Daily Archives: July 20, 2012

Better I have no cow than my neighbor have two

The Democrats close in

Jealousy and envy are as old as Caine and Able and their evil is nicely expressed in the Ukrainian peasant’s proverb used above,  but here’s news that should cheer Dollar Bill and his president who want nothing more, and nothing less, than the equal impoverishment of America:

Between 2007 and 2009, after-tax earnings by Americans in the top one percent for income fell 37 percent. On a pre-tax basis they fell 36 percent in the same period. That may sound like a minor haircut for One Percenters compared to people who lost their jobs. But when you take into account federal transfers, assistance and taxes paid, the incomes of the bottom 20 percent grew by 3 percent, while it fell a modest 2 percent for the middle 20 percent.

In other words, the incomes of the top one percent fell 18 times more than the incomes for the middle class at the start of the recession.

Lest we forget, here’s Obummer in 2008, vowing that he doesn’t care that Clinton’s dropping the capital gains tax to 20% and Bush’s drop to 15%  increased revenue, and that raising the tax decreased revenue.”I’m interested in fairness, not revenue”.

No cow for you.

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Great moments in advertising parody

Friend sends along this, which he accurately describes as “the best VW ad ever”.

 

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Are mass murders more frequent today?

In a word, no, just as stranger child abductions are not on the rise. Obviously statistics are no comfort for the families ripped apart in a mass shooting or a child’s abduction, but for the rest of us, a little perspective on relative risk might help.

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Only if you want your heart broken

I wasn’t going to post this but JRH, our other liberal reader here at FWIW, asks what’s wrong with turning the Colorado massacre into a political spectacle just hours after the event. My answer to that is this article  on one of the Colorado victims, a 24-year-old girl who wanted to be a sportscaster. She’s the age of my youngest, looks a lot like my Sarah and the photos of this bright, cheerful kid killed by a psychopath are devastating. There’s plenty of time to play political games after this girl and the other victims are buried but even the President and his opponent  know that today is not the day for that.

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Travel a bit and you can find a bargain

Photo of typical golfing community supplied by GAR – “would we lie to you?”

A reader sends along this link to this WSJ article: developers are literally giving away building lots at high-end golf condominium communities.  I don’t golf, but nice views.

And there do still seem to be bargains around. A friend* emailed me from Naples (Florida) the other day where she’s moved from Greenwich and, just curious, I looked at real estate sites down there in what I’d once heard referred to as “Greenwich south”. I don’t know whether that was ever true but there are now some pretty cheap foreclosures in the area.

Of course to take advantage of those prices you’d have to live in Florida, but aside from that  disqualifier, …

*Former Greenwich realtor, Florida native, Martha Kelly. She’s still selling swampland down there with Coldwell Banker so if you’re interested in swatting mosquitos with oversized palmetto bugs, Martha’s the one to steer you to the best hunting areas. Or did Gramps pass away, leaving you a mansion on the Gulf that you need to dump? Martha will have the old coot bagged and removed and the house sold in mere minutes – very talented woman, who is still my pal only because she’s 1,500 miles safely removed. She’ll be much friendlier with you, promise.

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One more accepted offer

33 Ferncliff Rd

No noteworthy activity today, although $500,000 condos seem to be moving. 33 Ferncliff Road in Cos Cob reports an accepted offer. Started at $2.595 million in February, 2011 but the owners eventually saw reason and dropped its price to $1.895,  a level low enough to attract a buyer. Funny how that happens.

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Gotta give the media credit – they move quickly when necessary

9:00 AM: ABC News: Colorado gunman a member a Tea Party member? The bodies are still warm and intrepid reporters are already scouring the Internet for a nexus with advocates of limited government and individual freedom. Aren’t those two concepts the source of all evil? To the liberal mind, apparently so.

12:30: UPDATE: Oops! Now ABC says the guy has no association with the Tea Party after all.  But he could have been, and isn’t that sufficient?

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Connecticut’s pension woes

Cos Cobber raised the interesting question of how badly Connecticut has underfunded its pension funds and a quick survey of the web yields the hardly surprising news that we’ve got a mess on our hands.

