Mid-Week Open Thread (2011-12-28)

Here is your open thread for the mid-week on December 28th, 2011. You may post random links and off-topic discussions here. Also, if you have an idea or a topic you’d like to see covered in an article, please make it known.

Be sure to also check out the forums, and get your word in the user-driven discussions there!

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About The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market. Tim also hosts the weekly improv comedy sci-fi podcast Dispatches from the Multiverse.

68 comments:

  1. 1
    ChrisM says:

    Jim the Realtor lists various examples of short sale fraud in CA. Is this happening in WA?

    http://www.bubbleinfo.com/2011/12/27/short-sale-fraud-2/

  2. 2

    Should Seattle’s “Y” Generation Youth Be Horrified That Opportunities for Higher Paid Jobs in the Seattle Area are Going Down the Globalism Toilet?

    Here’s an excerpt from today’s reaction by Japan to their government’s mishandling [IMO] of the radiation dangers in North Japan:

    “….The total amount of radiation released from the plant is still unknown, and the impact of chronic low-dose radiation exposures in and around Fukushima is a matter of scientific debate.

    Recent studies also suggest Japan continues to significantly underestimate the scale of the disaster — which could have health and safety implications far into the future.

    According to a study led by Andreas Stohl the Norwegian Institute for Air Research, twice as much radioactive cesium-137 — a cancer-causing agent — was pumped into the atmosphere than Japan had announced, reaching 40 percent of the total from Chernobyl. The French Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety found 30 times more cesium-137 was released into the Pacific than the plant’s owner has acknowledged….”

    http://news.yahoo.com/no-mans-land-attests-japans-nuclear-nightmare-161912721.html

    Is it good to be peaceful passive “Japanese style” lambs to the radiation contamination slaughter; or idiotic? Which attitude represents more intelligence, passive blind acceptance or open eyed horrification?

  3. 3

    RE: ChrisM @ 1

    Yes Honesty Exists in Any Business

    But fraud and organised crime is rampant in the real estate area; unless the near/imminent collapse of the banking industry due to real estate sales is considererred a moot point.

  4. 4

    By ChrisM @ 1:

    Jim the Realtor lists various examples of short sale fraud in CA. Is this happening in WA?

    http://www.bubbleinfo.com/2011/12/27/short-sale-fraud-2/

    Is there some way of getting examples of what he’s talking about without watching a 9 minute video? I’ve heard of situations in Seattle that would constitute short sale fraud, but I’ve not actually seen any (identified the property, etc.).

    Just reading what little he wrote I agree with him. Agents owe duties to more than just their seller. That’s what got Hellickson in trouble. You don’t owe as many duties to third parties, but you do owe some duties.

  5. 5
    Dirty Renter says:

    With 2012 nearly upon us, I would like to share what I heard on Bloomberg yesterday from Tobias Levkovich, a market analyst for C, and a Canuck to boot. He shared 2 interesting trends which bodes well for America:
    1) It is now cheaper to manufacture in South Carolina than China.
    2) We will soon be only 20% dependent on imported energy, from a recent high in the 70’s.

    Now, If only we can rid ourselves of the extremists of both parties and move forward in a reasonable, thoughtful manner…I see a bright future for our youth(utes) and our nation.

  6. 6

    RE: Dirty Renter @ 5 – I heard Seattle had 5″ of rain yesterday.

  7. 7

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 6RE: Dirty Renter @ 5

    Yes Kary

    Sometimes low crime rate figures seem wonderful in Seattle, ’til it dawns on us that low crime rates= far less going out and spending money. Same with lower gasoline use, lower gas prices and higher per BBL oil simultaneosuly….is this really a good global trend?

    China had a You Tube showing a huge condo building of like 30 times the workers’ pay to buy….it was empty, no buyers….they have giant malls that are empty too….sounds like the way the Seattle area overbuilt empty hospitals. When America catches a cold, the rest of the world gets pneumonia.

    http://financiallyfit.yahoo.com/finance/article-113820-11722-1-now-is-a-great-time-to-buy-a-television?ywaad=ad0035&nc

  8. 8
    ChrisM says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 4

    Hi Kary,

    I think the nine minutes is time well spent, esp w/ JTR. He has three examples.

