Monday, February 8, 2016

Buying a HUD home

Have a relative is one who wants to buy a home that usually costs at at least $150-$200K  for about $120K. This is not an easy task and a HUD home is  probably the only option.

Many people who bought homes during the era of the Bush Ownership Society suddenly found they were financing a home for a lot less hat the home was worth. Essentially the loan was "underwater."

Typically, the home owner would try to get from under the loan with a short sale. The bank would sell the home for less than the original mortgage and the homeowner would only get a 4-year credit ding. This is better than walking away from a home and getting into foreclosure with  a 7-year credit ding.

Once a home goes through foreclosure, the bank can auction it off "as is." Often the bank will clean it up by removing furniture. cleaning floors and carpet, and removing other refuse in the house. The bank will first try to by sell it as a "contingency," which is the same as "as is."

If the house is in bad shape and the price is right, flippers will bid on it, fix it up for a couple of months and try to rent it or resell it. if the house is in reasonably good condition, flippers won't see any profit potential. If it doesn't sell as a contingency, the bank might list it in a HUD auction.

The HUD auction is a good deal for consumers because corporations like Blackstone,who are buying homes as rental property,  are not eligible to bid. Bidding is open to:

Owner Occupants, Nonprofits, and Government Agencies only

Buyers should look for these disclaimers.

FHA Financing: IE (Insured Escrow) *
203K Eligible: Yes *
    *Subject to an FHA appraisal
    Buyer selects Closing Agent/Firm.   

FHA financing usually protects the buyer and means a lower down payment. If the house needs some repair, you can use the 203k option to make them before closing.

Before the house is listed in a HUD auction, a HUD inspectors examines the house and completes a pre-inspection. if repairs are more than $5K, the house will not meet FHA loan ccriteria. A biggie is the roof. The roof must have 2 years left on it to to pass FHA criteria. 

Look for the Property Condition Report in the HUD listing.  It is in the Property Detail tab which provides a pre-inspection report.

Property Condition Report

2-Appraisal Complete
Contract Area:
City, St Zip:

Functionality/Test Notes
Cooling/Air-Conditioner: Damaged
--HVAC System Duct: OK
HVAC tested and
The free standing air conditioning unit
was powered with active electric and the
unit did not activate when prompted. The
unit visually showed no apparent
deficiencies and is in need of an hvac
inspection as to cause.
The heating / air handling unit was
powered with active electric and the unit
functioned when activated at the time of
this inspection.
The heating / air handling unit was
powered with active electric and the unit
functioned when activated at the time of
this inspection.
Electrical Wiring:
Electric supply
tested and
The electrical system was powered with
active electric and no apparent
deficiencies were revealed with all
lighting and outlets tested at this
--Kitchen Cabinets:
Built-in appliances
tested and
The dishwasher and disposal were the
only appliances and they were powered
with active electric. The disposal
functioned when activated and the
dishwasher did not. It was also not
installed properly. The stove was missing
from the home.
--Other: OK
OK Water supply
tested and
Water Heater: OK Water heater
Active pressure was applied with a
compressor to the plumbing system and
it held pressure at 30 psi at the time of
this inspection.
The water was not active and our
assessment of the water heater revealed
no apparent deficiencies at the time of
this inspection.
Sewer/Septic System:
Sanitary &
plumbing system
The water was not active to the building
and outside water was used to activate
both install toilets. Both traps functioned
when activated at this inspection, One
toilet was not installed on the 2nd floor.

It is also a good idea to go online to the county property appraiser's office and look at the history of the house.You can usually get a line drawing of the house, see comparable prices and also view any building permits for improvements to the house.

You are now ready to rock and roll and make a bid online. Talk to an agent on recommendations for the bid. There are no counter offers in HUD. The highest bid wins.

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Thursday, January 14, 2016

The importance of VA secondary condtions.

When a Veteran files the initial claims with the Veteran Administration, he usually files for a primary medical condition. Besides filing the online VONAPP ( the VA Form 21-52.

The evidentiary requirement are rigid and Rightardia has recommended using the Disability Benefits Questionnaires (DBQ) to make sure all the "T" are crossed and the "I's are dotted.