Start with this premise regarding state employee pension funding: Ideal funding is 100%, “acceptable” is 80%.

National average of funding (almost certainly exaggerated)  was 75% in 2011, down from 102% in 2000.

So how’s Connecticut measure up? Not so well.

State Employees’ pension fund funded at just 44%, State Teachers Retirement Fund, 61%. Sooner, rather than later, taxpayers will have to pay out billions of dollars in pension obligations out of current funds – there is no savings account to draw on and we don’t have our own printing press – not yet, anyway.

Even these funding percentages are woefully exaggerated because they rest on assumptions of insanely unrealistic investment returns of 8.25% and 8.5%, respectively. If the people running our state pension funds can really achieve such returns they should immediately quit Hartford and decamp to Wall Street, where they will be handed the keys to the city.

This pattern of underfunding our pension obligations (estimated at $2.4 billion, carried on the books at $2.1 billion) is hardly a new phenomenon – it’s been practiced by both parties. The most recent incident I could find in a quick Google search happened in 2010:

$100,000,000 budgeted contribution was “deferred”  in 2010, under Rell, Republican. “It’s better than cutting spending”, said Dan Livingston, (Democrat) chief negotiator for the state employee’s union.

I seem to recall that current legislative session, just ended, deep-sixed Malloy’ s proposal to increase our pension fund contributions, but couldn’t find confirmation in my quick search. It really doesn’t matter, because as long as we maintain the fiction of an 8.5% return on investment and base our contributions on that fictional number  we will continue to accrue an ever-growing liability that will either bankrupt us or state pensioners in the near future. Chickens do come home to roost. My vote’s for impoverishing the pensioners – they lived high on the hog for decades and it’s time they joined us ordinary folk down in the mud. That’s probably not a popular position in the Democratic Union of Connecticut.

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Sale and a contract

58 Indian Head

58 Indian Head Road, Riverside, 79 DOM and asking $2.295, has a contract. Notwithstanding its back-lot siting and its dated, 1971 construction (updated), I liked this house. I’d bump out the master bedroom if FAR allows it and add a real master bath, but in the low $2’s, for a good street in Riverside, not bad. Note that it started at $2.495 and quickly dropped. There’s nothing fatal about over shooting the market, within reason, if you adjust quickly, and if a few offers come in close together but far from your hoped-for price, it’s probably time to lower your expectations accordingly.

A recent example of this was 17 Ledge Road, Old Greenwich, which started at $4.2 million and sold earlier this week for $3.4. That first price could have been fatal but the owners moved quickly to correct their misestimate of price and got their house sold in short time. If I had to guess, they probably listened to the wisdom of their agent Ellen Mosher, who’s one of the very best agents in Greenwich, in my opinion. Certainly something went right there.

244 Byram Shore Rd

One property that took far too long to recognize its pricing error was 244 Byram Shore Road, that asked $8.999 back in 2010, finally dropped, slowly, to $5.495 and sold yesterday (May contract) for $5.150 million. Zillow estimated its value at $4.789. Zillow is by no means infallible but here its estimate was a lot closer to reality than that pie-in-the-sky price of $9 million.

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They’ve got guns; why don’t they rob it themselves?

Sharing the loot

Tulsa cops seek donut shop robber.

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Foxwoods to Granny: drop dead!

Social Security funds, redistributed

The head of Foxwoods Casino had the misfortune to be accurately quoted recently (and don’t we all hate when that happens?) saying his casino didn’t need or want busloads of oldsters clogging the slots. They’re fighting for survival up there in the woods and need gamblers with something to lose, not gramps and his paltry nickels. The dead and the dying are outraged and have cancelled upcoming bus trips to the Elizabeth Warren Memorial Stadium”. “We’ll go to Monhegan Sun instead”, one boycotter vows, despite those “Indians’ ” own history of tomahawking useless people her age rather than dragging them back to Canada as slaves.

Reached for comment, Connecticut Gambling PooBah Franklin Fudrucker stayed calm. “They lose at Foxwoods, they lose at the Sun, what do we care? Our take’s the same. And if this spreads to both joints, well, they obviously haven’t heard of the Malloy Mandatory Bus Trip program yet – they will”.

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