    I’m going to be vague, so no one is prevented from weighing in.

    1. listed (with three pathetic pictures) with no offers considered as contingent. 30 days later price is raised before it goes to the bank. Listing photos show the same cars in the driveway as exist post-sale.

    2. listed at below price, “more offers” then drops price after contingent w/ buyer in the same office

    {Please take a look at his video – he explains more than I can.)

    3. No sign. “5 second listing” then contingent. Listing agent says “everyone else is doing it”

    Jim guesses 50% of short sales in his area are fraud.

    Really, for all you agents, this is worth spending 9 minutes.

    Is this happening in Washington? I won’t ask where the MLS is, instead I’m more interested in where the state prosecuting atty is?

  9. 9
    David Losh says:

    RE: ChrisM @ 8

    You won’t get an answer to that.

    What I say is that short sales in other parts of the country sell for less than they do here. In my opinion short sales are the fair market value of property, and banks aren’t letting them go for less than that.

    Second is that bank fraud is a long statue of limitations. It’s also my opinion that if banks ever sit down, and sort stuff out, that you need to have all your stuff in order if a bank decides to look at you.

    I have seen the Jim video, and yeah, that’s how easy it is to spot bank fraud. How smart is that? and why would a Real Estate agent be involved? and the Real Estate agent would also be convicted, if not be the only one to be convicted.

    If a Real Estate agent knows that this went on they would be obligated to report it, and you are asking if it is going on?

  10. 10
    Blurtman says:

    Well, what a year its been. The economy still sucks. Obama continues to demonstrate why he is the best moderate Republican presidential candidate. The rule of law continues to be a joke for the wealthy fraudsters and war criminal murderers. And the Republican party continues its descent into rudderless madness. Can kicking has been submitted for approval as a new Olympic sport. And even in the US, citizens are beginning to get wise.

    Here are a few snark predictions for 2012:

    After limbless, disfigured Iraqi’s and survivors of the deceased press their case in the US courts, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Condi Rice and the rest of the gang that couldn;t shoot straight are convicted of war crimes and jailed.

    Obama nominates Angelo Mozillo to replace Tim Geithner as head of the Fed.

    Doctors discover that Joe Biden is really a bad Disney animation.

    Being jobless becomes the new admired trend and sparks numerous reality TV shows.

    After Iran reveals ready to go nukes, Oabama invades Jordan.

    Bank of America acquires the former mercenary firm Blackwater, and forces citizens to buy REO properties.

    Americans wake up from a bad dream to find that Al Gore was our 43rd president after all.

    Happy New Year!

  11. 11
    The Tim says:

    I’m giving a new comment rating plugin a try, to see if most readers agree that too few people are dominating the comments and new voices should be highlighted more.

    If you don’t like a comment, give it a thumbs down. If you like it, give it a thumbs up. Comments with lots of thumbs up get automatically highlighted (similar to when I feature a comment manually) and those with lots of thumbs down get automatically downplayed (like when I “bury” a comment).

    Let me know what you think!

  12. 12

    RE: ChrisM @ 8 – Okay, I watched it (actually I’m watching it as I type this).

    As to the showing issues in the first example, that very well could be going on here. It’s really hard to say, but I have noted a number of short sales where the occupant turns you away when you show up to look at the place.

    As to the price change/contingent issue, I’m not buying that one. The bank will undoubtedly have an agent do a price opinion, and that agent should have access to the MLS data on price history. What’s more likely is that the price increase is due to learning what the bank will accept.

    The third one, about selling for $48,000 less than another offer, I can’t comment on whether that occurs here, but that is the issue where I agree the agent owes a duty to the bank.

    The fourth one I think he’s making a lot of assumptions about multiple offers, and their price. Same for the fifth one.

