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  • Macaca
    12-28 08:03 AM
    House Members Spent $20.3M on Mailings ( By DENNIS CONRAD | Associated Press, Dec 28, 2007

    WASHINGTON -- U.S. House members spent $20.3 million in tax money last year to send constituents what's often the government equivalent of junk mail _ meeting announcements, tips on car care and job interviews, surveys on public policy and just plain bragging.

    They sent nearly 116 million pieces of mail in all, many of them glossy productions filled with flattering photos and lists of the latest roads and bridges the lawmaker has brought home to the district, an Associated Press review of public records shows.

    Some offered advice on topics one would more commonly expect to see in a consumer-advice column.

    "Keep your car properly maintained" to improve mileage, suggested Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., in a newsletter on how to deal with rising energy prices.

    Rep. David Dreier, R-Calif., offered tips on home improvements.

    And Rep. Cynthia McKinney, D-Ga., who lost her primary race last year, sent out a taxpayer-funded newsletter a few months before the election that included this simple observation:

    "Convicted felons can vote," she said, if "your" prison sentence has been served, parole or probation completed and fines paid. While campaigning, McKinney, who is black, noted that blacks make up a disproportionately large share of the prison population, which she said dilutes their voting strength.

    A dozen House members spent more than $133,000 each to send 9.8 million pieces of mass mailings. Total cost? $1.8 million.

    Sometimes the lawmakers' taxpayer funded mailings topped what they paid for direct mail through their campaign funds.

    Of the 64 House members with at least $100,000 in taxpayer-funded mailing expenses _ and overwhelmingly for mass mailings _ 42 were Republicans and 22 were Democrats, the AP review found.

    In sharp contrast, 59 lawmakers in the 435-member House _ 35 Republicans and 24 Democrats _ spent nothing on mass mailings. They tended to be the more experienced House members, often with 14 or more years of service.

    Mass mailings cannot be blatantly political, but they still can have political benefits, said Pete Sepp, a spokesman for the National Taxpayers' Union, which has condemned mass mailings.

    "A taxpayer-financed mailing doesn't have to say 're-elect me' to have an impact on voters," Sepp said. "A glossy newsletter splashed with the incumbent's achievements in Congress can build useful credentials a lawmaker can take with him to the ballot box. The franking privilege is one of the main cogs in Congress' PR machine."

    Franking, practiced since the early days of the republic, lets members of Congress send mail with just a signature where the postage would normally be affixed. Although the mailings are regulated by a congressional commission to guard against overt political appeals and cannot go out within 90 days of an election, they still sometimes take a dig at the opposition.

    In a June 2006 newsletter, Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif., noted that under the Republican majority, Congress had passed tax cuts that "benefit the wealthiest Americans at the expense of working families."

    Stark has been a regular among the biggest users of the congressional franking privilege. For 2006, his mass mailings alone cost $172,357, an amount large enough to rank him among the top congressional mailers. House documents reported his overall mailing costs to be about $37,000 less. The AP received no explanation for the apparent discrepancy from spokesmen for Stark, the House Administration Committee and House administration staff.

    Some lawmakers defend the newsletters as a vital way of communicating with constituents.

    "One of the biggest complaints my constituents had (with) my predecessor was that they never knew what was going on in Washington," said Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, R-Fla. "They never had the opportunity to do surveys, etc. I promised I would communicate with them regularly."

    Brown-Waite is one of the biggest users of bulk mail, with 657,951 pieces at a cost of $129,428 last year. That surpassed the approximately $110,000 her campaign spent on direct mailings and related costs.

    One taxpayer-funded mailing featured a picture of her and the headline: "Medicare Prescription Drug Update: The Time to Act is Now." Another, entitled "Constituent Service Guide for the 5th District," included a survey and information about how to obtain U.S. flags, assistance from federal agencies and an appointment to a military academy.

