YOU.

There are no attractive, intelligent women who want to date divorced men with three children and a lot of choice profanity to describe their ex and women in general. Fifty years and never been married? Gotta be a reason for that.

Comment by oxide
2011-07-18 13:16:21

Big V,

Stop now before you piss of the half of the board that you haven’t pissed off already, ok?

Comment by aNYCdj
2011-07-18 13:45:33

Well no woman ever asked me to marry her….so I’m fine with dat!

F—- years and never been married? Gotta be a reason for that.

Comment by ecofeco
2011-07-18 14:17:34

Big V:

Really? No… really?

Comment by Big V
2011-07-18 14:28:44

Hey X:

Your hard-working wife bore three children while going to college, and then raised them while working as a nurse, and you have the GAUL to complain that she didn’t spend every single hour of her free time just watching the kids and cleaning the house?

You are making that thing up about the affair. Church minister? How many abusive husbands have accused their wives of having an affair with the church minister? SHE WAS GOING TO CHURCH.

So she bought horses for pets and you probably bought motorcycles and stuff. Then you made the mature move of dumping her before she could dump you. And SHE’s a POS? My gawd.

Society really has no need to suffer from laws about martial arts and pajamas just because men like you can’t deal with the fact that you don’t OWN your wives.

Comment by MrBubble
2011-07-18 14:54:36

“you have the GAUL to complain”

X-GS, I didn’t realize that you were French! Thanks for sharing your story. I almost made a bad call a few years back myself. My brother’s wife just left him and took the 3 girls. She won’t come back until he has another job elsewhere making enough money so that they can pay for her student loans for the law degree that she won’t use, the private school for the 6 year old, mini van payments, her lunches out with the other stay-at-home moms, etc. It’s a bad scene. No STDs yet.

I finally caught a break and found a gem. Never would have thought it possible.


Comment by Big V
2011-07-18 15:03:41

I can never keep the spelling straight. It’s either gaul or gall. I think.

Comment by polly
2011-07-18 15:04:56

Mr. Bubble,

You beat me to it. I was going to go with this:

Gall is divided into three parts…

And seriously, guys, please remember that not everyone subscribes to Big V’s magic uterus hypothesis.

Comment by Realtors Are Liars
2011-07-18 15:19:19

STD’s, divorce, affairs, rip off’s, Big V____s. omg this is the best drama on HBB ever… im laughing so hard my side hruts!!!

Comment by Big V
2011-07-18 15:49:37

Oh Polly,

Like you’ve ever had a date.

Comment by ecofeco
2011-07-18 15:54:47

You’re actually defending someone who cheated, Big V? Not only cheated, but with a minister?!

Can you even hear yourself?

Misandrist, how does it work?

Comment by X-GSfixr
2011-07-18 16:20:32

Big V, I’m sitting here laughing at your hysterical rantings.

You are so cute when you are mad.

In fact, are your initials LDM or LDG? You sound like my ex. Selective memory and everything.

Lets review:

Found out ex was having “lunch” with the minister a few times a week. She didn’t go to his church. Came to a head when he asked her to dump me and move in with him. She stayed “for the kid”. How noble. (this was about 5 years after we were married, had a two year old.)

-The “hard working wife” wasn’t working when she was in college. By now, we had three kids. She would go to school during the day, and “study with her friends” in the evening and on weekends, leaving the two little ones at home with their 11 year old sister. I’d come home from work (second shift) for an hour or so, to make sure everyone got to bed and had dinner. Along with watching them all day when the ex was in school.

-Never had a motorcycle, or a boat, or anything else. Have you priced the care and upkeep of horses? She pi$$ed away about $30K in less than four years on these hayburners. Of course, guess who got to be the 24/7/365 unpaid horse wrangler?

Found out about our first horse two weeks after the fact, when I saw the debit on the joint checking account statement.

Owning a horse is like adopting a three year old kid that never grows up. Some might suggest that it wouldn’t be unreasonable to ask their significant other about such an acquisition before it happened.

Actually, she did. I knew we couldn’t afford it. Told her we needed a horse like we needed a hole in the head. Didn’t matter. She went and bought it anyway. Then bought a second one. Since we didn’t live on a farm, horses had to be fed and boarded. Which isn’t cheap. About $1000/month, in this case.

You guys haven’t heard the half of it.

Like I say, I really don’t have anything to prove.

Comment by X-GSfixr
2011-07-18 16:32:10

BV’s World

Women = Saints
Men = Scum

She’s wrong, but she’s entitled to her stupid-aZZ opinion.

X-GSer’s World.

$hitty people come in all races/genders/creeds.

Comment by Big V
2011-07-18 17:00:56


I’m just saying it’s entirely possible that X-GS Fixer is just a possessive husband who concocted a story about cheating with the minister in his own mind because he was mad at her for going to church. There are lots of guys like that. She goes to the church bake sale, and he’s convinced she’s having an affair with the minister in the kitchen.

Comment by Big V
2011-07-18 17:06:55

How did you find out about the minister if she turned him down? Surely she didn’t tell you this. Are you sure he didn’t just offer her shelter so she should get away from you? Like one of those half-way houses, for instance?

“Wasn’t working while she was in college …we had three kids”
-Going to college while raising three kids is WORK. Poor you, you had to pitch in a little. aw.

The horses. That doesn’t make her a POS. It makes her a person who spent too much money on pets. See the diff? Besides, nurses these days make tons of money. They can probably afford to have horses.

I think there’s a reason why a completely random person on the internet is able to piece this story together EXACTLY as your wife tells it, even though that person has never met or spoken with your wife. I think its because you are the text-book bad guy, and that’s why you always have such horrid things to say about chicks.

Comment by Big V
2011-07-18 17:13:03


In your world, every time there is some disagreement between a man and a woman, you automatically claim that the woman is crazy and the man is innocent, and then you use your ex-wife as an example of a crazy woman.

I think you’re the one who’s crazy. I think it’s not NORMAL to bash your ex-wife relentlessly on the internet every time the topic of man vs woman is raised. Of course you’re just one of many, many men who are in this habit, but I’m just here to remind you that u suk.

Comment by Realtors Are Liars
2011-07-18 17:31:05


Comment by X-GSfixr
2011-07-18 17:41:56

“Not normal to bash your ex……”

Pot, meet kettle.

The only thing I’m guilty of is not asking myself “Am I really getting married for the right reasons? Or am I getting married because she wants to, and I can’t think of any good reasons right now not to? do I trust this person enough to make life and death decisions on my behalf?”

She “….wanted someone to make her happy…..”. Of course, me being Mr Manly Man, I can “fix” anything. I was too young/stupid to realize that nobody can make someone else happy. So, when her vision of her idyllic little dreamworld didn’t come true, it became “my fault”.

It should be illegal for anyone under the age of 25 to get married.

I’m not a control freak, your assertions to the contrary. Our problems were that I tried to make her take some responsibility for her own decisions, and her own happiness, and she refused to.

Like I said, I find that I get along fine with college educated, never-married women in their 40-50s. They don’t want a guy who’s going to boss them around, and I’m more than happy to let them continue making their own decisions.

Comment by CA renter
2011-07-19 04:53:09

While I acknowledge that both sexes can be pretty lousy spouses, in most divorce cases where someone is cheating, it’s usually the husband who cheated.


Add in alcoholism and abuse, and one can see where Big V might get her opinions.

Discrepancies in alcohol consumption between spouses were more closely related to the probability of subsequent divorce than consumption levels per se. Couples with two abstainers and couples with two heavy drinkers had the lowest rates of divorce.


Combined data from 2004 and 2005 indicate that in the past month, 51.1 percent of persons aged 12 or older used alcohol, 22.7 percent reported binge alcohol use, and 6.8 percent indicated heavy alcohol use. Males were more likely than females to report past month alcohol use, binge alcohol use, and heavy alcohol use (Figure 1). These gender differences were generally consistent across demographic characteristics (i.e., age group, race/ethnicity, and family income).


Not trying to make sweeping generalizations about who’s a fault in most/all divorces, but in most of the divorces I’m aware of, the men were at fault.

FWIW, I would never date someone who relentlessly bashes his ex-wife/mother of his children.

Comment by MrBubble
2011-07-18 10:03:15

“The sororities and co-ed frats had to be associated with the college to avoid this rule and off-campus shared houses had to be very small, or include enough men to keep from going over the limit.”

I heard that one and I always thought that it was a rumor. So it’s true? Another rumor was that somewhere near campus, there was an ice fishing hut that actually operated as a brothel.


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Comment by polly
2011-07-18 12:03:07

I lived in a co-ed house and while I was never sufficiently involved in management to have to confirm it myself, the officers who had to pay attention to that stuff told us in no uncertain terms that we could not go independent of the college (unrecognized) without risking our living arrangements. We had room for about 20 people to live in and there were always more than 5 women.

So, I do believe the law existed, but I do not know if it was ever actually enforced. We were a fairly tame bunch and would not have been on anyone’s priority list of places to shut down. I think that off-campus housing was more at risk since they had neighbors who could complain if they were annoyed by other things. Our only neighbors were other greek houses and a few academic buildings.

Ice fishing hut? On the pond? Ick. They couldn’t break into a building with heat on a college campus? Indicates a distinct lack of ingenuity if you ask me.

Comment by MrBubble
2011-07-18 13:22:52

Those ice shanties have heaters. It’s actually a pretty amusing way to spend an evening. Fishing, not soliciting.

OK, I have to play. Was your co-ed house relatively near or far from Kiewit?


Comment by polly
2011-07-18 14:02:34

Near. Very near. Best prank ever was the chickenwire/tinfoil showerhead we put on Bradley/Gerry one Thursday evening. The profs noticed it very early, but it stayed up for a week or more. We think they liked it so didn’t report it for removal. We got Kemeny to show up for faculty dinner once, too.

Comment by MrBubble
2011-07-18 14:43:03

I think that I’ve got it now. You gave good hints.

I took a few classes now and again in the Shower Tower. Good prank!

We have a house trip planned in September to all meet in Park City, UT. Nice to have activities revolving around fishing, biking, hiking and golf (not for me) rather than pong and beer croquet…

Comment by polly
2011-07-18 14:57:39

I like Park City for a visit. The little carts you can race to the bottom of the mountain are more interesting than the zip line.

Comment by palmetto
2011-07-18 05:41:23

“I think what many of us first neglected to realize is just how far things will be allowed to go.”

This would make a good weekend topic, IMO. I certainly had NO idea. I thought the bubble would reach the upper limit of its absurdity, collapse, bottom and then even out. I had a strong disagreement with Charles Hugh Smith’s post bubble decline graph and couldn’t even envision that the bottom would not be reached until 2014. I thought we’d get RTC.2 or some such thing. And yet, here we are. Waiting for bottom.

I tell you, some days all the extend and pretend crap drives me nutz. Not to mention all the lying media. Seems like, on any given day, you can read in the media two different stories: housing prices rose, housing prices declined, new construction is up, new construction is down, housing sales are up, housing sales are down. (Or, “probably”, I see this qualifier appearing a lot lately. In other words, “we dunno, you decide”, which is pretty much the operating basis of the media anyway)

Comment by rms
2011-07-18 06:52:33

The Glass–Steagall act was the groundwork being established for the “rip-off” of the boomers, but 9/11 changed the schedule. The boomers had too much accumulated wealth to simply ignore.

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Comment by ecofeco
2011-07-18 14:19:51

The Savings & Loan disaster was actually the first test.

Comment by Jim A
2011-07-18 07:44:02

Heck, the bubble itself went on longer than I had anticipated. I thought that house prices were high in 2003. By early 2005, I thought a bust was just around the corner. And still they kept going up and up.

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Comment by CA renter
2011-07-19 04:55:35

Same here.

Comment by TCM-guy
2011-07-18 11:09:18

Hello Palmetto….

I will be driving through FL this weekend, visiting with relatives in the Atlantic/eastern area, and friends in the gulf area. My offer for a sandwich and a coffee on my dime is always good at any time - I would enjoy your company. Let me know…

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Comment by rms
2011-07-18 11:16:07

Here’s a comment from MarketWatch: “The housing crisis was caused by four key factors: (1) The repeal of Glass-Steagal in 1999 by the Republican sponsored Graham-Leech-Bliley Act, (2) The abnormally low interest rates held far too long by Greenspan’s Fed (3) The American Dream Down Payment Act of 2003, which used taxpayer funds to give to prospective homeowners who didn’t save their own down payment, and (4) The action by SEC Chairman Cox in 2004 that lowered capital reserve requirements for investment banks, increasing their ability to leverage from 12-to-1 to over 30-to-1.
Fannie and Freddie followed the banks, but they didn’t cause the crisis. Their grand mistake was lobbying in 2005 for lower capital requirements; after seeing how much banks made on subprime loans.”

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Comment by cactus
2011-07-18 11:46:07

I think profits on selling homes are tax free 250K to 500K every 2 years

Plus you write off interest and property taxes the government was just begging for a RE bubble and did almost nothing to stop it

Comment by Rental Watch
2011-07-18 13:19:46

They missed the biggest one…

Lenders not caring if they got paid back…only whether they could sell the loan. Underwriting standards became unbelievably weak as a result, and all was aided and abetted by the ratings agencies, who slapped a AAA rating on a portion of any steaming pile of debt.

The mortgage interest deduction has been around for a long time, and a reason that looking over long periods of time, homes are going to valued more highly than they should, but the interest/tax deductions did not create the bubble.

Comment by Rental Watch
2011-07-18 11:52:38

You know why apartments are the “hot ticket”? Government subsidized debt. 80% LTV fixed rate financing for 10 years at 5.33% (today’s number).

If you can borrow with that kind of leverage at those rates, you can afford to pay a very high price for apartments. As such, it makes sense to build apartments–because you can find a buyer when you are done at a price that allows you to turn a profit.

That is, as long as Fannie/Freddie are still lending at those rates when you try to sell…18-30 months from now…not a risk we are taking today.

Comment by Neuromance
2011-07-18 14:40:41

Apartments seem to be the hot ticket for the REIC. A constipated foreclosure market artificially holds back housing rental, both house and condo. MERS aka Robo-signing appears to not be a friend of aspiring renters.

To quote Terminator, which is like the REIC:

“Listen, and understand. That terminator [REIC] is out there. It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are [broke].”

They will not stop, ever, trying to extract ever more wealth from the public. Our only defense is the vote.

Comment by Realtors Are Liars
2011-07-18 04:10:45

Realtors Are Liars

Comment by liz pendens
2011-07-18 08:21:35

Realtors are Lawyers

Comment by wmbz
2011-07-18 04:15:23

So how will the moocher class get it’s “free” stuff in the future…

Number of children in U.S. hits record low, census says
By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Children now make up less of America’s population than ever before, even with a boost from immigrant families, according to census figures.

And when this generation grows up, it will become a shrinking work force that will have to support the nation’s expanding elderly population — even as the government strains to cut spending for health care, pensions and much else.

The latest 2010 census data show that children of immigrants make up one in four people younger than 18, and are now the fastest-growing segment of the nation’s youth, an indication that both legal and illegal immigrants as well as minority births are lifting the nation’s population.

Currently, the share of children in the U.S. is 24 percent, falling below the previous low of 26 percent of 1990. The share is projected to slip further, to 23 percent by 2050, even as the percentage of people 65 and older is expected to jump from 13 percent to 19 percent because of the aging of baby boomers and beyond.

In 1900, the share of children reached as high as 40 percent, compared to a much smaller 4 percent share for seniors 65 and older. The percentage of children in subsequent decades held above 30 percent until 1980, when it fell to 28 percent amid declining birth rates, mostly among white people.

“There are important implications for the future of the U.S. because the increasing costs of providing for an older population may reduce the public resources that go to children,” said William P. O’Hare, a senior consultant with the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a children’s advocacy group.

Comment by combotechie
2011-07-18 05:05:40

“So how will the moocher class get its ‘free stuff’ in the future…”

We won’t. We moochers will have to use our own money.

Those of us who have our own money will get stuff. It won’t be free, but at least they will be able to get it - that’s if stuff is available to get.

The other moochers … well, they’ll get to watch.

Comment by bill in Phoenix and Tampa
2011-07-18 09:16:04

I agree. Some of us future senior citizens diligently saved over our careers so that we would NOT be a burden of someone else.

Comment by ecofeco
2011-07-18 15:58:09

Get back to us when you make the mistake of getting a serious illness.

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Comment by Bill in Phoenix and Tampa
2011-07-18 16:03:35

You just keep hoping, don’t you eek-o?

Comment by ecofeco
2011-07-18 16:56:02

I don’t have to hope. The odds are against you.

In all seriousness, I really don’t wish a bad illness on you, I’m just warning you that you are not as untouchable as you think you are and your lack of compassion is beyond the pale.

I’ve seen a lot of slackers who deserved what they got and I’ve seen lot of good people who didn’t.

I’ve seen millionaires wiped out in the blink of an eye, but rarely have I seen the avg person strike it rich or recover from serious setbacks.

Don’t EVEN think it can’t happen to you. The odds are against you.

Comment by ahansen
2011-07-18 22:04:49

He’s right Bila. Faster than you can even imagine….

Comment by CA renter
2011-07-19 04:58:27

Yep, exactly right, eco.

Comment by CarrieAnn
2011-07-18 05:12:19

At least they won’t have to worry about buying a home before it’s “too late’. After the boomer die off, they’ll be plenty.

Maybe housing won’t be the only thing that’s plentiful w/the lower numbers.

Comment by Montana
2011-07-18 06:03:22

boomers will be moving into assisted living in 10-15 years.

Comment by In Colorado
2011-07-18 06:21:23

Just how will they pay for it? With their non existant home equity? Assisted living is very expensive.

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Comment by michael
2011-07-18 07:49:44

i used to work for sunrise senior living…just didn’t see how that business model was gonna pan out.

Comment by Montana
2011-07-18 09:49:22

Right now I think they are using house proceeds…so yeah I don’t know how this is going to work out. About $3000/mo per around here.

Comment by BlueStar
2011-07-18 11:03:57

This morning on C-SPAN there was a discussion on the new Affordable Care Act and how to deal with fraud. I was surprised how many assisted living corporation get busted over and over for billing for deceased clients months after they pass on. Most of the time it’s the family of the deceased who contact the Feds and ask what’s going on. Right now it’s the responsibility of the states to catch most of it and they don’t do a good job of it.

Comment by cactus
2011-07-18 11:50:05

How will they pay for it ? ”

I heard on NPR this am that the president grants work visas to caregivers from other countries

import enough foriegn cargivers and the price may go down supply and demand

now of course if the USA lets the dollar tank that won’t work too well

Comment by In Colorado
2011-07-18 13:00:13

I heard on NPR this am that the president grants work visas to caregivers from other countries

But that’s only a fraction of the total cost.

Comment by michael
2011-07-18 14:06:18

the fraud is when the government pays.

the company i worked for was all private pay…which doesn’t make sense in an inflationary environment coupled with a real estate depression.

Comment by Rental Watch
2011-07-18 13:35:01

Not all of them will move into assisted living.

My 90+ year old grandmother in-law still lives at home by herself…my God, I hope my kids get those longevity genes…

Will there be more demand for assisted living? Absolutely, without question. There will also be more demand for senior living communities. And single-story homes located near services.

I love the play with percentages:

26% of the population in 1990= about 65 million kids
24% of the population in 2010= about 74 million kids
23% of the population in 2050= about 101 million kids (as per the 2008 population projection from the Census)

They make it sound like there are going to be fewer and fewer kids. Not true. Just a different mix of ages in the country, and thus a different mix of need for goods and services. All else equal, makers of arthritis medicine will grow their business at a faster rate than the makers of baby bottles. But demand will grow for both products.