    A few thoughts though. First, this guy has a lot of guts identifying specific listings and accusing the seller and the listing agent of fraud. Second, everything that he’s describing could be dealt with by the bank simply determining the value of the property–something they should be doing in any event. Third, I was expecting a lot more complex schemes, such as where they take it pending-backup really early with an insider offer and then close a higher priced third party offer shortly after the first one closes.

  13. 13

    RE: The Tim @ 11 – Is there an alternative where it would give you the number of votes each way, instead of just a net positive or negative?

  14. 14
    Lake Hills Renter says:

    RE: The Tim @ 11 – How is voting tracked? I voted when I wasn’t logged in, then I logged in and it wouldn’t let me vote on that comment again. That’s a good thing, but is it tracked by IP? By cookie? Should it be limited to registered users so it can be tracked by login?

  15. 15
    The Tim says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 13 – Done.

    RE: Lake Hills Renter @ 14 – I didn’t write the plugin so I’m not exactly sure how it’s tracked. There is a pro version that would allow me to limit voting to registered users, but I’d like to give it a trial for a while with the default settings and see how things go.

  16. 16

    RE: Lake Hills Renter @ 14 – It’s apparently by cookie, since I could vote on my own post if I post in Chrome and read it in IE (at least it appears I can since it’s not grayed out).

    We probably don’t have to worry about vote rigging though, because this isn’t Florida Bubble.

  17. 17

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 13:

    RE: The Tim @ 11 – Is there an alternative where it would give you the number of votes each way, instead of just a net positive or negative?

    Thank you for changing it, that’s much nicer, but apparently based on the vote to the post I quoted, someone doesn’t agree!

  18. 18
    ChrisM says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 12 – “Third, I was expecting a lot more complex schemes, such as where they take it pending-backup really early with an insider offer and then close a higher priced third party offer shortly after the first one closes.”

    In other comments he & his readers have made, everyone pretty much acknowledges that is going on, too.

    One of the more interesting comments:

    “I am still heart-broken about the Camphor house (3 rd house in the video). It has perhaps one of the best Ocean Views in North County. I tried to put an offer on that but was told by Listing Agent that “We already have it contingent and no more Offers/backup-offers are accepted” … and then they lowered the price to $750k (while contingent) and finally closed the deal for $720k. Nearest Comp to this is 6707 Barberry Pl on the next street and it sold within 30 days for $1.35 Million.
    Yes you are reading it right … $1.35M vs $720k … almost 50% discount / ripoff !!

    http://www.redfin.com/CA/Carlsbad/6707-Barberry-Pl-92011/home/3745788
    http://www.redfin.com/CA/Carlsbad/6721-Camphor-Pl-92011/home/3745692

  19. 19

    RE: ChrisM @ 18 – I’ve mentioned this before, but part of the reason something like that could (allegedly) happen is that the banks are cheap. To get their price opinions what they do is ask agents to do a BPO for free. Some agents are more than happy to do that, thinking that someday the bank will give them REO listings. I think the only criteria the bank uses in selecting an agent is: “Will the agent do a BPO for free?”

    Let’s say you personally gave a loan to someone for $1,200,000 and they came to you wanting to allow a short sale for $800,000. Would you base that decision based on a free BPO from an agent you hardly know? I think most people would answer that question: Hell no!

  20. 20

    Here’s a story I think almost everyone would agree is a good side of the housing downturn. 35 acres of forest are now city owned–they were set to be developed into housing.

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2017117555_apwahousingbustpark.html

  21. 21
    The Tim says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 20 – Yup, I linked that on the Twitter feed (“News Wire” on the front page) yesterday – http://twitter.com/#!/SeattleBubble/status/152146454029406209

    Would have made a crappy location for a housing development anyway. http://g.co/maps/fcxh2 Right next to the freeway in the middle of a maze of cul-de-sacs, steep slopes…

  22. 22

    By The Tim @ 21:

    Would have made a crappy location for a housing development anyway. http://g.co/maps/fcxh2 Right next to the freeway in the middle of a maze of cul-de-sacs, steep slopes…

    You’re right. Without a major power line nearby, it would be a really crappy place for a new housing development. ;-)

    Seriously, I do have to question builders’ buying decisions, like building next to freeways, power lines, etc. Even out in Maple Valley/Covington many of the developments are next to power lines. Is the rest of the forested land nearby that much more expensive? I would think they could more than make up the difference with higher prices, but apparently not.