It is important that the doctors check the box indicating the Service Medical Records (SMR) have been  reviewed. A nexus statement connecting the military service to the medical condition must  also be written in the remarks.

In the example below,  a serviceman loses his pituitary by being exposed to radiation or chemicals in an industrial environment. Hypopituitraims is the primary condition, but the vet could also lose adrenal, thyroid and sexual function. Hypopituitarism cal also cause anosmia (loss of sense of smell ) and diabetes insipidus.  All of the latter are secondary conditions.
Many Army solders were exposed to agent orange in Vietnam which led to many cancers and heart conditions. For example a veteran could revive an award for non-Hodgins lymphoma. With chemo-therapy, the vet might survive. But there are a lot of residuals or secondary conditions associated with non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
If the vet develops any of these conditions, they should file for a secondary condition. Filing for a secondary condtion  has some big advantages.
38 CFR § 3.310 says:

"When service connection is thus established for a secondary condition, the secondary condition shall be considered a part of the original condition."

This means the effective date of the secondary condition is given the date of the primary condition.  In addition, the doctors does not need to review the SMRs or write a  nexus statement. The doctor must indicate the secondary condition is  a consequence of, and linked to the primary condition. 

The vet may use a DBQ to document a secondary condition. Some DBQs are written to identify secondary conditions, other are not. A doctor's letter my suffice for a secondary condition. The letter should show:

A diagnosis for a compensable condition
A link between the secondary condition and an already service connected condition

You may think the primary condition would have a higher disability rating that secondary, but it is usually the other was y around. In fact the 38 CFR makes it clear that secondary condition may have a higher disabiliy rating than the primary.


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Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Old time religion and politics have been a disaster for the GOP

The struggle between organized region and non-affiliated has been around since the nations was founded. Benjamin Franklin, Ethan Allen, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson James Madison, and Thomas Paine were all deists.

Deism the belief in a deity based on natural religion only, or belief in religious truths discovered by people through a process of reasoning, independent of any revelation through scripture or prophets.

Deism can be contrasted with theism, Most theists ascribe to organized religion. “Organized religion is typically characterized by an official doctrine (or dogma), a hierarchical or bureaucratic leadership structure, and a codification of rules and practices.”

The term theism was first used by Ralph Cudworth (1617–88). In Cudworth's definition, 'Theists, are those who affirm, that a perfectly conscious understanding being, or mind, existing of itself from eternity, was the cause of all other things".

Most modern western religious such as Judaism, Christianity and Islam are monotheistic. Almost all have official doctrine, bureaucratic leadership, and a codification of rules and practices often described as rituals.

Most of the early religions were integrated with and extensions of the state. This may explain why many religions have developed an authoritarian streak,

Barry Goldwater said this in 1981:

There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious beliefs. There is no more powerful ally one can claim in a debate than Jesus Christ, or God, or Allah, or whatever one calls this supreme being. But like any powerful weapon, the use of God's name on one's behalf should be used sparingly. The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom. They are trying to force government leaders into following their position 100 percent. If you disagree with these religious groups on a particular moral issue, they complain, they threaten you with a loss of money or votes or both. I'm frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in 'A,' 'B,' 'C,' and 'D.' Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me?

Goldwater further warned about Christan fundamentalists and Evangelicals taking over the GOP:

If they succeed in establishing religion as a basic Republican Party tenet," he told US. News & World Report in 1994, "they could do us in."  In an interview with The Post that same year, Goldwater observed, "When you say 'radical right' today, I think of these moneymaking ventures by fellows like Pat Robertson and others who are trying to take the Republican Party and make a religious organization out of it.  If that ever happens, kiss politics goodbye.

So here we are in 2016. In 2012, we had Republican Mitt Romney running for president. Romney believed he was the chosen one in the White Horse prophesy. The prophecy predicts that the United States Constitution will one day "hang like a thread" and will be saved "by the efforts of the (man on a) White Horse. " Mormons have anticipated. the United States to eventually become a theocracy dominated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

When Romney was running we also had Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum trying to build their presidential aspirations on church altars. too. Newt Gingrich was another religious Catholic zealot

The worst by far is Ted Cruz who hold Dominionist beliefs. Ted would like to be the emperor of the first American theocracy.

