Daily Archives: October 11, 2008


Things are tougher than I’d thought

Under the headline AIG Gallows Humor Gives Bankers a Laugh the Washington Post reports this bit of hilarity:

Insurance giant American International Group (AIG.N), on the receiving end of a multi-billion dollar bailout from the Federal Reserve, was trying hard on Saturday to look on the bright side of life.

“Credit markets do not function. Why not, because the word credit comes from credibility,” AIG Vice Chairman Jacob Frenkel told a group of top global bankers at a lively luncheon where he took a philosophical view of the upheaval in financial markets.

“The left side of the balance sheet has nothing right and the right side of the balance sheet has nothing left. But they are equal to each other. So accounting-wise we are fine,” he told the Institute of International Finance.

Hoo hoo hoo! These bankers – what cut-ups!

You want the latest banker joke? “So I went out to buy a toaster yesterday and they gave me a bank.”
Ha ha ha

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Two morons who didn’t read the headlines below:
Gunmen tie up, rob real estate salesman

What’d they get, his Timex and IRS bills?

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News you can use:
Use caution when buying property
Suddenly, it’s a buyer’s market
Economy slows real estate sales

Slow day for headline writers, too.

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Okay, let’s put the bailout on hold and try nationalizing the banks . Does anyone else remember Richard Nixon’s wage and price controls? I can’t stand the Democrats but I sometimes think Republicans are more dangerous precisely because they pay lip service to capitalism and free enterprise.

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They’ve got your back

Here they come!
The Demmerkrats, confident of victory, are already planning to reconvene Congress after the election so they can add an additional $150 billion to our budget woes. This is in addition to the $150 billion they added to the $750 billion bailout bill and is doubtless only a taste of what they have in store for us. Yes, paradise is growing closer but there is one consolation: even if they confiscate every penny of income over $100,000 they can’t possibly fund all this largess, so perhaps the booboise and illegal aliens will have to pitch in. I wonder how popular some of these massive giveaway programs will be then?

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Stale news?
Greenwich Time’s real estate reporter devoted yesterday’s column to an upcoming auction of an unfinished New Canaan mansion.
Sure you could have read about that house right here on this blog one week ago but then you’d have missed the lyrical descriptive style that is GT’s hallmark:

A 20,000-square-foot lakeside chateau in New Canaan is going to auction at noon Thursday, Oct. 16, through United Country The Redfield Group in Gadsden, Ala. Beyond a stone wall and spruces that shade from green to blue are six acres of woodlands with a private, tree-fringed lake and a French Manor house with six bedrooms, seven full baths, three half-baths, an infinity swimming pool and a guest house.

The owners are moving abroad, and because the main house is not finished inside, the buyer will choose interior finishes, fixtures, trim and flooring. Completion of the four-level, 32-room house is estimated at $1.5 million to $3 million as planned, according to owner Emil F. Jachmann.

That’s all very nice and the house itself looks nice, too, but I did enjoy one streak of independence shown by the writer: the auction house described the task of finishing what is essentially an abandoned project as an “opportunity for the buyer to select his own finishes, fixtures, trim and flooring”. As reported, that came out as “the buyer will choose”. So much for that opportunity.

As I suggested last week, however, at the right place, I think this would be a cool place for a few Greenwich couples, former Lehman partners, perhaps, to move into as a sort of older hippie commune. There’s plenty of space and you could all get your minds off the current disaster by focusing on choosing those finishes and fixtures.

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(former) Greenwich resident

Oh, Great. Guess who’s coming for another bite of Greenwich taxpayer?
Connecticut Pension funds scandalously underfunded

[State Treasurer Denise Nappier] didn’t quite say it, but taxpayers should be more than worried; they should be freaking out. For even before the market crash the state pension fund did not have enough investment to meet its commitments, pension underfunding being a chronic scandal in Connecticut, most other states, and the federal government. And should the pension fund not cover those commitments, they would have to be met from the state’s general fund, which would mean more taxes.

The pensions enjoyed by Connecticut’s public employees — pensions called defined-benefit plans, plans that pay a fixed level of benefits, a level long known in advance — are lavish and a glaring manifestation of the disconnect between the government class and the working class. For most working-class people long ago were left to fend for themselves [empasis added] with 401(k) and individual retirement account pension savings plans, plans that guarantee no benefits at all, plans whose benefits vary with their investment success. When markets fall, as they are falling now, the working class, unlike the government class, does worry about its retirement, and then has to worry again as part of the taxpaying class, even as public employees need not worry.

At her meeting with the legislators Treasurer Nappier disclosed that there is even more for Connecticut’s taxpayers to worry about. That’s because for what may have been the first time, state government recently was unable to refinance debt, about $400 million. While this problem was not peculiar to Connecticut but rather a matter of the breakdown of the credit markets nationally, it was still, as state Rep. Arthur O’Neill, R-Southbury, remarked, “really scary.”

I don’t often agree with our elected representatives, but I’d say “really scary” sums up the situation neatly.

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