Posts Tagged ‘Real Estate’
Friday, March 8th, 2013
Posted by Leonard Steinberg on March 7th, 2012
Peggy Noonan penned a telling article about the US economy in the Wall Street Journal: she says the focus should be on jobs, because the country needs jobs more than it needs class warfare and threats of doom and gloom from President Obama…..even though 236,000 jobs were created in February, much better than expected. She is certainly right that with vastly reduced unemployment our economy would be in significantly better shape, and budgets could be balanced more easily as fewer would be relying on government aid, and many more would be inserting tax dollars into the government coffers. She thinks the culprit is Obamacare that scares off companies from hiring……yes, that certainly needs tweaking. Personally, I think the tax code needs the most urgent attention when you consider that it currently encourages large corporations to house profits outside of the USA…..instead of investing them here, preferably in job creation.
The build-up of offshore profits — totaling almost $ 2 trillion — is increasing because of incentives in the U.S. tax code for booking profits offshore and leaving them there. The stockpiles complicate attempts to overhaul the tax system as lawmakers look for ways to bring the money home and discourage profit shifting.
What if the USA instituted a policy right now that allowed companies to bring back those profits at a flat tax rate of 25% but only if they invested 25% ($ 500 billion)of those funds into job creation. $ 500 billion would have to go towards paying down the US deficit. The other $ 500 billion would create FIVE MILION jobs paying $ 50,000.00 per year for TWO YEARS. Companies could still boast how smart they were at making money, but this way they would actually be helping the country AND themselves by creating 25 million new viable consumers…. consumers who don’t require government assistance, consumers who pay taxes, who buy goods, who buy houses, who buy I-phones, that will fuel demand…..that will only help further fuel corporate profits.
Sunday, January 20th, 2013
Posted by Leonard Steinberg on January 20th, 2013
The New York Times did an interesting piece this weekend trying to answer the question: What is MIDDLE CLASS in Manhattan? The answer remains muddied.
In a city where the cost of housing overwhelms all other costs, where you live and how much you are paying for that housing truly determines what money you have left over to spend on other stuff. So I want to know where is the outrage by those paying market rates for their rent when a select few get the huge breaks through rent controlled and stabilized apartments? Often those are the people who could afford to pay above market rates. I know of a wealthy (rather famous) couple living in a very fancy Upper West Side building paying $ 2,000/month in rent while their neighbors pay up to $ 20,000/month in rent…….many have sold too in the $ 5m+ range. This couple divorced for technical reasons to hold onto their cheap rent and keep a fancy house in the Hampton’s. All of us have to pay for this abuse: It’s theft, no? Or does the changing meaning of the English language give this bad behavior a nicer sounding name? Doesn’t a large pool of rent controlled apartments reduce the volume of available properties thereby causing those available to cost even more?
I have argued for years that there should be tax breaks, just like the ones you get for having children or dependents, for cost of living based on the city you live in. If it costs double to live in Manhattan than it does in Minneapolis, surely that would be fair? Yet our tax system considers $ 250k/year as equal anywhere in the country. It’s absurd.
I think its time for the Manhattan middle class to revolt against the leaches of our society (not to mention the law-makers who allow it) who are abusing the system at their expense!
Saturday, December 8th, 2012
Posted by Leonard Steinberg on December 8th, 2012
In a real estate negotiation when the buyer and seller do not trust what their brokers are saying or doing, it is sometimes wise to get involved and monitor things more closely. I think the time has come for us, the taxpayers, to do the same with our elected officials: open the doors of these FISCAL CLIFF negotiations so that we may see who is saying and doing exactly what. Yes, you are correct: we don’t trust what we are being told. We want to see and hear for ourselves.
Tuesday, December 4th, 2012
Posted by Leonard Steinberg on December 4th, 2012
Our beloved Government claims that the US inflation rate is currently somewhere around 2.25%…..remarkably they do not include the cost of housing in this figure, probably the single most expensive line item cost in every American’s budget. As we all know the cost of housing is rising dramatically, especially in New York.