The authoritarianism in the GOP can be explained to a certian extent by the a party riddled with religion. 

The Republican reaction of the GOP to Obama may also have a religious basis in that many fundamentalists think Africans a have the mark of Cain on them. However, most anthropologists know that the human species developed in Africa. The first humans were dark skinned. 

So how does the Democratic party work with Republicans who are religious zealots and ideologues with “my way of the highway” attitudes?

Would guess Obama is doing the best he can under the circumstances. You have to work under and around such people and work to marginalize them in the next election. On occasion, give them enough rope to hang themselves which is what happened to the the GOP when it closed down the Federal government.

You simply cannot negotiate with a “disloyal opposition” in good faith.

It's time for Democrats to put the hammer down and to storm the election booths in 2016. If we make an extended efforts, we can take the Presidency, the Senate and perhaps even the House!


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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Is Melania Trump the Whore of Babylon?

Glenn Beck indicated in The Blaze that Melania had been a Rainbow Starlet in Slovenia.
Does America need a First HOTUS?

It's your call, America!

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Saturday, December 5, 2015

Jeb Bush's fingerprints are all over the outing of Rubio's mistress

 Rubio and Bush have been feuding

Bush campaign officials are trying to compare with Rubio as a “GOP Obama.” The Bush campaigners have been suggesting Rubio lacks political experience, but Marco actually has broader experience than Jeb Bush who has only held one political office, Florida governor. Bush has also been out state and national politics for nearly a decade.

Rubio, who is rising in the polls, is the biggest obstacle to Jeb Bush who is trying to take to the GOP nomination. Rubio has also poached some big GOP donors from Jeb Bush like Paul Singer,

Jeb Bush thinks he can win the Latin vote, but Rubio,who is Cuban descent and speaks Spanish at home, could do so, as well.  

Rubio is not-so-subtly suggesting the Bush name is a negative. 

Wow, what a revelation.

Bush is trying to portray himself as an experienced manager who has operated the nation’s third most populous state. Rubio, on the other hand, is presenting himself as an alternative to a dynastic political family.

Rubio has rising in the polls according to Fox News and The Quinnipiac University National Poll and is now is second place with Carson's numbers declining.  Jeb Bush is in fourth place.

Enter the Rubio mistress


There have been rumors few years that a Rubio has had at least one mistress and possibly two. Rumors have also circulated that Marco Rubio has at least one illegitimate child. While Rubio was in the Florida statehouse there was a scandal about his finances and the inappropriate use of a Republican credit card. There was an investigation or sorts, but some of Rubio's expenses were kept secret. It is possible these may have been child support payments. 

Jeb Bush is well-aware of the old scandal and would know what closets the skeletons are hiding in.  The Florida Republican party probably gave him access to Marco Rubio's Florida statehouse expense reports, too. 

Jeb Bush has the most to gain by eliminating Marco Rubio from the primary race. Assuming he Establishment Republicans can take Trump out of the race, it will leave only Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush standing. 

Rightrdia sees Cruz as unelectable because of his numerous christo-fascist rants.  A bigger problem for the establishment Republicans is Trump. Jeb Bush won't be able to buy the GOP nomination by outspending Donald Trump. 

George W. Bush took the GOP nomination in 2000 because he had the biggest primary war chest,


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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Secrets that Joe the Plumber won't tell you.

Was watching the news and it said plumbers gets lots of calls during the holiday season. The garbage disposal and toilet are usually the reasons.

Basic Plumbing

A garbage disposal has reset button on it, usually at the bottom of the unit. Press the button to see if the unit will restart. If that doesn't work you will need an Allen wrench to turn the grinding unit. Once the grinders budge, the unit will probably work again.

Potato peels and coffee grounds should not be put into a garage disposal. Often the potato peels will collect in the outlet pipe under the garbage disposal unit. You will have to disconnect and clear the pipe to get the peels out.

