Daily Archives: June 28, 2012
In an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos in 2009, when the president was attempting to sell the law to the public, Obama was adamant that the penalty for failing to buy insurance was not a tax.
“I absolutely reject that notion,” Obama said under repeated questioning by Stephanopoulos. “For us to say that you’ve got to take a responsibility to get health insurance is absolutely not a tax increase,” Obama said. “You can’t just make up that language and decide that that’s called a tax increase.”
Obama was desperate not to have the penalty termed a tax because if it were, it would clearly violate his pledge not to raise taxes on the middle class.
And yet after the law was signed, in a cynical slight of hand, Obama’s lawyers argued to the Supreme Court – and before it got there, in the lower courts – that the penalty in fact was a tax.
They did this because once the law was passed, the legal considerations trumped the political. Having the penalty qualify as a tax would make it immune to legal challenge, since Congress has an undisputed Constitutional right to tax.
And that’s exactly the argument that the Supreme Court accepted.
7 Ricky Beth, Hillside Park, $2.495. Unique renovation of the original estate’s barn.
72 Summit Road, Riverside, asked $2.095 million, sold for $1.970. Totally renovated house on the non-railroad side of Summit. The owners used every square inch of the house to good effect but it was still smallish. I showed it to one client who said it was exactly the house she’d dreamed of, but not in this size. Someone else didn’t mind, nor would I.
169 Valley Road, Cos Cob, asked $1.890 million, got $1.550.
I heard on the circuit today that the island (with causeway) at the end of Pilot Rock in Riverside has sold privately for $13-$14 million. I’ve often admired this island and its magnificent view down the Sound, but when I come into the harbor at night I’ve also pitied the owners because the rocks off their place offer the best striped bass fishing in the area – the fish start down on the western side of the harbor at high tide and come this way on the outgoing, usually around an hour past high tide, but they seem to only follow this pattern at night.
So on summer nights there are usually a half-dozen boats anchored just offshore, maybe 25 yards away from the happy homeowners’ bedroom, deck lights on, beer open, boom boxes blaring and fishing for those bass. An agent with local knowledge could have warned the buyers of this phenomenon; I’d be surprised if the sellers mentioned it.
Too bad, but at least we’ll be spared all that drivel from the left about the “politicized” Supreme Court – they’re back to being reasoned, principled jurists. Until the next case.
UPDATE: Upholding it on Congress’s power to tax, rather than the Commerce Clause. That might be significant for the next massive extension of federal power but I think not: the power to tax is the power to destroy and all other protections fall under this sledge hammer.
The irony of this ruling is that the government spent most of its time in oral argument denying that it was a tax yet that’s what saved their bacon.
There are some moderately priced (for Greenwich) houses on today that I want to review for clients but not a heck of lot else. One of interest is 140 Indian Head, a beautiful home built by Doran Sabag in 2008. Asking $14 million, which, beautiful house or not, strikes me as more of a “make me move” figure than a realistic number but I could be wrong – it’s pretty spectacular and has a great yard, albeit with a long path easement to Cos Cob Harbor rather than actual waterfront. Zillow thinks it’s worth $8 million, and somewhere between those two numbers I suppose, a deal will be struck.
UPDATE: 140 Indian is as great as I’d heard. Pretty much a perfect house in layout, yard and location and of course it was built by Doran Sabag to his usual exceptional standards. But will it get its price? The only one who can answer that are the potential buyers in this price range. I’ve noticed, and commented here before, that while the $5-$9 millin market is pretty much dead the super high end continues to see sales to people who know what they want. When they see it, if they see it, they seem to have no difficulty paying for it.
So we’ll see – Anyone who drives down Indian Head must surely notice and admire this house, so perhaps one of those passersby will dig into his pocket. Nice house.
Harbor Master Ian MacMillan and Doug Masi of the Harbor Management Advisory Committee are at loggerheads, and it’s all fun to watch. Don’t miss the undercurrent here, which is Selectman Peter Tesei’s feud with his Demmerkrat rival, Francis Fudrucker. The Harbor Master’s position pays all of $600 a year, a pretty good indication of its significance, but Tesei had his own candidate for the position and thought it was a done deal until Governor Malloy invited Fudrucker to approve that choice or name someone else. Pretty much on an “anything to annoy Tesei” theory of selection, the head of the Greenwich Democrats selected MacMillan, a self-professed Independent who admitted that he’d voted for Tesei when Fudrucker and Tesei last faced off – so long as he wasn’t Peter’s choice, that was fine, and things have been going swimmingly ever since.
So anyway, MacMillan has been complaining that Advisory Committee members have done nothing but sit on their fat asses for the past decade or so and Tesei’s man, local chiropractor Doug Masi has twisted his knickers in a knot and this week fired off an email to all concerned, demanding MacMillan’s resignation.
Won’t happen. But here’s one of the best bits, the Advisory Committee’s chairman’s response to MacMillan’s charge that they’re a bunch of lazy loafers:
Sanna defended the committee’s work, pointed to its completing a report on the advantages and disadvantages of having a harbor management plan. At its April 26 meeting, the committee set a deadline of 60 days to complete the report.
Five years to complete a study on whether to have another study? For government bureaucrats, even volunteer bureaucrats, this is lightning speed.