In economics, inflation is a rise in the general level of prices of goods and services in an economy over a period of time. When the general price level rises, each unit of currency buys fewer goods and services. Consequently, inflation also reflects an erosion in the purchasing power of money – a loss of real value in the internal medium of exchange and unit of account in the economy. A chief measure of price inflation is the inflation rate, the annualized percentage change in a general price index (normally the Consumer Price Index) over time. So if you exclude housing from all of this, INFLATION is really not being measured valuably.
I would suspect the inflation rate in Manhattan is somewhere around 7-8%, based on the rental hikes, insurance cost hikes, rising staffing costs, raised MTA fares, raised cabfares, food , etc: I guess we will never know since the government has chosen to exclude the largest single cost to us all…..the cost to keep a roof over our heads.
Sunday, November 11th, 2012
Posted on November 10th, 2012 by Leonard Steinberg
In all the discussions about THE FISCAL CLIFF both parties are revealing to the world just how incompetent (and corrupt?)they really are when it comes to identifying what ‘rich’ is. Both are behaving in a discriminatory fashion that is pretty astounding. I know I keep repeating myself when I say this, but when Obama claims that ALL Americans EVERYWHERE who earn more than $ 250k are equally rich, I have to wonder about his brain capacity or worse, his intentions. If earning $ 250k per year in New York is viewed the same as earning $ 250k in Tulsa (without any adjustment for cost-of-living), then I am afraid we have not all been created equally in the eyes of this President. Surely if affirmative action was designed to help those disadvantaged by a system based on race, the same should be true for cost of living?
Just in case Obamanomics does not understand this simple economic fact, or chooses to ignore it, here are the FACTS about the difference in the cost of living as provided by BANKRATE.com:
||New York-White Plains-Wayne NY-NJ Metro Div. – New York (Manhattan) NY
||Tulsa OK Metro
|Payment + Interest
|Half Gal. Milk
The reality is, housing is a massive percentage of all American’s cost of living. Ignoring this fact is outrageous and discriminatory. So if the average home in Manhattan costs 6x more than in Tulsa, surely President Obama should acknowledge this somewhere in the new tax legislation?
And just when you thought I was done with my rant, lets cross over to the other side of the aisle where BOEHNOMICS imagines all wealthy paying the same taxes. Really? Why does he not address the fact that someone who earns $ 1million per year in salary often pays double and tripe the taxes that someone self-employed? Why are the Republicans ignoring (or choosing to ignore) this?
Both parties need to remember that not all Americans are idiots and that by enacting laws that discriminate and ignore facts, they are both opening up the door widely for a THIRD PARTY to enter this system and throw both of them out of office. PLEASE Mayor Bloomberg, be the voice of reason here and help us form a third party to either remove the idiots or encourage them through political force to act more responsibly.
And in case anyone reading this thinks I am whining on behalf of the rich, they are simply wrong: I believe a combination of tax increases and spending cuts AND efficiency implementation (has either side mentioned this little inconvenient fact?)are critical to correct our debt crisis. Doing so intelligently and with the fairness ALL Americans are entitled to is what I am yelling about.
Wednesday, November 7th, 2012
Posted by Leonard Steinberg on November 7th, 2012
As the second super-storm “Athena”, a strong nor’easter, approaches our shores with the expectation of super-strong winds, rain, snow and storm surges, we have to look towards a potentially bigger storm…..THE FISCAL CLIFF. Unlike nature, this is a $ 7 trillion storm we can actually be prepared for and ward off……but only if our beloved politicians join forces, make some compromises (on BOTH sides), and get to work immediately.
Already, businesses around the country are making contingency plans for this ‘cliff’, and they are not pretty. They include large cut-backs on spending and investment, lay-offs, and a strong potential for economic decline in 2013, more than likely leading to another recession. Chances are real estate sales, construction and financing would be cut back sharply. We cannot afford this. The fiscal and human toll would simply be too great. And knowing that all it requires is compromise on both sides of the aisle to formulate practical, intelligent solutions makes it all the more important for all of us to join forces and apply maximum pressure on our elected officials to do the right thing.
