This analyst at a well known financial firm that is part of the Berkshire Hathaway empire is given a report that requires that she signs off on it.
She returns the report without her approval to the department it originated from. The head of that department demands why she has not approve the report. The analyst responds that the figures do not add up. The department head takes it as a challenge to authority and asks the analyst if she is disobeying an order.
The analyst responds by stating that it has nothing to do with obeying anything. Her duties as an analyst require her to check the numbers and if they do not add up then she is not going to sign off on the report until it is corrected. The department head is left frustrated.
The firm experiences a series of layoffs, unsurprisingly the analyst finds herself in one of the waves.
The former analyst is not at all dismayed. In fact is quite happy. She has more time to pursue other ventures and has kept her dignity and honor.
Besides, if the s**t really hits the fan for that firm, which from the evidence it strongly suggests it will, she won't be the one taking a trip to Club Fed.
In the real nice parts of Westchester, pre-schools are undergoing a brain drain. Parents are pulling their kids out because they do not have the money to pay for the tuition and have opted to keep their kids at home since at least one parent is now going to be staying at home.
It has gotten so bad that the prestigious pre-schools that used have to wait lists are desperately attempting to keep their numbers from decreasing.
Trust fund babies are now entering puberty at hundred miles and hour going head first through a windshield.
Stories are popping up of watching their accounts dwindle, falling from their former mighty perches.
There is a story of one woman who has now been cut off by her retired parents. They need her trust fund because they do not have the money to cover their expenses.
It is just a lesson that one should not rely on income based on annuity streams rather than market returns.
As all of you know, I am not a big fan of AIG. I thought it was reprehensible not only for receiving those bonuses paid by tax payers but also in the odor of entitlement they exuded in defending the bonuses. Which brings me to this article.
[b]“We must ensure that our country never faces this situation again,” Geithner is expected to say according to excerpts of his testimony obtained by Bloomberg News. “To achieve that goal the administration and Congress have to work together to enact comprehensive regulatory reform and eliminate gaps in supervision.”
The expanded powers, which require Congressional approval, could help monitor risk and detect problems across an array of financial-services firms to prevent shocks to the global economy such as the one caused by the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. in September. [/b]
If the financial industry is acting in any that could further harm the economy, then I am for any type of enforcement. However, I am aware too much government is not always a good thing. Sometimes the government needs to step back and let things take its course. However, efforts must be made to watch and take action if the free market gets out of hand.
What Geithner is asking for is a financial Patriot Act. With these powers the Treasury Department will be a dominating force in financial world. It could be great in keeping everyone in line but there needs to fail safes installed to keep things in balance.
The SEC failed to catch Madoff not because the lack of power but because it had a very cozy relationship with Madoff. If Congress decides to grant these powers to the Treasury there not only has to be a ton of oversight, but I would argue that there also needs to be an independent party that gives a full body cavity search to ensure these powers are not falling into the wrong hands and to scare off anyone who has other intentions in mind.
Another great moment in real estate marketing: Things are looking up.
Now and then I get emails from other real estate brokers.
Greetings, Firstly, I would like to thank so many of you who contacted me and my team recently to get Real Estate updates, and to reach out to those of you who have any inquiries or thoughts. We are here to serve you.
And yes, real estate activity in NYC has picked up in the past few weeks. We now experience more transactions than in the past few months. Sellers are more realistic and willing to accept the new reality, and buyers see this market as an incredible opportunity not to be missed.
With the latest news that The Federal Reserve will buy long-term government bonds and mortgage-backed securities, it seems that mortgage rates will remain at historically low levels for an extended period of time, and will most likely drop even further.
In this market, many properties are literally on sale, so it affords wonderful opportunities for those looking to purchase a home. First-time homeowners, move-up buyers and investors can all benefit from lower home prices, larger selection and historically low interest rates. It's the market so many of you have been waiting for.....
