Tag Archives: unemployment

World’s largest law firm files for bankruptcy

3 Harvard law school graduates founded the firm in 1909, and in 2007 it came to be known as Dewey and LeBoeuf.  On February 27, 2013, a New York Federal Bankruptcy Judge formally dissolved the firm, putting an end to 103 years of business.  The well   known Dewey and LeBoeuf has ceased to exist.  It is dead.

There are two important things to learn from the Dewey & LeBoeuf bankruptcy filing.

First, if 1,200 of the world’s smartest and highest paid lawyers (many of whom were bankruptcy, restructuring and workout experts!) cannot figure out how to avoid bankruptcy, then you should not denigrate yourself emotionally for being unable to avoid bankruptcy filing.

Second, you should not repay friends and relatives right before you file for bankruptcy – more on this later in the article – and this is perhaps the most important practical teaching from Dewey and LeBoeuf.

Dewey and LeBoeuf reported 2011 gross revenue of $935 million for its approximate 1,200 lawyers.  The firm had a large bankruptcy and restructurings department with bankruptcy/restructuring experience dating back to the 1920s, yet the firm could not seem to save itself, despite its all-star lineup of Ivy League law school graduate partners and associates.

Even worse, a number of firm team leaders are now under criminal investigation for allegedly hiding the troubled finances of the firm.  Steven H. Davis, the firm’s former chairman and Stephen DiCarmine, the firm’s former executive director, both face criminal probes and Mr. Davis has retained a defense lawyer, says the NY Times.

Sadly, the Dewey lawyers could not seem to work together to save their law firm – when the going looked rough in 2011 and early 2012, some 200 of the 300 equity partners jumped ship to other law firms.  Perhaps even worse, one important law firm member, Martin J. Bienenstock (the former head of Dewey’s bankruptcy practice)  was accused by two former partners Elizabeth B. Sandza and Andrew J. Fawbush of devising a scheme and plan to pay himself $6 million from Dewey funds in 2010 while the rank-and-file partners saw their 2010 pay deferred and then ultimately “clawed back” by the bankruptcy court for repayment to creditors.

What does “clawed back” mean?  Well, in this context it might mean that Sandza and Fawbush (and other partners) had to refund their 2010 paychecks back to the law firm for whom they worked upon the filing of the bankruptcy, meaning much of their 2010 work may end up having been done for free and perhaps was ultimately not compensated.

How did Sandza and Fawbush end up having to refund some or all of their 2010 paychecks/compensation, along with a number of other partners?

While the news accounts I can readily find are sparse and I rely mostly on one NY Times article referenced below, here is my hunch:  When Sandza and Fawbush agreed to defer some of their 2010 pay to be received later than when it was normally due to them, their ultimate receipt of pay fell into a “preference period” pre-bankruptcy, wherein in the year or so leading up to the bankruptcy, funds they received as compensation were deemed returnable to the bankruptcy court for distribution to creditors as what is known as a “preference” or “preferential transfer”.  The concept might be that Sandza and Fawbush as equity partners and thus are presumed to have known what was going on with the law firm’s finances yet took pay out anyway in a time period that was too close to the bankruptcy, presumably knowing that the pay should have gone to reimburse and pay law firm creditors instead of going to pay Sandza and Fawbush their partnership share.

Why would Sandza and Fawbush be upset with Bienenstock – as Bienenstock seems not to have had his 2010 pay “clawed back” into the bankruptcy?  (Beinenstock, according to the New York Times, may have been paid earlier than were Sandza and Fawbush, who saw their 2010 compensation payments deferred)   Well, one can only speculate that if Bienenstock  saw the trouble on the horizon he might have pushed for being paid sooner than others because he knew that if he didn’t get paid quickly and ahead of others that his $6 million payment could fall into the “preference period” prior to the eventual May 2012 bankruptcy filing.  Since he was an expert on bankruptcy issues, perhaps Sandza and Fawbush believe that Bienenstock might have taken advantage of that expertise to push for his $6 million in pay sooner so that it would not fall into the suspected “preference period” and be subject to a “clawback” into the bankruptcy court for distribution to creditors.