Note he reset button and the Allen wrench used to turn grinders that are stuck  

I prefer to use an Allen wrench set like the one below. You never lose the wrenches

Toilets are another holiday problem that can be a real mess if you have only one bathroom. If the plunger doesn't work, try some pots or pails of hot water.

Still clogged? Try a toilet auger. Got a three foot one at Ace hardware for $12. Have seen the longer ones for $39 or more. Most women should be able to handle the three foot version without much trouble,

Simply retract the snake up into the unit and put the cane into the toilet as noted in the picture. The auger should be at about a 30 degree angle with the toilet.
Now push the snake into the toilet. if you run into resistance., turn the handle in clockwise manner. This will grind up any debris. Repeat as required.

Advanced plumbing

Will post another article on fixing an electric water heater. If you or your partner are handy, you should be able to get the hot water heater working without calling a plumber.

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Saturday, November 28, 2015

Donald Trump's Four T's will make America Great Again

In a letter to the NY Post, Donald Trump Explained how his Four T's would make America great again. The T's are:

  1. Trivialize women, minorities and the handicapped.
  2. Trust no one. 
  3. Trample your opponents
  4. Turn in you neighbors to the police. 

Donald Trump 2016

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Thursday, November 12, 2015

Supply side economics and the one per cent.

The Gross National income of the US in 2014 is $17,601,119,000,000.

The gross national income (GNI) is the total domestic and foreign output claimed by residents of a country, consisting of gross domestic product (GDP) plus factor incomes earned by foreign residents, minus income earned in the domestic economy by nonresidents. (Wikipedia).

One does not have to a brain surgeon like Ben Carson to understand why supply side economics will never work in the United States. The top quintile or 20 per cent of Americans now earn half the income. The the top one per cent rake in 23 per cent of the GNI.

Admittedly the affluent live in better home and drive better cars, travel more and take international vacations, but most of their income is surplus. Indeed, the affluent can take some of this surplus income and convert it to capital by buying stock, bonds and mutual funds. However, the top 10 per cent of Americans own more than 80 per cent of this market already. The top one per cent own more than 38 per cent of he stock and bond market.

As the Motley Fool points out:

Wealthy people don't own stocks because they're wealthy; they're wealthy because they own stocks.

The size of the U.S. bond market is just under $37 trillion, finance professor Torben Anderson at the Kellogg School of Management says in “Volatile Assets” in July 2012. In comparison, the market capitalization of the U.S. stock market is about $21 trillion.

The top decile (10 per cent) of income has a direct participation rate of 47.5% and an indirect participation rate in the form of retirement accounts of 89.6% in the stock and bond market. In the top decile, mean value of all holdings fell from $982,000 to $969,300 in 2007

U.S. corporate bond sales swelled to an annual record as a late-year rush by borrowers to lock in low interest rates pushed offerings for 2014 past $1.5 trillion.

Data compiled by Bloomberg. Internet commerce company Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. which sold $8 billion in bonds in one month, helping push this year’s bond volume past the previous high of $1.494 trillion set in 2013.

In 2014 a lot of mutual funds were converted to bonds and bond sale outpaced stock sales. The point here is that many stock, bond and mutual fund sales are conversions rather than new purchases.

The top 1 per cent of Americans earned $76,526,604,347,826 in 2014. Even if the one per cent purchased $ 5 trillion in stocks, bonds and mutual funds, which represents most of the US securities market in 2014, such a capital investment would represent a trivial amount of the income the 1 per cent received that year.

This is why tax breaks for the 1 per cent or even the top 10 per cent are pointless. Such tax breaks will do little for the economy. These tax break would at best provide packet change to the one per cent. The per cent of annual income the affluent invest in the stock market is not large enough to be stimulative.

The Democratic party uses a more direct approach to stimulate the economy. Programs like unemployment compensation food stamps (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) and school lunches for women, Infants and children (WIC) provide direct aid to the middle class and the working poor.

Any funds these program provide are usually quickly spent. The funds do not sit in US or foreign bank accounts as is the case for many upper income Americans.