The builders of assisted living facilities will do relatively better than traditional single-family home builders, but both will need to build to meet demand.

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Comment by Bill in Phoenix and Tampa
2011-07-18 14:02:13

The difference in demographics will be even worse in Europe and some Asian countries than in the U.S. That is, the percentage of people older than 65 in Europe and some of the Asian countries will be much higher than those in America.

It’s the end of the white race that is happening fast!

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Comment by Robin
2011-07-18 19:19:20

Or new drugs or stem cells will prolong our existence on this earthly plain - ;)

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Comment by michael
2011-07-18 06:05:57

“After the boomer die off, they’ll be plenty.”

this is exactly why the PTB are doing nothing about illegal immigration.

as the boomers enter their retirement years they spend much less…and in a consumer based economy…you need consumers.

Comment by In Colorado
2011-07-18 06:24:26

I would prefer intelligent, controlled immigration as opposed to having an uneducated rabble that will just strain the social safety net invade us. And strain the net they do. My sister is a bilingual teacher and she says almost all her students live in section 8 housing and receive foodstamps.

Then again, why would the PTB want to import skilled workers when they can export the jobs to their home countries and pay them much lower wages?

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Comment by palmetto
2011-07-18 07:59:24

“Then again, why would the PTB want to import skilled workers when they can export the jobs to their home countries and pay them much lower wages?”

It’s called hedging your bets. Because as bad as it’s gotten here in the US, we’re still nowhere near the level of narco-anarchy (both real and potential) of Mexico and the unrest in Africa, Russia, Middle East, much of Europe like Italy, Greece, etc. That pretty much leaves Asia, which I suspect is having more episodes of unrest than we hear about.

See, here’s the problem: with stability comes prosperity. Much of the planet is really quite unstable, because of population inequities, culture clashes, corporate marauding, etc. This globalization experiment is not working out quite as planned. Probably sooner rather than later it will die a miserable death. When I think of China, I get the image of one of those balloons inflating and inflating until it blows, or a kettle about to boil over. Those are the top are desperately trying to keep a lid on, but it ain’t happening. China WILL have a major “event”. They’re getting very nervous and complaining about the Dalai Lama.

Comment by In Colorado
2011-07-18 09:56:22

An interesting parallel I see between China and 1980’s Mexico was that my upper class Mexican friends didn’t think of Mexico as a third world country, because there were skyscrapers, vacation resorts and traffic jams. As far as they were concerned Mexico was a modern, developed country. Never mind the millions who subsisted on diets of tortillas, beans and soda pop (all subsideized). Those people didn’t exist in their perfect world of mansions in Lomas de Chapultepec or Pedregal de San Angel.

I suspect that the Chinese upper classes have the same attitude, that China is a modern developed country because they have bullet trains and a Disneyland is being built in Shanghai. One big difference though, China doesn’t have a wealthy and larger neighbor onto whom it can dump its excess population.

Comment by Carl Morris
2011-07-18 10:15:30

Aren’t we kind of the same way?

Comment by In Colorado
2011-07-18 10:55:19

“Aren’t we kind of the same way?”

We are definitely headed down that road.

Comment by ecofeco
2011-07-18 16:06:11

Headed? Kind of?

We ARE. Go drive though your local ghetto (if you dare). Get out on the back roads of this nation.


72 million people, almost half the workforce, makes $500 or less per week. While not poverty, it IS poor.

If you are trying to support a family on that, even a small one, NOW it’s poverty.

The poor now out number the middle class. It did not used to be this way, but if you are under 45, you don’t know this.


Comment by oxide
2011-07-18 10:57:34

And the housing that the boomers die out of will need a LOT of fixing up.

I’m wondering if Home Despot would be a good investment right now…very long term.

Comment by ecofeco
2011-07-18 16:08:03

Kind of iffy.

On the one hand, you’re right. On the other, who will have the money?

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Comment by palmetto
2011-07-18 05:16:28

This is another one of those invented “us vs. them” controversies the media loves to perpetuate.

Buchanan recently wrote an article on demography and destiny, and here was a well thought-out response on this issue from one of the readers of his column:

“From: Engineer in Alabama

Pat Buchanan is an extremely intelligent man, a patriot, a careful scholar in an era where mindless sloganeering seems to substitute for research, and his writings on trade policy and foreign policy are some of the best currently out there.

But he is sadly misinformed about demographics.

A healthy society should be pro-child, having a reasonable number of children (however large or small that number: circumstances vary) and dedicating resources to them out of love and to move the society forward.

However, no society in all of recorded history has gone extinct because of not having any children. When times are hard it is natural for people to limit their family sizes; this creates a powerful tendency for wages to rise and at this point fertility rates pick up.

If population increases are forced, such as by importing the surplus from a Third World society, then wages stay low and the fertility rate of the native population will also be held at a sustained low level. But, left to their own devices there are no examples of a people dying out for lack of children. The notion that the elites must import people or encourage high fertility rates because the natives refuse to breed is, typically, pure rot.

For example, Western European countries are not now importing the surplus populations from the Third World because the natives refuse to breed—rather, the importation of excessive numbers of foreign workers in order to keep wages down has resulted in the native population being pressured and limiting their children to numbers that they can support.

The notion that people need to breed like rodents to have a decent retirement is absurd. Would you rather be an average retiree in Switzerland or Bangladesh? Well?

When people have enormous numbers of children, yes there are more workers per retiree—but there are more children per worker, so the number of dependents per worker is not low. In addition, without an open frontier (which is now almost everywhere the case), societies with high sustained fertility rates have limited resources and extreme competition between workers for jobs, and thus rock bottom wages.

So do the math: a worker in Switzerland has two kids, and one grandparent to support, and makes the US equivalent of $80,000 per year in income. A worker in Bangladesh has 0.2 grandparents to support (shared with five others), and six children, and an annual income of maybe $2,000. How does this work out?

We keep hearing about how the Japanese are destined for failure because of their low fertility rate. But with 130 million people jammed into a tiny island, a modest population decline might not be a bad thing. New Zealand seems to be doing pretty well.

It’s not clear how the Japanese trading their current problems with the problems of a Pakistan or Niger would be an advance. The Japanese people face many challenges, and an aging population will indeed cause some strains—but somehow, aging population or not, even with the catastrophe at Fukushima they seem to be doing just fine and most people in high-fertility rate societies would give their left arms to live there.

As always we need to avoid the extremes. It is indeed possible for a society to have so few people that it can’t defend itself. You need a few tens of millions to maintain the diversity of talents and economies of scale that a modern industrial state requires (although very small countries can do this via trade, or incorporation into larger unions), and you need enough “boots on the ground” to maintain your claim to the land. Hypothetically, if the population of Japan were only one million, it would be almost impossible for the Japanese to avoid being colonized by refugees from the rest of Asia.

But today these issues are almost nowhere a factor, and rapid increases in the population result not in strength, but in poverty, weakness, corruption, and collapse.

Why did a few tens of thousands of British soldiers have so little trouble conquering 100 million Indians? Why did a handful of Westerners have so little trouble subduing the hundreds of millions of people in 19th century China?

The weakness of societies with large and impoverished populations relative to countries with smaller and richer populations is not an ivory tower fantasy—it is how the real world works.

Remember that in Europe, the halving of the population by the Black Death resulted not in Europe becoming weaker, but stronger!

Because it freed up resources, and allowed the society to accumulate a surplus that it could re-invest.

Because one well-fed well-trained and well-equipped soldier is more than a match for any number of peasants starving to death in the mud.”

Comment by Blue Skye
2011-07-18 05:48:28

“us vs. them”

Since the author is talking about 2050, it is a case of today’s young people against the yet unborn!

Comment by palmetto
2011-07-18 06:10:00

I was referring to immigration enthusiasts vs. immigration restrictionists, but the article has plenty of spy vs spy crap in it: brown vs white, old vs young, rich vs poor, now vs future, future vs farther future, etc.

Hmm. Maybe we’re in a population bubble. Seriously, populations also can’t grow to the sky, China has proved that. Nature had ways of preventing that, but with “advances” in medicine, there’s a lot of “extend and pretend”. God help me, but I don’t want to die in some nursing home in an atmosphere rich with the scent of urine.

During my visits to the Northeast over the years, the burgeoning deer population and tick borne diseases was a big topic of discussion. I remember one guy saying that the deer population would eventually experiece an “event” that would cull the herd, so to speak, leading to a decline also in the tick population and tick-borne diseases. He explained that this was a normal occurrence in nature. Sounded good, but I don’t think it ever happened.

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Comment by Blue Skye
2011-07-18 07:39:36

Deer populations usually collapse in winters with heavy prolonged snow cover. They starve.

Comment by palmetto
2011-07-18 07:48:57

Which is a problem up in the Northeast, where apparently they haven’t had enough snow to bring about a deer population collapse in decades.

Comment by Steve J
2011-07-18 08:17:01

In Texas the deer are dying from a lack of water and food.

Comment by yensoy
2011-07-18 09:13:55

Rejoinder very well written palmy!

Comment by ecofeco
2011-07-18 16:10:46

Palmy, I’m impressed.

That’s pretty much about right.

Comment by CA renter
2011-07-19 05:06:19

Thanks for sharing that, Palmy. Good read.

Comment by WT Economist
2011-07-18 06:37:54

“And when this generation grows up, it will become a shrinking work force that will have to support the nation’s expanding elderly population — even as the government strains to cut spending for health care, pensions and much else.”

Acutally, it isn’t cutting spending on health care for seniors or pensions. It is the “much else” that is being cut. Particularly those children.

They may be screwed in the public sector, but at least young workers in smaller generations are more valued in the private sector based on supply and demand. The worst off are those at the back end of the baby boom (my generation) or its echo (my children’s generation).

Comment by Blue Skye
2011-07-18 07:46:53

Our generation could afford to take pretty good care of our grandparents and our parents. For us, not so much. Now we are helping our kids. Kind of like painting into a corner.

Comment by aNYCdj
2011-07-18 10:59:13

Could part of that be lots of people built 2 family houses or MIL aprtments just for that purpose?

Our generation could afford to take pretty good care of our grandparents

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Comment by cactus
2011-07-18 11:58:21

The worst off are those at the back end of the baby boom (my generation)”

you got that right

Comment by Ol'Bubba
2011-07-18 13:52:37

What birth years do you consider the back end of the baby boom?

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Comment by Arizona Slim
2011-07-18 14:16:09

I’ve long thought of the so-called Baby Boom generation as two generations. The dividing line? The birth year 1955, which, 18 years later, corresponds with the end of draft eligibility. (Recall that Nixon ended the draft in 1973.)

The people born before 1955 have had very different life experiences, particularly in the coming-of-age years, than those born afterward. (Yours Truly was born in late 1957.)

Comment by ecofeco
2011-07-18 16:13:07

Yep cactus. The worst of both worlds.

Get screwed by it and get blamed for it.

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Comment by Big V
2011-07-18 06:47:28

Kind of hard to have kids when you have to pay $20k just for the delivery, your job only pays $15/hr, and they take 12% of your income to pay for a Social Security program that will never give you any benefits.

Comment by In Colorado
2011-07-18 08:01:31

Kind of hard to have kids when you have to pay $20k just for the delivery

I remember when I first came back to the US from Mexico (early 80’s). One day I was having my hair cut and the gal cutting my hair was so pregnant she was ready to pop. In chatting with her while she cut my hair I found out the she was going to give birth at home with a midwife. The reason? She and her man didn’t have health insurance.

Of course the uninsured can simply show up at the ER once they go into labor and then not pay the bill. I suspect that this is how most anchor babies are delivered.

Comment by Steve J
2011-07-18 08:19:21

20+ a day are born at Parkland Hospital in Dallas.

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Comment by X-GSfixr
2011-07-18 10:51:17

Just 20 plus?

Comment by darrell_in_phoenix
2011-07-18 10:37:03

Most are born on the state government dime.

Here is a clip from Arizona Republic:
“Arizona Department of Health Services statistics show there were 92,616 births in Arizona for 2009. From October 2008 to September 2009, 52,722 babies were born to AHCCCS clients.

Of the AHCCCS births, 27 percent, or 14,368, were categorized under Federal Emergency Services, which is a federal program for documented and undocumented immigrants who would be eligible for Medicaid if not for their immigrant status.”

AHCCCS is Arizona Health Care Cost Control and Containment System. It is a combined Medicare and Medicaid system.

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Comment by In Colorado
2011-07-18 10:57:02

And there you have it.

Comment by aNYCdj
2011-07-18 11:07:06

The only FAIR way is to deport the parents..and leave the baby here….since being born here makes them an American

OR door #2….take you illegal azz home and when your child reaches 18 have them come to America declare citizenship and sponsor you back in.

Comment by Robin
2011-07-18 19:29:25

Isn’t SS something like 7.75% with a company match in an equal amount?

Comment by Professor Bear
2011-07-18 06:52:52

Import children from abroad.

Comment by oxide
2011-07-18 07:35:41

Import children to do what, PBear? To make $500/week? Even if you taxed them for ALL of their income, it wouldn’t be enough to pay for the aging boomer’s healthcare.

This is a globalization issue.

Comment by palmetto
2011-07-18 07:47:11

“This is a globalization issue.”

Exactly. Race to the bottom. That’s what globalization is.
Worst. Idea. Ever.

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Comment by CA renter
2011-07-19 05:09:33

+ a million!

Comment by palmetto
2011-07-18 07:50:13

BTW, I think PB was kidding. OTOH, it’s not like that hasn’t been happening, though.

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Comment by Professor Bear
2011-07-18 08:16:48

“Import children to do what, PBear?”

To plug up the demographic void left by the combination of a post-Baby-Boom decline in the share of the U.S. population in the fertile years coupled with a recession-led drop in the birth rate to 100-year lows. We are currently generating a Birth Dearth which can only be made up by immigration, as twenty years from now, it will be impossible to turn back the clock and breed more U.S.-born children.

Once the people from other places come here, the labor market will sort out who does what jobs for what pay…

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Comment by Professor Bear
2011-07-18 08:21:34

P.S. RE “Birth Dearth”: Saw it up close and personal in my wife’s family at a reunion last week, which currently has the longest gap between new babies since we collectively entered our child-bearing years seventeen years ago. The youngest, most potentially fecund couple in the family is currently a two-worker family; they need two incomes in order to pay off the mortgage on the high-priced condo they bought, thanks to the incentive of the $8K new homebuyer tax credit.

Comment by Steve J
2011-07-18 08:21:42

Why is having a steady state population bad?

Is it like the housing industry in Florida? Everything is geared towards growth?

Comment by whyoung
2011-07-18 08:37:24

“Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.”- Edward Abbey

Comment by Elanor
2011-07-18 09:15:16

“Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.”- Edward Abbey

That is a GREAT quote! If only my (and pretty much every) corporate masters believed it!

Comment by sleepless_near_seattle
2011-07-18 10:41:35

“…Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You’re a plague and we are the cure.”

-Agent Smith, The Matrix, 1999

Comment by The_Overdog
2011-07-18 14:40:57

Also ants. And deer, according to Smith’s description.

Comment by In Colorado
2011-07-18 08:05:34

“Import children from abroad.”

Judging by the number of kids in bilingual ed (per my sister) we’ve been doing that for quite a while. The last time I was in SoCal I was amused to see that the billboards on buses in Orange County were in Spanish, advertising products that would only appeal to a hispanic market, like Spanish Language soap operas.

But as oxide said, these kids won’t be adding much to the system and will probably grow up on welfare.

Comment by Professor Bear
2011-07-18 08:24:59

“But as oxide said, these kids won’t be adding much to the system and will probably grow up on welfare.”

This is not hard to fix with a sane immigration policy. You have to tilt the playing field to make it relatively easy for workers with good qualifications to come in, and difficult for workers with little to offer to come in.

We’re not there yet, but there is no reason we couldn’t get there. (Actually, it would be easier to achieve this with more Republican control, as Democrats seem clueless when it comes to immigration policy…)

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Comment by Carl Morris
2011-07-18 09:09:37

We’re not there yet, but there is no reason we couldn’t get there. (Actually, it would be easier to achieve this with more Republican control, as Democrats seem clueless when it comes to immigration policy…)

I like your attempt at balance, but I can’t agree with you. Looking at what they do rather than what they say, I haven’t seen anything immigration-related from the Republicans that I like. In practice their goal seems to be to drive wages for gardeners and nannies as low as possible, and in the process screw J6P. While using J’s hot button issues to convince him to continue to vote for them…with the full cooperation of the Ds.

I have not seen a serious proposal from the Rs along the lines that you are talking about but perhaps I haven’t been paying enough attention.

Comment by Big V
2011-07-18 09:13:19

We have been importing high-skilled workers from Chindia like mad, PB.

Comment by In Colorado
2011-07-18 10:00:55

H1-Bs are in theory supposed to be “temporary”.

As for unskilled illegals, the chamber of commerce loves ‘em because the social costs are dumped on the middle class.

Comment by X-GSfixr
2011-07-18 10:39:51

Interesting tidbit from my little brother in the USBP.

Fully half of their arrests are of guys that already have a US criminal record. Usually DUI or domestic violence (AKA “The Mexican National Past Times”).

Totally predictable. 16-25 year old, unsupervised males with no family to keep them in line, and nothing to do after work except hang around and drink beer.

And the carnage continues……locally last week, a mom and her teenage daughter were killed by an 18 year old drunk illegal, driving the wrong way on the Interstate.

Don’t know if anyone is keeping stats on this. But if not, someone should be……hope the families will be proud that their loved ones were sacrificed upon the alter of cheap, disposable Labor for the business class.

Comment by oxide
2011-07-18 13:35:56

In Colorado,

If there are truly that many jobs out there, kids would flock to the computer science major (happened in the 90’s), and in four years you’d have all the qualified workers you’d want. You wouldn’t need H1-B’s.

I could see needing H1-B’s for maybe a couple years until e American kids got training, but it’s been going on for a decade. There’s a snowjob and a Congressional payoff in there somewhere, there has to be.

Temporary my azz. Every H1-B I’ve seen arrives in the US on a Monday and starts babymaking on Monday night.

Comment by AV0CAD0
2011-07-18 10:28:20

Spanish Language soap operas — Muy bonitas!!

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Comment by Arizona Slim
2011-07-18 10:40:58

As compared to American soap operas, Spanish language soap operas have much more drama per episode. It’s as if every little thing is a major crisis.

Comment by In Colorado
2011-07-18 11:00:39

Unlike their US counterparts, the are not never ending, so they have a limited amount of time to tell the story. I seem to recall that they about last 1-2 years.

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2011-07-18 11:23:30

I seem to recall that they about last 1-2 years.

The expensively produced “novelas” last about 8 months here and Brazil’s are dubbed in Spanish for much of Latin America.

Comment by measton
2011-07-18 08:49:54

This is actually good because there won’t be any jobs for them so they can take care of the elderly.

Comment by darrell_in_phoenix
2011-07-18 09:39:56

To see the effects of an aging and declining population, simply look at Japan and it’s lost 2-decades and counting.

Modern economics is based on constant growth… Growth of the population, growth of economic activity, growth of debt.

Stop the growth of the population and you throw a spanner wrench into the machenery of the modern economy.

Comment by alpha-sloth
2011-07-18 10:41:12

Note, though, that our overall population is not declining, nor predicted to decline, it’s just aging due to the combination of people living longer and a declining birth rate.

So the population is still growing, it’s just living longer and having fewer kids. At some point this may cause a shrinking of the population, but we’re not near that point yet.

from the article
“Depending on future rates of immigration, the U.S. population is estimated to continue growing through at least 2050. In a hypothetical situation in which all immigration — both legal and illegal — immediately stopped, the U.S. could lose population beginning in 2048, according to the latest census projections”

Comment by In Colorado
2011-07-18 11:06:00

Like I said the other day, what we call “capitalism” is dependent on never ending exponential growth in a finite world. The very concept of “sustainable” is anathema to most captains of industry, something to be confined to the granola munching, hippie crowd.