Why blog about the failed mega-law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf?  How are Sandza, Fawbush and Bienenstock relevant to a consumer mom and pop bankruptcy filing?  Good questions – there are two answers:

First, I meet with so many people who are down on themselves for having to file for bankruptcy, even though they had perfectly good reasons for falling into financial hardship.  These reasons include job loss, illness, falling home values, large family size and crazy home loans with “exploding arm” sudden interest rate increases.  So I ask this important question:  If one of the biggest law firms in the world  which was chock-full of Harvard and other Ivy League law school graduates could not figure out how to pay the bills and stay solvent, then how on earth are my well-meaning clients supposed to do much better?  Remember, these brainiac lawyers went through a bankruptcy filing and went on to live their lives and care for their families – why should my clients not grant themselves the same emotional luxury?  Think about it:  Dewey and LeBoeuf had a 103 year track record and were EXPERTS at keeping businesses out of bankruptcy and helping businesses who ran into financial trouble – yet these 1,200 experts could not muster a plan of action to save themselves, despite enjoying some of the highest pay and billings in the entire legal world.  The world was their oyster – and they still couldn’t figure out how to make ends meet.

Second, the “preference” and “claw back” issues.  There is a lesson here for everyone considering a bankruptcy filing.  If you are facing trouble and think you may need to file for bankruptcy relief, then DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT repay friends and relative or transfer assets or property to friends or relatives right before the bankruptcy filing until after you have secured competent legal advice from a knowledgeable bankruptcy lawyer and asked the question about how much you should pay back or what you should transfer to mom.  For if you repay mom that $10,000 right before the bankruptcy, then mom might find herself being sued by the bankruptcy court trustee in your bankruptcy case with a demand to pay into the bankruptcy court some or all of the $10,000.  Better to just wait until after the bankruptcy is over and then voluntarily repay mother that $10,000.  Plenty of people mess this one up – don’t you be one of them.

Now, there may be some times that you would want to pay mother right before bankruptcy or transfer something to a friend or relative, but these are few and far between, so before you decide to repay mom or transfer an asset to a friend or relative, make sure you consult with a competent bankruptcy lawyer before making the repayment if you think that you could potentially be facing a bankruptcy filing in the future – even the distant future.

How about repaying other creditors other than friends or family right before a bankruptcy?  This blog post is already too long, so I will just say that before you make any such payments you should first consult with competent, experienced and qualified bankruptcy counsel to make sure you do not run afoul – and end up like Sandza and Fawbush.  Sandza and Fawbush would essentially argue that Bienenstock knew what he was doing and that he executed it well – The result:  Bienenstock will probably get to keep his $6 million, Sandza and Fawbush get nothing.    Knowledge is king, my friend!

As a footnote, the NY Times reports that, all in all, about 450 Dewey partners and former partners will end up returning about $450 million to the law firm in return for insulating themselves from future lawsuits connected to Dewey’s demise.

Many thanks to Peter Lattman of the New York Times, who provided information contained herein, including details on the Sandza, Fawbush & Bienenstock dispute in his article “With a Judge’s Decision, Dewey is Officially Dissolved”, NY Times, page B5, February 28, 2013.

Retirement But Not Totally Overview

The economy has had a great impact upon those people facing retirement.  Many have lost jobs, or been forced to take jobs paying much less then pre-recession employment.  In addition, many people have lost homes due to foreclosure, feeling compelled to walk away because of mortgages balances which greatly exceed their home’s value.  Bankruptcy filings in the pre-retirement demographic are skyrocketing, and have been high for many years.

With rising medical costs, rising food costs and expensive gasoline, many people are worried whether social security and perhaps a small pension will provide a comfortable retirement.

One way to improve the quality of life in retirement is to continue to work, and some places in the country offer better working opportunities for retirement age people than do other locations.