    The House Democratic Caucus encourages members to use the mailings to communicate with constituents, spokeswoman Sarah Feinberg said. She said it was a good way for congressmen to focus on an issue or, if survey questions are used, get a handle on what constituents are thinking.

    That argument doesn't persuade Rep. Ray LaHood, R-Ill., who said he has never used the mailings in 13 years in Congress. "It's a waste of taxpayers' money," he said. "I don't believe in this self-promotion."

    LaHood argues that franking should be used only to answer constituent mail. He has repeatedly introduced bills to ban mass mailings and just as often the legislation dies in committee.

    For the House and Senate combined, the cost of taxpayer-paid mailings, including mass mailings, letters to individuals and groups of up to 500 people, was $34.3 million for fiscal year 2006, according to a recent Congressional Research Service report. In 1988, before more restrictions were imposed on the use of mailings, the figure was more than three times larger, $113.3 million.

    The biggest senders in the AP analysis included freshmen in tight re-election fights and veterans who coasted to victory.

    Rep. Henry Brown, R-S.C., had the most pieces of mass mailings: 1,257,972. His mass mailings' cost of $171,286 was among the highest in the House, as was the overall cost of his franked mail, at $177,706.

    Murphy, who advised constituents to maintain cars, was one of the House leaders in sending out bulk mail, with 1,003,836 pieces. The price tag: $165,650.

    Among legislative leaders, the biggest spender was Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, R-Mich., who last fall became chairman of the House GOP Conference. He spent $133,053 to mail 844,336 pieces.

    Other leaders in the last Congress and the current one were not big users.

    The cost of postage is not the only expense for taxpayers. Printing and reproduction can add tens of thousands of dollars to a mailing's cost. The printing cost for one mailing from McCotter was $30,259.

    There is a practical limit on how much can be spent on mailings.

    Funding comes from a congressman's office budget, which ranges from $1.2 million to $1.4 million for payroll and other expenses. The more spent on mass mailings, the less money is available for such needs as staff, salaries and district offices.

    Senators can also send franked mail, but the amount for each senator is specific and generally based on the number of addresses in a senator's state. At no point may it exceed $50,000 a year for mass mailings. For fiscal year 2004, overall mail allocations ranged from $31,746 to $298,850.

    Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., who mailed 906,788 pieces last year and won re-election with 60 percent of the vote, sees the mailings as helping him do his job.

    "Ours is a representative government, requiring an active dialogue between elected officials and those they serve," Stearns said in a statement.

    Mike Stokke, a political aide to recently resigned Rep. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., when he was House speaker, said he would advise congressmen to send out mailings when they've fulfilled an important promise, such as getting money for a bridge in the district.

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  • GCNaseeb
    08-02 04:00 PM
    Welcome back and Thanks very much for your valuable suggestions.

    I have an important question for you and would request your suggestion:

    Here's my situation: I am working for my current employer from last 6 years. My I-485 has been filed last week through my employer's attorney. My EB3 I-140 approved and I am on 9th year of h1-B. My H1-B expires in January next year. I have 3 other dependants on H4.

    Now my current employer is trying to either fire me off or reduce my work hours to about 8 hrs / week.

    What would be my best option to take decision?

    1. Should I :
    a. Stay home untill the expiry of 6 months and invoke AC21 after that? or
    b. transfer my H1-B to some other employer and start working on H1-B and just wait for 6 months to invoke AC21?

    2. Can my current employer reduce my hours legally? Meaning if they have to alter my H1-B to 8 hrs per week what will happen to my H1-B? Can i still able to transfer my H1-B to new emploer to work for 40Hrs/week if I want to?

    The problem is- if they can't reduce my hours legally, I may be fired. And, if I get fired, they will revoke my H1-B on the same day but won't revoke my I-140 untill 6 months.

    What do you suggest to help both me and my employer?

    Thanks a lot for your valuabale suggestion and helping me out.

