politics: Twitter Thursday with the Founding Fathers... - 12/16/10 01:38 PM

I guess we could call this Twitter Thursday...
I think that a lot of times we forget that the "Founding Fathers" were real people.  they were also hanging out on the edge of technology for their time. 
Thomas Jefferson could have REALLY used a Kindle.  The guy was a reading machine.  Not to mention that he was a genius...
George Washington was a gifted leader and he wasn't afraid to employ battlefield technology as he found it.  He recognized that the training that his soldiers could get from Baron von Steuben was beyond what he could provide... and the battle … (2 comments)

politics: There IS a New Real Estate Transfer Tax in the ObamaCare Law - 07/20/10 03:05 PM
Image via Wikipedia One of the forums in which I participate has had stories on both sides of this issue for a couple of months… with the more conservative members saying that there is a 3.8% sales tax on the sale of homes, and those that are more supportive of the President and his policies saying that there isn’t.
Neither side was real specific about their information source… talk radio for some, blogs for others… nobody seemed to be going to the source… the 20,000+ page law signed by the President.  In all fairness, there is a LOT of room in … (215 comments)

politics: Al's Saga continues... - 06/26/10 04:29 PM
If you haven't already, please feel free to read Ade For Al.  A simple Lemonade Stand at the local Farmer's Market in Lilburn, GA raised over $2500 for Al Real's family in just one evening.  It makes me VERY proud to be part of this community. 
As if the actual injuries little Al suffered weren't enough, now the family is having to fight for his treatment. 
To catch you up, Al Real is an 8 year old boy here in the Lilburn area.  He and another little friend were playing a few weeks ago.  While they were playing, they apparently decided … (7 comments)

politics: Hyper Inflationary Real Estate Deals? - 05/10/10 03:58 PM
While wandering through the blogosphere, I happened across a couple of post about inflation and the possibility of the US spiralling into a hyper-inflationary mode because of the massive debt, stagnant national economy and continued world economic issues. 
The theories have been around for a couple of years, and many of them point back to Germany (1923), Hungary (1946) or Argentina (1975-1991) as examples... and there are plenty of others. 
I am not one that wanders around expecting worst case outcomes for the United States.  There have been dire predictions before.  In fact, I think every few years we get a … (12 comments)

politics: Same Song, New Verse... Oh Garbage, some more. - 03/25/10 02:05 AM
Image by lane.bailey via Flickr I am getting to the point where I wonder if this saga will ever end...  Let's get up to speed...
Gwinnett County contracted with Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful for a new waste management plan.  The plan was going to increase recycling, reduce the number of garbage trucks on the streets, slightly lower bills (for many) and require that all residences have garbage collection. The plan was going to go into effect on January 1st, 2009.  There were two selected garbage haulers, of the nine licensed to operate in the county.  Several of the other haulers filed … (0 comments)

politics: Who Gets a Tax Break? - 03/17/10 04:21 AM
I can't count the number of time that I have heard President Obama and the chorus of his minions talk about "the Bush Tax Cuts for the Wealthy".  And there is a big problem...  It is a GIANT lie.  Or, I guess I should more accurately say ANOTHER GIANT LIE coming from the Community Organizer. 
Here are the facts.
In 2004, the most recent year for which I could find stats, the top 1% paid 37% of all income taxes.  By comparison, the bottom 50% paid about 3% of the taxes...  The top 1% earned 19% of the income, and the … (7 comments)

politics: Gwinnett County v Gwinnett's Cities... - 03/16/10 04:56 PM
Effective on March 1st, the issue between Gwinnett and 15 of its cities has been upgraded by the State of Georgia.  The 15 cities and Gwinnett are now listed with the state as No Longer Qualified Local Governments.
The cities are: Auburn , Berkeley Lake, Buford, Dacula, Duluth, Grayson, Lawrenceville, Lilburn, Loganville, Norcross, Rest Haven, Snellville, Sugar Hill, Suwanee and Braselton.
At issue are parallel services being offered by Gwinnett County and the individual cities.  Things like police services...  Several of the cities have local police departments, but Gwinnett County Police (one of the largest departments in the state) patrols the … (1 comments)

politics: FairTax a Solution for Upside Down Home Owners? - 02/12/10 08:11 AM
The statistics that point out the percentage of home owners that are upside down are staggering.  Depending on who you talk with, there are anywhere from 20% to 50% of current home owners that owe more money on their homes than they are worth on the open market...  As a home owner, I understand... I'm right there, too.
And there are a lot of experts that agree that until we deal with that statistic, and make a significant dent in it, we can't begin recovery in the housing market. In effect, many of the people that might be in the housing … (9 comments)

politics: Successfully Dealing with an Economic Depression... - 02/11/10 07:11 AM
While the Depression of 1929 is often referred to as "The Great Depression", it didn't start out as catastrophic as it became.  Just 10 years prior, the US had a depression that began MUCH more severely.  However, the reaction to the 1920 Depression was VERY different that the reaction to the 1929 Depression.  Many Economists think that those reactions in 1920 allowed the economy to get back on track more quickly.  While, the reactions after 1929 prolonged and deepened that depression. Let's look at 1920 for a moment.
From 1920 to 1921, prices deflated between 13% and 18% (depending on the … (31 comments)

politics: Depression? Let's Talk About Economic Meltdown... - 02/11/10 12:57 AM
For the last year and a half, from Democrats and Republicans, we've heard over and over that the economic downturn we have been facing was the worst since the Great Depression.  As a response, President Bush built a $700B Bank Recovery plan (TARP), in which his administration spent $350B in phase 1.  President Obama spent the other $350B in phase 2.  In addition to that, President Obama built a $989B Recovery plan.  He has also ratcheted up Federal Government spending to an amazing degree. 
President Bush's last budget was slated to have a $450B deficit.  Because of the TARP plan and … (13 comments)