Is retirement on the horizon for you?  Are you worried whether your retirement income will stretch to provide a quality lifestyle?  If these are concerns for you, consider relocating to one of these 25 havens for retirees who might wish to continue to work past retirement age.

Forbes magazine compiled a list of places to where a retiree or a person facing retirement might want to consider relocating if there is a need or desire to work past retirement age.  Below is the “James Magee short list” of the top three places for a quality retirement.

  •  1.  Iowa City, Iowa: With Iowa Medical School in its midst, Iowa City’s doctor count is six times above the national average.  Also unemployment is at 3.8% and job opportunities are growing.
  • 2.  Corvallis, Oregon: Corvallis is a college town which helps the strong economy, this city has a 5.8% unemployment rate and room for even more economic growth.  There’s no state sales tax, and has plenty of doctors and a low violent crime rate.
  • 3.  Pittsburg, Pennsylvania: Unemployment is at 6.6%.  Although the winters here are extremely cold, the cost of living is 6% below the national average and homes are going for $121,000. Also the doctors per capita ranks at one of the nations highest.

Retirement is a lot different then it was many years ago.  In this country’s current economy, it is much harder to retire and retirement occurs at an older age.  A wonderful alternative is to pursue a working retirement, keeping a job but still enjoying the retired life.  Any of the 25 cities on Forbes.com’s list are wonderful alternative cities to relocate to.  If you are so far in debt but you have bankruptcy as an option, it may be your best option.  Your debt can be taken care of by filing for bankruptcy and once debt free you can easily relocate and start a fresh retirement in one of these cities with low unemployment rates, nice climates and so many other perks.

The Forbes.com article can be found here:

http://www.forbes.com/pictures/mjd45idmk/retirement-but-not-totally/

Retirement But Not Totally Part Three

This is t he third installation of Retirement But Not Totally, finishing off the Forbes.com list of top 25 places to retire, here are numbers 8-1.

  • 8. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: Oklahoma has a top-rated tax climate and an unemployment rate of 5.5%.  Housing prices are an average of $143,000 and cost of living is cheap.
  • 7. Pittsburg, Pennsylvania: Unemployment is 6.6%.  Although the winters here are extremely cold, the cost of living is 6% below the national average and homes are going for $121,000. Also doctors per capita ranks at one of the nations highest.
  • 6.  Provo, Utah:  Cost of living is average with homes going for $210,000 on average.  This town is Brigham Young University’s hometown and has a 5.5% unemployment rate and a favorable tax climate.
  • 5.  Rapid City, South Dakota: So close to Mount Rushmore, Rapid city has an excellent job growth track record and housing prices average $152,000.  Unemployment is down to 4.1%.
  • 4.  Salt Lake City, Utah:  This is Utah’s largest city and enjoys a 5.6% unemployment rate.  Ranking number six on Milkens Institute job and economic growth index, Salt Lake City’s cost of living is 5% below the national average.
  • 3.  San Angelo, Texas: Cost of living is far below the national average as is San Angelo’s unemployment rate.  Home prices average at barely $100,000 and this town’s diverse job base and colorful city make for a satisfying place to reside.
  • 2.  Shreveport, Louisiana:  With a 6% unemployment rate, Shreveport has a high job growth prospect.  Cost of living is below 4% the national average and this city sits close by a medical school ensuring plenty of doctors per capita.
  • 1.State College, Pennsylvania: 4.9% unemployment rate, $210,00 average housing prices and a high prospect for job growth, make this beautiful college town an ideal choice for living and enjoying the excitement and  economic advantages that Penn State provides.

Retirement should not be all about staying at home or going out and going on expensive trips.  With the right move and planning, everyday could be exciting and active.  But with debt holding you back from enjoying your retirement, bankruptcy may be your best option for a fun and fulfilling retirement.

With rising cost on just about everything, it is hard to go out and enjoy life, especially when burdened with debt.  But with bankruptcy, you are able to go back out and enjoy the things you may want to do.