Comment by DB_in_AZ
2011-07-18 13:28:16

I have been saying this for years. Our economy is a pyramid scheme. The only way this will ever change is for someone to figure out (and start teaching in business school) a sustainable economy that doesn’t require exponential growth to maintain it. And our government is the same due to entitlement programs.

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Comment by oxide
2011-07-18 13:40:31

Sustainable economies have been figured out pretty well. The problem is that nobody is satisfied with the low profits that come with it.

Tragedy of the Commons…

Comment by Arizona Slim
2011-07-18 10:37:10

Here in Tucson, this story just hit the papers.

The number of children is indeed on the decline. As a result, local public schools are closing, including one that’s just a mile from here.

As for the twentysomethings? Their numbers are holding steady. I would attribute this to the presence of the University of Arizona’s main campus and Davis Monthan Air Force Base. Lotta twentysomethings in those two places.

People in their thirties and forties? Numbers in decline, which I would attribute to the lack of good-paying jobs here. It’s fun to be a barista after you’ve graduated from the UA and don’t know what to do next. It’s not so much fun when you’re 33.

And now, the over-50s. We’re in a population explosion! I’m part of the problem! (I’m 53.)

Comment by In Colorado
2011-07-18 11:08:37

And now, the over-50s. We’re in a population explosion! I’m part of the problem!

As am I! We’re in a damned if you, damned if you don’t situation.

If we keep working into our 70’s and beyond we’re just hogging the jobs the youngsters need. I f we retire and collect social security (and try to live off the interest on our meager savings) then we become a burden on the young.

Comment by Elanor
2011-07-18 11:38:38

And now, with the melting of the polar ice caps, putting us out on an ice floe to die isn’t even an option. ;)

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Comment by Happy2bHeard
2011-07-18 15:26:23

Bingo! I intend to hang onto my job as long as I can.

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Comment by ecofeco
2011-07-18 17:06:20

Like I said above, the worst of both world.

Get screwed by the front end boomers and get blamed for by the Gen X & Y.

My group of friends had a saying for it back in the 1980s: “Eff you X’er, I ain’t no boomer!”

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Comment by BKKObserver
2011-07-18 19:01:51

I think the real dividing line is if you graduated college up to about ‘74 you were ok– then the really impact of the oil embargo really hit yet. After that, the economy was terrible for someone starting out. I laugh when I see stories about new graduates being disappointed because they can’t get jobs in their fields. We just assumed we would have cruddy jobs until we lucked into something or went back and became an accountant. It seems to me that if you start out in a good economy, you get enough $$ behind you in your twenties to weather future storms more easily. Otherwise you’re playing catchup.

Comment by polly
2011-07-18 04:22:12

There was a report on NPR yesterday that Arizona borrowed money in 2007 to basically build a space port for Richard Branson. The report said that there is supposed to be other commercial space activity, but that Virgin Gallactic seems to be the only business with any sort of commitment to use it and their plans are minimal.

Is this actually what happened? What the heck?

Report was all about how lots of jobs were promised for Arizona, but pretty much all the good jobs went to out of state contractors and they think there might be a few maintenance jobs for Arizonans (janitors, etc.) but not much else.

Have fun paying off those bonds, boys and girls.

Comment by CA renter
2011-07-18 04:36:50

Wow, you’re right (but it’s in New Mexico?)…

The $198m state-funded construction project for Spaceport America is slated for completion late next year. The spaceport’s 10,000-foot (3,048 meter) runway is expected to be finished next summer, and its terminal and hangar should be ready for tenants in December 2010.

State officials hope the spaceport will provide a big economic boost to New Mexico and provide long-term jobs in science, math, and high tech industries.

Virgin Galactic, meanwhile, is investing about $250m into the deal and will become the spaceport’s principal tenant.


It looks like taxpayers are footing about 44% of the bill, but I wonder if Branson will be giving them 44% of the profits (if it ever becomes profitable).

Comment by oxide
2011-07-18 05:42:56

The $198m state-funded construction project

Explain to me why the state needs to fund the capital costs of what is essentially a high-end toy. It has no other purpose than to provide a vehicle (literally) for the filthy rich to show off to each other.

Comment by In Colorado
2011-07-18 06:29:30

Repeat after me oxide:

Welfare for the poor: bad!
Welfare for the rich: good!

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Comment by denquiry
2011-07-18 07:31:36

Welfare (TARP,QE1,QE2, financial derivatives) for the rich: good!

Comment by aNYCdj
2011-07-18 11:09:02

Cutting my credit card interest rate to ZERO….BAD, Awful, a disgusting way to spend the money

Comment by In Colorado
2011-07-18 11:38:01

DJ, when are you going to understand that we have a government of, by and for the very rich?

Of course they won’t forgive your debt nor charge you non usurous interest rates. You’re “little people” and they will milk you dry. It doesn’t matter that the interest you pay them each year is only in the 100’s, because there 70 million of you, and it adds up very profitably for BofA, Citibank, Wells Fargo, Chase and Capital One. Your debt is way too small to make a BK worthwhile and they know it, just as they know you will never be able to pay off your credit card(s).

Comment by aNYCdj
2011-07-18 13:50:13

I can hope for that “Change” can’t I?????

Comment by ecofeco
2011-07-18 17:07:49

You’ll have better chance begging for it on the street corner.

More profitable too!

Comment by CrackerJim
2011-07-18 07:11:59

Sports stadiums have been utilizing this financing (or taxpayer giveaway) concept for decades. Why not spaceports?

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Comment by oxide
2011-07-18 07:44:45

Sports stadiums could at least pretend to be for the public good — you know, take Johnny to the ball game and he’ll be a good law-abiding productive citizen of society mom apple pie flag etc.

What does this spaceport do for society? Johnny goes to see the launch and dreams of going to the moon — oh wait, been there, done that, found that the moon is for the most part a useless rock.

Then again, the going rate for a ticket to a Washington Nationals game is $75. What a crock.

Comment by In Colorado
2011-07-18 08:11:06

Then again, the going rate for a ticket to a Washington Nationals game is $75. What a crock.

I remember when I could get good tickets watch the Padres play for about $15.

Professional sports is one of those “non essential” expenses that has been dropped from my inflation ravaged budget. If I ever feel I need to watch a millionaire swing a bat and strike out, I can watch it on TV.

Comment by X-GSfixr
2011-07-18 10:49:33

It’s the latest vision of the “future”.

Government is running out of money for space operations. The theory is that the leaner, meaner, unencumbered by bureaucracy, free-enterprise system will be one of the “growth industries of the future”. It’s the latest thing among the state/local development promotion class.

Of course, this requires that government step up to the plate, and provide the infrastructure for private enterprise to build upon. And everybody thinks their location is “uniquely suited” for being a space port, so you have 50 different cities building 10 times as much infrastructure than can actually be used in any forseable future.

Which of course, means that the free enterprise operators will be able to troll for free/subsidized facilities, tax breaks, free workforce training, etc. etc.

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Comment by CA renter
2011-07-18 05:03:39

Found this site for Virgin Galactic. Watch the video to see how these aircraft are supposed to re-enter the atmosphere. Personally there is not enough money in the world to get me on one of those, but I’m sure rich adrenaline-junkies would be willing to pay up.


They are working with scaled composites in this video, but I’m wondering why all this work is being done in Mojave (California) after NM taxpayers put up all that money.

Comment by CharlieTango
2011-07-18 05:42:20

Burt Rutan has worked out of Mojave since 1982, he has a small team why should he move to New Mexico?

Comment by Rancher
2011-07-18 07:34:10

He just retired.

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Comment by CharlieTango
2011-07-18 09:33:26

burt retired? he was a big influence on me, i never built one of his designs but they gave me confidence that I could build an airplane.

i currently fly a little composite but its a tractor

Comment by Wizard of OZ
2011-07-18 19:57:30

KR2 by chance..!!

Comment by Big V
2011-07-18 06:53:09

I don’t think there are enough adrenaline junkies with enough money to make that business plan viable.

Comment by michael
2011-07-18 06:13:14


Comment by liz pendens
2011-07-18 06:55:36

Yeah, dude. We have spaceports now. You can have a spaceport in a jobless depression nowadays.

Comment by In Colorado
2011-07-18 08:19:48

When Denver International was built they bought enough land to accomodate a “spaceport” in the future.

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Comment by yensoy
2011-07-18 09:17:42

Putting someone into space is extremely energy intensive, and with the current rocket technology, extremely polluting. Civilian space travel is a useless exercise for now and should be shelved for the next 100 years till the world collectively gets the rest of its sheet together, including population control, stabilizing global warming, groundwater depletion, sustainable use of fertilizer and pesticides etc etc.

Comment by Arizona Slim
2011-07-18 10:42:43

When Denver International was built they bought enough land to accomodate a “spaceport” in the future.

So THAT’S what all that vacant land east of the airport’s for.

Comment by X-GSfixr
2011-07-18 10:58:42

Not meaning to rain on the parade, but you just listed all the reasons why the Apollo Program was terminated early. So we could fix all our earth bound problems.

So interplanetary exploration is DOA. And our Earth bound problems are worse.

The US advantage in technological development started to go away around 1970. Which, BTW, coincided with the termination of the Moon program and the Boeing SST, and the rise of spending to eliminate pollution and poverty.

Gee, what a coincidence.

Comment by In Colorado
2011-07-18 11:13:31

So THAT’S what all that vacant land east of the airport’s for.

IIRC DIA is bigger than the city of San Francisco.

Actually, I believe that by “spaceport” they were talking about those suborbital airliners that could fly from the US to Tokyo in less than two hours.

Of course we know that won’t happen. I guess it was a cool concept when shown at some Paris Airshow.

Comment by polly
2011-07-18 12:14:00

There is interplantetary exploration, but it is done without people along for the ride. It is a good way to start and for the places with very extreme conditions, it may be the only way to do it at all.

I love the Exploring Space lecture series at the Air and Space museum each spring. They are available on-line.

Comment by Arizona Slim
2011-07-18 13:25:12

There is interplantetary exploration, but it is done without people along for the ride. It is a good way to start and for the places with very extreme conditions, it may be the only way to do it at all.

Case in point: The Phoenix Mars Mission. Whose mission control center is located less than a mile away from the Arizona Slim Ranch.

Comment by X-GSfixr
2011-07-18 16:38:44

Technical accomplishments aside, which is more inspiring?:

-Astronauts unfurling the flag on the moon.

-Nerds in an office, getting excited about the performance of their oversized R/C monster truck. :)

Comment by polly
2011-07-18 19:56:40

Yeah, the flag and the foot prints and the other stuff is inspiring. But the monster R/C trucks are kind of cool too, and since you can send them a lot more places, they can get really cool pictures.

Comment by In Colorado
2011-07-18 06:27:40

“Report was all about how lots of jobs were promised for Arizona”

Isn’t that always the case when corporations extend their hands for corporate welfare? Does it EVER pan out?

Comment by polly
2011-07-18 07:34:55

Well, you could put a clause in the bonds converting the person responsible for payment to the private “beneficiary” if the jobs don’t pan out, but I’ve never seen it drafted that way. Conditional clauses in bonds are tricky to write, but not impossible. And there is a good chance it would screw areound with the tax treatment.

Comment by oxide
2011-07-18 07:47:14

Nope. Although, I did read of one state (Indiana or Ohio), where a company promised jobs and took the tax breaks. Then they only created some of the jobs they said they would create. The state slapped them with a tax bill for the uncreated jobs.

THAT’s what we need more of — lots more of. Of course, then the company would throw a hissy and say the state is “unfriendly to business” anyway.

Comment by polly
2011-07-18 08:12:56

Easier to draft with a plain old ordinary tax break than with bond financing. But good for them for sticking to it. Next stop the court room where the company will argue that “retained” jobs are the same as “created” jobs.

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Comment by X-GSfixr
2011-07-18 11:00:42

And then they borrow as much money as they can against the assets, pocket the cash, move their tooling to Mexico or China, then file Chapter 11.

Comment by ecofeco
2011-07-18 17:12:31

Is this a great country or what?!

Comment by wmbz
2011-07-18 04:34:00

Way OT. How does one bind their hands and feet before they hang themselves?

Son, Girlfriend of CEO Die After Incidents at Same Mansion
July 18, 2011 | Associated Press

San Diego – The 6-year-old son of a pharmaceutical company executive died Sunday, almost a week after falling down the stairs at his father’s historic mansion — the same house where his father’s girlfriend was found dead hanging nude from a balcony two days later, the boy’s parents said.

Max Shacknai died at Rady’s Children’s Hospital in San Diego, Medicis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. chairman and chief executive Jonah Shacknai said in a statement along with ex-wife Dina Romano, the boy’s mother.

“With great sadness, Dina and I convey the tragic passing of our beloved son, Max (affectionately known as Maxie),” the statement issued through Medicis Pharmaceuticals said. “Despite heroic efforts on the part of paramedics and hospital staff, he was unable to recover from the injuries suffered early last week. His loving, kind and vibrant spirit will be forever in our hearts and those whom he touched every day.”

On Monday, Max fell down the stairs at the historic Spreckels mansion in Coronado in what police called a tragic accident. He was not breathing and did not have a pulse when paramedics found him.

On Wednesday, officials said Shacknai’s 32-year-old girlfriend, Rebecca Nalepa, was found dead hanging nude from a balcony at the mansion, her hands and feet bound. Shacknai’s brother, Adam, who was staying in the mansion guesthouse, called to report Nalepa appeared to be dead, police said. Jonah Shacknai was not at home.

Sheriff’s Capt. Tim Curran has called the death “very bizarre.”

Sheriff’s investigators have not established any connection between the two deaths, and have not determined if Nalepa was a crime victim and have made no arrests. They said they have not ruled out suicide.

The 27-room Spreckels mansion was built in 1908 in the wealthy seaside suburb of about 24,000 people on San Diego Bay. It is named for its original owner John D. Spreckels, who also owned the majestic Hotel del Coronado and two local newspapers, the San Diego Union and San Diego Tribune.

Coronado had just one homicide last year, and the police department asked the sheriff’s department to help with the investigation.

Jonah Shacknai, 54, founded Medicis, based in Scottsdale, Arizona, and has been chairman and CEO since 1988. The company’s products include acne treatments Solodyn and Ziana and facial wrinkle treatment Restylane.

Comment by CA renter
2011-07-18 05:06:06

That’s such a sad story. :(

Comment by CA renter
2011-07-18 05:07:42

Forgot to add…yeah, kinda hard to consider the girlfriend’s death as anything but homicide. I wonder if her ex-husband might be involved, as she divorced him only last December, which was after she moved in with the CEO (from what I’ve seen about the story).

Comment by Professor Bear
2011-07-18 07:08:47

Both members of the couple would naturally fall under suspicion, but other factors could be at play: e.g. if the mansion is not heavily guarded, a serial killer could stalk victims on the premises.

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Comment by Professor Bear
2011-07-18 07:10:05

P.S. I doubt the theory that the boy’s death was accidental and the girlfriend’s was a suicide; it just seems too (subjectively) improbable for the timing to be coincidental.

Comment by Steve J
2011-07-18 08:26:54

Probably the same serial killer that got Jon-Benet Ramses.

Comment by Arizona Slim
2011-07-18 10:44:32

Both members of the couple would naturally fall under suspicion, but other factors could be at play: e.g. if the mansion is not heavily guarded, a serial killer could stalk victims on the premises.

I just finished reading yet another true crime book. (Yeah, I know. Bad habit. But I just can’t stop.)

Any-hoo, book said that, in a murder investigation, you work outward from those who are closest to the victim.

Comment by Professor Bear
2011-07-18 06:55:13

Saw that. The local paper (S-D Union Tribune) dismisses the boy’s death as unrelated to the hanging, but doesn’t the timing seem just slightly suspicious? I mean, how many people have died by falling from an upper floor of the mansion since it was first built? And how many six-year-old-boys ever die in this manner?

Comment by Big V
2011-07-18 07:18:20

Not enough information to say they’re unrelated.

Comment by Big V
2011-07-18 07:00:42

Serial killer.

Comment by Blue Skye
2011-07-18 07:49:56

Maybe the gf was supposed to be watching the boy, and didn’t perform up to expectations.

Comment by X-GSfixr
2011-07-18 11:04:17

Not a Serial killer.

She was hung, not found suffocated with her face in a bowl of corn flakes.

(couldn’t resist….)

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Comment by ecofeco
2011-07-18 17:14:24

Oh there’s obviously a LOT more going on here than anyone is telling.

My, my.

Comment by wmbz
2011-07-18 05:03:52

Au&Ag must be a bubble! LOL!

Comment by Professor Bear
2011-07-18 06:56:49

Either that, or Uncle Buck is in critical condition, thanks to the unfinished game of debt ceiling chicken underway.

Comment by wmbz
2011-07-18 07:41:17

“Either that, or Uncle Buck is in critical condition”

Nah, we’ll just print more.

Comment by Blue Skye
2011-07-18 07:54:10

I suspect that serious money is not too worried today about the buck or our theatre in DC. Maybe the more imminent crackup of the Euro scheme?

Comment by CharlieTango
2011-07-18 05:47:09

A respectful moment (rare these days)

The fallen Betty Ford was returning to Grand Rapids for the last time. Her remains were abord a beautiful United States Presidential airplane painted blue and white. The airport was closed to all other traffic for 30 minutes. Airliners waited patientally on the ground and some in a hold over the GRR VOR. As Ms. Ford’s plane, SAM 324, landed, they were cleared to taxi all the way to the end, in front of a thousand people. The tower frequency was absolutely silent.

One unknown airline pilot, in a low, respectful voice, said, “Rest in peace, Mrs. Ford.”

After a short pause and in a slow, measured response, the Presidential plane’s pilot identified himself:

“SAM 324.”

Comment by Arizona Slim
2011-07-18 10:46:04

Absolutely. RIP, Mrs. Ford.

Comment by howiewowie
2011-07-18 18:59:12

Name of the airport in Grand Rapids?

Gerald R. Ford International Airport. That’s all you need to know about that.

Comment by jeff saturday
2011-07-18 05:55:42

Why the Drop in Foreclosures is Not Good News

By JENNIFER DEPAUL, The Fiscal Times
July 14, 2011

Prices won’t bottom out until the first quarter of 2012, says Celia Chen, an economist with Moody’s Analytics. She estimates the market still needs to work through 1.9 million distressed properties.

“We are still searching for the bottom in housing,” says Anika Kahn, an economist at Wells Fargo. “We’re in the middle of home buying season and for it to be limping along is definitely not the most encouraging progress.”

The decline in foreclosures comes as the Obama administration is ramping up efforts to resuscitate the battered housing market. In a Twitter town hall event last week, president Obama said housing remained the “most stubborn” problem facing the country. There hasn’t been a clear list of policy ideas, but the administration has floated a proposal to require taxpayer-owned mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to relax their rules for loans to investors, among other measures

http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Articles/2011/07/14/Why-the-Drop-in-Foreclosures-is-Not-Good-News.aspx - 122k -

Comment by palmetto
2011-07-18 06:17:48

“the administration has floated a proposal to require taxpayer-owned mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to relax their rules for loans to investors, among other measures”

Jeebus. These geniuses just keep rolling around in their own feces.

Comment by Professor Bear
2011-07-18 07:06:20

“…to relax their rules for loans to investors…”

Wasn’t too many investors and too few end users one of the factors that got us into this bubble?

