Who Would Listen To George Soros?

George Soros, clown? evil genius? he's both!

George Soros, clown? evil genius? he’s both!

George Soros has gotten it right enough times that he’s piled up a net worth estimated by Bloomberg at $27.3 billion. But he’s also sly enough to proclaim his “concern” for the markets last week only after he’s shorted everything he owns. Now that he’s got his 1,000+ point Dow drop, he and his minions can pick up the bargains!

That’s just the normal fun & games of the market, but what really bugs me about Soros is that, when he’s not busy fleecing un-wary investors, he works actively to undermine free markets and free enterprise in general. Every far-left nut-group in the world can count on a yearly check from Soros because a., that’s his philosophical viewpoint, and b., he knows no matter what happens, he will still make money. Who cares if the little people starve, their businesses collapse, and dissenters get locked up (Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea), it’s all good in Soro’s book.

Viva revolución!


Connecticut’s Conveyance Tax Explained


Formerly the estate of "timber tycoon" John Rudy...really? "Timber tycoon"?

Formerly the estate of “timber tycoon” John Rudey, the sale of this 50.6 -acre property produced a total conveyance tax of $1,796,000.

The occasion of the sale of 499 Indian Field Road, “Copper Beech Farm” for $120,000,000 and it’s attendant conveyance tax* of $1,796,000 provides us with an opportunity to show how this (insidious, deliberately confusing, so-called) tax works…

Here is the state of CT’s real estate conveyance tax, in it’s two parts:

State:  .75% of the first $800,000 and 1.25% on amounts above $800,000.

Local:  .250% of the total sales price.

So in the case of this landmark $120,000,000 sale, you calculate thusly….

For the state, you take that first $800,000 and multiply by .0075 to get $6,000. For the balance ($119,200,000), you multiply by .0125 to get $1,490,000. Total for the state, therefore is $6,000 plus $1,490,000 or $1,496,000.

For the Town’s take, you multiply the entire total of $120,000,000 by .00250 to get $300,000.


Sell for $1,000,000:

State gets .0075 of the first $800,0000, which is always $6,000. The $200,000 balance is multiplied by .0125 to get $2,500.

Town gets .0025 times $1,000,000 equaling $2,500.

Total conveyance tax = $11,000.

Sell for $2,000,000:

State = $6,000 + $15,000

Town = $5,000

Total conveyance tax:  $26,000.

Sell for $3,000,000

State = $6,000 + $27,500

Town = $7,500

Total conveyance tax:  $41,000.

And so on…

* In their never-ending quest to drive productive citizens out of Connecticut, Hartford liberals, beginning in 1989, began the steady raising of the conveyance tax every few years. Since it applies to all sales, even in cases where the seller may be losing hundreds of thousands, even millions of dollars, it is more accurately described as a real estate sales penalty. Don’t like it?  Stop voting for liberals!






In Defense Of Realtors

The annual meeting of The Greenwich Association of Realtors. Honored, among others, Bryan Tunney and Paul Pugliese.

The annual meeting of The Greenwich Association of Realtors. Honored, among others, Bryan Tunney and Paul Pugliese.

I attended the Greenwich Association of Realtors annual meeting this morning at the swell Innis Arden Golf Club, and after listening to reports from members serving as heads of various committees, I was reminded once again what an important role real estate agents play in defending citizens from their government.

We’re in the midst of an unprecedented expansion of government power, at every level, always bad news for taxpayers, particularly the sitting-ducks known as “property owners”. Liberal politicians know, if you’ve bought property, and set down roots in a community, you can be taken advantage of with ever higher taxes, of course, but also, and equally alarming, ever more complex regulations designed to limit what you can do with that property.

Real estate agents like the ones honored today are on the front line, serving as watchdogs for the general public, who would otherwise be oblivious to whatever new outrage Hartford or, increasingly, our own Town of Greenwich (!) are proposing. Realtors sell “dirt”, as that knuckle-head Walt would say, but they also involve themselves in the community and state in ways that are hugely important to anyone who actually pays taxes.