  23. 23
    Pegasus says:

    SEC and Citigroup do end run around judge that dared question their “crony capitalism settlement”.

    The $285 million settlement was intended to resolve charges that Citigroup sold risky mortgage-linked securities in 2007 without telling investors that it was betting against the debt, and causing more than $700 million of losses.

    In his latest sharply-worded order, U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff chastised the SEC for not telling him it had filed an emergency request with an appeals court to put the case on hold, after making the same request to him.

    So when Rakoff on Tuesday issued a ruling opposing any delay in the case, he was beaten to the punch; 78 seconds earlier, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had granted the SEC the temporary halt it sought.

    He also accused the SEC and Citigroup of potentially “misleading” the court, saying they called him around 3:30 p.m. EST (2030 GMT) on Tuesday to discuss the case, without mentioning the filing with the 2nd Circuit.

    http://www.cnbc.com//id/45819304

  24. 24

    RE: Pegasus @ 23 – Sort of bizarre. Usually an appeals court will not consider a stay until after the lower court has ruled on a stay.

    I wonder though whether the lower court’s order regarding being notified of filings in the appellate court violates the appellate court’s stay order?

  25. 25
  26. 26
    pfft says:

    By Dirty Renter @ 5:

    With 2012 nearly upon us, I would like to share what I heard on Bloomberg yesterday from Tobias Levkovich, a market analyst for C, and a Canuck to boot. He shared 2 interesting trends which bodes well for America:
    1) It is now cheaper to manufacture in South Carolina than China.
    2) We will soon be only 20% dependent on imported energy, from a recent high in the 70’s.

    Now, If only we can rid ourselves of the extremists of both parties and move forward in a reasonable, thoughtful manner…I see a bright future for our youth(utes) and our nation.

    so many people complain that we don’t make anything here anymore yet they want a strong dollar. you can’t have both. I read that a weaker dollar would employ millions more people.

    we need a weaker dollar, the exact thing that people like Peter Schiff warn about.

  27. 27
    pfft says:

    By The Tim @ 11:

    I’m giving a new comment rating plugin a try, to see if most readers agree that too few people are dominating the comments and new voices should be highlighted more.

    If you don’t like a comment, give it a thumbs down. If you like it, give it a thumbs up. Comments with lots of thumbs up get automatically highlighted (similar to when I feature a comment manually) and those with lots of thumbs down get automatically downplayed (like when I “bury” a comment).

    Let me know what you think!

    I think burying comments is dumb. it takes longer to read it and see why it’s been buried than it does to read it and be annoyed and move on.

  28. 28

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 20:

    Here’s a story I think almost everyone would agree is a good side of the housing downturn. 35 acres of forest are now city owned–they were set to be developed into housing.

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2017117555_apwahousingbustpark.html

    It’s been a long time fantasy of mine to see some nice housing developments torn down to make way for organic farms.

  29. 29

    RE: pfft @ 27
    Funny, when I see a comment buried, it just makes me want to read it.

  30. 30
    S-Crow says:

    You would not believe what lenders incentives are on some of these short sales our office is closing. If you want to know where your tax/bailout/printing press money is going it is down the drain—scratch that, rather, its right into the pockets of the owner. The incentives are completely inconsistent and in some cases make absolutely no sense.

  31. 31
    pfft says:

    By Ira Sacharoff @ 29:

    RE: pfft @ 27
    Funny, when I see a comment buried, it just makes me want to read it.

    exactly! I wonder what all the fuss is about.

  32. 32
  33. 33
    Scotsman says:

    RE: pfft @ 25

    OK, you convinced me- I’m going to buy a house. Are you?

  34. 34
    Scotsman says:

    Here’s some cheerful holiday news- Friday document dump regarding federal budget!