Comment by oxide
2011-07-18 07:51:46

require taxpayer-owned mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to relax their rules for loans to investors

While at the same time, the same Administration is pending a regulation that would establish a gold standard mortgage of 20% down 28% rule.

So the investor selling the loan gets special treatment while the little guy who actually wants the house gets the special joshua tree treatment.

What a country.

Comment by measton
2011-07-18 09:49:38

These geniuses just keep rolling around in their own feces.

No they keep rolling us in feces and then telling us it’s an herbal bath that we will be forced to pay for.

Comment by CA renter
2011-07-19 05:24:15


I really can’t stand all this B.S. After all these years, and still…nobody can cop to the fact that there was a HOUSING BUBBLE!

Nope, they think that “falling prices” is the problem. Apparently, having prices rise without end — and without any corresponding rise in wages — is “good for our economy.”

The idiocy never stops. :(

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Comment by rms
2011-07-18 11:30:16

“require taxpayer-owned mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to relax their rules for loans to investors”

Private-Public partnership - god’s children always win, and they do it with public funds.

Comment by Professor Bear
2011-07-18 07:05:12

“Prices won’t bottom out until the first quarter of 2012, says Celia Chen, an economist with Moody’s Analytics.”

At least a few MSM-favored serial bottom callers are now stretching their time horizons out to 2015 and beyond; get with the program, Celia!

Comment by jeff saturday
2011-07-18 07:32:20

” get with the program, Celia!”

Cecilia, you’re breaking my heart
You’re shaking my confidence daily
Oh, Cecilia, I’m down on my knees
I’m begging you please get on board
Get on board

Seaching loans in the afternoon with Cecilia
Up in my boardroom (Seaching loans)
I got up to state my case
I said 2015
Someone’s taken my place

Cecilia, you’re breaking my heart
You’re shaking my confidence daily
Oh, Cecilia, I’m down on my knees
I’m begging you please no mo loans
No mo loans

Jubilation, there loaning again,
I fall on the floor and I’m laughing,
Jubilation, she there loaning again,
I fall on the floor and I’m laughing

Comment by Steve J
2011-07-18 12:41:51
Comment by ecofeco
2011-07-18 17:22:18

Bee zarre.

Good find.

Comment by jeff saturday
2011-07-18 06:21:02

“There hasn’t been a clear list of policy ideas, but the administration has floated a proposal to require taxpayer-owned mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to relax their rules for loans to investors, among other measures”

One Hit Wonders Lyrics

Fannie Goes To Hollywood

Relax Lyrics

Oh oh

Relax don’t do it
When you want to go to it
Relax don’t do it
Who you gonna loan
Relax don’t do it
Why we gotta go through it
Relax don’t do it
Who you gonna loan


But shoot it in the right direction
Make making it your intention-ooh yeah
Live those dreams
Scheme those schemes
Got to hit me
Hit me
Hit me with those sub-prime loans


I’m loaning
I’m loaning-yeah

Relax don’t do it
Why we gotta go through it
Relax don’t do it
Who you gonna loan
Who you gonna loan
Who you gonna loan



Get it up
The scene of loan
Oh feel it

Higher higher


Comment by Steve J
2011-07-18 08:31:26

Frankie’s first 3 singles reached #1 even though Relax was banned by the BBC.

Comment by darrell_in_phoenix
2011-07-18 10:38:32

Two Tribes was the much better song of the 2 that got US airplay.

Comment by X-GSfixr
2011-07-18 11:06:04

“I’m too sexy for my mortgage”

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Comment by oxide
2011-07-18 08:48:57

The 580 is FICO, right?

Comment by jeff saturday
2011-07-18 08:52:45

“The 580 is FICO, right?” :) right.

I guess it should have been 529 to keep it realistic.

Comment by 2banana
2011-07-18 06:32:03

Get Ready for a 70% Marginal Tax Rate

President Obama has been using the debt-ceiling debate and bipartisan calls for deficit reduction to demand higher taxes. With unemployment stuck at 9.2% and a vigorous economic “recovery” appearing more and more elusive, his timing couldn’t be worse.

Two problems arise when marginal tax rates are raised. First, as college students learn in Econ 101, higher marginal rates cause real economic harm. The combined marginal rate from all taxes is a vital metric, since it heavily influences incentives in the economy—workers and employers, savers and investors base decisions on after-tax returns. Thus tax rates need to be kept as low as possible, on the broadest possible base, consistent with financing necessary government spending.

Second, as tax rates rise, the tax base shrinks and ultimately, as Art Laffer has long argued, tax rates can become so prohibitive that raising them further reduces revenue—not to mention damaging the economy. That is where U.S. tax rates are headed if we do not control spending soon.

The current top federal rate of 35% is scheduled to rise to 39.6% in 2013 (plus one-to-two points from the phase-out of itemized deductions for singles making above $200,000 and couples earning above $250,000). The payroll tax is 12.4% for Social Security (capped at $106,000), and 2.9% for Medicare (no income cap). While the payroll tax is theoretically split between employers and employees, the employers’ share is ultimately shifted to workers in the form of lower wages.

But there are also state income taxes that need to be kept in mind. They contribute to the burden. The top state personal rate in California, for example, is now about 10.5%. Thus the marginal tax rate paid on wages combining all these taxes is 44.1%. (This is a net figure because state income taxes paid are deducted from federal income.)

Comment by WT Economist
2011-07-18 06:40:22

Hey Boskin, how about all the prosperity generated by the lower marginal tax rates you endorsed over all the years?

It is one thing for me to make an argument about marginal rates. But people like this ought to be shunned. How is he getting in the newspaper? Is he paying for the space?

Comment by oxide
2011-07-18 15:51:19

This is the WSJ. Murdock is probably paying HIM.

Comment by Big V
2011-07-18 07:09:10

Do they learn in Econ 101 that we need tariffs? Everyone else knows this.

Comment by Realtors Are Liars
2011-07-18 07:20:02

And what we know for certain is that Banana will never earn enough to pay fed income taxes.

Comment by Ol'Bubba
2011-07-18 14:23:22

Was this ad hominem post necessary or called for?

Comment by Left Ohio
2011-07-18 07:27:25

70% tax rates? In the words of the Decider: “bring it on!

If the 1%er pigmen don’t like doing business in a country with a reasonably functional court system to enforce contract law and a first-world level of infrastructure, they can move to libertarian utopia of Somalia and enjoy their paradise governed by the Invisible Hand.

Comment by michael
2011-07-18 07:45:27

AK-47s are not invisible…much less a hand.

Comment by 2banana
2011-07-18 07:54:39

Why is it that anyone who wants smaller government and less taxes = Somalia????

How about spending levels/taxes rolled back to the 20 years? 40 years? 60 years?

Pretty sure we didn’t have Somalia in America in the 1950s…

We did have a balanced budget.

Comment by alpha-sloth
2011-07-18 08:12:40

We also had top marginal tax rates of 91 to 92% in the glorious, prosperous, wholesome 1950s.

How does Laffer explain that?

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Comment by polly
2011-07-18 08:24:00

If higher marginal rates mean that the high earners decide to stop working so much, that will free up demand for other workers (who are willing to work at the wages they will earn after taxes) to fulfill. Sounds like a great idea to me. Less incentive for the “winners” in the winner take all society to take all of it.

I for one would be delighted if all the bank CEOs decided to retire and let someone else take over their jobs without any compensation incentives in place to create economy destroying bubbles.

Comment by Doghouse Riley
2011-07-18 08:55:19

Back when we had marginal tax rates of 90%, we also had federal spending at 17% of GDP.

I’d take a package deal for both of those in a heartbeat. How about you?

Comment by michael
2011-07-18 09:00:09

look at effective rates…not marginal rates.

the highest tax rate in 1979 was 70%.

the highest tax rate in 2007 was 35%.

top 10% effective rate in 1979 was 29.6%

top 10% effective rate in 2007 was 26.7%

huge difference in marginal rates yet not that much in effective rates.

i am sure the same would be true for the 1950s 90% marginal rates. the data i found did not go back that far.

unless of course you are advocating 92% effective tax rates…if so…then you are just nuts.

with all due respect.

Comment by Montana
2011-07-18 09:59:27

they had awesome tax shelters in the 1950s too.

Comment by alpha-sloth
2011-07-18 10:10:54

“Back when we had marginal tax rates of 90%, we also had federal spending at 17% of GDP. ”

No it wasn’t. It was never below 20% in the 50s, and was mostly above 25%, near 30%. Where are you getting your numbers?

Comment by alpha-sloth
2011-07-18 10:21:46

“huge difference in marginal rates yet not that much in effective rates.”

Good! Then there should be no objections to raising the top marginal rates, since it will only result in the rich paying a few points more in taxes- surely a small amount that no sane person would deny is reasonable and affordable, at a time when their country needs it to pay down its debt, and everyone else is being called on to make sacrifices to do so.

To oppose such a thing would be nuts, no?

With all due respect.

Comment by X-GSfixr
2011-07-18 11:09:35

“……higher marginal rates mean that the high earners decide to stop working so much…..”

+1…….you could make the case that the reason our economy is so screwed up is that these jackholes had an incentive to “work too much”.

Comment by oxide
2011-07-18 09:01:26

I’m pretty sure we didn’t have outsourcing in the 1950’s.
And all of those producers from the 1960’s who made this country great are the same “moochers” who need Medicare now.

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Comment by ecofeco
2011-07-18 17:24:51

“How about spending levels/taxes rolled back to the 20 years? 40 years? 60 years?

Population growth, how does it work?

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Comment by CA renter
2011-07-19 05:46:58

Comment by Left Ohio
2011-07-18 07:27:25
70% tax rates? In the words of the Decider: “bring it on!”

If the 1%er pigmen don’t like doing business in a country with a reasonably functional court system to enforce contract law and a first-world level of infrastructure, they can move to libertarian utopia of Somalia and enjoy their paradise governed by the Invisible Hand.

Amen, Left Ohio!

This country ran beautifully when top marginal rates were in the 70-91% range. When these tax rates were lowered, all hell broke loose for the working stiffs in the USA.

Bring on the higher marginal tax rates! Time to start rewarding WORK and stop rewarding gambling/speculating (which is how most of the 1% “earn” their money).

Comment by darrell_in_phoenix
2011-07-18 09:48:39

Interesting that he fails to mention the cap on SS tax. You don’t hit the top bracekt until you are above the SS cap.

Now, if they are talking about removing the cap… then he may have a point. But as long as they still have the cap, he’s ignoring reality.

Personally, I’d love to see the SS and MC taxes just go away and roll it all into income tax. Would allow for simplification of the tax code in so many ways.

Comment by Big V
2011-07-18 06:40:02

Older generations (e.g., retired) these days are clueless. They complain that they don’t know whether or not they’ll even get a raise this year. A raise in their PENSION.

Most households these days have two full-time working adults (no, mom doesn’t get time off for pregnancies/breast feeding/child rearing), plus all teenage kids working part time. They don’t earn enough money among the four of them to pay the rent, and they are not going to ever get a raise. Yet the retirees are complaining that their pensions don’t come with guaranteed raises!

I love the way older people try to identify as Republicans, voting for no regulations, no tariffs, and as much foreign labor as humanly possible, but then they complain that the universe has not contrived to somehow give them a raise in their PENSION. Who will pay for this raise? China?

Comment by WT Economist
2011-07-18 06:42:00

So why are those now over 55 so entitled. Is it a natural outgrowth of the prosperity they mostly experienced most of their lives. Is being born into affluence with ready access to credit mind warping? Are people lemmings without free will?

Comment by oxide
2011-07-18 09:04:08

Presumably they are entitled because they deliberately chose to live for many years with slightly lower pay, in return for the pension they have now.

Comment by Big V
2011-07-18 09:16:30

That deal almost sounds too good to be true. How come I don’t have a deal like that?

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Comment by oxide
2011-07-18 13:47:40

Because You have a 401K!!! We let YOU control your own money! You are the Master of Your Own Destiny!!! The Private market goes up up up, [we take a tiny cut on your transactions] especially without psky government intervening [until we need a bailout].

Comment by 2banana
2011-07-18 06:54:54

I love the way older people try to identify as Republicans

The only people I know who get a raise in their pensions (or even have a pension) now-a-days are retired public union workers.

Public unions give about 99% of all their time and energy to the hard core socialist left. They demonstrate for the left (often violently) are VOTE for them.

Or do you think all those public unions goons who were protesting in Madison were small business Rush listening republicans?

Comment by Big V
2011-07-18 07:11:33

The individual I’m referring to has a pension (and lifetime health insurance) from a private company. She was employed before the Vietnamese took over.

Comment by In Colorado
2011-07-18 09:13:48

I know lots of people with private pensions too. Even clergy. My in-laws have private pensions coming out of their ears.

Once upon a time, if you worked for a larger company, you would get a pension when you retired. Now you get a 401K with an ever shrinking match.

Comment by Kirisdad
2011-07-18 09:20:05

Contrary to what 2banana would have you believe, there is no COLA on most gov’t pensions. The lucrative COLA on NYS pensions is up to 3% on the first $18,000 of all pensions (less than 50 bucks a month), that’s it. And it doesn’t kick in until you’ve been retired 5 years. The abuse and fraud with disability pensions is another story.

Comment by michael
2011-07-18 07:02:58

hate the rich.

hate the older generation.

hate the younger generation.

the PTB really are succeeding.

Comment by alpha-sloth
2011-07-18 08:21:47

Is asking that the rich pay slightly higher taxes- still far less than they have usually paid in modern history- in order for us to get our finances back in order, really “hating the rich”?

Or is calling all attempts at such reasonable tax increases ‘class warfare’ and ‘hating the rich’, the real PTB propaganda ?

Comment by Doghouse Riley
2011-07-18 08:59:24

asking that the rich pay slightly higher taxes….in order for us to get our finances back in order

Please visit the IRS website, which clearly shows the amount of taxes paid and the amount of after tax income available at all income cohorts (top 1%, top 5%, top 10% etc), and then run the numbers for us.

Show us exactly how much more tax is needed on each income cohort to bring the current budget into balance.

I dare you.

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Comment by In Colorado
2011-07-18 09:15:39

I’d say that it will take a combination of spending cuts and increased taxation on those who actually have non trivial income to balance the budget.

Comment by Big V
2011-07-18 09:19:24


That’s a copout. The divide between the rich and the middle class has gotten to be astornomical. Hence, the rich are going to have to pay more taxes. Get rid of the loopholes and we will once again have a 1979-style balance, as in michael’s post above.

Comment by Doghouse Riley
2011-07-18 09:59:49

Suppose there were no loopholes. Add up your total income, calculate a percentage, write a check.

Under that rule, what in your opinion is the highest federal tax rate that any American should be required to pay? And at what income level should that tax rate kick in?

I hear lots of liberals waxing nostalgic for the Eisenhower-era tax rates. Seriously, I would take that whole tax code (adjusted for inflation) in a nanosecond compared to what we have now. But we’d have to take Eisenhower-era federal spending levels too.

What’s dishonest is to take the jump in federal spending as a percent of GDP (bumped under the Bush/Obama administration from its general postwar level of 18-19% to the current 24%) as a given, and assume that we have to tax the “rich” to fund that 24%. It’s simply not possible to tax and additional 4-5% of GDP without defining the “rich” at a far lower level than the Republicrats will ever admit.

Comment by Big V
2011-07-18 10:12:21


The problem is that the spending has already taken place, and is now rearing its ugly head in the form of debt payments. It’s too late to go back in time and not borrow the money.

My solution: Bring back the well-reasoned tariff and watch US companies hire US workers like candy. Then watch US incomes rise to a level where a normal tax rate could once again actually be used to pay the debt AND stop borrowing so much.

Comment by alpha-sloth
2011-07-18 11:59:21

Even if taxing the rich won’t immediately pay off the debt, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t increase taxes on the rich. It’ll damn sure help, no?

Everybody chipping in, and all that?

Comment by ecofeco
2011-07-18 17:32:52

So, because the problem can’t be perfectly fixed, nothing should be done?

Ye…ah. You’re fired.

As for taxes, it’s about percentages and the rich pay a lower percentage of their income than does the middle class. When you control 90% of the money, you SHOULD be paying 90% of the taxes.

Then there’s the group that can’t afford to pay taxes that “compassionate” conservatives are having kittens over. They can’t pay taxes because Repubs voted to keep tax breaks for offshoring job. Jobs that used to pay enough to… pay taxes with.

And speaking of which, if offshoring is so much more cheaper, WHY DO THEY NEED TAX BREAKS?

Comment by michael
2011-07-18 09:11:52

“Is asking that the rich pay slightly higher taxes- still far less than they have usually paid in modern history”

look at my post above. the rich have never paid as much as you think they have because you base your conclusion on marginal rates.

here is a link of what tax rate the rich actually paid from 1979 to 2007.


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Comment by polly
2011-07-18 10:20:43

First of all, taking your numbers from the top 10% is too broad a swath to see the real effect. 10% of this country does not have a household taxable income of over $250K. In addition, marginal rates are the rate that counts when you are dealing with decisions to work a few extra hours for the income those extra hours would bring in. Overall rates are not relevant.

Also, your numbers are from a time when CEOs of major companies made about 50 times the salary of the lowest paid worker in their company. Maybe a bit more. That is no longer the case. You can’t project statistics from a time in the past into the present without making sure other factors (like distributions) are also holding steady.

If you taxed the $300 million dollar a year income of a hedge fund manager at regular (not long term capital gains) rates and the marginal rate for income over $10 million dollars was 70%, he would not be paying less than 30% of his income in taxes.

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2011-07-18 10:27:21

the rich have never paid as much as you think they have because you base your conclusion on marginal rates.

Looks like the top 1% of household incomes paid 20% less tax as a percentage of their income in 2007 than they did in 1979.

But the richest of the rich pay far less. They are not on your chart and their incomes are off the chart compared to 1979.

The richest 400 families in USA pay an effective tax rate of about 15-17%.

Tax the rich. It will be fun. You’ll see.

Comment by michael
2011-07-18 10:35:48

the point of my data was not to support whether or not to raise taxes on the rich.

it was to point out that higher mariginal rates do not necessarily mean higher taxes.

Comment by michael
2011-07-18 10:38:39


i think you will need alot more than an extra 20% from the top 1%.

just a feeling…haven’t seen the math.

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2011-07-18 10:52:35

i think you will need alot more than an extra 20% from the top 1%.

But a lot more for what? The argument that we shouldn’t tax the rich more because it won’t solve all of our debt problems is like saying don’t eat any vegetables because they don’t provide 100% of your nutritional needs.

And check this out people. My friend’s 90 year old mother is recovering from being sick and is skinny and weak. Now her doctor just told her to not eat meat, avocados, and other stuff because her cholesterol is a “little high”. What’s up with that????

Comment by Big V
2011-07-18 11:30:28

You can’t not eat avocadoes. You’ll die.

Comment by Elanor
2011-07-18 11:46:29

Rio, someone needs to tell your friend’s mother’s doctor that a 90 year old is entitled to eat anything she wants.

At least he didn’t try to put her on Lipitor.

Comment by alpha-sloth
2011-07-18 12:08:20

“it was to point out that higher marginal rates do not necessarily mean higher taxes.”

But in general they do mean higher taxes, just not as high as it looks when you just look at the marginal rates.

So higher marginal rates aren’t so terrifying after all, they just result in the wealthy paying a few more actual points in taxes. Which is exactly what we need right now, to pay down our debt, right?

Comment by alpha-sloth
2011-07-18 12:10:26

Rio- Her doctor is an idiot. Tell her to eat the hell out of whatever she wants. A milkshake a day would be her best medicine. Two a day would be better.