Did you know...? The Government recently approved a First Time Buyer Tax Credit, up to $8000, that does not require repayment. (Regulations do apply so call me to see if you qualify)
Here are some pointers to keep things in perspective...(Note: you will not read these in the newspaper)
1) In 1929 Depression, the unemployment was at 25%, which is equivalent to 45% today because women were not a major part of the work force back then. Today's unemployment rate, although awful is less than 10%. Back then, the Dow Jones was down 89%; today approx 50%
2) Currently, 30% of all homes are free and clear with no mortgages. Of the 70% of households that do have a mortgage, 96.7% are not in foreclosure!!
3) Housing affordability is the best it's been in 20 years (low interest rates and lower prices is a wonderful combination)
4) In the 80's Recession, prime rate was at 19-20%, today it's at 3.25%. Did somebody say "Affordability"?
Real Estate is arguably your largest personal and financial investment so there isn't a place for trial and error. It's essential to find the most capable real estate professionals and it's more important now than ever.
We aren't just agents; we are coaches to guide and provide you with the necessary tools that will help you make the best decision for your individual situation.
It feels like more of the same. I can't fault them though. There is not a lot of good news out there so brokers are grasping for whatever they can. Remember folks, brokers are always optimistic to their clients.
Robert Guskind's Gowanus Lounge was the conscience of Brooklyn. His words expressed what others felt and encouraged them to speak their mind. He called it the way he saw it whether others liked it or not, he was a man of honesty.
Braden Keil had the reputation of being a reporter's reporter. From the stories I read about him no real estate story could hide from him. David Gregory should count his blessings that Braden never went political because he would have easily had been a shoo in as a replacement for Tim Russert.
Natasha Richardson will be remembered as once of the greatest actresses to grace the stage and screen. But for her family and friends it would not surprising to any of us if they remember her greatest accomplishments as wife, mother and friend.
These 3 people all had one thing in common. They were beloved by all. Not only by family and friends but by people who never even met them but knew them through their work. The most bitter sweet aspect of someone passing away is that no one ever really knows how much of an impact they have had on others until people walk into the light.
WASHINGTON: As the lucrative bonuses paid to employees of the American International Group fueled fresh outrage at the White House and on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, the embattled chief executive of A.I.G. said that he had asked some recipients to give at least half the money back.
The chief executive, Edward M. Liddy, made the announcement during his testimony on Wednesday afternoon before a congressional committee investigating the problems at the company.
"I have asked the employees of AIG Financial Products to step up and do the right thing," Mr. Liddy told lawmakers. "Specifically, I have asked those who received retention payments of $100,000 or more to return at least half of those payments."
Half? Half? Are you f**king high? Give it all back!
WASHINGTON (AP) — Members of a House subcommittee lined up Tuesday to administer AIG chairman Edward Liddy a public flogging for allowing his executives to accept more in post-bailout bonuses than most Americans earn in a lifetime.
Liddy responded with a warning to cool the rhetoric.
He told the lawmakers he wants the executives to give the money back, an answer that took much of the sting out of lawmakers' criticism. But then he unloaded the text of ghoulish threats the bonus-taking AIG executives have received.
"I'm just really concerned about the safety of our people," Liddy said.
Public shaming and Congress' hyperbolic outrage had failed to inspire all of the bonus-receiving executives to return the money. So House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank demanded their names. And if Liddy doesn't provide them, Frank said, he'll subpoena them.
Liddy was ready. He paused in his general assessment of AIG amounting to good capitalism gone bad and pulled several sheets of paper from a stack of notebooks. From them, he read what he said were ghoulish threats made against those executives by members of the public.
Naming the executives wouldn't just jeopardize their lives, Liddy said, but those of their innocent children. Surely, he said, no one's in favor of that.
"'All of the executives and their families should be executed with piano wire around their necks,'" Liddy read into the microphone, apparently from the text of one of the threats his company had received since news of the bonus payments exploded into the headlines over the weekend.
Liddy solemnly read from another:
"'My greatest hope: If the government can't do this properly, we, the people, will take it in our own hands and see that justice is done. I'm looking for all the CEOs names, kids, where they live, etc.'"