 

The article can be found at:

http://www.forbes.com/pictures/mjd45idmk/retirement-but-not-totally/

Retirement But Not Totally Part Two

The second installation to Retirement But Not Totally cities numbered 17-9, is packed with nine more favorable options for a working retirement.   

  • 17. Fort Collins, Colorado: Cost of living and homes are at a national average in Fort Collins, and with Colorado State close by the economy is flourishing.  The cold winters here are easily bearable with the 6.2% unemployment rate.
  • 16. Great Falls, Montana: With an above average tax climate this small town enjoys many doctors and a small crime rate.  The job and economic growth are outstanding and the unemployment rate is at a below average 5.6%
  • 15.  Harrisonburg, Virginia: Near two colleges, Harrisonburg rank high on the Milken Institute job and economy rating. With and unemployment rate of 5.3% this quaint town has one of the lowest crime rate on the list.
  • 14.  Huntsville, Alabama: Alabama has a very favorable tax climate with an average economy, housing prices and unemployment rate and below average cost of living.
  • 13.  Iowa City, Iowa: With Iowa medical school in its midst, the doctor count is six times above the national average.  Also unemployment is at 3.8% and job opportunities are growing.
  • 12.  Jonesboro, Arkansas: An average home in Jonesboro sells for below $100,00 and the unemployment rate is at 6.4%.  Also cost of living is dirt-cheap and 13% below the national average.
  • 11.  Knoxville, Tennessee:  Knoxville has plenty of doctors, an unemployment rate of 6.6%, wonderful economic growth. And best of all the Smoky Mountains provide a pretty scenic aspect to this town.  One downside to Knoxville is that it has the highest crime rate on the list.
  • 10.  La Cruces, New Mexico:  Just $116,000 on average housing prices, La Cruces is another college town with wonderful economic growth.  40 miles from Mexico, La Cruces has an excellent tax climate, but the doctors per capita are sparse.
  • 9.  Lexington, Kentucky: Cost of living is 11% below the national average, and housing prices are at an average of $144,000.  Kentucky has a favorable tax climate, and a lot of doctors.

Is retirement on the horizon for you?  Are you worried whether your retirement income will stretch to provide a quality lifestyle? If these are some concerns that have popped into your head, you may want to consider relocating to one of these 25 havens for retirees who might wish to continue to work past retirement age.

Look out for the next post, which will continue with the next 1-8 cities.  Whether you are looking for a place to relocate with a warm climate, plenty of doctors, or a cheap housing, this list has many options to choose from.

The article can be found here:
http://www.forbes.com/pictures/mjd45idmk/retirement-but-not-totally/

Retirement But Not Totally

The economy has had a great impact on those facing retirement. Many have lost jobs or have been forced to take jobs that pay much less than pre-recession employment.  In addition, many people have lost homes due to foreclosure and high mortgages that greatly exceed their home’s value. Bankruptcy fillings in the pre-retirement demographic are skyrocketing, and have been high for many years.

With the growing costs of necessities such as food, gas, and medical care, many people worry whether or not social security can provide a comfortable retirement.

One way to help ensure quality of life in retirement is to keep working.  And there are many places in the country that can provide better working opportunities than others.

A recent Forbes.com article, highlights the 25 top cities for a working requirement.  What ever your preferences may be location, culture and climate wise, this article may help you choose a top location to enjoy a comfortable retirement.