politics: Flashback Friday and the County Assessors facing reality - 02/05/10 07:56 AM
Last year I wrote about Senate Bill 55 in the Georgia Senate.  Basically, the bill required the Counties to include foreclosures in assessments.  Previously, assessments for taxes excluded foreclosures, so they (falsly?) increased values and tax revenue to the counties.
While that makes it tough for the counties, it is a needed break for home owners.  The counties complained that they would lose revenues... well, the people are losing revenue, too.  They have to suck it up.
In the last year, the bill quietly passed and was signed into law by Governor Sonny Perdue.
Here is the link to the original … (5 comments)

politics: Is there a stock market bubble coming? - 02/04/10 12:22 AM
I have been wondering about this for the last couple of weeks...  There are a few things about that give me pause.  We've seen the Dow climb a bit, but I don't think there haven't really been increased profits to explain it.  And where there have been increased profits has been largely from overseas operations. 
Sure, there are some companies that are bucking that trend... but I still wonder. 
A good bit of the increase in overseas profit comes down to exchange rates.  the US Dollar has been pounded in currency markets.  This means that companies with overseas profits will see … (8 comments)

politics: Would this solve the 'Foreclosure Crisis'? - 01/10/10 03:10 PM
It is a simple option... isn't onerous, and doesn't involve the government spending billions of our dollars...
Simply make banks responsible
As it stands, in many jurisdictions, banks aren't responsible for maintenance, taxes, HOA fees or any other impacts their foreclosed properties might have on the community.  So, if a block is foreclosed, the homes go to crap while the banks dither at dealing with the inventory.  The cities lose valuable tax revenue while they are already struggling because of diving property values.  HOAs lose chunks of their budgets trying to maintain properties in their neighborhoods... while not collecting fees from … (22 comments)

politics: Shame on YOU, President Obama - 01/09/10 06:44 AM
Is it time to shame you?
President Obama - "Negotiations WILL be on C span" What happened Mr. President?  Repeatedly over the course of the campaign you promised to make the debate public.  You promised to make the negotiations public.  You promised to be transparent.  That hasn't happened...
Sure, you had a little kick-off event that was choreographed and invited C-SPAN to broadcast it... that was about an hour.  But since then, there have been hundreds of hours of negotations and private meetings.  Not only have you locked out C-SPAN, but you locked out members of the opposition party.  You even … (19 comments)

politics: One of the basic problems... - 12/29/09 12:57 PM
Our Congressional "Leaders" don't have a clue about what it takes to run a business, for the most part, anyway.  Too many of these people have never run anything... they have been politicians for too long, and have never had to make a payroll. 
This manifests itself in several ways...
They don't have any idea what the regulations and rules they are creating will do to THE jobs generator... small business.   They don't have any sense of budgetary restraint.  in business, there is only so much revenue, and spending beyond it can't happen for long, but in government, there is no … (12 comments)

politics: How's This For Job Creation? - 12/12/09 05:47 AM
The first "stimulus" package, now known and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (but lovingly remembered as Porkulus) was an absolute failure and waste of $787 Billion so successful that the Democrats are talking about doing another one. 
Apparently, the act accomplished all that it set out to do except for one thing... creating jobs.  All of the talk of "shovel ready projects" and "infrastructure improvements" from the administration was slightly premature.  While many thought that those types of expenditures were built into that stimulus package, we are now finding out that they weren't... 
When the stimulus bill was being "debated", … (12 comments)

politics: Expanded comment... - 10/06/09 03:02 PM
There was a very long comment on a recent post.  I felt in needed a long response.  I'm not going to reprint the whole comment here... feel free to follow the links...
Here we go...
a) The fact that real estate is often a leveraged investment has absolutely nothing to do with the discussion... 
b) Maybe you could try actually explaining the leverage effect of the tax credit.  My guess is that you will try to make the case that buying a home creates jobs and increases the tax base.  It certainly may.  However, there are a certain amount of sales … (12 comments)

politics: Let's increase the Home Buyer Tax Credit to $100,000... - 10/03/09 04:40 PM
And while we are at it, why don't we expand it to cover everyone.  Do you think the NAR would get behind this? 
Honestly, I bet that they would see that this would be ludicrous.  Not that it wouldn't be GREAT for real estate agents, we would be rolling in it.  But, obviously it would cost WAY too much money, and it would destroy the real estate market...  Let's examine how? 
It would inflate prices...  Sellers would KNOW that people buying were getting $100k in free money.  Prices would go up by nearly that amount... Buyers would push prices up by … (142 comments)

politics: Snarkaluffagus Anonimitous... Back Noise - 10/01/09 01:54 AM
While at New Media Atlanta last week I was introduced to a new tool toy.  BackNoise.  I think the easiest ways to describe it are as follows... 
Back Noise: baak_noiz,  1. Useful tool to gauge reactions to speakers or other aspects of an event, allowing event participants to freely exchange information with each other during the event.  2. A cross between twitter and a convention of hecklers, often snarking just to snark.
Please note, it is often rude, and the language might make a sailor blush. 
But that doesn't mean it isn't a useful tool.  It just needs to be understood … (7 comments)

politics: The Press is on... - 09/15/09 05:07 AM
I have recieved emails this morning from the NAR and from my local association regarding the $8,000 First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit.  There is a full court press from the National Association of Realtors as well as the local associations to not only continue, but expand this program.  And there is NO doubt that the program has been effective, especially in the last few weeks.  Entry level home sales are up. 
But, honestly... it needs to end as scheduled. 
But it is helping my business...
I can hear some of my real estate agent friends saying that very thing.  That … (29 comments)

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