One Final Thought

Our profession is a low-barrier-to-entry one; it looks easy and lucrative from the outside, hence the steady flow of folks who drift in and out. No college will ever confer  “legitimacy” on this profession by offering a Degree In Real Estate Sales because, the fact is, you only learn by doing. So the job will always attract a certain amount of scorn from Wall Street geniuses and others, who like to dismiss the value of brokers’ advice.

Remember this: Whether it’s fishing guides, surgeons, or bar fighters, whatever the task, never underestimate the value of actual experience.

In Lieu Of Flowers, Cancel Your Subscription To The New York Times

Leonard M. Smith, 1927-2013. Greenwich resident, served in two wars, all-around great guy.

Leonard M. Smith, 1927-2013. Greenwich resident, served in two wars, all-around great guy.

That’s my favorite line, among some great ones, in this Greenwich Time obituary for Leonard M. Smith. Another one is, “He liked just about every dog he ever met”. That reminds me of me, but I can only aspire to live the life this guy did.

He grew up in New Rochelle, New York, went to Iona, graduated from MIT, degree in engineering, joined the army in WW II, then the air force, for the Korean war, then worked for a wide range of companies, solving tough problems. Five kids, same wife for 58 years.

So how did this obviously decent guy end up disliking the New York Times so much? I can guess it wasn’t because he changed, it was the newspaper that changed. It stopped being an honorable purveyor of news, and moved completely into the realm of pro-government propagandist, seeking to “teach” its readers how to think.

I’d say the paper’s demise really began in earnest when the Sulzberger family allowed Arthur Ochs “you-can-call-me-Pinch” Sulzberger to take over the reins as publisher. That was 1992, and it’s been all down hill since then.

Leonard’s wife, Mary Penelope Smith, died in 2012. She sounds wonderful, too.

Greenwich Says No To FEMA

"Storm preparedness", Old Greenwich style. And guess what, it works!

“Storm preparedness”, Old Greenwich-style, and guess what, it works! (photo shows air conditioner compressor, sitting up on its own little 3-foot high platform). This Old Greenwich waterfront house is still standing after 60 years and around four MAJOR hurricanes. No FEMA payments needed, thank you.

Wouldn’t that be great if we actually did? Why, after all, are we bending over backward to adhere to FEMA rules that offer so little reward?

We had insurance guy Steve Shepard in the office today to lecture us on the sorry state of the flood insurance market. Do you know what the maximum payment from FEMA is for a destroyed home? $250,000 for the house, $100,000 for the interior. In many parts of the country, that’s probably quite helpful, but for Greenwich, practically meaningless (particularly with an annual premium of $8,000+/yr.!)

So why are we participating? Because “global warming” is supposedly causing the sea levels to rise. Except, it’s not. But don’t take my word for it, use your own eyes. If you’ve spent any number of years here in Greenwich, CT, you can observe that the same amount of exposed beach sand still exists, the same high-water marks on sea walls are clearly evident, the same waterside property boundaries (trees, fences, etc.) are all in their usual places.

Everything’s the same! Hooray, we’re saved! Now let’s opt out of FEMA’s idiotic agenda, shall we?

Finally, A “Real” Scandal!

(Above, Casablanca”s Capt. Renault, playing the part of an incredulous American media: Shocked, shocked, to discover a politician using his powers to punish political enemies!)

Meanwhile, the media bends over backwards to ignore these obviously phony scandals:

Using the IRS to persecute political enemies….yawn.

Mysterious order to Benghazi rescue party to “stand down”…ho hum.

Justice Dept. running guns to Mexican drug cartels….sigh/groan

NSA data-mining every single American’s phone line…blah, blah, blah

E-mail evidence White House knew all along you wouldn’t be able to “keep your insurance plan”…z-z-z-z-z-z-z

But finally:

Traffic cones placed on the George Washington bridge, causing 4-day traffic jam?…Stop the presses! Start the investigations! Divert all media resources to Fort Lee, New Jersey, until further notice!

The only good part of this story may be the lesson finally taught to liberal Republicans: The media absolutely love you “mavericks” until the day comes when you are thrown under the bus because, no matter how liberal you may be, ultimately, you will never be forgiven the sin of being Republican. Sorry!