Cities 18-25

  • 25. Athens, Georgia: This beautiful college town sits at a high-ranking on the Milken Institute’s Job and Economic Growth Index with a 6.9% unemployment rate which is a refreshingly low percent compared to the country’s average of 8.5%.  Not to mention that this town enjoys very favorable climate and weather, house pricing is an average of just $130,000.
  • 24.  Austin, Texas:  Perks to living in this city include low crime rate,  a cost of living 7% below the country’s average, and no state income tax.  House pricing is a little above the national average at $950,000, but still reasonable.
  • 23.  Bismarck, North Dakota: Doctors per capita are at an amazing 50%, which is above the country’s norm.  Winters here may be cold, but unemployment rates are at only 2.8%.
  • 22. Bloomington, Illinois: This city is the head of State Farm, which results in a steady economy.  Cost of living sits on the national average and unemployment is at 6.8%.
  • 21. Cheyenne, Wyoming: Crime rates are low and physicians are plenty.  It’s one of the least populated cities on this list and has a 6.5% unemployment rate. Winters here are cold, however.
  • 20.  College Station, Texas: This is a college town, and is leading in job and economic growth.  5.8% unemployment, plenty of doctors and a warm and sunny climate also make up this town.
  • 19. Columbia, Missouri: The physician per capita rate in this city is more than three times higher than the national average. The unemployment rate is 5.0% and this city is known for having great job and economic growth.
  • 18. Corvallis, Oregon: Yet another college town, Corvallis has 5.8% unemployment rate and room for strong economic growth.  There’s no state sales tax, plenty of doctors and low violent crime rate.

These are the top 18-25 finishers for cities offering a working retirement, so if you are looking for an economy that is more impressive than just “so-so” maybe one of these cities should be considered for your comfortable working retirement.  Stay tuned for a follow-up post detailing the next 9-17 cities .

Relocation may be a great retirement planning tool. Discharging or reorganizing your debt, as seen as possible through a bankruptcy proceeding, may also be a prudent step towards retirement planning.

After bankruptcy, you may well have funds to fortify your saving accounts and 401k/IRA account. This can help ease the financial crunch which often accompanies retirement.  Call us if you or a friend might like to invest in a bankruptcy filing.

 

Follow the link below to read the article in whole:

http://www.forbes.com/pictures/mjd45idmk/retirement-but-not-totally/

Bleak Midwinter – The Economist reports on unemployment

Many economic downturns have been accompanied by a good dose of anti-immigrant sentiment, as I have reported in this blog on other posts.

It looks like more anti-immigrant sentiment is "on order"…

December 18, 2010, The Economist reported that unemployment remains high. Unfortunately, as of today Saturday, October 29, 2011, nearly 10 months later, very little has changed.

I don’t really see wages going up; I don’t see housing prices increasing and I don’t see evidence of much increase in job creation. If you expect positive changes to the economy to radically improve your ability to pay off your debts, please reconsider. You may wish to consider lightening your load with a bankruptcy reorganization and debt discharge.

Here is where we were on December 18, 2010 and the economy is not any better.

Where were you at financially with paying off your debts on December 18, 2010? Have you substantially reduced your debt or paid down big chunks of your mortgage? Do you need my help?

Snapshot of December 18, 2010:

Fifteen million Americans are unemployed as of December 18 2010, with the rate edging up to 9.8%.

But there is something even more grim to the story: 6.3 million or 42% of those unemployed have been jobless for more than 26 weeks, effective 12/18/2010.

Even worse, these December 18, 2010 numbers do not include 2.5 million people who want a job but who have not looked for a month or more, or the 9 million people who want full-time work but can only find part-time openings.

COBRA is becoming a problem as of 12/18,2010, as that has an 18 month time limit for contining insurance, and 99 weeks is the longst that anyone can get unemployment compensation.

Once unemployment compensation is exhausted, little remains, except for food stamps for households that do not exceed 130% of the federal poverty guidelines, for example, $26,668 for annual income for a family of four. Usually, food stamps are only available for three months in a three year period for an unemployed able bodied worker.

Health care is a big problem. To receive Medicaid, a family of four would have to have a monthly income of less than $1,654 monthly.

TANF doesn’t provide much relief (TANF replaced Welfare in 1996), as for example a family of four in Ohio would receive only $536 monthly cash assistance on TANF.

I have had the humble and sobering experience of being of assistance to families and singles as far north as Snohomish County and Whatcom County, and as far south as Clark County, Washington and Skamania County, Washington. I have with pleasure helped many stressed-out people in Aberdeen, Hoquiam and Gray’s Harbor County, along with the Kitsap County area and the Key Penninsula; Tukwila, Washington; Lakewood, Washington; University Place, Washington; Puyallup, Washington; and Olympia, Washington; Federal Way, Washington; Bremerton, Washington; Gig Harbor, Washington; Silerdale, Washington; Bangor, Washington; and Tacoma, Washington.