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-dirty-secret-in-uncle-sams-friday-trash-dump/2011/12/28/gIQArtWMNP_story.html

    “Net present value” means the total that would have to be set aside today to pay the costs of these programs in the future. The government puts these numbers in appendices, rather than in headlines. But the costs are real.

    In fiscal 2011, the cost of the promises grew from $30.9 trillion to $33.8 trillion. To put that in context, consider that the total value of companies traded on U.S. stock markets is $13.1 trillion, based on the Wilshire 5000 index, and the value of the equity in U.S. taxpayers’ homes, according to Freddie Mac, is $6.2 trillion. Said another way, there is not enough wealth in America to meet those promises.”

    Read that again. Not enough wealth in America. But everybody thinks things will be fine- David will get his social security, pffft and friends will get their health care, etc.

    A lot of cheese is going to be moved. A lot of citizen mice will be very, very unhappy.

  35. 35
    Scotsman says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 34

    But wait- there’s more!

    “If the government followed corporate accounting rules, that $2.9 trillion increase would be added to the $1.3 trillion cash deficit for fiscal 2011 that has been widely reported. And a $4.2 trillion deficit is something that Americans need to know about.”

    Naw, they don’t care. They don’t understand. They don’t believe it’s real. The rich will pay, something will change, it’s more important to find a political interest to blame, etc.

    Isn’t American Idol about to start it’s new season?

  36. 36
    David Losh says:

    RE: pfft @ 27

    OK, I can’t read the comment, but it’s obvious this is a system of censorship.

    Wait! I gave the comment a thumbs up, and now I can read it.

    However it doesn’t change the fact many here don’t like the pfft point of view so they will use the system to bury the comments.

  37. 37
    Macro Investor says:

    By The Tim @ 15:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 13 – Done.

    RE: Lake Hills Renter @ 14 – I didn’t write the plugin so I’m not exactly sure how it’s tracked. There is a pro version that would allow me to limit voting to registered users, but I’d like to give it a trial for a while with the default settings and see how things go.

    I would prefer that you don’t buy comments. We’re all going to read it. The extra clicks are irritating.

  38. 38
  39. 39
    David Losh says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 34RE: Scotsman @ 35

    It’s very hard to reply to right wing nut journalism, but I’ll do it.

    Obama shoved $4 Trillion dollars of debt at the United States economy, two years before Europe did anything. China has done nothing for it’s economy, yet, but the day is on the horizon. Putin is on the ropes, and no one anywhere is happy.

    We can redirect military, and health expenditures while taxing ongoing commerce that is heavily subsidized, or is a net drag on the economy, like insurance, and banking.

    There is a lot that can be done that isn’t being done. Republicans are waging a heated battle fighting against ghosts, goblins, and bogey men. I don’t understand why, but they should get on board, or move on.

  40. 40
    Natalia Orinko says:

    RE: The Tim @ 11

    My cousin Tatiana and I appreciate your efforts to hear more voices. I do admire the regulars here who debate with so much fervor. But at times we step aside because it seems like a closed club. But perhaps we don’t have the level of knowledge to participate in the debate? If so that is fair. I don’t teach my niece Anastasia chess by letting her win! So we too must learn your language and ways. Someday perhaps we will lead the conversations? We do want to thank you for your patience. The Russians and Ukrainians are here! We love your country!

  41. 41
    Macro Investor says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 34

    “Read that again. Not enough wealth in America. But everybody thinks things will be fine- David will get his social security, pffft and friends will get their health care, etc.”

    They will get it. That’s why the dollar is being devalued. You’ll get your promised SS, but the $2000/month will buy a stick of bubble gum.

  42. 42
    Macro Investor says:

    By Natalia Orinko @ 40:

    RE: The Tim @ 11

    My cousin Tatiana and I appreciate your efforts to hear more voices. I do admire the regulars here who debate with so much fervor. But at times we step aside because it seems like a closed club. But perhaps we don’t have the level of knowledge to participate in the debate? If so that is fair. I don’t teach my niece Anastasia chess by letting her win! So we too must learn your language and ways. Someday perhaps we will lead the conversations? We do want to thank you for your patience. The Russians and Ukrainians are here! We love your country!