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  • wizpal
    06-05 05:06 PM
    A very simple, dumbed down calculation to see which one trumps the other, buying or renting:

    1. Home Cost: $300,000
    2. Down: $ 30,000 (10% of 300k)
    3. Mortgage: $270,000

    4. Mortgage Interest/yr: $ 13,500 (5% of 270K)
    5. Tax, Insurance, Maintenance /yr: $ 9,000 (3% of 300K)

    6. Returns on Downpayment otherwise/yr: $ 3,000 (10% of 30K)
    7. Rent on a similar home/yr: $ 18,000 (1.5K/month)

    8. Equity/yr: $ 15,000 (5% of 300K)
    9. Savings on tax deductions/yr: $ 4,050 (30% bracket, $13.5K interest)

    I'll take a home appraised and bought for 300K for my example. The numbers are basically self explanatory. Contrary to popular claim among those who are pro renting, I don't think I pay more than 3% for tax, insurance and maintenance combined (item# 5). Of course, I was wise enough to buy a home in good condition. But that number will change as the home gets older. Maintenance should not include any upgrades that you do, which is basically only "gravy" and based on owner's discretion. Item# 6; I am going with the average returns if you invested in S&P 500. Item# 7; is what a similar 300K home costs to rent. Item# 8; I have only taken 5% growth which is I think under normal market conditions is the growth you would see on your home. The principal payment has not been accounted for yet. I'll do it later.

    Situation Rent:
    If you rent, then your expense per year is item# 7 minus item# 6 = $15,000.
    Of course, your capital of $30,000 is still earning compounded returns.

    Situation Own:
    Your expense is item# 4 + item# 5 - item# 9 - item# 8 = $3,450.

    As I mentioned in the first line, this is a dumbed down cost comparator. There are many loopholes that can be plugged. All comments are welcome.

    Your analysis is so spot on except for item #8 and item # 9. I have a question though.. The example you have given suits my scenario so well. I am planning to buy a house (310k ) very soon. The loan offers I have from my lender has interest rates pretty much the same for both 10% down payment and 20% down payment, 5.0 with 20% and 5.25 with 10% down payment. I can down pay 10% right away and the other 10% is also available in a risk free(can withdraw without penalty) cd which yield me a return of 3.5% . So which is better for me 10% or 20% down pay. thanks in advance.

    As for buying or is more of a personal choice - to me, buying a house has tangible benefits over renting.. like a sense of entitlement to call some place ur true home and most likely a good enviroment for raising the kids. Life has phases like education, marriage, kids, job, etc..Now that I am into my 30's, I would like to see
    what it feels like to have owned a home.

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  • Marphad
    12-18 01:22 PM
    I think all this can be summarized as "Live and Let Live". Terrorists and direct and indirect supporters of terrorists don't understand this.

    And what do bible say about people who do not believe in bible. How can the creator who created everything,


    Christ. I don;t think that every word of Quran is the word of Mohammed. I don't thin that every word of Geeta is the word of Krishna. If there was a way for these great souls to appear before us in this age and talk to people who "appear" to follow them, these great souls will tell their so called "followers" to stop this nonsense in their name.



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  • sk2006
    06-12 12:11 AM
    This is for sharing and suggesting your views, ( :)who are not opposing for buying a home now or in the near future and those who are staying at Bay Area, CA or similar places in US) where the medium home price is still looks like quite unaffordable :

    for example, in Bay Area, CA - places which has good school districts and neighbourhoods like Cupertino, Fremont, Redwood shores etc., (please add other good places also...) - the medium home price of a new independant home (anywhere from 1500 to 3000 sq.feet) will be atleast in the price range of $700000 - 2+ Millions.

    Other options are :
    1) Moving to the outskirts, around 40 or 50+ miles - places like San Ramon, Gilroy etc. (remember commute will be too hectic...). In these places also, the above mentioned homes will cost $450000 and up.

