Barry Popik's blog
"Many of us have lost confidence in the SEC," said Rep. Carolyn Maloney, a Democrat from New York. (Reported at yesterday's Congressional hearing on Bernie Madoff.)
You go, girl!
"Where can we go to get the proper oversight? I don't have trust in them (the SEC) for the future," she said.
End the SEC! It's useless! It's garbage! It's a complete joke!
I was watching a CNBC special report today, an hour-long investigation of Bernie Madoff. How could he have gotten away with it for so long? There were many camera shots of the Lipstick building on Third Avenue, just a few blocks from my old home on East 57th Street. Madoff operations occupied three floors.
Friday's New York Times finally covers the parking ticket reduction program. If you challenge a ticket, the city can "plea bargain" with you and give you a reduced price, in lieu of seeing a judge. The Times story is light on the details; the "reductions" program simply cannot be evaluated.
I wrote a response that perhaps can be read at the NY Times website. The program began with commercial adjudications. UPS gets thousands of parking tickets and had many long, pointless hearing. An average figure was worked out, allowing UPS to pay a reduced bill--with both sides saving money on legal costs. The "plea bargain" reduction system was, without fanfare, expanded to individuals.
The new state taxes are here! Just in time for Christmas!
You must realize two things: (1) once imposed, all of these taxes will be with New Yorkers forever, at increasingly higher rates; and (2) the people who have already profited from the system will make little or no concessions. Pay up, you working suckers still left in New York State!
Gov. David Paterson is going after people who wear fur. Did PETA write this tax? Because buying a synthetic garment made out of toxic chemicals is much better for us all.
Gov. David Paterson is going after people who can afford boats. If you can afford to own a small boat, you obviously have too much money lying around.
"I never killed or injured anyone." -- William Ayers in The New York Times, December 6, 2008.
The New York Times has no shame.
On June 9, 1970, New York City's police headquarters was bombed. Seven people were injured. Thousands of dollars of property damage was inflicted.
The Weather Underground--Ayers' group--was behind this bombing. We do not know if Ayers himself planned, assisted, and/or conducted the bombing. (We know that Jane Alpert was involved.) Personally, I believe that Ayers knew in advance about this bombing that injured several New Yorkers. Maybe in Ayers' mind this was a "protest of the Vietnam War," but this was a violent attack on New York City.
The proposed "regional mobility tax" is just a brilliant idea. A special tax just to improve regional transportation. Who's against improved regional transportation?
Except that the tax money will go to pay past debts. And the new money is being collected to incur even more massive future debts with $35 billion of new borrowing.
What is a sales tax for? What are state and city personal income taxes for? What are property taxes for? Obviously, none of that is for the MTA! That's why there's a new "regional mobility tax"! Why not a "regional education tax" for schools? A "regional safety tax" for police and firefighters? Problems solved!
The people's vote on term limits is respected in...Venezuela?
Chávez Again Seeks to End Term Limits
Monday's New York Post editorial suggests eliminating the borough president positions. It's such a good idea that it should be the Republican platform for 2009.
New York City is cutting back on 1,000 police officers, among other drastic cuts. There is no reason to have superfluous layers of government. I forget the source, but someone just released a study and the only section of the economy that is still increasing is--you guessed it--government.
When I ran for Manhattan Borough President in 2005, there were record surpluses instead of record deficits. Still, I pledged for the charter revision commission to reconsider the office, either strengthening it or eliminating it.
An article in the business section of the Sunday New York Times is: "Just What This Downturn Demands: A Consumption Tax." It is completely, utterly wrong.
A recession/depression economy needs fewer taxes, for the simple reason that people have less money and can't pay them.
A consumption tax would kill consumption. New York City's many stores would be hard hit. An ailing Detroit would be knocked out. Who wants to buy a car--even a new, energy-efficient car--only to be socked with taxes? Who would buy a new advanced computer or a new advanced tv? More people would hang on to old, outdated, energy-inefficient clunkers.
Story #5: New Yorkers, Californians Should Consider Moving
Why is a bankrupt MTA still issuing bonds?
According to Wednesday's New York Times, the MTA is advertising directly to the public to sell its tax-exempt bonds. Ed Koch is helping with the radio ads. The money is needed to "buy new equipment and maintain the network, which will improve reliability, safety and customer service," says Koch.
Actually, the money will be used to pay off existing bondholders! Why would anyone want to invest before Richard Ravitch files his report in a month or two about the MTA's finances? Two people wrote this story and there's not one mention about the credit rating of the bonds?
Monday's New York Post reports that Ronald Lauder has officially wimped out. Lauder has agreed to third terms for everybody who qualifies.
In return, Lauder will have a seat on a Charter Revision Commission in 2010 to study the issue and possibly place it on the 2010 ballot--after the fact of a "temporary" extension. Oh joy.
Plain fairness requires that everyone acknowledge that the public HAS ALREADY VOTED ON THIS TWICE. Any change should not take place without a public vote. The city council should not vote on a direct benefit to themselves.
This is simple, plain fairness. You'd think that every newspaper in town would demand it.
The last issue of the New York Sun newspaper is today. The newspaper will be missed.
The New York Sun picked a tough business climate to begin (September 11, 2001) and a terrible business climate to go out. Through it all, it published a quality product. Its local New York City coverage will be missed by all, regardless of political bent. Its coverage of the United Nations was outstanding.
This shouldn't be an epitaph. Surely, the Sun will rise in some form, either as a newspaper or on the web.
In January 2007, Barclays paid $400 million (over 20 years) for the right to name the Brooklyn Nets arena at the Atlantic Yards the "Barclays Center." This week, Barclays paid just $250 million for Lehman Brothers' entire United States operation!
The big question here is: Was this always Barclays' plan, to take over an American investment house on the cheap?
The January 2007 announcement that the Brooklyn arena would be named the Barclays Center made no sense at the time, but makes perfect sense now. At the time, it was the most expensive naming of any sports arena ever. Barclays had no banks whatsoever in Brooklyn and a limited presence in New York City.
Let me understand this, because it doesn't seem to pass my smell test:
Barclays couldn't simply have bought Lehman Brothers, for any price? Lehman's CEO Dick Fuld thought a Korean bank's offer was insultingly low--so he declared bankruptcy, giving the shareholders NOTHING? Lehman couldn't have been sold for any price, at any time?
One day after Lehman declares bankruptcy, Barclays buys the best of Lehman? A bankruptcy judge approves it? IN ONE DAY?
That must be some 24 hours! It takes me more than a day to buy a car. It took me over a month to sell my Manhattan co-op apartment. It took me over a month to buy a house in Austin, Texas. But in one day, ONE DAY AFTER BANKRUPTCY, Barclays can snatch up the best of Lehman (one of the top four brokerage houses in the world), and a bankruptcy judge can instantly know that Barclays paid fair market value for all assets? One day!
Lehman is no more.
The 158-year-old New York City firm that had survived two World Wars and the Great Depression couldn't make it in the current climate.
It matters to all of us because of one thing--trust. If trust is gone in our financial markets, Wall Street is dead. Say goodbye to New York and to America as well.
My late father had known Arthur Levitt (the former SEC chairman is now on the Bloomberg Board of Directors) and had invested in Levitt's old company, Shearson. That Shearson stock later became a large holding in two very New York City stocks--American Express and Lehman.