    It’s not our country. It belongs to our new kings, the bankers. Thank them instead ;)

  43. 43
    Scotsman says:

    RE: David Losh @ 39

    “It’s very hard to reply to right wing nut journalism, but I’ll do it.”

    Fact based government supplied budget and accounting numbers are now right wing nut journalism? Ok, for that stupid comment I’m going to have to give you . . . “down twinkles.” Yup, the red thumb of death .

    David- the whole point of the post is to help you see that no, we can’t just “make some adjustments.” It was game over long ago. This is your chance to change how you think, modify your expectations, and get to work on a plan to live the rest of your life without any help from the government. “Cause there isn’t going to be anything close to what you’re currently counting on.

    Feel the love.

  44. 44
    Scotsman says:

    RE: Macro Investor @ 41

    My current bet is a frozen budget and entitlements paid with ever more worthless dollars, the result of inflation and currency devaluations. But it may be 3-5 years before we see it . Yes, you’ll get your $2,000/mo SS check, but it will have $800 of current purchasing power.

  45. 45
    Macro Investor says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 44

    You sir are an optimist. A 1930’s dollar has less than 2 cents purchasing power (based on the values of gold).

  46. 46
    Blurtman says:

    “On what we need now: We need a completely new crew. Geithner needs to go, Attorney General Holder needs to go, and Bernanke needs to go. We need to put people in who will make a high priority ending the ability to loot institutions with impunity.”

    http://www.capitalismwithoutfailure.com/2011/12/bill-black-on-incidence-of-fraud.html?source=patrick.net#4589896641886368013

  47. 47
    pfft says:

    By Scotsman @ 33:

    RE: pfft @ 25

    OK, you convinced me- I’m going to buy a house. Are you?

    the economy can do well and housing can still fall so that isnt the main factor in buying a home.

  48. 48
    pfft says:

    By Scotsman @ 34:

    Here’s some cheerful holiday news- Friday document dump regarding federal budget!

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-dirty-secret-in-uncle-sams-friday-trash-dump/2011/12/28/gIQArtWMNP_story.html

    �Net present value� means the total that would have to be set aside today to pay the costs of these programs in the future. The government puts these numbers in appendices, rather than in headlines. But the costs are real.

    In fiscal 2011, the cost of the promises grew from $30.9 trillion to $33.8 trillion. To put that in context, consider that the total value of companies traded on U.S. stock markets is $13.1 trillion, based on the Wilshire 5000 index, and the value of the equity in U.S. taxpayersâ�� homes, according to Freddie Mac, is $6.2 trillion. Said another way, there is not enough wealth in America to meet those promises.”

    Read that again. Not enough wealth in America. But everybody thinks things will be fine- David will get his social security, pffft and friends will get their health care, etc.

    A lot of cheese is going to be moved. A lot of citizen mice will be very, very unhappy.

    what is funny is that you actually believe that. kotlikoff would love you!

  49. 49
    pfft says:

    By Scotsman @ 35:

    RE: Scotsman @ 34

    But wait- there’s more!

    “If the government followed corporate accounting rules, that $2.9 trillion increase would be added to the $1.3 trillion cash deficit for fiscal 2011 that has been widely reported. And a $4.2 trillion deficit is something that Americans need to know about.”

    Naw, they don’t care. They don’t understand. They don’t believe it’s real. The rich will pay, something will change, it’s more important to find a political interest to blame, etc.

    Isn’t American Idol about to start it’s new season?

    unlike businesses we can raise taxes.

    you don’t actually care about deficits because you were for extending the $3 trillion dollar unpaid for bush tax cuts for the rich. I point this out but you still posit yourself a deficit hawk.

  50. 50
    pfft says:

    By Macro Investor @ 41:

    RE: Scotsman @ 34

    “Read that again. Not enough wealth in America. But everybody thinks things will be fine- David will get his social security, pffft and friends will get their health care, etc.”