Frank had a legitimate request, Liddy said. If AIG is required by the force of a subpoena to reveal the names, he added, AIG will do it.
"But I want to protect the well-being of our employees," he said.
It was a damage-control tour de force, a lesson in how to humanize public pariahs — in this case, 418 bonus-taking executives of AIG, according to New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.
These executives, Liddy was suggesting, are people who had made mistakes, people with families.
Liddy succeeded somewhat in calming the hysteria.
Frank appeared genuinely surprised by the existence and tone of the threats Liddy described. He immediately called them "despicable" and warned his colleagues to be conscious of the effects of their rhetoric.
Liddy had other messages for the lawmakers. One was: AIG's failure may be yours.
"We, at AIG, want to believe that we are all in this together," he told the panel.
Motherf**ker don't even try to pull a Gaius Baltar. You don't have his accent, his charm and you have never banged a Cylon.
What Liddy is doing is the Oliver North Defense which is standing true to his beliefs no matter how screwed up they are and blaming others for the situation. Oliver North was never convicted because Iran Contra occurred during the Cold War.
These tactics are not going to work for him. First of all his company, AIG, put themselves and others in harm's way. They were the ones f**king with this financial black magic and look where it got us.
As for this phony call to arms.
"We, at AIG, want to believe that we are all in this together," he told the panel
Douchebag, you are not Admiral Adama.
You don't even compare to the actor who was able to lead the United Nations for a day.
Yeah. We are all in this together, but not by choice. And since we are all part of this situation then you better do your part and get your act together. Figure out how to fix this mess instead of thinking of yourselves.
Words like socialism and populism are being thrown around. It has nothing to do with that. The only words that should matter are "Common Sense".
We are living a FUBAR and we need to take drastic action to get ourselves out of this mess. A primary directive that needs to be followed is to make an effort not to make the situation worse than it is.
It is really that simple.
If these a**holes don't want to follow that rule and are unwilling and unrepentant to change their ways, well I have no sympathies for them and for what they reap. There are no surprises and tricks. Everything has been laid out for all to see.
So if you play the 800 pound gorillia and sit where you want, you will sit in a minefield. Want to blow yourself up? Fine. But like our buddy Edward M. Liddy says, we are in this together. So if some shrapnel comes in the way of the people, there will be a reckoning.
By Brady Dennis and David Cho Washington Post Staff Writers Tuesday, March 17, 2009; A01
A tidal wave of public outrage over bonus payments swamped American International Group yesterday. Hired guards stood watch outside the suburban Connecticut offices of AIG Financial Products, the division whose exotic derivatives brought the insurance giant to the brink of collapse last year. Inside, death threats and angry letters flooded e-mail inboxes. Irate callers lit up the phone lines. Senior managers submitted their resignations. Some employees didn't show up at all.
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley suggested that AIG executives should take a Japanese approach toward accepting responsibility for the collapse of the insurance giant by resigning or killing themselves.
What did you expect? People to greet you with open arms? Hearty handshakes of congratulation for further ripping off the American people and being rewarded for f**king up the economy?
As I stated before there is absolutely no justification for these bonuses. These douchebags claim they need these bonuses to keep their top talent which is bulls**t because the finance industry is imploding. And if their top talent leave, good, these idiots sucked in the first place.
As for this contract nonsense, bonuses are rewards for a job well done. Since their employees f**ked up, they do not deserve these bonuses.
I think what really pisses people off is that companies like AIG have a blatant sense of entitlement and refuse to humble themselves. Part of it is pride and the other part is that they do not want past wrongs held against them in the future.
If they don't cut this s**t out, Obama 's credibility is going to drop, which he can't allow in this environment, and the probability will increase there will be others who express their displeasure through very unpleasant means. I want to avoid that.
JON Stewart, the scourge of Wall Street and bane of CNBC, may have had a secret weapon in his corner to help him prep for his grudge match with "Mad Money" host, Jim Cramer - his older brother.