Joe Lhota’s Mom Endorses de Blasio

Telemundo's Jorge Ramos asks: "What reasons would you give to [illegal immigrants] to vote for you?" Guess what? They both happily answered the question!

Mayoral candidates, Mutt & Jeff.  Telemundo’s Jorge Ramos asked both: “What reasons would you give to [illegal immigrants] to vote for you?” and guess what? They both happily answered the question!

Well, I wouldn’t be surprised, if she had watched tonight’s pathetic “debate” between these two very liberal candidates. There’s barely a difference between the two!

5’4″ Lhota stood shoulder to shoulder with 6’8″ de Blasio as they competed to tell us how much each would do for the City’s growing population of illegal immigrants:

“Driver’s licenses!”, shouted the giant de Blasio.

“Library cards!”, countered the diminutive Lhota.

“I’ll make sure they have free health care!”, promised de Blasio.

“Access to all educational resources, including City universities!”, answered the midget.

(I’m serious, those are actual quotes)

The only time they both declined to take the bait from Telemundo reporter Jorge Ramos, was when he asked them whether they favored letting illegals vote “in local elections”. Amazingly, both these knuckle-heads drew the line on that one. But don’t worry, they’ll vote anyway.

What a travesty.

ObamaCare Victims Begin To Speak Out

Here’s a sad little story from a hard-working couple in Stamford, CT. They voted for President Obama, thinking that putting the federal government in charge of providing health insurance would make things better. It didn’t.

Big government at work! But not to worry, it's not real money, it's just taxpayers' money.

Big government at work! But not to worry, it’s not real money, it’s just taxpayers’ money.

“Mayor de Blasio” Is Coming, Time To Sell NYC Real Estate?

Future Mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio (ok, not really, that's his son, "Dante", but if you went by Bill de Blasio's TV ads, you'd swear it was his son running for office!

Future Mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio (ok, not really, that’s his son, “Dante”, but if you went by Bill de Blasio’s TV ads, you’d swear this kid’s the one running for office!

A life-long, committed leftist*, who’s never held a real job, is about to assume the mayoralty of New York City, should you sell your New York City real estate now, before it’s too late? And what about Greenwich? We’re the ultimate “bedroom community” of NYC, will the coming downturn of the City drag us with it?

To the first question, I would answer yes, now would be a good time to unload your New York apartment, if its re-sale value is an important part of your investment holdings, and I think you’ve probably got at least 12 months to get it done. Crime and taxes, the hallmark of all US cities run by Democrat machines, will begin their increase gradually, beginning around, oh, June, 2014.

The first folks to feel the tax pinch will be the “wealthy” ($500K+/yr.), but the new Mayor will quickly run out of their money, so the definition of “wealthy” will be adjusted downward accordingly.

As for crime, I think city residents are already seeing the increase, thanks to Judge Shira Scheindlin’s decree that “stop & frisk” is unconstitutional. It’s clear this ruling has had a chilling effect on the NYPD, and we can expect that to get worse under the new Mayor.

“But wait”, I hear you say, “We’ve had a committed leftist who’d never held a real job, sitting in the White House for 5+ years, and real estate’s done fine, so has the stock market!” All true, I admit, but the US is a huge, vibrant, country that can endure amazing self-imposed obstacles and disasters, yet keep on thriving. New York City, unfortunately, cannot make the same claim. Mayors Lindsay, Beam, and Dinkins nearly destroyed the City and its boroughs, and de Blasio is cut from identical cloth. Sell that real estate now!

As for Greenwich, I think we’ll survive the coming NYC disaster just fine. It would be nice if it didn’t have to happen, but the city’s importance to our economy is simply not what it once was.

So New York voters will put their city under the care of a man who has no conception of how money is made, profits earned, investment decisions determined. All he learned at Yale was that there is a “gap” between the rich and the poor, and the only salvation is a continuous, never-ending expansion of government. As the “gap” grows ever wider, the justification for even higher taxes, even higher spending, becomes all the more urgent
to the de Blasios of this world. The more they fail, the harder they try.

*According to the New York Times, which ought to know a leftist when it sees one!