Our President, Congress and Senate need to get to work to-day on this: not doing the right thing now (with urgency)would be in my opinion very un-American and worthy of impeachment. We know what to expect from ATHENA, just like we knew what to expect from SANDY. We have a very good idea what the consequences are of THE FISCAL CLIFF will be: If Governor Christie and President Obama can work together on ‘Sandy’, there is hope for this 3rd Storm too. Now lets get down to work!
Monday, July 16th, 2012
Posted by Leonard Steinberg on July 16th, 2012
It is fact now that US corporations are sitting on almost $ 5 TRILLION in cash, both domestically and internationally. This cash sits idle as corporations’ frustration grows because consumer demand is not strong enough to justify solid, meaningful business investment.
This is my argument: Consumer demand is weak because unemployment is high and consumers are nervous. If that is the case, creating working, SPENDING, functioning consumers should not just be the priority of politicians and government (something most business leaders say is not the responsibility of government!) but should be the NUMBER ONE priority of corporations too. I have much greater faith in corporations ability to do this.
So this is what I am proposing…… $ 5 trillion is enough to pre-pay for 100 million $ 50,000.00 per year jobs for one year. To be more conservative and prudent, just take one third of that amount ($ 1,66trillion) and create 16,5 million $ 50,000.00 per year jobs for 2 years. Can anyone honestly tell me that this investment would not pay off? I don’t believe it would help, I believe it would make our economy SOAR. Just imagine all those people with their $ 50k salaries buying I-pads, stoves, cars, clothing, furniture, homes, etc, etc. The money these people would re-distribute into the economy would fuel demand that would fuel more business investment. (And some of the taxes they would pay could help pay down the deficit.)
Corporations could argue that it is not their role to cure the unemployment problem in the USA….really? Are corporations too weak to invest in their future, even 12 -24 months from now? Yes, they would all take a big hit on their cash positions accounting-wise. But what if the IRS/government stepped in and said all those squirreled away trillions could remain tax exempt but only IF used to create jobs? And surely the increased consumption would re-fuel those cash coffers? Its time to re-evaluate the ridiculous short-sighted quarterly mentality of our economy anyway and this could fuel a change.
A combined effort between corporations and the government is the key to our economic woes in my very humble opinion.
Wednesday, June 20th, 2012
Posted by Leonard Steinberg on June 20th, 2012
As the “Great Greek Tragedy” unfolds, there are so many lessons to be learned. This is what I am seeing:
1) It is clearly evident that salaried people are those carrying the brunt of the tax burden in Greece: that burden will more than quadruple now to pay for those who don’t want to pay taxes. We scorn this, but the system isn’t all that different in the USA: the bulk of those EVIL Wall Streeters also earn their incomes via salaries, so they also do not have the numerous tax deductions that the self employed or corporations have….or the super-rich who pay lower rates. Why does Madonna not disclose her tax returns for all to see? So many laughed when Wall Street bonuses were cut dramatically only to discover that the coffers in Albany had much less income because of that….
2) The Greeks have come up with a REAL ESTATE SOLUTION for collecting taxes……by cutting off electricity to those not paying! Imagine if all the electricity was cut to APPLE because they paid under 10% in corporate taxes while the bulk of small businesses around the country had to pay more than triple?
3) The most important Greek lesson I learned: Talk of reducing the tax rates has made the number of tax filings GROW. AH-HAH: SO if you were to be certain to collect all taxes uniformly and fairly at the same rate, you could actually lower the rates for ALL and collect MORE? Now throw in less spending abuses….
Maybe in housing lies the answer to tax collecting: cut off basic services to those who abuse the system?
Friday, May 4th, 2012
Posted by Leonard Steinberg on May 4th, 2012
When Warren Buffet speaks, I listen: To-day he said the tepid economic US growth is directly related to the housing market. The minute construction picks up, so too will the economy as construction fuels job growth and spending. Right now I am aware of several thousand new apartments in advanced planning stages for New York: construction has either just started or is about to begin. That means unemplyment will drop and the New York economy should improve noticeably over the course of the next 12 months…..