Tag Archives: Bremerton bankruptcy attorney

1959 Cadillac tail fins, chrome and post-war exhuberance – GM designer Chuck Jordan dies at 83

In this dark and ongoing recession, or lukewarm recovery (whatever you want to call it) perhaps a revisit of 1959 would be a welcome diversion.

1959 marked the huge tail-fins of the Cadillac. Chuck Jordan was the designer. He just passed at his home in Rancho Santa Fe, California.

Alfred P. Sloan, Jr., the General Motors patriarch, had hired the first design director of General Motors in 1927, Harley Earl. Mr. Earl was a confidant of movie stars and like his close friend Cecil B. DeMille, favored Jodhpurs.

Mr. Jordan was the third successor to Mr. Earl as G.M.’s vice president of design, and his boldness echoed that of Mr. Earl. The tail fins on the 1959 Cadillac El Dorado was “letting the tiger out of the cage” in the words of Mr. Jordan.

Mr. Jordan also designed the “wide track” Pontiac, the baby boomers’ cherished muscle cars. Other designs included the 1963 Buick Riviera, the 1967 Cadillac Eldorado, and the 1973 Chevrolet Monte Carlo. His vision was that of longer, lower, wider–and intended to excite.

At age 30, Mr. Jordan was named to one of G.M.’s most prestigious posts, chief designer for Cadillac.

He also worked on the 1990s design team for the Chevrolet Camaros and Pontiac Firebirds.

He did have one dog…or rather “whale”…which was the 1991 Chevrolet Caprice, which was derided as “Shamu the Whale”.

So long, Mr. Jordan. Thank you for something so wonderfully American. Thank you for the tail fins.

Lukewarm recovery will continue; no significant decreases in unemployment for 2011 or 2012.

[categories: Washington Bankruptcy Attorney]

The Seattle Times, Kristi Keim, page A13, January 14, 2011:

The U.S. is expected to chip away at unemployment only very slowly reports Michael Dueker, Russell Investments’ head economist for North America.

Usually, a recession is followed by a fast snap back to growth, as happened in the early 1980s. The economy grew 7.0% annually for the next year and one-half. This is not happening, says Mr. Dueker, and it will take all of 2011 to get the unemployment rate reduced by a mere 1/2 percentage point.

In contrast to slow U.S. growth, the world economy is expected to grow at 4.0% to 5.0% this year.

Ken Goldstein, an economist with The Conference Board, notes that the U.S. will grow only 2.5% this year and 2.6% in 2012. Confidence in the economy is a major problem, according to Ken Goldstein.

Foreclosures are likely to peak in 2011, but can be stopped by a bankruptcy filing

Foreclosure woes for Washington homeowners are far from over, and bankruptcy filings may be the next step.

According to an article by Janna Herron of the Associated Press that was published in the Seattle Times, January 14, 2011, on page A13, the last three years of foreclosures in Western Washington:

Year 2008  2009  2010

King 2,052 4,190 6,063

Snohomish 911 1,968 3,240

Pierce 2,258 3,782 3,773

Kitsap 430 671 652

Total 8,802 16,017 20,749

One in every 45 U.S. households received a foreclosure filing last year, a record 2.9 million of them, and these lead to bankruptcy filings everywhere in order to stop foreclosure in Tacoma and also other jurisdictions. That’s up 1.67% from 2009. About 5 million borrowers are at least two months behind on their mortgages.

The firm Realty-Trac predicts 1.2 million homes will be repossessed this year 2011.

In Washinton, the housing crisis started later than the rest of the country and also appears to be peaking later; total foreclosure filings were up 24 percent from 2009. Foreclosure filings in King County rose 29%; there were also increases of 32% in Snohomish and 8% in Pierce County.

Nevada posted the highest foreclosure rate in 2010 for the fourth straight year. Washington state ranked 18th, with Snohomish County seeing the top foreclosure rate. Pierce County, Clark, Grays Harbor, and Cowlitz counties rounded out the top five.

The Law Offices of James H. MaGee can answer your questions about bankruptcy and foreclosure anywhere in the State of Washington. Contact us at our offices in Tacoma, Renton, Puyallup, Olympia, Chehalis, and Bremerton to learn more about your options. We strive to answer your questions in a courteous, confidential, and caring manner.

Home mortgage interest deduction to end? Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac/FHA guarantees to end?

President Obama has proposed small cuts in the mortgage home interest deduction for top earners in the past. The current deduction allows taxpayers to deduct interest paid on mortgages up to $1 million for first and second homes, and up to $100,000 in additional home-equity borrowings.

Early in December 2010, the president’s deficit reduction commission proposed reducing the mortgage interest deduction.

According to the Wall Street Journal’s S. Mitra Kalita and Nick Timiraos (Thursday, December 16, 2010, Page A7, “Homeowner Perks Under Fire”), mortgage deductions will reduce tax revenue in 2012 by $131 billion.

President Obama’s deficit panel seeks to replace the current system with a flat 12% tax credit for interest on mortgages up to $500,000 for first homes.

Another growing debate is whether the government should reduce its role in backing mortgages, as at present, 90% of new mortgages are government backed.

Kalita and Timiraos report that Michael Farrell (Chairman of Annaly Capital Management, a NY-based, mortgage bond investor) believes that if the government stopped guaranteeing mortgages through organizations like the Federal Housing Administration, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, that interest rates could be at least two to three percentage points higher.

Back to the subject of possible changes to the home mortgage interest deduction. Kalita and Timiraos report that a Wednesday, December 15, 2010 WSJ/NBC News poll found that 60% of Americans found it totally or mostly acceptable to eliminate the mortgage deduction on second homes, home-equity loans and any portion of a mortgage over $500,000 – consistent with the recommendations of the presidential deficit reduction commission.