    2) Go with an old condo/town home (in Bay Area, usually an old house is 25+ years YOUNG!!!) and after 5+ years look for an old independant home and after another 5+ years, move to your dream home. (I don't know whether we, most of us who are in the GC mess might be in 35 and above age group, have any juice left to do so rather than try to settle down within a couple of years. And one more thing, are these places really worth for spending this much for houses? (I know its a personal choice and lot of factors come in to play...)

    3) Move to a more affordable place so that even if there are some hick ups in career or other ups and downs in life, it won't affect the mortage payment (considering ones personal interests and other factors like employment opportunities, climate, diversed community etc etc.) - places like Dallas, Austin, Phoenix, Atlanta etc. (feel free to add other cities also).

    Please comment/share your thoughts (I am agreeing there may be slight variation in above price ranges) and really sorry if we discussed this in any other threads....


    I am in SF Bay area.
    I would say WAIT and prices will become affordable here as well.

    People who bought these 700K+ houses were not necessarily richer than you and me.
    ARMs with low or zero down payments did the trick.

    Save for the down payment and wait. You will get a good house at affordable price in 1-2 years.

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  • rimzhim
    04-09 11:46 AM
    If you are that smart, how come you are not applying for EB1. I thought researchers would qualify for EB1. Why are you facing difficulty? Could it be that you are not really that good? Because the system does have an HOV lane for scientists to cruise to greencard. Its called EB1. And its current for most categories. What about that?

    Why dont you join the fast lane of EB1 and leave the bachelor's degree losers behind who didnt thru the whole 9 yards?
    Yes, I am exploring that option.


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  • h1techSlave
    09-26 05:06 PM
    Going thru Obama's comments, he is sure to put a stop on H1B visas in the name of keeping American jobs in America. Then what would happen is that all American companies will send their whole IT departments to India. The end result will be that there would not be any decent paying jobs in this country.

    CIR will pass and illegals will choke the whole USCIS. Good bye to EB GCs.

    Just Kidding - reading your post i was feeling like I'm reading a comment from Fox News. However i do respect your opinion and thanks for expressing it.

    My Point is more long term - in the shorter term no major change can happen to economy even if Barack wins but eventually Economy would be stronger under Barack's leadership. He also stressed that he would stop "JOBS BEING SHIPPED OVERSEAS" which means companies like TATA or INFY or some Chinese company taking my Job ( or any American's Job ) away from US to INDIA or CHINA. If you are planning a future in US - you would not want your US job taken away by your brother at INDIA or CHINA and Barack will make sure that doesn't happen.

    The Bottonline is he will create tons of Jobs at US , so unemployment will be very low , average peoples will be happy and however loud ANTI-IMMIGRANTS scream and shout no AMERICAN will pay attention. Our EB reforms will Pass much easily and we will be able to able to lead a much happier and content life with GREEN CARD.

    Once again my Point is definitely Long Term - in the shorter duration Barack has to first fix the Mortgage Mess and do something with Iran by taking help from EUROPE.

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  • unitednations
    07-09 11:57 AM
    Very insightful.

    So in essence they give the boiler plate RFE's to drag you into a trap and once you oblige with the irrelevant info asked for in the RFE's, then the game is over. so we need to be very careful with the information we provide and need to be consistent no matter what is asked for.

    Yes, that is correct.

    I will give you what was asked for in my local office interview:

    w2's tax returns from 1999 through 2006 to prove that I complied with my status upon each entry into USA.

    I-134 affidavit of support

    All passports

    Updated and new G-325a (old one I had completed in 2003)

    Letter from employer giving detailed job description; salary

    last three months paystubs

    Company two years of tax returns

    Company two years of DE-6 (state unemployment compensation report which lists all employees names including mine and other names can be blacked out).


    My situation; entered USA on TN back in July 1999

    Last entry before filing I-485 in May 2003 was December 2002 (therefore, he should not have asked for w2's; paystubs prior to december 2002).

    I-140 was filed in May 2003 but approved in April 2004. left sponsoring employer at end of 2004.

    From Jan. 2005 listed one company and then from October 2005 to March 2007 showed that I was self employed.