Comment by WT Economist
2011-07-18 10:42:41

The rich and the older generations ARE the PTB!

Comment by aNYCdj
2011-07-18 13:57:14

Big V dog house

What about eliminating corporate income taxes?

No taxes on profits and no tax rebates or tax loss carry forwards because you had no taxes to pay in the first place?

It would eliminate lots of deals just for tax purposes…

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Comment by ecofeco
2011-07-18 17:36:53

Maybe you missed this:


Study says most corporations pay no U.S. income taxes | Politics | Reuters

Comment by aNYCdj
2011-07-18 21:40:34

Ies Eco they don’t pay taxes after all the tax breaks and rebates…. that would be eliminated too…

which means ZERO is the most they pay and ZERO is what they will always get back from the IRS no matter how much money they lose.

It works both ways…

Comment by 2banana
2011-07-18 07:14:46

I love the way older people try to identify as Republicans, voting for no regulations, no tariffs, and as much foreign labor as humanly possible, but then they complain that the universe has not contrived to somehow give them a raise in their PENSION. Who will pay for this raise? China?

I was thinking of an article I read years ago. And you may be CORRECT!

The article was about that most union goons retire in “right to work” low tax states especially where public unions are much more tightly controlled (think NY or IL public union goon retiring in FL).

Why? Taxes and the cost of living are much, much lower.

So you may be correct. Union goons MAKE their pensions in hard core left wing states that give the public unions pretty much everything they want (in return for political support). This drives taxes and the cost of living through the roof.

However, when public union goons retire they are on the OTHER end of the stick (so to speak). So they go to places where there pensions go futher (like non-public goon states).

And then to keep this arrangement going - they DO act like Republicans (smaller government, lower taxes, control of public unions, etc.). Cause the LAST thing they want is to live in a place where the cost of public unions would be a burden to them.

Kinda Ironic - isn’t it?

Comment by In Colorado
2011-07-18 09:20:29

However, when public union goons retire they are on the OTHER end of the stick (so to speak). So they go to places where there pensions go futher (like non-public goon states).

FWIW, people with private sector pensions pretty much do the same thing. I guess that makes them “private sector goons” :-)

FWIW, I looked up the definition of “goon”:

“A bully or thug, esp. one hired to terrorize or do away with opposition”

As Inigo Montoya would say: “That word does not mean what you think it means”, unless school teachers are breaking people’s kneecaps.

Comment by MrBubble
2011-07-18 10:56:35

Thou shalt not criticize a talking point. Must… stay… on… target…

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Comment by In Colorado
2011-07-18 11:16:30

Well … it just seems that banana calls anyone who has a better compensation package than he has a “goon”.

Comment by 2banana
2011-07-18 11:32:18

Well … it just seems that banana calls anyone who has a better compensation package than he has a “goon”.

Only those that are based on an exponentially increasing taxes on myself and my house for their sustainability…

Comment by In Colorado
2011-07-18 11:42:36

And you think that the private sector isn’t sticking it to you as well? And are taxes really “exponentially” increasing? Or is this another Inigo Montoya moment? You do know what “exponentially” means, correct? It doesn’t mean a 3% increase.

Comment by Big V
2011-07-18 12:06:20


Do me a favor and chart your taxes over time. Start with year one. Tell me if they have really increased.

Comment by 2banana
2011-07-18 12:22:53

And you think that the private sector isn’t sticking it to you as well?

If GM wants to give their unions insane pension and benefits and charge $40,000 for a crap car that I can not afford - I can go buy a Honda. Same for stoves, sneakers, food, shoes, granite counter tops, etc.

If the Township I live decides to give the public union goons (which BTW gave lots of money and time to elect their union goon politicians) insane pensions and benefits - they just raise the property taxes on my house to meet their budget goals.

Can’t pay? Can’t afford it? ANOTHER union goon (with a gun) comes and kicks you out of your house.

Why do you defend making yourself into a slave?

Comment by 2banana
2011-07-18 12:26:13

Do me a favor and chart your taxes over time. Start with year one. Tell me if they have really increased.

My property taxes have nearly doubled in the last 5 years. 90% of my property taxes are school taxes. 80% of the school taxes go towards salaries/benefits/pensions.

And we have not even hit the hard years where future pension promises really kick in…

Comment by Big V
2011-07-18 13:16:06


Do you pay income taxes or sales taxes? Have you moved recently? Are you telling us the whole story?

Comment by MrBubble
2011-07-18 13:27:33

“You do know what “exponentially” means, correct? It doesn’t mean a 3% increase.”

It kind of does: A = A init * e^(.03t) (that’s the one for population growth, but it’s the same principle).

Comment by ecofeco
2011-07-18 17:41:39

The day cabana boy can do adult math will be the day of his identity crisis.

Comment by oxide
2011-07-18 16:07:54

I have advocated that those on public pension must remain in the state where they earned the pension, or pay some kind of tax penalty.

Every state has low-cost areas. Take high-tax NY. Lots of 100K homes in absolutely gorgeous areas. Like this:


$2600 in taxes per year. Sounds like a lot, but if you have $105K to buy the house outright and want a restful retirement, it’s probably not hard to live on a pension.

My lifestyle gauge is my years in Ohio. I live very confortably on $2000 a month. And that included $700 in rent, $500 in COBRA, and $300 in car payments. If I had a paid off house, paid off car, and Medicare, I could live on half of that. Easily.

Comment by ecofeco
2011-07-18 17:40:08

I proved your union goon hobby horse to be bullcrap days ago. Shall I do it again?

Oh why not:


Comment by Rancher
2011-07-18 07:48:08

Clueless? Nope, not a bit. I get SS. It is a pittance, enough for some beer and hot dogs. Same with my wife.

We both started, ran, built, and sold seven businesses which is the basis of our retirement. We invested in CRE, oil, gas, transportation.

When a tenant is in trouble, we work with them. We
stopped all cost of living increases and lowered some
rents. Some have been with us for 30 years and we
do everything that we can to keep them happy and
well fed.

Has it hurt us? On a monthly basis, a little. On a long
term basis, absolutely NO.

Comment by Big V
2011-07-18 07:56:32

You aren’t getting much SS because business owners don’t usually pay much into it. Same with pension. That is for employees. You’re doing great. You were also young during a time when it was exponentially easier to do great. I don’t understand why so many retirees seem to think that they are more comfortable than the young because they DESERVE it. They seem to think that today’s sorry situation is a result of young people being less smart, less strong, and less fabulous than then old.

No, it’s because old people wanted offshoring and debt. They wanted it because they knew it would help them at the expense of the young.

Then they wonder why the young people aren’t abe to support the old in the lifestyle to which they have become accustomed.

Comment by Rancher
2011-07-18 08:29:50

I agree. We were fortunate in the timing. They’ll never
be another financial period of growth like the last
four decades. We just realized that growth for most
meant debt, and we didn’t fall for it.

In our little group of retired curmudgeons, all are
well off, some so well off it’s off the charts. One guy
pays over $150k in quarterly taxes. I’m the church
mouse of our group.

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Comment by In Colorado
2011-07-18 11:43:52

I don’t understand why so many retirees seem to think that they are more comfortable than the young because they DESERVE it.

Because it feels better than thinking “damn, I was lucky.”?

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Comment by Blue Skye
2011-07-18 08:12:08

A pension can be viewed as a form of savings. The thieves in Washington steal the fixed assets of savers by inflating the currency. No, the Chinese are not going to replace what the vermin have devoured. This person you think is so clueless, she just doesn’t realize who has robbed her.

Comment by darrell_in_phoenix
2011-07-18 09:50:51

My father and parents-in-law get SOOOO angry when I show them the federal budget.

They are demanding
1) lower taxes
2) stop the deficits
3) Do not cut Social Security, Medicare, or DoD.

I show them the numbers, and they just get angry at me.

Comment by Montana
2011-07-18 10:04:48

Most people (Rancher excluded) lose perspective & rationality when the SS checks start coming in. I probably will too. ;-)

Comment by Carl Morris
2011-07-18 10:24:40

I’m not sure changing perspective is the same as losing perspective.

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Comment by Rancher
2011-07-18 13:34:56

I doubt that, Montana. My biggest gripe was being
forced into Medicare and having to buy supplemental
medical insurance. Both combined give me much less coverage and less for my Doctor.

$1,800 bill for surgery. Medicare pays $700. Supplemental pays an additional $200. My doc just
got screwed out of half his salary. And I can’t write
him a check for the difference because it’s not legal.

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Comment by In Colorado
2011-07-18 11:48:01

I show them the numbers, and they just get angry at me.

Having your cake and eating it too syndrome strikes again.

Of course they’re angry. They want to believe that the Foodstamps and Section 8 folks are the source of all our woes. Nevermind that only 250B is spent on them, less than 7% of the total budget and less than 15% of the deficit.

It’s comforting to believe that when your son in law works for a defense contractor.

Comment by Rental Watch
2011-07-18 11:14:20

I have the debate frequently with my in-laws about Medicare, etc. and keep trying to hammer home the point that while people who get Medicare love it, we can’t afford it in its current form. Math/budgeting seem to happen in a vacuum.

I’ve resorted to continuing to tell them that we are planning to save enough to pay for our own retirement (including healthcare), since we don’t expect Medicare or SS to be solvent. I’m hoping that they think actions speak louder than my words.

Comment by Rancher
2011-07-18 15:54:39

Good for you. Medicare is shooting medicine in the foot. Several good doctors have already quit private
practice and either retired early or gone to work directly at the local hospital or the VA down the road. Even with supplemental insurance the payments are not enough for them to keep their offices open.

Comment by Rental Watch
2011-07-18 17:36:37

Private insurance payments to hospitals indirectly subsidize Medicare payments to hospitals. People don’t understand this. We can argue about the degree of the subsidy, but there is no debate that Medicare pays less than others–it really depends on what is being done.

A friend does nothing but assist on knee and hip replacements, and the difference in reimbursement levels from private insurance to Medicare on these items is very surprising. If we flipped a switch and put everyone on Medicare, either a) many medical practitioners would be out of business; or b) Medicare would need to pay out more per patient.

So, either:

a) We need real reform that restricts healthcare (or how it is administered)–rationing at worst, increased efficiency at best;
b) We need to restrict the healthcare entitlement to those that need it; and/or
c) We need to put in a lot more money to care for our sick.

I suspect the answer will be a combination of the three points above.

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Comment by ecofeco
2011-07-18 17:47:59

“Medicare is shooting medicine in the foot.”

That’s the idea. The Repubs plan is the same for Medciare as is it for SS: to bollix it so bad that people BEG for it to end and conversion to private management.

It was the Bush admin that changed the structure of Medicare and also tried like hell to give SS to Wall St.

Why yes, you can Google that.

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Comment by alpha-sloth
2011-07-18 19:14:47

“or gone to work directly at… the VA down the road.”

“Socialized medicine” wins again! The customers prefer it, and so, apparently, do the doctors.

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Comment by CA renter
2011-07-19 06:01:50

Right. I’m trying to figure out how a doctor makes more at the VA than in private practice, but admittedly don’t know much about physician compensation at the VA hospitals.

Comment by liz pendens
2011-07-18 06:53:35

“They” have had Cramer on CNBC every morning for the last week during the “Debt Ceiling Crisis”. “They” only trot him out as a commentator when they are scared. (”They” are scared.)

Comment by darrell_in_phoenix
2011-07-18 09:54:31

Arron Bernett quit. Mark Hanes died. That takes out both of the long-time anchors of the morning Squack on the Street show.

The earlier show… the chick (I forget her name right now) is taking time off for pregnancy.

They are scrambling for flapping heads right now.

Cramer is not guesting on that show. He’s one of the new anchors.

Comment by Professor Bear
2011-07-18 06:58:05

A view of the debt ceiling negotiations from across the pond:

The federal debt
The row over the debt ceiling is going down to the wire

Jul 7th 2011 | WASHINGTON, DC | from the print edition

THE stand-off over America’s debt ceiling has entered strange territory: pretty much everyone agrees the limit will be raised, but it is becoming ever harder to see just how. The Treasury reckons it will run out of cash on around August 2nd. But with time running short, the parties seem as far apart as ever.

Taxes are the sticky wicket.

Republican intransigence is difficult to fathom. Government revenues as a share of output are low by international standards and have fallen in recent years (see chart). A report produced in March by congressional Republicans noted an 85% to 15% spending-to-revenue split was the average for a successful fiscal consolidation. They have essentially achieved that; the $400 billion in revenue rises on offer is just 17% of the total proposal. And the president has since sweetened the deal. He backed away from an effort to lift marginal tax rates on the rich, offering instead to raise money by closing loopholes. Republicans have still demurred; they consider eliminating loopholes tantamount to raising taxes, though it could equally be argued that it is the same as cutting spending.

On July 6th, Mr Cantor reiterated that position; he is open to closing loopholes, he said, but only if they are offset by tax cuts elsewhere. Secret talks have taken place between Mr Obama and the House speaker, John Boehner, and the Democrats are said to be offering cuts of as much as $4 trillion, including to spending on Medicare and Medicaid and even on Social Security (pensions)—a key Republican goal. Yet there is great unease at all this on both sides. Some Republicans are clamouring to include still more in any agreement, including a cap on spending at 18% of GDP and backing for a balanced-budget amendment to the constitution. Both are anathema to Democratic leaders.

Comment by Big V
2011-07-18 07:14:45


Comment by 2banana
2011-07-18 07:20:54

It always seem the solution to all problems is just to raise taxes.

PS - Even a $4 Trillion cut in spending (if it is real and up front cuts - two HUGE assumptions) over 10 years still only amounts to $400 billion/year or LESS THAN 25% of the annual deficit.


Comment by Blue Skye
2011-07-18 08:17:58

And it is misleading. We have a yearly budget, not a decade budget. $4 Tr cannot be cut from our budget. The message is: We will not do any of the hard things now, we will promise that someone else will do them in 2023. SAME MENTALITY THAT GOT US HERE.

Comment by alpha-sloth
2011-07-18 08:37:10


I know, it is hard to believe we still elect the ‘these tax cuts will pay for themselves’ guys, long after they’ve been proved buffoons.

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Comment by ecofeco
2011-07-18 17:49:37

Abusive co-dependency is not pretty.

Comment by In Colorado
2011-07-18 09:38:06

“It always seem the solution to all problems is just to raise taxes.”

I seem to recall that evil Obama was proposing both spending cuts and tax increases, while the GOP boyz and girlz just want spending cuts.

I used to be a registered Republican. One of things that finally pushed me out of the Elephant tent was how GWB inherited a balanced budget and proceded to destroy it, accumulating 6 trillion in debt over his two administrations.

I was disgusted that the Dems were able to balance the budget, admittedly with help from the dot com bubble and SS, but GWB had the housing bubble.

The GOP has a lot of nerve lecturing about runaway spending.

Comment by Carl Morris
2011-07-18 10:26:42

The GOP has a lot of nerve lecturing about runaway spending.


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Comment by 2banana
2011-07-18 10:33:43

I was disgusted that the Dems were able to balance the budget, admittedly with help from the dot com bubble and SS, but GWB had the housing bubble.

You DO REMEMBER that Clinton got his “balanced budgets” with a Republican control congress????

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Comment by oxide
2011-07-18 11:11:10

And with lots of Internet jobs which were 40 years in the pipeline.

And once the Republicans balanced the budget, did they start to pay off the actual debt? Hell no, they cut taxes. Yeah, way to be fiscally responsible.

Comment by In Colorado
2011-07-18 11:30:38

You DO REMEMBER that Clinton got his “balanced budgets” with a Republican control congress????

Let’s see … so what changed after that … hmmmm … oh that’s right! 6 years of complete GOP control.

Like I said, I used to be a Republican, until the GOP inherited a balanced budget and then proceeded to run ever growing dificits, and when challenged on that their reply was that “deficits didn’t matter”.

I hate to say this, as I didn’t like and I still don’t like the guy, but I miss Bubba. My income grew steadily and he shrank the deficts and even ran a surplus towards the end.

Comment by Blue Skye
2011-07-18 12:17:38

I seriously think that these “your Moma” discussions are superficial at least, shallow for sure. Debt Nation and you just don’t seem to get it.

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2011-07-18 10:41:11

It always seem the solution to all problems is just to raise taxes.

Did you pull this out of your hat?

Do you have any knowledge of the trend of the rich’s taxes the past 30 years in America?

So what “solution” the past 3 decades are you talking about and what is the exact name of the planet that you are currently living on?

Comment by darrell_in_phoenix
2011-07-18 10:47:49

For the last 30 years, the solution to everything has been to cut taxes. This has left us with record low collection rates.

Cutting taxes is fine, but who is going to tell grandma that we’re cutting her Social Security check in half because the rich need to be richer so that they can afford to offshore more jobs to Chindia.

Comment by In Colorado
2011-07-18 11:25:01

“but who is going to tell grandma that we’re cutting her Social Security check in half because the rich need to be richer so that they can afford to offshore more jobs to Chindia”

There is no shortage of apologists willing to do that job. We have plenty right here on this board.

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Comment by ecofeco
2011-07-18 17:52:23

You see should some of the more public boards

Far too many people ready and WILLING to kick grandma to curb THEMSELVES.

Comment by Big V
2011-07-18 11:37:54

Yeah, but grandma needs to understand that the SS checks are going down BECAUSE of the offshoring. Seems that most grandmas think that SS is just being threatened because today’s workers don’t want to pay taxes. Grandma needs more information. Have you called your grandmother lately?

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Comment by Arizona Slim
2011-07-18 11:46:50

I haven’t been able to do that for a couple of decades. And I do miss talking baseball with Grandpa. (He was a sportswriter.)

Comment by Blue Skye
2011-07-18 15:13:52

Grandma’s checks will go down because her children went into debt for things they couldn’t afford. If it wasn’t for this, offshoring would not have worked, not at all.

Comment by ecofeco
2011-07-18 17:55:44

Blue Sky, you have it entirely backwards.

I worked through the last 40 years and people were forced to borrow just to survive their 4th job loss in as many decades due DIRECTLY to offshoring of their job… while making LESS on each new job.

The people who were doing the MOST buying of more than they could afford were the politicians and Wall St.

Comment by howiewowie
2011-07-18 19:06:44

It worked for Clinton and the GOP in the 90s. Best economy ever!!! Didn’t work so well for Bush 1. Maybe everything isn’t black and white.

Comment by aNYCdj
2011-07-18 21:48:20


To me Bush 2 was the greatest president in creating underground jobs…cash was always flowing for me…yet very little on the books….so I aint a gettin much in SS when i get that old…unless i start make some big big bucks soon…

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Comment by Professor Bear
2011-07-18 23:34:04

Oh no — the solution is always to lower taxes. Just ask GWB.

Comment by CharlieTango
2011-07-18 07:39:15

” they consider eliminating loopholes tantamount to raising taxes, though it could equally be argued that it is the same as cutting spending.”

up is down and down is up

much like “tax gifting” or tax cuts go on the spending side of the ledger ( i learned both those things on this blog )

my opinion is that in order to cut spending you have to cut spending or it is just a lie.

Comment by Professor Bear
2011-07-18 07:02:32

Builder confidence up 2 points — only 35 points more to return to the neutral level of 50…

July 18, 2011, 10:00 a.m. EDT
July builder confidence rises 2 points to 15
By Steve Goldstein

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes rose two points to 15 in July on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index. The gain offsets much of June’s three-point dip, but still is the ninth time out of 10 the index has held to the same three-point range.

The seasonally adjusted index is designed so that any number over 50 is considered “good” — which hasn’t been the case since April 2006.

Comment by Rental Watch
2011-07-18 11:19:07

I saw that. Woo-Hoo. Up to 15 from 13…out of 100…lol.