The middle calls is the basis of the US economic engine, not the one per cent. As the AFL-CiO noted:

The middle class is the great engine of the American economy, but that engine is sputtering.

As one business man explained it, tax breaks at the end of the years are great, but it's customers that make or break a company. The middle class provides the customers to small and larger businesses that drives the US economy.

Supply side economics is blind to the middle class economic engine with its top down approach. Unfortunately America is hearing that same old supply side song from most the Republican candidates for president.


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Monday, October 19, 2015

Does the GOP engage in class warfare?

  The GOP engages in class warfare. misogyny and racism. 

Both the tax plans of Jeb Bush and Donald Trump make this clear. Both tax plans give huge tax breaks to the affluent by cutting the income tax rates for top earning Americans to below 30 per cent. Trump's tax rate is 15 per cent, but he says he will eliminate all deductions. Trump goes further by eliminating the estate tax which only effects the top 0.1 per cent of Americans. 

Republicans like to call the estate tax the death tax and suggest it is double taxation. A progressive estate tax was instituted by Theodore Roosevelt to level the playing field. Unfortunately, the estate tax today is barely functional. The US now has a stratified social system. There is very little social mobility between classes. If you are born working class, you will likely die working class.

Trump suggests families making $50k or less pay no income tax while Bush suggests $40k or less. In both cases, more than half of the taxpayers in the US would be exempt from federal income tax. This proposal would greatly favor the Red states which have lower median incomes than the Blue.

When the dust clears from either of these plans a greater tax burden would end up on the backs of the middle class. Working class Americans would pay little or no tax and the top earning Americans would get huge tax cuts.

Both Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush tried similar supply side tax plans and both presidents greatly increased the annual deficits which added trillions to the national debt. Not only did the Republicans lower taxes irresponsibly, they also overspent on the armed services. Bush never vetoed a single bill while in office his first term and increased defense spending by 47 per cent.

The tax cuts plus the runaway spending had bad outcomes. The Bush “ownership society” was predicated on deregulation. This led to a worldwide economic meltdown.

Many observers have suggested the GOP favors defense spending over infrastructure because most defense facilities are in the Red states while the US infrastructure is in the Blue

President Obama was elected overwhelmingly by women voters, black Americans, and Hispanic Americans. It is not a coincidence that all three have attacked by Republicans ever since the elections.

In the case of women, an important institution, Planned Parenthood is being attacked. Certainly Republicans are “Pro-Life,” but it goes far beyond that. Republicans are trying to deny birth control pills and other forms of contraception to women. The real GOP goal appears to be to stop women from having “sex for mere pleasure. “

The attacks on gay or LGBT people is similar but also has an Old testament religious basis. Many evangelical and fundamentalist churches subscribe to the belief the Christian religion is underpinned by repressing gays. Many have predicted Christianity will collapse now that gay marriage is legal.

Much of the GOP racism was stimulated by the election of Barack Obama. America's first black president. Republicans were even more agitated when record number of blacks showed up at the polls and 95 per cent voted for the president. Since the election , many other Red states have instituted laws to “reduce voter fraud”vby requiring multiple forms of identification to vote. Many older and poorer people don't have birth certificates, so they will be unable to vote.

The worst example is in Alabama in which voters must register to vote at the Division of Motor Vehicle (DMV) offices. The state then closed all but 5 DMV offices and the open ones mainly service white drivers and voters.

Lat but not least, is the GOP attack on Latino/Hispanic immigrants. The GOP did poorly in the 2012 election with Romney picking up only 27 per cent of the Hispanic and Latino vote. Marco Rubio thinks the GOP candidate must pick up at lease 40 per cent of this vote to win. Another pollster indicated 42-47 per cent is needed.

Because Obama took 71 per cent of the Latino and Hispanic vote in 2012, Republicans have become anti-immigrant. The GOP will say that immigrants take jobs but most compete for jobs with high school dropouts. They take jobs in construction such as roofing, food service, agriculture, lawn service and gardening. Posit the real GOP concern is that immigrants from south of the border overwhelmingly vote Democratic.