Ideas for Action:

If the ability to deduct home mortgage interest from federal income taxes is in question, and inflationary pressures are on the rise in the economy, then refinancing your mortgage to the lowest rate that you qualify for is one of the most prudent defensive measures that you can take.

Symbol of Lady Justice: Where did the lady with the blindfold, sword, and scales come from?

This post is a bit off topic for this blog, but I thought you might find something a bit out of the ordinary refreshing.

The lady with the balance scales, sword, and blindfold comes from ancient history. This symbol is used in American jurisprudence as a representation of judicial justice.

She was known as Maat in ancient Egypt – the goddess of harmony and order. She is depicted in the Book of the Dead as weighing a human heart against a feather to determine a soul’s fate in the afterlife.

She evolved in ancient Grecian lore to become Themis, sister, wife and counselor to Zeus.

Roman mythology rolled Themis and her sister Dike together to form Justitia, the only one of the cardinal virtues to have a signature look in ancient art, reports Randy Kennedy in the New York Times, Thursday, December 16, 2010 edition.

Mr. Kennedy cites a recent book/treatise by Yale Law School professors Judith Resnik and Dennis Curtis. Resnik and Curtis recite that Lady Justice’s familiar blindfold did not become her fashion accessory until late in the 17th century (the 1600s).

Resnik and Curtis recite that medieval and Renaissance people did not view blindfolds favorably. Up into the 1600s sight was considered a virtue, and thus a blindfold carried a very negative connotation. Resnik/Curtis recite that a medieval/Renaissance term for a blindfold was a “hoodwink” – a noun – which today means to trick or deceive someone with an accompanying very negative connotation.

One interesting thing is that the image of Lady Justice seems to be something almost approaching universal although the exact look varies from culture to region. The Lady Justice figure can be found in courts from a statue at the Supreme Cout of Canada in Ottawa to one presideing over a constitutional court in Azerbaijan. The image can be found in courts of Zambia, Iraq, Brazil and Japan, according to Resnik/Curtis as reported by Randy Kennedy.

American Bankruptcy Institute–14% increase in bankruptcy filings during Jan to June 2010 compared to same period in 2009

According to an article posted on the American Bankruptcy Institute website on 8/23/10:

“The total number of U.S. bankruptcies filed during the first six months of 2010 increased 14% over the same six-month period in 2009, according to data released today by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.

Filings were up 20% over the past year to 1,572,597, up from 1,306,315 filed in the 12-month period ending June 30, 2009. Total filings reached 810,209 during the first half of the calendar year of 2010 (January 1-June 30), compared to 711,550 cases filed over the same period in 2009. The totals represent the highest number of filings for the first six months of a calendar year since 2005, when the Bankruptcy Code was amended.

The 422,061 new cases filed in the second quarter represent the highest total since the fourth quarter of 2005. Business filings decreased 4% for the six-month period ending June 30, 2010, to 29,059 from the first-half 2009 total of 30,333.

Chapter 11 business reorganizations registered the sharpest decrease, as the 6,152 filings during the first half of 2010 represented a 17% drop from the 7,396 total chapter 11 business filings during the first half of 2009. Chapter 7 business liquidations remained nearly unchanged, as there were 20,385 in the first half of 2010, a half percent increase from the 20,375 business chapter 7 filings during the same period in 2009.

Filings by individuals or households with consumer debt increased 15% to 781,150 for the six-month period ending June 30, 2010, as compared to the 2009 first-half total of 681,217. Consumers filing for chapter 7 protection increased 17% to 571,417 during the first half of 2010 from 489,128 during the first six months of 2009. Consumer chapter 13 filings increased as well, rising 9% as 208,778 consumers filed for chapter 13 in the first half of 2010 from 191,458 during the first half of 2009.”

Full disclosure: The Law Firm of James MaGee, Washington Bankruptcy Attorney, is a proud member and supporter of ABI, the leading national bankruptcy professional organization.

Ideas for Action: It’s no secret that many people and families are struggling in today’s economy. Bankruptcy is a Prudent Step Towards Rebuilding Your Life. You should not feel guilty or embarrassed for having filed bankruptcy. Popular folklore holds that Henry Ford filed for bankruptcy five times! Psychologists say families, relationships and marriages fail most often because of financial pressures. If financial strain is damaging your health and personal relationships, you should consider bankruptcy.

Mortgage modifications failing, meeting only 16% of intended goals, says NY Times

NY Times columnist David Streitfeld reports that the dropout rate from the Making Home Affordable Program (HAMP) is very high. 96,000 trial modifications were canceled by the lenders in July 2010. The number of canceled trial modifications now exceeds 616,000.

Those numbers are leading some housing experts to call the program, which modestly rewards lenders for modifying mortgages, a failure.

About 422,000 mortgage modifications overseen by the government were considered permanent as of July 2010, up from 389,000 in June. But the pool of candidates is shrinking rapidly. Only 17,000 trial modifications were started in July, down sharply from the 150,000 enrolled in September 2009 when the program was new according to a report by NY Times columnist David Streitfeld.

After reviewing the new data, Calculated Risk, a popular financial blog, wrote, “Those borrowers are still up to their eyeballs in debt after the modification,” and many will default again.

“My concern is that if we have another protracted housing dip, it’s going to bring the economy down.” Mr. Feder, chief executive of the real estate data firm Radar Logic explains, saying that he expects prices to ‘get whacked’  in the Fall of 2010.

“If consumers don’t think their houses are worth what they were six months ago, they’re not going to go out and spend money. I’m concerned this problem isn’t being addressed,” says Mr. Feder as quoted in the article by Mr. Streitfeld of the NY Times, published on Saturday, August 21, 2010.