Comment by wmbz
2011-07-18 07:26:33

Simple solution, have no debt ceiling, no budget, print like a SOB and there will be no worries…

Moody’s Suggests US Eliminates Debt Ceiling
By: Reuters

Ratings agency Moody’s on Monday suggested the United States should eliminate its statutory limit on government debt to reduce uncertainty among bond holders.

The United States is one of the few countries where Congress sets a ceiling on government debt, which creates “periodic uncertainty” over the government’s ability to meet its obligations, Moody’s ] said in a report.

“We would reduce our assessment of event risk if the government changed its framework for managing government debt to lessen or eliminate that uncertainty,” Moody’s analyst Steven Hess wrote in the report.

The agency last week warned it would cut the United States’ AAA credit rating if the government misses debt payments, increasing pressure on Republicans and the White House to come up with a budget agreement.

Moody’s said it had always considered the risk of a U.S. debt default very low because Congress has regularly raised the debt ceiling during many decades, usually without controversy.

Comment by Rental Watch
2011-07-18 11:26:38

I thought of PEW when I read this. They came out with a report on state finances, and I was interested to note that one item that they focused on was the ability of a state legislature to pass a budget. 2/3 majority was bad, simple majority was good. This seemed to be just as important to them as level of taxation or spending.

So, in addition to how much you tax (and therefore how much more you can reasonably tax), or how big your debt is, or how big your debt/deficit is relative to your economy, it is also important whether there is a political impediment to simply borrowing more…

Comment by wmbz
2011-07-18 07:30:09

Inconvenient Truth

“The left believes it can get the money from the wealthy. But the top 1 percent of Americans in income already carry 40 percent of the federal income tax load, while the bottom 50 percent of wage-earners ride free. This will have to end.

“We are either going to man up and radically reduce government at all levels in the United States, or the bond markets are going to do it for us, as they are doing it today for Greece, Ireland and Portugal.”

We’re Greeks, Now.

- Pat Buchanan

Comment by In Colorado
2011-07-18 09:30:07

Sure, let’s shift the tax burden to those earning less than $500 per week (don’t forget, they are not exempt from the payroll tax)

Comment by 2banana
2011-07-18 10:39:34

(don’t forget, they are not exempt from the payroll tax)

Google the EIC:

The Earned Income Tax Credit or the EITC is a refundable federal income tax credit for low to moderate income working individuals and families. Congress originally approved the tax credit legislation in 1975 in part to offset the burden of social security taxes…

Comment by In Colorado
2011-07-18 11:22:46

You need kids to get EIC.

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Comment by m2p
2011-07-18 17:14:57

Kids are not necessary to get EIC, you just don’t get as much.I plugged a few numbers into the online calculator. A couple making 18K a year with 3 kids receives $5751. Same couple, childless receives $55.

Comment by darrell_in_phoenix
2011-07-18 10:52:36

So, what are we going to do to raise the income levels of the bottom 50% so that they can afford to pay more taxes? Trade tarrifs? Drastic increase in the minimum wage?

The median wage has not kept up inflation because the government and businesses have done everything it can to shrink those wages to make US companies more profitable. Free trade, turning a blind eye to illegal immigration, changing labor laws, etc. etc. etc.

Or, we could just get rid of the Social Security and Medicare taxes and just roll it all into income tax to show that this arguement that the poor don’t pay taxes is a lie.

Comment by CA renter
2011-07-19 06:08:57

I like your ideas, darrell.

Comment by Big V
2011-07-18 11:39:24

But doesn’t the top 1% control like 90% of the wealth?

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2011-07-18 11:45:40

(Another) Inconvenient Truth

As of 2007 in America the top 1% controlled 43% of all financial wealth. The bottom 80% controlled 7%


In this current recession unlike prior recessions, the percentage of wealth of the rich has increased.

Comment by Rental Watch
2011-07-18 11:48:00

The only logical solution that doesn’t screw worse-off people who have been planning their whole lives around receiving Medicare/SS is one where all will suffer some pain:

1. Means test entitlements;
2. Reform entitlements (extend retirement age, etc.);
3. Some medical approved rationing of healthcare (end of life care is WAY more expensive than other countries);
4. Raise taxes on the wealthy;
5. Broaden the tax base (likely to take form of VAT).

The math is hard to make work any other way–even the painful way needs to be ramped up over a long period of time. I repeat what I’ve said before…Simpson/Bowles was a very good start down this path. It’s a shame that no one picked up the plan immediately and tried to build consensus around the small flicker of bipartisan support that it had.

Comment by X-GSfixr
2011-07-18 12:15:59

“Top 1% carry 40% of the tax load”

And they own about 95% of everything.

In other words, they are undertaxed/parasites.

Comment by Elanor
2011-07-18 13:55:05

Sadly, you will never convince people like 2b that this is true.

Comment by maldonash
2011-07-18 22:34:34

Tax wealth/net worth and not income … problem solved??

Comment by CA renter
2011-07-19 06:10:45

We could start by taxing ALL income at the same, progressive levels.

The 15% LT gains/dividend rate is a scam.

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Comment by ecofeco
2011-07-18 17:58:14

Pat Buchanan is, was and always will be a moron.

Comment by wmbz
2011-07-18 07:49:31

If voters persist in sending politicians to Washington for the purpose of “bringing home lots of bacon” they will deliver. And eventually a huge bill must be paid.

Comment by In Colorado
2011-07-18 09:24:00

And have you seen the price of bacon lately?

Comment by darrell_in_phoenix
2011-07-18 13:08:20

The bacon (stuff like the bridge to nowhere in Alaska) is pennies in a budget that is 80% SS, MC/C, defense/VA, interest and pensions.

More attempts to distract from the real issues. Cuttting all the pork will only work if we start thinking of DoD, SS and MC/C as pork.

If we are not going to consider these big budget items as pork ready for massive cuts, then what we need is one of two things.

1) If we’re content with the massive bifercation of wages and wealth, were the rich have gotten drastically richer but the vast majority has seen their paycheck fail to keep up with inflation, then we’re going to have to massivly increase taxes on the rich… they are the only ones that can possible pay.

2) Reverse decades of political decisions that have lead to the bifercation. Trade tarrifs, increase in the minimum wage, bring back pro-union laws, crack down hard on illegal immigration… Bring up the wages of the lower end of the spectrum so they can afford to pay more taxes.

Comment by ecofeco
2011-07-18 18:03:04

Other than the fact that most people get about $1000 or less a month from SS which isn’t much these days, and Medicare now costs the recipient more, thanks to Bush, you’re pretty much exactly right about the rest.

Comment by liz pendens
Comment by Rental Watch
2011-07-18 12:04:50

Exactly why the drop in max loan size for Fannie/Freddie won’t have much of an impact. The debt is available at very good rates anyway.

The only impact will be because of higher down payment requirements. We’ll see if that is a major factor.

Comment by jeff saturday
2011-07-18 08:47:56

“Koches also notes that the homeowner was given a loan modification, which she never paid on. He said she is past due on payments dating to September 2008.”

POST COVERAGE Foreclosure crisis

By Kimberly Miller Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Posted: 6:35 p.m. Saturday, July 16, 2011

New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Schack in his July 1 ruling against HSBC Bank questions variations in signatures of Ocwen employees, who serviced the home loan for HSBC. He also ruled that HSBC had no standing to file the foreclosure because of a faulty assignment of mortgage.

Schack read about the report by Edwards and Clarkson titled “Unfair, Deceptive and Unconscionable Acts in Foreclosure Cases” in a Palm Beach Post article published in January. The article included information in the report on signatures of alleged Ocwen robo-signer Scott Anderson.

“While I have never personally met Mr. Anderson, his signatures have appeared in many foreclosure documents in this court,” Schack wrote. “His claims of wearing different corporate hats and the variations in the scrawls of initials used for his signature on mortgage documents has earned Mr. Anderson notoriety as a robo-signer.”

Schack meticulously describes four different styles of Anderson’s, saying in one signature variation “the letter ‘S’ is a cursive bell-shaped curve overlapping with the cursive letter ‘A’.”

In another variation “one cursive letter looks almost like the letter ‘O.’ It is a circle sitting in a valley created by something that looks like the cursive letter ‘M.’ ”

Ocwen says there has been no wrongdoing.

“The foreclosure documents were factually accurate and properly executed by persons who were legally authorized to sign them,” said Ocwen Executive Vice President Paul Koches. “To our knowledge, there was nothing submitted by our legal counsel to the court that was in any way misleading as to who is the owner of this mortgage and note, nor was there any conduct of any kind that would justify sanctions.”

Koches also notes that the homeowner was given a loan modification, which she never paid on. He said she is past due on payments dating to September 2008.

Schack’s ruling was made with prejudice, which means the case cannot be refiled as is. He also demanded HSBC Bank officials appear in court to explain why they should not be sanctioned

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/money/foreclosures/florida-fraud-report-key-to-new-york-foreclosure-1615262.html - 85k -

Comment by Steve J
2011-07-18 09:00:26

Evidently, Supply-Side Economics has been around since the 1920’s:

The Treasury Secretary had come up with his Mellon Plan, a simple enough concept: He wanted to slash the tax rates on the wealthiest Americans to just 25 percent, but he also planned to cut the rates on anyone earning less than $3,000 annually to zero. For that Mellon had the public on his side. After all, when he had taken office in 1921, the national debt was $24 billion, but he had cut that to $19.6 billion by the time he started pushing his newest tax reduction idea. The problem Couzens had was that Mellon was telling the public that if tax rates on the rich were slashed, the government would actually end up with more revenue coming in.

The rich would be richer, Mellon argued; therefore, they would invest more in business and that would create jobs. Humorist Will Rogers laughed about the government plan to make the richest Americans richer - “and somehow that will trickle down to everyone else?” It was Mellon, not Arthur Laffer, Milton Friedman or Ronald Reagan, who created supply-side economics; Will Rogers gave it the name we know, “trickle-down” economics.


Comment by Prime_Is_Contained
2011-07-18 10:54:51

Great find!

Well, the rich are certainly richer now, but I don’t see that it has trickled down into the jobs data…

Comment by ecofeco
2011-07-18 18:04:21

Oh there was a trickle all right, but is wasn’t money, jobs or rain.

Comment by CA renter
2011-07-19 06:23:57

Awesome find!

Comment by wmbz
2011-07-18 09:05:39

New Doll That Teaches How To Breast Feed Causing Controversy

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A new doll hitting stores in the U.S. is causing some controversy with parents. It’s called The Breast Milk Baby and it claims it teaches young girls how to breast feed.

The doll is made by Berjuan Toys, a company out of Spain. It comes with a special halter top that has two flowers where nipples would be. When a little girl puts on the top and holds the baby doll up the flowers, it makes suckling sounds.

The company says the doll is a top-selling toy in Europe and on its website, says the toy ”lets young girls express their love and affection in the most natural way possible, just like mommy!”

But the toy has many parents asking if it’s going too far.

“I think that it’s totally bizarre to teach a prepubescent child how to breastfeed,” said Nicole from Manhattan. “Quite strange.”

“I think it’s very creepy,” said one woman. “I don’t think little kids should be breastfeeding.”

“I don’t approve of it at all. I think it’s ridiculous for a child. Let her learn it when she’s older,” said another woman.

Scott from Manhattan says he wouldn’t buy the doll, but gives credit to the company for coming up with the idea. “Make a product, if it sells, it sells,” he said.

Comment by In Colorado
2011-07-18 09:22:07

Is this really all that different from having a child bottle feed or change the diapers on her doll?

Comment by yensoy
2011-07-18 09:23:19

What’s it with Americans and their strange reaction to breastfeeding? The other day one lady came up with a “business venture” around a breastfeeding truck to help women who weren’t allowed to breastfeed at work, and now this. Why is it that a society that is so accepting of human freedom suddenly becomes the Taliban when it comes to breastfeeding?

Baby, nipple, breast, suck suck, deal with it! Its neither erotic nor shameful, just a fact of life - you don’t need to love it but don’t hate it.

Comment by Big V
2011-07-18 10:21:27

If you are young enough to play with dolls, then you are not old enough to learn how to breast feed. Your breasts have to actually produce milk for that. Perhaps Chinese/English men such as yourself will one day read a biology book and learn a little about breasts before you go passing judgement on people who don’t want their toddlers to start breast feeding yet.

Comment by In Colorado
2011-07-18 11:21:33

I think yensoy was being supportive.

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Comment by Big V
2011-07-18 12:13:39

I think yensoy was being critical of mothers, Americans, and little girls all at the same time.

Comment by ecofeco
2011-07-18 18:06:44

No, he was just asking why we are such uptight, neurotic people and you unwittingly provided the answer.

Comment by Elanor
2011-07-18 10:23:33

Remember that the first colonists here were members of ultra-religious sects fleeing ‘persecution’ in the Old World. The Puritan mentality lives on in the prudish response to perfectly natural practices such as breastfeeding.

Comment by Big V
2011-07-18 10:50:13

Really, your little girls breast feed already? You should call the doctor.

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Comment by Elanor
2011-07-18 11:51:46

Calm down. Did I even hint that I approve of little girls learning to breast feed their dolls? My response was to the tizzy surrounding public breast-feeding. As in, real breast feeding of real babies by grown women.

Comment by Big V
2011-07-18 12:16:14

The OP was about dolls that suck fake nipples on little girls.

Comment by Elanor
2011-07-18 13:57:16

But I was responding to yensoy, not to the original post by wmbz.

Comment by X-GSfixr
2011-07-18 12:20:27

“…a fact of life….”

So is taking a dump. I’d prefer to not witness either while I’m eating lunch.

95% of women do it discreetly, by covering themselves with a blanket or similar shrouding device when breast feeding in public.

As in everything, it’s the “My way, or the highway” people that screw things up for everybody.

Comment by ecofeco
2011-07-18 18:07:58

Pretty much.

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Comment by SV guy
2011-07-18 15:00:37

I have been trying to kick my breast feeding habit unsuccessfully for the past 48 years.

Comment by Big V
2011-07-18 10:19:23

Do they have a doll that teaches young girls how to express natural affection for their husbands one day too? It’s kind of the same concept, ain’t it?

Comment by Steve J
2011-07-18 12:53:42

Does that mean sex in public will be legal too??

Comment by whyoung
2011-07-18 09:15:22

Underwater Co-op

“I am truly shocked you are allowed to have debt on a unit at 740 Park,” wrote one commenter on the website of the trade paper The Real Deal. Everywhere, it seemed, the biggest question was not how much Swig and his soon-to-be ex-wife, Elizabeth, owed—they reportedly stopped making payments on a $12.8 million short-term loan from 2009—but how this happened at 740 Park, home to David Koch and Steven Schwartzman and a building whose board is said to require buyers to have $100 million in liquid cash.”


The story of this building was told in a book: “740 Park: The Story of the World’s Richest Apartment Building”

Comment by wmbz
2011-07-18 09:31:46

I wish one of the enlighten could splain to me what happened? The True-Buffoons voted for Barry, he was going to stick it to the man/rich, and spread the wealth around.They were giddy at the thought,some even expecting reparations. No more worries, finally we gets ours. No light bills, mortgages, gas bills or health Ins. to worry about (Peggy Joesph) at long last the score would be settled, hope&change had arrived.

Poor things got nothing they were promised, yet they will vote the same way again, still thinking they are getting even with the ones they hate. Sorry true-buffoons, it didn’t work out the way you knew it would, and it won’t but don’t give up hope&change.

Comment by Left Ohio
2011-07-18 10:38:00

Barry has sadly proven himself to be a corporatist warmonger. The push for a single-payer health care system (as advocated by Dennis Kucinich, in whose district I formerly resided) was my greatest ‘hope’ for his presidency.

However, some bits and pieces made it through, such as grants and cost-sharing agreements for renewable energy (my job) that may someday provide great benefit to society.

Remember ARPANET? It didn’t turn a profit in its first decades of development, and look what it has become today.

Comment by darrell_in_phoenix
2011-07-18 12:54:04

More demogogary.

Yes, there may have been a few edge cases who thought Obama would really radically change things.

However, the vast majority of the people that voted for him were looking for more reasonible things, like expiration of the bush Tax cuts for people making over $250K, like public option for people that don’t have employer provided healthcare, like a push for amnesty (hispanics came to the polls in record number).

Others, like me, just wanted to send a message to the Republican party that we are very unhappy with “new McCain”… the man that once called the religious nuts “agents of intollarance” decided to suck up to them in this last campaign. I think McCain’s “economy based on high tech jobs only” is small minded. It requires we accept a very high unemployment rate and that Chindia would not go after those high tech jobs (which they are, big time).

Though a life-long Republican up until Bush 2.0, I will likely support Obama again unless we get a new Republican candidate that doens’t have their head up thier arse.

Comment by sleepless_near_seattle
2011-07-18 13:03:32

“The True-Buffoons voted for Barry, he was going to stick it to the man/rich, and spread the wealth around.”

Wait. I thought the True-Buffoons who DIDN’T vote for Barry thought this is what would happen. To my knowledge, none of them has since said, “Hey, good job BO. You didn’t stick it to the man/rich, and spread the wealth around.”

Comment by darrell_in_phoenix
2011-07-18 13:46:39


What did Obama do?

Hmmmmmm….. He didn’t pull our troops out of Iraq, instead he moved forward with the surge that the Republicans had been asking for. He continued the Republican’s TARP program, picking an already high-up in the treasury to be Sec Treas. He kept Bush’s Chairman of the Fed.

The $700 billion over 2 years stimulus was more than 50% tax cuts. Oh, how horrid of him to push a stimulus that was so heavily weighted to tax cuts.

750K jobs were lost the month before he took office. 6 months later the job cuts had stopped and jobs were being added.

His big red X’s are????? What? Wanting Bush Tax Cuts to expire for those making more than $250K and having pushed for health insurance for the poor.

Yeah, how terrible of him.

I watched the first Republican candidate debate. Unless some new candidate comes out of the woodwork soon, Obama will have my vote again.

Comment by ecofeco
2011-07-18 18:09:50

He was blocked at every attempt by the TrueBeleivers.

How many times do I have to post this?


Republicans block ending offshore jobs tax breaks | Reuters

Comment by wmbz
2011-07-18 09:41:03

Robbers hold up guests at luxury Rio hotel
RIO DE JANEIRO | Mon Jul 18, 2011

(Reuters) - Armed men invaded one of Rio de Janeiro’s most exclusive hotels and robbed guests including foreign tourists early on Monday, police and hotel officials said.

The incident is a reminder of the lingering security problems that the beachside Brazilian city faces as it prepares to host the soccer World Cup in 2014 and the Olympic Games two years later.

An official with the city’s tourist police confirmed media reports that there had been an invasion of the hotel in Rio’s hilly Santa Teresa district but said no further details were available. A spokeswoman for the luxurious Hotel Santa Teresa told Reuters that four armed men had held up guests, including about 10 foreign tourists.

The Globo news website cited police as saying the gunmen had entered the hotel before dawn on Monday and had all escaped. There were no reports of injuries to the guests.

Violent crime in Rio has fallen in recent years as authorities have taken a tougher stance on public order and police have occupied more than a dozen slums that were long dominated by gun-toting drug traffickers.

But hundreds of slums in Rio are still controlled by armed gangs. Gunmen took 35 guests hostage at another five-star hotel last August as they fled a shoot-out with police.

The Hotel Santa Teresa has become a favorite destination for well-to-do foreign visitors since it opened in 2008, with guests including celebrities paying up to about $2,000 per night for the best rooms.

Comment by mikeinbend
2011-07-18 10:07:24

Why is it BAC loan servicing has been changed to Bank of America, N.A.? And that BAC and Bank of America, N.A. have also performed some kind of quiet merger as well. It must cost money to make such a servicing change? Of what possible significance are they worried about to enact such a trivial, innocuous seeming change?