    Did not have any tax returns prepared or w2 for 2005 and 2006 and no three months of paystubs (self employed).

    I was going to take another job offer with another company upon greencard approval; therefore; I gave that companies two year of tax returns but no DE-6 because I wasn't working with them yet.


    When I gave updated g-325a; it shows me as being self employed. He immediately picked up on this. I told him that it was allowed according to May 2005 memo and that I was in a period of authorized stay by filing the 485 in May 2003 and I had an EAD card and it was unrestricted employment.

    Also, informed him that I was not porting to self employment upon greencard approval but instead going to work for another company. I gave him company job offer letter; told him since I didn't start working with them yet; then paystubs were unnecessary and that de-6 was also unnecessary since I hadn't started to work with them.

    He asked for tax returns and w2's from 2001. As I was giving it to him; I questioned him why he was asking for this; I told him that I only needed to prove status from date of last entry until filing 485. (december 2002 to may 2003). He didn't say anything to this.

    He got to 2005 and 2006 and I told him I didn't have tax returns prepared yet and no w2 since I was self employed. He asked for extension from IRS; told him I didn't file extension because I didn't owe any taxes. He dropped the questioning right there.

    He then said case is approved.

    Now; he way overreached in what he was asking for; if I didn't know these immigration laws then maybe someone would have gotten paystubs made or did fake tax returns, etc., and if USCiS officer suspected something and asked for certified IRS transcripts or called the company then he would have nailed me. Essentially; he was almost trying to get me to fake these things even though they are not required.


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  • minimalist
    08-06 11:46 AM
    Shady means or non-shady means, EB2 means that u have superior qualifications and you are more desirable in the US. EB3 means there are a lot like u, so u gotta wait more. Period.

    Well, then why are they allocating Visas to EB3s. They should give all visas to EB2 and then only go to EB3.

    Your statement that EB2 requires higher qualification is correct. But the number of jobs requiring those qualifications are less.Doesn't mean people taking up jobs that fall into EB3 category have inferior qualifications. Think of it this way. There may be many people who may be qualified to be a CEO but there will be only one CEO for company.
    EB3 has a lot more applicants because of the 245 cases that were filed in 2001. So get off the pedestal and think normally.
    So you are an undesirable/inferior when compared to people in EB1? If you feel so then you have serious self esteem issues.
    Don't try to spread such inferiority complex.

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  • nogc_noproblem
    08-05 12:49 PM
    I was recently riding with a friend of mine.
    We were coming to a red light, and he shoots right through it. I ask him, "Why'd you do that?" He tells me this is how his brother drives.

    We come to another red light, and again, he shoots right through it. I ask him, "Why'd you do that?" Again, he tells me this is how his brother drives.

    We come to a green light, and he SLAMS on the brakes. My heart nearly goes into my throat. I shouted at him, "Why'd You Do That?!"

    He replied, "You never know, my brother could be coming the other way."


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  • wellwishergc
    07-11 11:27 AM
    Is your GC approved now?

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  • Beemar
    12-27 01:19 PM
    LOL. and we know the kinda quality to expect :-)

    Oh yeah. Quality is a major problem with chinese goods. Pakistanis thought a got a great deal in price, but it might turn out be a lemon nuke. :)


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  • americandesi
    08-06 02:09 PM
    After making a trip of South India, Santa Singh, his wife and his son were returning to Punjab in Tamilnadu Express.

    Santa Singh was occupying the lower berth, his wife the middle berth and his son the top most berth in the train. When the train stopped at one of the stations on the way back the son requested Santa Singh to bring him a cup of Ice cream to which Santa readily agreed. When Santa and his son returned they found that a South Indian who couldn't understand Hindi had occupied his son's berth.

    Outraged, Santa Singh called the TT and asked him to help. TT requested that he could not understand Hindi/Punjabi so it would be better if Santa Singh explained the whole situation to him in English.