As the Wall Street Journal recently pointed out, Stewart's brother, Larry Leibowitz, is head of US Markets & Global Technology at NYSE Euronext. (Stewart's given surname is also "Leibowitz," but he famously told "60 Minutes" that he changed it to "Stewart" because Leibowitz "sounded too Hollywood"). Larry has also held high positions at Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley.
A Page Six spy who recently shared an elevator ride at the NYSE with Leibowitz and Big Board CEO Duncan Niederauer says, "They both got off on the sixth floor, after Leibowitz had practically been doing everything but shine his shoes for the short ride up. What a routine they have. One brother pretends to kick Wall Street's butt by crucifying Cramer on his show, while the other brother is down on Wall Street kissing it."
Whatever advice the elder Leibowitz gave the talk-show host before last week's showdown, it worked: The typically loudmouthed Cramer was uncharacteristically silent in the face of Stewart's attacks and even seemed repentant at times.
Meanwhile, the hit to Cramer's credibility has been followed by a hit to his ratings. While a CNBC rep says that March numbers for "Mad Money" are up overall compared to February, the show suffered a 2 percent decline in viewership in the days following Cramer's appearance on Stewart's "The Daily Show" and 6 percent in the 25-54 demographic. Stewart, on the other hand, drew more than 2 million viewers - 50 percent more than his average. Both Stewart and Leibowitz declined to comment.
It is what Cramer deserves and it was a long time coming. Even if it does not end it, hopefully this publicity will put a monkey wrench in the works of his pump and dump operation.
As for Jon Stewart's relation to Wall Street, I am not surprised. Show business and Wall Street do make strange bedfellows but it does happen. Who do you think bank rolled Superman Returns? Where did you think all that flood of dumb money came from in Hollywood?
A 29-year-old man who works for a large investment management firm and was at Bagatelle’s brunch one recent Saturday and at Merkato 55’s the next, put it another way: “If you’d asked me in October, I’d say it’d be a different situation, and I don’t think I’d be here. Then the government gave us $10 billion.”
Enjoy it buddy. Because when ,not if, the s**t hits the fan, this will be probably the last good meal you will ever have.
Well Madoff is now in getting 3 hots and a cot. However he still maintains that he is the sole perpetrator of his crime. Of course there are others who beg to differ. Myself included. There is more to come for the Madoffs and those that were close to him.
WASHINGTON — The American International Group, which has received more than $170 billion in taxpayer bailout money from the Treasury and Federal Reserve, plans to pay about $165 million in bonuses by Sunday to executives in the same business unit that brought the company to the brink of collapse last year.
Word of the bonuses last week stirred such deep consternation inside the Obama administration that Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner told the firm they were unacceptable and demanded they be renegotiated, a senior administration official said. But the bonuses will go forward because lawyers said the firm was contractually obligated to pay them.
The payments to A.I.G.’s financial products unit are in addition to $121 million in previously scheduled bonuses for the company’s senior executives and 6,400 employees across the sprawling corporation. Mr. Geithner last week pressured A.I.G. to cut the $9.6 million going to the top 50 executives in half and tie the rest to performance.
The payment of so much money at a company at the heart of the financial collapse that sent the broader economy into a tailspin almost certainly will fuel a popular backlash against the government’s efforts to prop up Wall Street. Past bonuses already have prompted President Obama and Congress to impose tough rules on corporate executive compensation at firms bailed out with taxpayer money.
A.I.G., nearly 80 percent of which is now owned by the government, defended its bonuses, arguing that they were promised last year before the crisis and cannot be legally canceled. In a letter to Mr. Geithner, Edward M. Liddy, the government-appointed chairman of A.I.G., said at least some bonuses were needed to keep the most skilled executives
“We cannot attract and retain the best and the brightest talent to lead and staff the A.I.G. businesses — which are now being operated principally on behalf of American taxpayers — if employees believe their compensation is subject to continued and arbitrary adjustment by the U.S. Treasury,” he wrote Mr. Geithner on Saturday.