Considering BAC and BofA are the same company anyway! One possible answer is that they are worried about the legitimacy of the loans they service, because they sent wife one letter informing her of the change of servicers, then another that included a bit regarding debts not disputed will from here-on be considered valid debts.

They seem to be trying to validate many debts by assuming their customers will be complacent. It seems so fishy. Wife is going to dispute it. Maybe the loan is somehow flawed and to not dispute it would be to roll over and give a pass to all the shenanigans and circumventions around the law that were done by various entities with the loan since its inception. Updates to follow!

Comment by Steve J
2011-07-18 12:58:14

BAC finally settled a lawsuit for foreclosing on deployed serviceman.

It’s common to change names after losing (eg Phillip Morris became Altria).

Comment by mikeinbend
2011-07-18 13:32:06

interesting. However, some concern has been levied on housing websites such as loansafe dot org that BofA is sneakily trying to validate loans/collect debt where they otherwise may not have legal grounds to collect. If undisputed, the loan will here everafter be assumed to be valid. Those who don’t dispute will be agreeing to a debt that has been sold down the river; reassigned so many times in the securitzation process that they may not be able to find it. Or produce a clear record of assignments or perhaps clearly define who the investors are. I am fairly ignorant, admittingly, but I smell a rat! A big corporate one!

Also the correspondance explains that Bofa N.A. is named creditor but also explains that they are the loan servicer; not the owner of the note. Who pays a creditor that they dont owe money to? How can they be called creditor when its Fannie that owns the note? Does that not make Fannie the creditor?

Comment by wmbz
2011-07-18 10:21:36

New York Has Highest Mortgage Closing Costs for Second Straight Year, According to Bankrate, Inc.
Texas, Utah and California Also Rank Among Most Expensive States

NEW YORK, July 18, 2011 /PRNewswire– Nationwide, the average origination and title fees on a $200,000 mortgage total $4,070, which is 8.8 percent higher than a year ago, according to Bankrate, Inc.’s RATE -2.68% 2011 Closing Costs Survey.

New York leads the nation with an average fee of $6,183. Texas, Utah, San Francisco and Idaho round out the five most expensive areas. Arkansas is the least expensive area, with an average fee of $3,378.

Most of the rise in closing costs is tied to fees charged directly by lenders. On average, lenders charge about $1,614 in origination fees this year, up 10.3 percent from last year. Origination fees include lender charges for services such as underwriting and processing.

“Interest rates get a lot of attention, and rightfully so, but it’s also important for consumers to compare lender fees when shopping for a loan,” said Greg McBride, CFA, senior financial analyst for Bankrate, Inc.

Bankrate surveyed up to 10 lenders in each state in June 2011 and obtained online good faith estimates for a $200,000 mortgage to buy a single-family home with a 20 percent down payment. Costs include fees charged by lenders, as well as third-party fees for services such as appraisals and title insurance. The survey excludes taxes, property insurance, association fees, interest and other prepaid items.

Comment by wmbz
2011-07-18 10:27:40

Ga. test scandal teachers told quit or be fired
(CBS News)

The Atlanta school system has been rocked by scandal. Cheating was allegedly rampant, and now those believed to be responsible are being held accountable.

Almost 200 Atlanta educators, teachers and principals, all implicated in the most far-reaching school cheating scandal in American history, have been given an ultimatum: Quit by Wednesday, or be fired.

But Armstead Salters says he’s no cheat.

Salters told CBS News, “I always work hard for the children.”

CBS News Correspondent Mark Strassmann report, however, that at Atlanta’s Gideon Elementary, state investigators say they found plenty wrong; Cheating in almost every classroom, teachers erasing wrong answers on standardized tests and filling in the right ones, all allegedly on orders from their former principal, Armstead Salters.

Salters told CBS News, “I think in time you’ll find out I didn’t do anything wrong.”

State investigators say in Atlanta’s public schools, 178 principals and teachers - almost half of whom confessed - changed student answers to spike scores.

Students showed such dramatic progress that former superintendant Beverly Hall and other staffers were given awards, and big bonuses.

Now anyone implicated faces termination and, possibly, criminal charges, according to Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal.

“When educators have failed to uphold their trust and students are harmed in the process, there will be consequences,” Deal said.

Many of the affected students live in Atlanta’s poorest neighborhoods. Year after year, Strassmann reports, some of them were promoted to the next grade based on phony test scores - even though they had mastered none of the basics.

“It is just so devastating that so many children have been affected by educators who just didn’t do their jobs,” said parent Joleen Neel.

Comment by 2banana
2011-07-18 10:42:57

Hey - where does obama send his kids to school?

Oh yeah - to a private school.

Comment by darrell_in_phoenix
2011-07-18 10:56:11

Seriously? You don’t think that security concerns justify private school?

Or is this just demagogary.

Comment by Arizona Slim
2011-07-18 10:59:49

The last school-age presidential child to attend DC public schools was Amy Carter. As far as anyone knows, she came through the experience just fine.

ISTR reading that, after the Carters left DC, they went back to Plains, GA, where Amy continued on in the public schools. But, for college, she went to a private institution, Brown University.

I’ve heard that she was razor-sharp in the intelligence department, like her dad. (OTOH, Carter did seem to be a bit lacking in the common sense department.)

However, like most presidential offspring, Amy Carter has stayed far out of the limelight since her White House years.

Comment by Prime_Is_Contained
2011-07-18 10:46:47

Does anyone have thoughts on why gold now appears to respond to debt-default fears, but did not respond all that significantly to the massive volatility back in 2008?

Frankly, I was shocked how little it benefited back in 2008; now it rallies to new highs on every little bit of news on European debt negotiations.


Comment by darrell_in_phoenix
2011-07-18 11:03:08

2008 was a financial sector melt down. People wanted to get out of bad debt, but there were no buyers of the bad debt. This forced the price down. With mark to market accounting, falling prices hit balance sheets.

Falling balance sheets triggered margin calls, which forced more selling, falling prices and more margin calls. People on Wall Street and the international equivilants were forced to sell everything to meet the margin calls, even gold.

Deflationary collapse stopped only when we eased FASB157 and allowed companies to lie about their balance sheets, stopped the margin calls, and allowed them to start buying again.

The twice a week debt twice-a-week debt crisis are in government debt, and everyone knows that when push comes to shove, unlike investors, government can just print money. This printing of money is inflationary, and you want out of cash and into commodities before the inflation eats away its purchasing power.

Comment by Rental Watch
2011-07-18 12:02:57

“Falling balance sheets triggered margin calls”

And this happened in interesting ways. I heard from a friend that Wells Fargo dropping below $10 caused all sorts of havoc. The reason was that Wells over many years bought a lot of smaller banks, and so there are a fair number of wealthy individuals who have a nice chunk of Wells stock (and never got very diversified). However, once the stock dropped below $10, the rules for some investment banks was that it was not marginable (ie. worth $0 when determining how much they could borrow).

So, there were some people caught completely unaware…not because they weren’t still rich, or were overleveraged, but because they never thought that Wells could become unmarginable. As an example, someone might have 1 million shares of Wells stock, and borrowed $1MM against it. Once their holdings fell to $9.9MM, the bank forced them to sell some Wells stock…despite only being leveraged 10%.

As you note, the forced selling drove down prices farther…but not all forced selling was based on lack of equity…sometimes just because some stock became “unmarginable”.

Comment by cactus
2011-07-18 12:45:19


QE3 rumors ? the idea that governments may pay off debt by issuing more money not linked to real work but given with no interest to “friendly Banks”. friendly banks= banks the FED will save.

meanwhile real work in the US = little or no more money inflation adjusted , if you can find work.

The inflation is all exported by “friendly banks” lending to fast growing economies that were not burdened by a RE bubble bust or old age demographics.

They ( fast growing economies ) are probably buying Gold as an inflation hedge.

Comment by Rental Watch
2011-07-18 13:05:12

In my view the gold move is a combination of two things:

1. Fear; and
2. Some deeper thinkers belief that if the government won’t solve it debt problems by significantly raising revenues, or entitlement cuts, the third rail is inflation. You better believe there are some creative minds out there trying to find ways to re-define CPI yet again to further understate it…

Gotta love the way out being a poorly hidden and regressive tax. Sorry middle class–another bat to the back of the knees.

Comment by wmbz
2011-07-18 10:51:03

Global Demand for U.S. Assets Increases $23.6 Billion, Less Than (Bloomberg)

Global demand for U.S. stocks, bonds and other financial assets rose in May from a month earlier as China and Japan added to their holdings of government securities, the Treasury Department reported.

Net buying of long-term equities, notes and bonds totaled $23.6 billion during the month, compared with net buying of $30.6 billion in April, according to statistics issued today in Washington. Including short-term securities such as stock swaps, foreigners sold a net $67.5 billion compared with net buying of $66.6 billion the previous month.

The reporting on long-term securities is a gauge of confidence in U.S. economic policy, and today’s data suggest the country offers safety from the economic crisis in Europe even with the White House and Congress at odds over raising the Treasury’s borrowing authority.

“The U.S. failure to lift the debt ceiling limit has not led America’s creditors to lose confidence yet,” said Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd. in New York. “Foreigners continue to buy now, but they may yet get cold feet.”

Comment by Arizona Slim
2011-07-18 10:55:50

Here’s the latest news from Tucson:

Local gals make good! They’re going to be on “House Hunters” teevee!

The scoop from our leading fishwrap:

A local real estate agent and a single mom will appear on cable television tonight as they scour the Tucson area for a new house.

The “House Hunters” show on HGTV, or Home and Garden Television, will tell the story of Tucsonan Jennifer Elton, a single mom with a son, who recently divorced and needs to move into a smaller home that’s easier to maintain.

Much comment merriment follows…

Comment by wmbz
2011-07-18 11:06:14

Terrafugia Flying Car Cleared for Landing in US
July 18, 2011 | News Corp Australian Papers

As many as 100 people have put down a $10,000 deposit for their Terrafugia Transition.

A flying car retailing for $227,000 could be on roads in a matter of months — and customers are already lining up to be the first to get their hands on one, its maker claims.

Just over a week ago, the Terrafugia Transition passed a significant milestone when it was cleared for takeoff by the U.S. National Highway Safety Administration. It’s taken Terrafugia founder Carl Dietrich just five years to realize his dream, with some media outlets reporting that the Transition could now be on U.S. roads by the end of next year.

Last year, the project was headed for trouble after authorities demanded design changes costing Terrafugia somewhere in the order of $18 million.

Fortunately, Dietrich’s company then won a $60 million contract with the Defense Department to develop a flying Humvee.

Despite the fact the price of a single vehicle has been pushed to about $230,000 from the starting order price of $170,000, up to 100 customers have already paid a $10,000 deposit for a Transition.

The next stage for Terrafugia is global domination, with the first stop outside the U.S. being Europe.

The Civil Aviation Authority told the UK’s Daily Mail that the U.S. clearance meant it would be “relatively easy” for the Transition to get clearance from the European Safety Agency, based in Cologne.

“The bulk of the work has already been done in the U.S.,” said Jonathan Nicholson, of Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority. “Safety standards are very similar between there and Europe.”

Terrafugia says more than 20 Britons have already expressed interest in owning a Transition.

The two-seat plane is made of carbon-fiber and aimed primarily at the U.S.’s 600-strong “fly-in” communities. It can lift off from almost any long straight road and, once in the air, has a top speed of 115 mph.

On landing, its wings fold up in 15 seconds, with power then routed to the rear wheels, giving it a top land speed of 62 mph and size dimensions equivalent to a large sedan.

“It’s like a little Transformer,” Mr Dietrich said.

The Transition will be available to those with a light-aircraft license and requires as little as 20 hours of training to fly.

Comment by In Colorado
2011-07-18 11:19:56

Wouldn’t it be a lot cheaper to buy a Cessna or a Piper, and rent a car at your destination?

Comment by X-GSfixr
2011-07-18 12:40:42

I’m throwing the BS flag on this story.

WHAT has it “passed” with NHTSA? Collision standards? They sure can’t approve it for “takeoff”.

As far as the FAA and ICAO being “similar”……..I’m ROTFLMAO

“…..$60 million to develop a flying HUMVEE……”

I’d sure like to confirm that, and find out who approved it. Sounds like Government Cheese for the rich/connected to me.

X-GSfixr’s free analysis: another scheme to separate people who don’t know much about the airplane business from their money.

My nominee for the Eclipse/Vern Raburn 2011 “New Paradigm” Award.

Comment by CharlieTango
2011-07-18 13:55:28

notice the article is from an Australian news agency. taking off from a road there is probably more permissible than here.

the the transition is a flying car it needs an airport in the unitied states.

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Comment by jeff saturday
2011-07-18 14:56:27

“I’m throwing the BS flag on this story.”

We have a 15 yard penalty for BS and a loss of down on this story. Terrafugia Flying Car has been ejected from the blog and the mania of the housing bubble will restart on my whistle. Would the timekeeper reset the clock to 11:06:14.

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Comment by CharlieTango
2011-07-18 16:51:03

“WHAT has it “passed” with NHTSA? Collision standards? They sure can’t approve it for “takeoff”.” In fact they got the Light Sport Aircraft rules changed to allow and additional 50kg of gross take off weight if the aircraft is a road-able car.

As a special light sport it only has to pass “industry consensus standards” its a very low bar that has permitted hundreds of new designs to be sold in the US in the last 7 years.

The Terrafugia Transition is real enough, a friend of mine invested in the company 5 or 6 years ago he was impressed that it was designed by engineers from MIT.
I thought it was a bad idea then and I think it is a bad idea now. What do you get, a very limited airplane and a very limited car all for a very high price.

Comment by Awaiting
2011-07-18 11:20:13

Has anyone been keeping upthe MERS legal challenges?

I met one of the MERS “victims” over the weekend. Her embellishments had more holes than swiss cheese.

Comment by WT Economist
2011-07-18 11:57:14

Looks like we’re hanging around the Eddie line (1,300) on the S&P while remaining well above it (12,000) on the DOW.

This implies relative outperformance for firms large enough to be deemed too big to fail. Or perhaps those with actual dividends.

Comment by wmbz
2011-07-18 12:04:24

News of the World phone-hacking whistleblower found dead. UK

Sean Hoare, the former News of the World showbiz reporter who was the first named journalist to allege Andy Coulson was aware of phone hacking by his staff, has been found dead, the Guardian has learned.

Hoare, who worked on the Sun and the News of the World with Coulson before being dismissed for drink and drugs problems, is said to have been found dead at his Watford home.

Hertfordshire police would not confirm his identity, but the force said in a statement: “At 10.40am today [Monday 18 July] police were called to Langley Road, Watford, following the concerns for the welfare of a man who lives at an address on the street. Upon police and ambulance arrival at a property, the body of a man was found. The man was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after.

“The death is currently being treated as unexplained, but not thought to be suspicious. Police investigations into this incident are ongoing.”

Hoare first made his claims in a New York Times investigation into the phone-hacking allegations at the News of the World.

Comment by Steve J
2011-07-18 13:00:36

You mess with Foxnews and you swim with the fishes.

Comment by ecofeco
2011-07-18 18:13:58

What an odd coincidence.


Comment by sleepless_near_seattle
2011-07-18 12:04:49

Report: Whistleblower in phone-hacking scandal found dead at home.

“”The death is currently being treated as unexplained, but not thought to be suspicious,” the police said.”

Yeah. Not suspicious. Okay.

Comment by In Colorado
2011-07-18 15:40:57

I guess we can forget right now about all those silly notions of democracy and freedom and just accept that we are the property of our corporate overlords.

Comment by ecofeco
2011-07-18 18:15:15

You have problem with Corporate Communist Capitalism©®™, comrade?

Comment by sleepless_near_seattle
2011-07-18 22:11:49

I knew that was coming! :-)

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Comment by wmbz
2011-07-18 12:05:43

Obama officially threatens to veto ‘cut, cap and balance’
By Sam Youngman - The Hill

The White House on Monday warned President Obama will veto GOP legislation to “cut, cap and balance” spending and the budget.

In a statement of administration policy, the White House Office of Management and Budget labeled the GOP bill as an “empty political statement.”

The House Rules Committee is expected to take up the measure on Monday, and it is likely to receive a floor vote on Tuesday. The measure would cut spending in fiscal 2012 by $111 billion, cap future spending at 19.9 percent of gross domestic product and allow for the debt ceiling to be increased if a balanced-budget amendment is approved by Congress and sent to the states.

The administration said the measure, which is not expected to move through the Senate, is unnecessary and unrealistic.

Comment by darrell_in_phoenix
2011-07-18 12:21:33

Pure politics. All style and no substance.

Comment by wmbz
2011-07-18 12:18:20

The Washington Times Online Edition

Tax breaks for whaling ship captains, feeding stray cats and holding office parties for low-wage employees all have been ruled legal under tax law, according to a new report that comes just as the debate over so-called “tax expenditures,” estimated to be worth as much as $1 trillion a year, is heating up.

While much of the focus has been on corporate breaks to the likes of oil companies, the individual income tax code has its share — and Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican, wants those to be part of the conversation as well.

On Monday he released a 600-plus-page report designed to show how to reduce deficits by $9 trillion over the next 10 years, including trillions of dollars in lower tax breaks. And alongside it, he obtained a report he requested from the Congressional Research Service, Congress’s nonpartisan analytical branch, laying out some of the crazier-sounding write-offs:

— Eskimo whaling ship captains, who can deduct up to $10,000 a year. Even though commercial whaling is illegal in U.S. waters, Native Alaskan captains are still allowed to hunt, and since 2005 are also allowed to claim the annual charitable deduction to offset their fuel and weapons costs.

— Businesses can deduct the full cost of “recreational, social or similar activities” for low-paid employees — which means the costs of office holiday parties can be written off.

— A couple who owned a junkyard got tax court approval to deduct the $300 they paid to feed stray cats. The court said since the cats kept away snakes and rats, it boosted business. CRS said it’s “not clear from the ruling how widely applicable it is to cases involving the feeding of feral cats.”

“We need to cut spending inside the code as well as spending outside the code,” Mr. Coburn told reporters as he introduced his $9 trillion plan.

The CRS report found some other particularly questionable business deductions, including one tax court’s ruling that a bodybuilder could deduct the cost of the oils he used, and another court’s decision that an exotic dancer’s large silicone breast implants be a deductible expense.

That second court ruled that the implants bought by the dancer, whose professional name was Chesty Love, were so large — about 10 pounds each — that they could have no purpose other than for her professional work. The implants were assigned a five-year depreciation life.

CRS said those tax rulings don’t necessarily create a precedent, so it’s not clear whether another exotic dancer could make the same claim.

Also deductible on tax forms as medical expenses: costs of a legal abortion and costs of a sex change operation when someone has been diagnosed with gender identity disorder — but, unlike in the case of the exotic dancer, not breast implants. The U.S. Tax Court ruled that the augmentation surgery was mainly for appearances, not actual treatment for the disorder.

Many of the breaks are small. The whaling deduction totals $4 million over the next 10 years, for example.

But Mr. Coburn argues they are emblematic of a gap in government responsibility, since the tax code doesn’t receive the same sort of annual congressional oversight that spending does.

Comment by darrell_in_phoenix
2011-07-18 12:37:28

Confuse and distract.

$400K a year for whaling boats? And since they are not allowed to seel the meat, only give it away, why would they not be able to get a charitable donation credit for the expense of killing the whales?

If the cat’s keep pests out of your junkyard, why not be able to claim the cost of feeding them to attract them there as an expense?