    Santa Singh explained, "That man sleeping on top of my wife is not giving birth to my child."

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  • Rolling_Flood
    07-14 08:24 AM
    send the damn letter, nothing happens, and then come back here and vent your frustration again. as you said, buddy, HARD LUCK indeed !!

    I cannot believe the nerve that you EB-3 India guys have. You are begging for a GC based on your length of wait!!! laughable at best...........go wait a decade or so more, then come back here and start this useless BS again.

    one good thing happens for the EB-2 folks, and the EB-3 community cannot stomach it. pure freaking jealousy.

    fine, then why are we working so hard to remove the per country limit? That was set by law too!!!

    We can't pick only those options that would favor us. Sometimes changes bring hard-luck.


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  • hiralal
    06-25 10:48 PM
    Just as an example, this may be an anomaly, but I know this Australian Indian citizen, who has recently bought 2 houses in the LA Valley and is having no issues filling them with contractors so far (1 my friend), even in this economy. He works on SAP projects traveling on H1 , but is in Aussie land most of the time, with his family. The rent more than pays off his mortgage.
    I have only one sentence to say the movie "pacific heights" ..I was watching it now and that is a perfect movie for those who intend to rent their homes.
    (ofcourse it is just a movie ..but very interesting, worth watching for everyone and gives you some knowledge too. what you have mentioned is the best case scenario ..the movie is the worst case scenario. as always, reality is somewhere in between).
    personally there are better ways to make money ..for me diversify is the key word ..(rather than everything in real estate or everything in stock ...and yes, you need to watch the money you have like a hawk (and that is difficult when you give your house on rent ..for eg how do you find out if only the tenant's family is living there - or whether he has sub leased to 2-3 families etc etc)

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  • mps
    08-05 02:35 PM
    Agree. Like labor subsitution scandal/abuse, you should have a documenterly evidence to go after this scam (creating duplicate EB2 job just to cut-short the line). If it is a USCIS rule, they may ripoff this ( like labor sub.). It is long way to go. The nut shell-- as long us GC is in high demand, people abuse the system. DOL, USCIS, knows this. Thatswhy DOL is auditing most EB2 labor certification. In my view, who ever filed EB2 between 2000 to 2004 (when EB3 was current) are true-EB2. After 2005, most of the EB2 filings are cut-short the EB3 que. Most of the cases not based on actual MINIMUM requirements for the job. Everyone knows this..

    Wow ! So you are saying that no one qualifies for EB2 after 2004 !

    I kindly disagree.


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  • xyzgc
    12-30 02:23 AM
    I think you missed my point. Which was that the 'solution' that Mr rinku1112 was suggesting, destabilizing Pakistan by funding dissident groups, is something that Pakistan already suspects India is doing. And there might be some truth to it. So, then, Pakistan would want to fund groups that would try to destabilize India.
    Thats the vicious cycle.

    It might be true, it might not be. Its only reactionary if its at all true and a very subdued reaction that is. If India was Israel in its attitude and what it is in its size, you wouldn't have seen the vicious circle that you think you see. It would have been all over by now - without all the intellectual sparring and head-banging that go on, on these immigration forums. Pakistani terrorism would have been a moot point - a non-issue.

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  • gc4me
    12-17 03:57 PM
    Is it 200 not 2000 :D

    People like Antulay are real traitors of India. Who know they may be taking instructions from Pakistan ISI? Such people go unpunish is the main reason India was slave for 2000 years.

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  • desi3933
    07-11 12:12 PM
    My wife (secondary applicant on I-485) started job 1.5 months after her H4 to H1 approval. She needed to wait for SSN and that took 1.5 months. Will that create any issue? I am planning to use AC21 to change job. Will that result in extra scrutiny?

    That should not cause any problems.

    On another note, one can start working as long as he/she has applied for SSN. One does NOT need ssn at hand to start working.

    Not a legal advice.