Still, Mr. Liddy seemed stung by his talk with Mr. Geithner, calling their conversation last Wednesday “a difficult one for me” and noting that he receives no bonus himself. “Needless to say, in the current circumstances,” Mr. Liddy wrote, “I do not like these arrangements and find it distasteful and difficult to recommend to you that we must proceed with them.”
First of all this excuse that they need to retain their talent is complete bulls**t for 3 reasons.
1. Obviously if these a**holes were top talent they would not have gotten AIG into this mess in the first place. The way bonuses work is that if you do a good job, you get rewarded for your efforts. If you f**k up you get nothing.
2. Where are these talented f**ktards going to go? There are no jobs out there for anyone. The financial industry is getting whittled down to the marrow. These AIG's employees have no incentive to leave, in fact they want to stick around.
3. This legal obligation to pay bonuses is bulls**t. Any business person worth their salt knows that one of the prime directives of business is "Anything is negotiable." AIG can easily construct an airtight alibi to cut the bonuse just like IBM is using creative methods to layoff its employees in a fashion that won't draw the ire of legal problems.
Offers for jobs can easily be retracted and even the most strongest deals can fall apart. Why doesn't AIG want to do that? Because they are f**king lazy and they don't give a f**k. There is no incentive for them to change.
This is our tax dollars at work and it is money that is not being put to good use. The bonuses range from $1000 to $6.5 million and covers 400 employees. Do they really need this money? I don't think so. I know these people could really use it.
If anyone from AIG is reading don't even think for a second you are sitting on the catbird seat. People are not only going to remember this but they are going to demand action. And this is not the time to throw straws at a camel's back. People are on the f**King and this is the type of bull**t that puts them over the edge.
The best case scenario is that the government says " You guys are a bunch of douchebags who don't know when to quit. We are taking over and nationalizing everything."
The worst case scenario? Expect some very unfriendly company for dinner bringing torches and pitchforks. Do you think I am being crazy? Well ask John Thain. I heard a story that protesters showed up at his home and it required the cops to clear them out.
Honestly, I would like to avoid that. But if AIG f**ktards keep up with this bulls**t, well, that go bag is going to come in real handy when the angry horde burns and pillages everything in Wall Street.
So for the love of Mike AIG, please think about what you are really doing.
Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway was stripped of its 'AAA' credit rating by Fitch, barely hours after S&P cut General Electric's top-tier rating, as the global financial crisis pummels America's corporate titans.
Homeowners Pat and Steve Christoff are eager to sell.
They originally listed their tidy tri-level home with a wooded back yard in Valparaiso, Ind., for $225,000. But, after 14 months on the market, and $40,000 in price reductions, they admit it's time to try something new.
"You have to think outside the box," said Pat Christoff, who has grown weary of waiting for a buyer. She and her husband have brought in real estate agents Jeff and Grace Safrin, who are about to try something radical.
"There are certain circumstances where we will utilize what is called a reverse offer," explained Jeff Safrin.
'It's a 50-50 Shot' Instead of waiting for an offer, the sellers pounce -- and present prospective buyers with an offer they, it's hoped, can't refuse.
"It's like a marriage proposal," explained Grace Safrin. "In a traditional marriage proposal, the man proposes. Well, this is untraditional. The woman proposes. The seller writes a proposal to the buyers, inviting them to buy their home."
The Safrins have used this tactic six times in the past few months, making three sales as a result.
"It's a 50-50 shot," explained Jeff Safrin.
That offer usually includes a lower price, and other incentives such as appliances and closing costs.
Pat Christoff had never heard of a "reverse offer" before. "I was like, 'wait ... aren't they supposed to offer us money?'"
I have never heard of this before but according to Nightline the reverse offer came in vogue during the 80's when the last real estate crash occurred.
With the market currently imploding, I would not be surprised to actually see this occurring in New York City. I am sure there are some sellers who would shoot themselves before even entertaining the thought of a reverse offer. However we are still in free fall mode with this market. When will there be a recover? Apparently even the experts have no idea.