The GOP prefers the Hi-B program that lets in educated workers such as information technology (IT ) people. Recently Walt Disney World told 250 workers, most of which were technical, that they were being laid off and replaced by foreign workers from India. The US workers even had to train their replacements.

Fortunately, Disney got plenty of bad press and dropped plans to replace the workers.

The GOP engages in class warfare in many ways. It uses tax policy to play the middle calls against the affluent and the working class. Its tax policy and appropriations also favors the Red states over the Blue.

The GOP attacks women, black, Latinos/Hispanics and other minorities based on voting patterns. If any group votes for Democrats, the GOP then tries to marginalize that group in the US congress and in statehouses controlled by he GOP.

Thee is one exception, veterans. Although veterans overwhelmingly vote Republican, Republicans the US House and senate have voted down several vet bills since 2008. Apparently the GOP thinks it can take vets for granted.

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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

GOP tax con game starts again


The proposed tax tables are approximate correlations with the existing federal income tax tables. Trump and Bush are proposing tax brackets that don't exist in the tax code.

Jeb Bush is probably the worst of the bunch with his three tax brackets courtesy of the Committee to Unleash Prosperity that includes Larry Kudlow, Stephan Moore, Steve Forbes and Republican economist Arthur Laffer, an economic fossil from the Reagan era.

Rand Paul also has a similar flat tax plan His 14.5%, plan is similar to Ben Carson's which is based upon tithing. However, Paul doesn't mention tithing

The flat income tax is a bad idea because the majority of American taxes, such as sales tax and municipal property tax, are already flat.

Let's look at a worse case scenario: Huckabee's fair tax. Florida has a sales tax of six or cent and Pinellas county has a one per cent sales tax. So if you purchase the average car which costs $32,000, your sales would boost you cost by another 30 per cent or $9600. You car would now cost $41600 under Huckabee's fair tax.

Now consider what the fair tax would be on a home sale.

Think that is fair?

President George W. Bush reported that that a national sales tax of at least 34 percent would be required to replace federal income tax. The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy estimated the sales tax would need to be at least 45 percent to be revenue neutral.
Donald Trump on a national flat sales tax”

I would try to avoid paying it whenever possible.

Trump makes a great point. You can avoid sales tax with bartering, something that is common in the underground economy.

Theodore Roosevelt, a progressive Republican, created the graduated income tax and Republicans have been whining about ever since,

Theodore Roosevelt said this:

At many stages in the advance of humanity, this conflict between the men who possess more than they have earned and the men who have earned more than they possess is the central condition of progress. In our day it appears as the struggle of freemen to gain and hold the right of self-government as against the special interests, who twist the methods of free government into machinery for defeating the popular will. At every stage, and under all circumstances, the essence of the struggle is to equalize opportunity, destroy privilege, and give to the life and citizenship of every individual the highest possible value both to himself and to the commonwealth……
No man should receive a dollar unless that dollar has been fairly earned.
Every dollar received should represent a dollar's worth of service rendered. . .”

Some other features of the GOP candidates' tax plans:

Trump wants to eliminate the inheritance tax with a would impose a one-time, 14.25% tax on individuals and trusts with a net worth over $10 million. Trump's proposal indicates that that would a one time tax. What people who establish new trusts. In the future, would they be subject to this tax? Trump uses of the term “one time'” suggests that people who establish trusts in the future would get free rides.

The Estate Tax only affect 0.1 to 0.2per cent of the US population and it was reformed when Bill Clinton was president. Not clear why any changes are needed to the Estate Tax.

Jeb Bush's tax plan is even more reactionary that Trump's with three tax brackets. It is similar to his brother's plan that contributed to the record deficit spending Bush does end carried interest for hedge fund mangers that allows their income to be treated as capital gains.

Ted Cruz is the only one who has said much about corporate taxes:

Right now, U.S. corporations face the highest tax rate in the developed world, and they face double taxation if they invest their profits in America.
Ted is correct but there are so many corporate tax exemption, the effective tax rate is one of the lowest in the industrial world. None of the candidates said anything about ending corporate tax exemptions and having a minimum tax on corporations.


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