Look people, 80% of the baseline budget(excluding things like increased unemployment and stimulus tax credits) is SS($700B), MC/C($725B), DOD/VA($825B), retirement($200B), interest on the debt ($200B). Seriously. That is like $2.65T of the $3.3T non-stimulus budget.

If you want to balance the budget, then you need to start by cutting these big ticket items along with tax increases to those that can afford to pay higher taxes.

Comment by Steve J
2011-07-18 13:03:25

Captain Ahab would not be pleased.

Comment by measton
2011-07-18 12:53:37

Or how about this one Mr. Coburn
The top 400 pay effective tax rate of approximately 15% and CEO’s and Hedge Fund managers pay very low rates on their income for working because they pay capital gains or dividend tax rates, but make no mistake they are getting paid for working and it should be taxed at income tax rates.

No better to go after the office party.

Comment by darrell_in_phoenix
2011-07-18 13:11:08

Yep… get rid of social security and medicare tax. Get rid of capital gains taxes. Treat all income the same, and tax it one time as a single tax.

Comment by Arizona Slim
2011-07-18 13:29:38

A couple who owned a junkyard got tax court approval to deduct the $300 they paid to feed stray cats. The court said since the cats kept away snakes and rats, it boosted business. CRS said it’s “not clear from the ruling how widely applicable it is to cases involving the feeding of feral cats.”

Oh, for pity’s sake! In addition to keeping the snakes and rats away, those feral cats are wreaking havoc on native bird populations.

When it comes to species destruction, the domestic cat is right up there. Simple request to all cat owners: Keep them inside. They don’t belong in the outdoor environment.

Comment by DB_in_AZ
2011-07-21 09:12:32

When it comes to species destruction, the domestic cat is right up there. Simple request to all cat owners: Keep them inside. They don’t belong in the outdoor environment.

All my cats(3) are indoor cats. They would be coyote or bobcat food in a few days if they were allowed outside. Plus, I like watching all the birds and squirrels in the yard and would feel terrible if my cats were to eat them. So they just sit in the window and drool. LOL

Comment by wmbz
2011-07-18 13:08:18

Calif. Pension Funds Gain Most in Decade

The nation’s two largest public pension systems reported returns topping 20 percent for the year ended June 30, their best in more than a decade as the California funds profited from stocks and private equity.

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System, or Calpers, the U.S.’s biggest pension, earned 20.7 percent in the 12 months ended June 30. It was the best result in 14 years, led by gains in stocks and private equity. The California State Teachers’ Retirement System, the second-largest, earned 23.1 percent, it said in a press release.

Stocks held by the first plan, which has $237.5 billion of assets, returned 30.2 percent, fund administrators said today. Fixed-income investments rose 7 percent. Real estate and private equity, earned 10.2 percent and 25.3 percent through March, respectively.

“Obviously the results are pleasing,” the Chief Investment Officer Joe Dear told the governing board today at a meeting in Petaluma, north of San Francisco. “We are in the 20 percent club. It was a good year. We are back.”

Comment by darrell_in_phoenix
2011-07-18 13:36:44

Now, try to realize those gains…..

Comment by wmbz
2011-07-18 13:19:16

You never know where he will turn up these days…

Couple says image of Jesus appears in Walmart receipt
KDVR Denver July 18, 2011

ANDERSON COUNTY, S.C. — An image of Jesus has shown up in another unlikely place, at least in the eyes of an engaged couple from Anderson County, S.C.

Jacob Simmons and his fiancée, Gentry Lee Sutherland, say they bought some pictures at Walmart.

A few days later, the receipt was on the kitchen floor of Sutherland’s apartment when Simmons says he saw that it had changed.

The couple says it’s an image of Jesus in their Walmart receipt. They called the store to ask them how the receipt paper could’ve become discolored like that, and someone told them the only thing that could do that is heat.

The couple says nothing was done to make the image appear on the receipt. “We just feel like it’s a blessing that God showed it to us and opened our eyes. And we just feel like we should share the blessing God gave to us to everybody else,” Sutherland told WYFF-TV.

Comment by oxide
2011-07-18 13:52:31

Wouldn’t surprise me if Wal-Mart paid this couple off just to gain street cred with the fundies. Target is probably saying “Why didn’t we think of that?”

Comment by wmbz
2011-07-18 15:38:36

Oh they probably did and with a $10.00 gift card no doubt. These big evil corporations are sinister that way.

Comment by wmbz
2011-07-18 13:47:01

What is wrong with these cranks across the pond, just follow our lead, keep printing!

UK banks dragged into eurozone crisis as global markets take fright

Lloyds, RBS and Barclays take £5bn hit as stock and commodity prices plummet, while US urges Europe to be more decisive
guardian.co.uk, Monday 18 July 2011

More than £5bn was wiped off the value of three of Britain’s biggest banks on Monday as global financial markets took fright at the deepening crisis in the eurozone.

Stocks fell heavily in Europe and North America while gold rose to a new record of more than $1,600 (£995) an ounce amid concerns that Thursday’s emergency summit of EU leaders would once again fail to resolve the debt problems of the single currency’s weak members.

Officials from eurozone countries were on Monday trying to resolve the row between Angela Merkel and the European Central Bank (ECB) over a possible Greek debt default after a day of turbulence that saw bank shares tumble in late trading.

Jean-Claude Trichet, the president of the ECB, is resisting pressure from the German chancellor for Greece’s private sector creditors to bear some of the losses of a default, but senior policymakers admitted that it was now vital Thursday’s talks in Brussels come up with a credible plan that will restore market confidence after shares, government bonds and commodities all suffered sharp losses. Sources said one option was to convert much of Greece’s debts into longer-term bonds, an approach used during the Latin American debt crisis of the 1980s.

Lloyds, Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays were the biggest fallers on the FTSE 100, all losing at least 6% of their value as jittery investors digested the results of Friday’s stress tests on European banks, mulled the prospect of the US losing its triple A credit rating and began to worry about the political ramifications of the News International phone hacking scandal for David Cameron.

Michael Derks, chief strategist at FxPro, said: “Thus far, the pound has not factored in any real risk premium for political uncertainty. Given the rapidity with which key figures in the scandal are falling on their swords, it could be argued that the pound is being complacent regarding the potential of the hacking issue to ensnare the prime minister and his party.”

Comment by ecofeco
2011-07-18 18:18:11

UK banks dragged in to crisis? Hell, they ARE the crisis!

Comment by wmbz
2011-07-18 13:50:32

Electric Car Maker Folds, Salinas Loses $500,000
KSBW> The Central Coast News

A Salinas car manufacturing company that was expected to build environmentally friendly electric cars and create new jobs folded before any cars could run off the assembly line.

The city of Salinas had invested more than half a million dollars in Green Vehicles, an electric car start-up company.

All of that money is now gone, according to Green Vehicles President and Co-Founder Mike Ryan.

The start-up company set up shop in Salinas in the summer of 2009 after the city gave Ryan a $300,000 community development grant.

When the company still ran into financial trouble last year, the city of Salinas handed to Ryan an additional $240,000 in investment money.

Salinas Mayor Dennis Donohue said he was “surprised and disappointed” by the news. City officials were equally irked that Ryan notified them through an email that his company had crashed and burned.

Salinas Redevelopment Director Jeff Weir said Green Vehicles folded because of a “lack of investors,” and a $2.7 million grant from California Energy Commission that never materialized.

Donohue said he will work with the state to try to get at least $240,000 back from the now-defunct company.

Comment by Arizona Slim
2011-07-18 14:18:40

The thing that gets me going: They may be “green” cars. But the recharge power comes from…

…fossil fuel-fired power plants.

Comment by darrell_in_phoenix
2011-07-18 15:07:20

Right. Burn coal or natural gas to generate electricity to power your green car.

Same goes for the hydrogen fuel cell crud. Where do they get the hydrogen… Oh. We burn coal or natural gas to super heat water, then inject the super heated water into natural gas to break the natural gas down into H2 and CO2.

MORE total carbon released from hydrogen fuel cell than just burning gasoline.

Comment by Blue Skye
2011-07-18 15:36:24

Victorian mentality hangover. Someone else’s hands are in the dirt, so it’s “clean” for me!

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Comment by Arizona Slim
2011-07-18 15:42:33

You’ve hit the proverbial nail on the head, darrell. And, to stay somewhat in keeping with the Relationships Monday theme, let’s just say that hydrogen is an emotionally needy element. Meaning that it forms tight bonds with any element it hooks up with. And such bonds take a lot of energy to sever.

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Comment by oxide
2011-07-18 16:13:20

Well to be honest, Slim, I’d rather have the fossil power come from American coal than Middle Eastern Oil. And even though coal plants will scream, we can at least contain the pollutants if the power is produced at a central location.

And the beauty of electricity is that there are quite a few ways to make it. Nuclear is one, but it’s got its own problems. I like the idea of each house having a dedicated solar panel just to run the car. Even if it’s only enough juice to get to work and back.

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2011-07-18 14:39:49

A Salinas car manufacturing company that was expected to build environmentally friendly electric cars and create new jobs folded before any cars could run off the assembly line.

The most environmentally friendly cars ever…

Comment by MrBubble
2011-07-18 14:44:37


I think that exact same thing when people talk about “green building” without first asking, do we need this building.

Comment by ecofeco
2011-07-18 18:19:35

:lol: +1

Comment by wmbz
2011-07-18 13:55:03

Drought cripples southern US farms
By Gregory Meyer in New York - FT

Half of Dahlen Hancock’s cotton fields are dead. The other half are clinging to life.

The Lone Star state is at the epicenter of a once-in-a-generation drought stretching from Arizona to Florida. The US’s southern underbelly is scorched like meat on a grill.

The drought has spawned wildfires, turning grasslands to ash. In Texas, the leading cotton producer in the US, 59 per cent of the cotton crop is in poor condition or worse. Harvests of hard winter wheat, prized for yeasted breads, have plummeted in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas as yields and acreage contracted. Ranchers cannot feed their cattle on parched pastures.

Mr Hancock, a fourth-generation farmer, says the cotton seeds he planted on his 3,000 dryland acres never germinated. “All I see is dry, barren farmland. The weeds really haven’t even grown,” he says.

His irrigated crop is also “right on the edge”, as temperatures in Lubbock have hovered near 38C all month. Last month was the hottest June in Texas on record, breaking the previous peak in 1953.

The pain is spreading to businesses that serve the farms. West of Mr Hancock, the Meadow Farmers Co-op Gin – the machine that strips cotton fibres from the seeds – will hire only one 16-person crew at autumn harvest time, rather than the two round-the-clock crews that handled last year’s bumper crop.

“I am hoping for a third of what we ginned last year,” says Dan Jackson, general manager. “But with each day that we don’t get measurable moisture, that kind of dims.”

Texas grew 43 per cent of last year’s 18m-bale cotton crop in the US, the world’s top exporter of the fibre, with the main cotton lands in the high plains encircling Lubbock. The US Department of Agriculture last week cut its forecast for this year’s domestic cotton crop by 1m bales to 16m, as farmers abandoned a record 30 per cent of their fields.

In May, the drought had already caused $1.5bn in agricultural losses, a number that is sure to rise as the drought persists, according to the Texas Agrilife Extension Service. The USDA has declared most of Texas a primary disaster area, making farmers eligible for emergency benefits.

The state has more than 13m cattle, more than any other. But the size of the herd, dwindling for years, may shrink faster as ranchers are forced to sell calves and breeding cows they cannot feed.

“There’s no green,” says George Enloe, a cattle broker in Amarillo, Texas. “It looks like the dead of winter, except when you roll the window down it’s 100 degrees (38C).”

The drought began about a year ago. Rain stopped falling last autumn, and has remained scarce partly because La Niña, the Pacific weather phenomenon, steered moisture away during the winter. Now an inert dome of broiling air appears clamped over much of the south. With little evaporation from dry soils, thunderstorms do not form, says Texas state climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon.

Comment by X-GSfixr
2011-07-18 16:51:28

Well, they could just dig wells and get water from the Ogallala aquifer…….

Oh, they already did that? And because Texas (being a upstanding Republican, all-regulation-is-bad-regulation state) doesn’t regulate water consumption from the aquifer, it’s pumped dry in most of Texas. And what isn’t dry is owned by Boone Pickens?

Hate it when that happens…….

Comment by ecofeco
2011-07-18 18:24:44

The stories don’t begin to describe how bad it is.

I’ve NEVER seen it this bad anywhere I’ve ever lived.

Our summer started in March this year. 70 and 80f days toward the end of the month. It’s not supposed to reach those temps until the middle of MAY.

What else is not being mentioned is the drought from last year. The reality is, this is the same drought. 2 years long and counting.

And one last thing, this is the 3rd drought in the last 10 years here. I can’t begin to tell you how NOT normal that is.

Comment by aNYCdj
2011-07-18 14:20:41


Did you know that the average ballpark field (Major League only) contains ninety-thousand (90,000) square feet between the foul lines?

Comment by Neuromance
2011-07-18 14:37:21

What amazes me about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau fight is that the Republicans are so unapologetically opposing its mission. Which is simply trying to de-obfuscate loan terms and limit predatory lending.

I appreciate they are trying to curry Wall Street favor, trying to siphon off cash from the Democrats, but there is a price in actual votes to be paid for that. And it’s the actual votes that get people elected. I know that purchased advertising and MSM sympathy go far in influencing those votes, but seriously, do they think that opposition to the CFPB will lead to a net gain in votes?

For those who think it’s just money that wins elections, I have five words: “Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman.”

Comment by Arizona Slim
2011-07-18 15:01:09

Which is simply trying to de-obfuscate loan terms and limit predatory lending.

Here’s a new slogan for the Party of Lincoln: We’re the Party of Obfuscation!

Which will send millions of party faithful to their dictionaries.

Comment by ecofeco
2011-07-18 18:26:29

No it won’t. :lol:

Comment by darrell_in_phoenix
2011-07-18 15:03:56

The CFPB is not just looking to de-obfuscate. It also wants to limit the tricks the institutions have been using to inflate profits.

For example, back a few years I crack open my credit card statement and see a $60 late fee and that my rate had gone from 5% to 23%… I was like… ‘WHAT????” I’d been paying the bill on the 1st of the month for a couple years with no issues. (I get paid 1st and 15th and the 15th pays the rent.) Why the late payment all the sudden?

I go back and look at my previous statemnts and for about 6 months they’d been doing 28 or 29 day billing cycles to slowly move my due date earlier and earlier. Over those 6 months, the due date moved from the 16th to the 3rd without me noticing. When I put the check in the mail on the 1st, boom… they received it late triggering the default clause.

I’m sure we’ve all heard of the law suit about a CC issuerer that was using a contrractor to sit on payments for a few days before processing to increase late fees and defaults.

So, CFPD is looking at things like fixed due dates, rules on payment processing, etc. etc. etc.

Another one is the “no interest until” BS. Yeah, no interest if you pay it off by xxx. But it you still owe $1 or more on the end date, then they back charge the interest… stuff like that.

How are banks expected to earn back all the money they have lost, then continue to griw profitability, if they are not allowed to use tactics to increase fees?

Comment by CA renter
2011-07-19 06:55:30

Yep, we got hit with the changing due date a few years back, too.

I fought it, and they reversed the charge, but it was still maddening.

Comment by Arizona Slim
2011-07-18 15:03:20

And, now a moment of silence.

Borders seeks to close all remaining stores, including Tucson’s

IMHO, if Borders had concentrated on making its original store in Ann Arbor a great destination, well, it could have been one of the major draws of southeast Michigan. If not northern Ohio.

Comment by sleepless_near_seattle
2011-07-18 15:18:57

Kinda like Powell’s here in Portland. Several stores around town, plus online. Other than a few worker spats about bene’s here and there, things seem to be going well.

Comment by Arizona Slim
2011-07-18 15:47:23

Kinda like Powell’s here in Portland.

Or Tattered Cover in the Denver area.

While we’re on this topic, permit me to recommend my all-time favorite one-store bookstore: Chester County Book Company. It’s just east of West Chester, PA.

If you want to get your Ryan Dunn crash shrine fix, that’s just a mile or two north. Just take the PA 322 exit off U.S. 202. Just remember that the speed limit’s 55, and I’m not kidding.

But I digress.

This bookstore was originally founded by the wife of the couple that sold my parents the land for the house they built when I was a third grade Slim. The folks still live in that house.

Original owner of this store decided to sell out, and one of our former neighbors, who’s an attorney in WC, wanted to buy it. I don’t know if his always-sensible wife talked him out of the idea, but he didn’t make the purchase.

Big mistake.

Chesco Books has since grown into one of the largest indie bookstores on the East Coast.

Comment by Muggy
2011-07-18 17:24:52

Borders basically operated like a library, so this doesn’t shock me at all. I have been to Borders a million times, and other than coffee I don’t think I ever bought anything.

Wait, this means that M.C. 900 Ft. Jesus is now unemployed. End times.

Comment by wmbz
2011-07-18 15:26:42

Here’s something government worshipers will enjoy… Mo fee’s, Mo fines, what ever it takes to keep the people in check.

~ Clipped from The 5Min. Forecast

We begin today’s 5 with an ill omen for small business owners: the story of Anthony Fasolino, a third-generation proprietor of a pizzeria in the Bronx.

Fasolino was recently fined $600 for the head-slapping offense of… allowing rainwater from his parking lot to flow into the storm sewers.

No kidding.

Ummm… should he have collected and disposed of the rainwater instead?

Fasolino figures such bogus fines — $200 for a missing cover on a ceiling light was another recent one — eat up as much as 20% of his revenue.

“New York City is unleashing its latest financial hell on cash-strapped business owners,” reports the New York Post, “desperately stepping up fines and announcing a flurry of new fees to raise funds.” The city is counting on such fees and fines for $900 million in revenue.

The health inspectors are the worst, Fasolino says. “They have to find something wrong with the place. If they don’t, their supervisor will come out and then give you a ticket of some kind.”

As for the rainwater, the Department of Environmental Protection is supposed to be sending someone to meet with Fasolino to discuss his problem.

Comment by MrBubble
2011-07-18 17:22:52

There are a few things missing from this story. Smell test fail.

Comment by Muggy
2011-07-18 17:33:17

You know what’s freakin’ unbelievable? Last year the main line from our house to the sewer had to be dug up and replaced; it was Orangeburg pipe and crumbly. The plumber had to pay EPA fees and set up a catch in the event that rain washed any dirt toward the city storm drains. But dig this: the city repaves the entire municipality and never once sets up anything to catch eroded debris. There is now a large patch of my front lawn that’s a light, dusty grey thanks to all of the ground up concrete from the old road. It of course rained and spread the debris everywhere.

I wonder how many NYC municipal properties don’t meet their own guidelines?

Comment by ecofeco
2011-07-18 18:29:31

As I’ve said, it the LOCAL govs that SELECTIVELY over-regulate.

Comment by Rental Watch
2011-07-18 17:27:04



Not being critical of Zillow, just cruising around the mid-Peninsula and saw a big asking price. Zillow’s “zestimate” is $44 million below the ask.

Their algorithm must not do well with markets with few transactions. I’d be shocked if the seller gets anywhere close to $45 million (maybe no that shocked), but this is a neighborhood where a flat acre and no house goes for $3 million+, and this house is new and built on 1.5 acres.

If you look the the neighboring city (Menlo Park), you’ll see old homes with no architecture on 6,000 square foot lots on a busy street that have a “zestimate” of more than the home listed above.

Comment by Realtors Are Liars
2011-07-18 18:17:38

It looks like prices have a long way to fall now don’t they….. ;)

Comment by BlueStar
2011-07-18 18:58:04

I always had a hunch diamonds were way over valued. Stick with gold I sez.

Macquarie University Photonics Research Centre discovered that diamonds evaporate under exposure to light.


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