    They will get it. That’s why the dollar is being devalued. You’ll get your promised SS, but the $2000/month will buy a stick of bubble gum.

    1. the dollar needs to fall because we have a trade deficit and that will bring back millions of jobs

    2. the dollar has been strengthening lately.

    the dollar has been trading in a massive range. in the last 5 years the dollar has barely fallen. five years ago it was at 85 and now it’s at 5. do the math. that’s 5%.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/quote?ticker=DXY:IND

  51. 51
    pfft says:

    By Scotsman @ 44:

    RE: Macro Investor @ 41But it may be 3-5 years before we see it

    weren’t we supposed to see it a year ago? thought so.

  52. 52
    pfft says:

    By Macro Investor @ 45:

    RE: Scotsman @ 44

    You sir are an optimist. A 1930’s dollar has less than 2 cents purchasing power (based on the values of gold).

    I know I have 98% less than what people had then.

  53. 53
    David Losh says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 43

    Well number one, “Bryan R. Lawrence is founder of Oakcliff Capital, a New York-based investment partnership,” sounds like a right wing nut job to me. Second he is claiming a conspiracy theory of releasing this information the Friday before Christmas.

    When did Congress get done mucking around? The timing is the result of our conflicted political system, which Mr. Lawrence, himself points to.

    Mr. Lawrence also says it’s “fixable,” so I don’t see why I get a red thumb for confirming that point.

    This is really simple math, it’s just the amount of zeros that is the focus of fear mongering.

    The Republican Party, for some reason I do not understand, has encouraged this hatred of Obama, when the system, as Mr. Lawrence further confirms, has been broken a very long time.

    There is nothing in the link you provided that says anything contrary to my own assertions other than the head line of a conspiracy theory.

  54. 54
    pfft says:

    people scaremonger about unfunded liabilities but they don’t really know what they are talking about. it’s easy to create huge numbers to scare people. for one here is how to “save”
    SS.

    a 1.6 percentage point increase in the payroll tax would leave the program fully solvent throughout its 75-year planning period.

    http://www.cepr.net/index.php/blogs/beat-the-press/if-frank-bruni-knew-arithmetic-he-wouldnt-write-columns-like-this-one

    see how easy that is?

  55. 55
    Chris says:

    RE: Natalia Orinko @ 40
    Natalia, it would be interesting to hear what you think of government controlled economies. It seems here in the US the government has completely taken over real estate finance to keep real estate prices inflated. I suppose you and your parents have an interesting perspective.

  56. 56
    Scotsman says:

    RE: pfft @ 50

    “five years ago it was at 85 and now it’s at 5. do the math. that’s 5%.”

    You shouldn’t post when you’re high. Or are you just math challenged?

  57. 57
    Scotsman says:

    RE: David Losh @ 53

    “Mr. Lawrence also says it’s “fixable,” so I don’t see why I get a red thumb for confirming that point.”

    Sure it’s “fixable.” The books will balance. But you won’t like the solution of higher taxes, reduced payments, and a dollar that has had its purchasing power destroyed by inflation and devaluation. You will be paid the number of dollars owed- but they will buy very, very little in the new economy. That’s the fix. Just don’t count on being able to live on it.

  58. 58
    Scotsman says:

    RE: pfft @ 54

    This is false because it is based on the premise that SS has a real “lock box” trust fund filled with real dollars behind it. It doesn’t. SS is now cash flow negative and has only government IOUs behind it. That is, the whole scheme is nothing but debt. We not only need the 1.6% increase, we need real cash money to back up the checks that will be written, not just IOUs. The government has to borrow more, now, every day, to make the current checks good. Adding 1.6% doesn’t fix that, does it?

    Lots of people are fooled by what is not fully explained- or intentionally left out. The source you reference is a perfect example. Believe it at your own risk.

  59. 59
    David Losh says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 57

    I was also in the inflation camp, but it didn’t happen.

    Our government threw trillions of dollars into the economy, and we are still flirting with deflation.