According Jonathan Miller inventory levels are high. If the economy continues to crash and burn, more people will need to opt out of their homes. If they can't attract buyers with their price chops, then I can see the reverse offer popping up.
However it all depends on financial health of the seller. And they are looking pretty queasy.
ST. LOUIS – An eastern Missouri family expects they'll be able to stay in their home built inside a cave after accepting an offer of a private mortgage contract. Curt Sleeper said Tuesday that a New Jersey-based business offered a 15-year loan with a low interest rate that should allow the family to keep their home in Festus, about 30 miles south of St. Louis
I really wanted this cave. But considering the circumstances, I am glad they will be able to keep their home.
As the rental market slows and rents drop, more Manhattan university students are finding better deals living off-campus in rental apartments.
I find this hilarious because college students are the favorite tenants of landlords for the following reasons.
1. No income. College students require a guarantor usually a parent who is willing to be put on the hook for the rent. And some landlords will not allow out of state guarantors.
2. Animal House. With youth comes stupidity with or without alcohol. College students bring tons of that from loud music to all night parties. Which brings complaints from other tenants or worse the police.
3. Limited budget. Unless they are bankrolled by the bank of M&D, there is no way they can afford Manhattan rents which means they have to pile on as many people as possible to make it affordable.
Out of numerous clients college students I was only able to to get trio into a three bedroom located in FiDi.
If landlords are becoming more lax now it just goes to show how desperate they have become.
In rapid-fire speech that resembled a horse-race announcer’s, an auctioneer introduced the first of the day’s 375 properties: a seven-bedroom, five-bathroom home in Roselle, N.J., with an estimated value of $565,000 and a starting bid of $129,000. (Final sale price: $245,000.)
For those of you who do not know, this is a link that presents my opinions of auctions. That does not mean one should not rule them out, but there is no margin for era in exercising your due diligence. Whatever property you are interested you should visit it and do as much research on it as much as possible.
EVEN AN ULTRA RICH, ULTRA EXPENSIVE TOWN LIKE SCARSDALE HAS ACCESS TO THE OBAMA STIMULUS PLAN.
The Popham bridge has been in serious need of repair for quite awhile and the town had already saved the required share of $750,000 for the 13.5 million dollar project. But with Obama's stimulus plan, their required share is going to be covered by Uncle Sugar himself. Which means Scarsdale has $750,000 to play with.
Isn't this awesome? This is true democracy in action. This stimulus money is not just going to the have nots it is also going to the haves. Why? Because in Obama's America even the rich win. If this isn't true equality then my name isn't Laramore. And it isn't.
Does this anger me or disgust me? Honestly, I am beyond that. We have all come to the point realizing how f**ked we really are. It is not about what is right but what do we do to survive.
Handouts? Sure. Welfare? Everyone is on line for food stamps.
I was smacked around again by the flu last Thursday, hence the lack of updates. I hate being sick because it means that I am forced to sweat out a flu that does not want to leave. I overdose on daytime television and if you were watching CNBC last week you just wanted to slit your wrists.
One of things that happens is when you are sick is that if you are not sleeping your passing the time reflecting on your life wondering where it has all gone and is going to next. It is sort of like being on your death bed without the death.
I am in position in my life where I am actually very lucky. Although I am not where I thought I would be, however I am not complaining with what I have because there are a ton of people out who have less than me. sO I am very grateful for what I have.
However, I would lying if there are certain goals what I wish to attain that still weigh very heavy on my mind. These goals are not the most practical at this time. In fact they are downright stupid because they require a bit of capital and most important time. And there is absolutely no guarantee that there will be an ROI on these investments. To call them loss leaders would be an understatement.
So why even think of taking on such a project, particularly with the way the world is now? Why not do something safe?
I remember a story Jim Carey once told regarding his father. His father was a musician who decided to hang it up his horn to become an accountant. He figured that was a more stable profession for a family man. One day his father got laid off and the entire was living out of a station wagon for two years.
Jim Carey learned that security was an illusion so you might as well do something you loved.