    06-05 11:43 AM
    Sorry but no matter how you spin it, owning a home is better than renting. Renting is not smart. period. your money is gone every month. You are not getting that money back.

    When you own a home, the money goes towards a mortgage, and although most of it goes to interest at first, all interest paid is tax deductible which is a huge chunk of change every year. I get more money back as an owner than a renter and in the long run I save more AND own the home.

    30 year renter vs 30 year home owner? That is not rocket science.

    here is a good point about long term housing prospects. I for one am glad that GC delay saved me from buying a house.
    this is from an article
    Why do I think housing is in the tank for the long term?

    First, I listen to people smarter than I am - a key to success from investing to recreation league baseball. When my rec team had its first losing season - after twelve consecutive great seasons (two per year) I did the logical and hired a professional coach. They were winners the next season. Ditto for analyzing stuff - and I follow Ivy Zelman and Whitney Tilson. They have been dead on about the mortgage meltdown - and see a larger one coming.

    Listening to them, reading data and being objective has led me to see the key to a rebound in housing is clearing inventory - too much supply and too little demand, and since lower than five percent interest rates have not spurred buying, supply is the issue. Supply comes from the sale of existing homes, the sale of new homes, and the sale of foreclosed homes.

    * Typically ten to fifteen percent of Americans sell or want to sell their home in a given year. Recent survey data shows the number is now 30%. Keep that in mind.
    * New home sales are incredibly low. Market wisdom said home building stocks would rise once the new housing start rate hit a million and inventory became tight. New home starts are roughly half of that and there ain't no rebound. As the poet said, times, they be a changing.
    * People are not selling, and builders are not building, not just because people are not buying - it is because prices are low and going lower and the driver here is foreclosures. Data can be found here, there and everywhere but the salient data points are a) banks are accelerating foreclosures, b) the next wave of resets of mortgages, the cause of most foreclosures, does not peak until the summer of 2011, c) banks are already sitting on more than half a million homes they have not listed for sale, and the whopper is d) the New York Times has reported that there are nineteen million empty housing units and only six million are listed for sale.

    This last point, when combined with another couple of million foreclosed homes, then with desire for people wanting to sell their home as soon as they can, means excess inventory for as far as the eye can see. I originally projected housing prices would, nationally, bottom at the end of 2011 and prices would begin to pick up in mid 2012. I may have been premature. With resets peaking in mid defaults will probably peak in early Q4 2011; this means foreclosure listings will peak in mid-summer 2012, after the peak selling season, not good for managing down inventory. Assuming demand picks up - a near heroic assumption at this time as interest rates will be higher and unemployment could be the same or higher at that time - you will start to see inventory declining in a meaningful way until 2013 at the earliest.

    I have focused on supply - was I too cavalier about demand? Well, that is more problematic - resets, defaults and foreclosures are fourth grade math and although the only thing I knew about housing was my own mortgage before this mess started, I can do fourth grade math and every forecast I have made about foreclosures and inventory has been right within a 30-45 day period.

    Using fourth grade math as our primary tool does have value in estimating demand. Roughly 40% of demand in the peak year - 2006 - was sub-prime or near sub-prime - and these buyers are out of the market for a considerable period of time. And a very large percentage - some analysts estimate as high as a third - of all sales were for investment and second homes. Most of this demand is gone for the foreseeable future. Add tightening credit standards, recession ravaged incomes and personal balance sheets, and a new frugality and it is hard to see demand in 2013 or 2014 climbing past 50% of demand in 2006. Even if the FHA does not go bust - which it will, requiring another Treasury bailout.

    08-05 02:48 PM
    Two guys are moving about in a supermarket when their carts collide.

    One says to the other, "I'm sorry - I was looking for my wife."
    "What a coincidence, so am I, and I'm getting a little desperate."

    "Well, maybe I can help you. What does your wife look like?"

    "She's tall, with long hair, long legs, firm boobs and a tight ass.

    What's your wife look like?"

    "Never mind, let's look for yours!"

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