    Mr. Lawrence can also see the accounting. It’s very simple, it took us twelve years to get where we are today, and we still never completed the Reagan Legacy. Clinton got us close, but insisted on attacking our 2nd Amendment.

    You just don’t like the fact that the Bushes destroyed our economy, and maybe set up a global economic collapse by real back room dealing.

    The whole Iraq thing bothers me. The fact that George HW took office, and ignored Iraq’s claim of slant drilling bothered me. The fact George HW was a total foreign policy buffoon, bothered me. The fact George HW threw up on the Japanese Foreign Minister, then laughed it off, big joke, bothered me.

    We elected George Junior against all rational thought because Al Gore became a raving lunatic during his campaign. All we needed was for Al to keep his mouth shut, and stay out of sight, and the world would be a better place today.

    But, hey, it’s water under the bridge. We hung Saddam, publicly, the way we put his dead sons on display. Classy action for George Junior.

    The Iraq War, One, and Two cost us our economy, and any financial gains we may have had. The second Iraq war came at a time we needed to be focused. George chose to make the family friend Dick Cheney richer than he already was.

    George Junior thought it was more important to kill Saddam, than killing Osama bin Laden.

    As long as we are on the conspiracy theory road, I wonder what Saddam knew that was so important that we hunt him, and his family down to kill ’em?

    The math to “fix” this is easy, getting past the right wing nut idiocy is much harder.

  60. 60
    David Losh says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 58

    Well, yes he is confused by the facts. Nothing can be done without redirecting that borrowed money to more productive means.

    I want to be able to buy the same health insurance Congress has. I think Social Security should be phased out, and redirected to the people who need it. I think we need a viable safety net in this country. By the way we already pay for that safety net, but the funds keep getting funneled into military durable goods that will most likely never be produced.

    Ther are billions of ways to make the federal budget work for America.

  61. 61
    David Losh says:

    RE: pfft @ 47

    As long as we are having seriel comments; yes, the economy can grow substantially, and still have the cost of housing units drop.

    Housing units are something different from having a Real Estate. We are seeing that a lot in the condo markets, globally. Apartment building was redirected into these rabbit hutches that sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    That’s also a topic for another time, but the fact still remains that we over built housing, and it seems we will continue that trend.

  62. 62
    Scotsman says:

    RE: David Losh @ 59

    “The math to “fix” this is easy, getting past the right wing nut idiocy is much harder.”

    Not any harder than getting past the left wing nut idiocy.

  63. 63

    By Ira Sacharoff @ 29:

    RE: pfft @ 27
    Funny, when I see a comment buried, it just makes me want to read it.

    There was a post of someone (Scotsman?) which simply turned pink. I like that better. I can’t even read it with the click to read thing–too light.

  64. 64

    By pfft @ 47:

    By Scotsman @ 33:

    RE: pfft @ 25

    OK, you convinced me- I’m going to buy a house. Are you?

    the economy can do well and housing can still fall so that isnt the main factor in buying a home.

    There is no one “main” factor that will tell you where housing prices will head. Too many factors affect prices.

  65. 65
    David Losh says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 62

    Exactly right, the factions of this country have taken over the political arena. It’s a circus. That means it can be fixed with some moderate thinking of real issues.

  66. 66
    pfft says:

    By Scotsman @ 56:

    RE: pfft @ 50

    “five years ago it was at 85 and now itâ��s at 5. do the math. thatâ��s 5%.”

    You shouldn’t post when you’re high. Or are you just math challenged?

    sorry it’s at 80 now. cheap shot. still down 5%

  67. 67
    pfft says:

    By Scotsman @ 58:

    RE: pfft @ 54

    This is false because it is based on the premise that SS has a real “lock box” trust fund filled with real dollars behind it.

    let’s say we today were going to use your NPV and build up $30 trillion. where the heck would we put it? IN TREAUSERIES!

  68. 68

    RE: pfft @ 67 – That’s actually one of the issues with privatizing social security (using the term broadly). Would you want the government deciding which companies whose stock would be bought or sold?

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