I have helped thousands of people since the mid-1990s.

It doesn’t matter where you are in Western Washington. I regularly help stressed-out people in a diverse number communities in and around the Puget Sound area of Washington, including but not in any way limited to Seattle, Washington, Everett, Washington; Renton, Washington, Kent, Washington and Auburn, Washington.

Please don’t hesitate to give me a call if you find yourself in trouble with a home or investment property. We can set a brief no-obligation in-person consultation.

Don’t forget that it does not matter where you live in Western Washington, be it Bellevue, Olympia, Chehalis, Aberdeen, Olympia, Lacey, Graham, Puyallup, Orting, Fife, Milton, Edgewood, Pe Ell, Raymond, Onalaska, Tenino, Tumwater, Chehalis, Centralia, Gig Harbor or Tacoma., I can often be of foreclosure and/or short sale assistance. I offer a brief, thirty minute no obligation/no cost obligation. You have nothing to lose!

Remember, in Western, Washington, I am here to help you, regardless of where you are facing financial problems, be it Federal Way, Washington; Lakewood, Washington; University Place, Washington; Puyallup, Washington; Graham, Washington; Orting, Washington; Spanaway, Washington; Lacey, Washington; Burien, Washington; Seatac, Washington; Des Moines, Washington; Bremerton, Washington; Silverdale, Washington; Tacoma, Washington; Renton, Washington; Auburn, Washington; Tukwila, Washington; Federal Way, Washington; Renton, Washington; Auburn, Washington; Tukwila, Washington; Kent, Washington; Bremerton, Washington; Silverdale, Washington; or Olympia, Washington.

Hiring a lawyer for your business: NY Times December 30, 2010 “In the New Economy, Use New Strategies To Hire Law Firms”

A recession has changed the business side of law.

"…you are really hiring an individual lawyer. ‘Make sure that the chemistry works…ask about the attorney’s experience and the law firm’s prior cases in that area of law. Ask for an estimate of what the costs are likely to be.’" reports James Flanigan, of the NY Times, pursuant to an interview with Brian Davidoff, managing director of Los Angeles law firm Rutter Hobbs and Davidoff.

There is recognized to be a traditional distrust of lawyers by many entrepreneurs, says Sanford I. Millar, a Los Angeles tax attorney: "They see the lawyer as saying ‘no’ to daring business moves. THe truth is, lawyers are there to advise on what has been posible and not been possible in law. No business owner wants to be ignorant on that score."

Last fall, according to the NY Times article, page B6, December 30, 2010, "In the New Economy, Use New Strategies to Hire Law Firms", Concord Law School (Kaplan affiliated) is reported as recognizing that lawyering in small business practice needs some fine tuning, and thus began to offer a two year degree course in busines practice, focusing initially on comercial real estate and employee benefits.

The course "will teach about succesion issues anda bout taxation and protecting intellectual property" with the goal of helping lawyers offer small businesses the services they really need at a price they can afford, according to M. Ellen Murphy, director of the program.

Fields of Tears: Two of Two: Reflections on unemployment and the Illegal immigration “problem”.

Many economic downturns have been accompanied by a good dose of anti-immigrant sentiment.

I ask that before you say, write, post, preach or ponder things for which you may some day be embarrased, that you take a short moment to pause about the reasons for and origins of immigration. Economics is the key driver of immigration, it seems.

Yes, immigrants do adapt and I do not suggest that immigrants need not adapt a bit and become multi-lingual…but "we" can adapt, too. America his hispanicizing, like it or not. You can’t stop it, I can’t stop it, the government can’t stop it.

With immigration comes a great opportunity. If you offer a good, skill or service, consider learning the immigrant’s language and reach out. You may be enriched both personally and financially. If you speak Spanish and English as an Anglo, I doubt you will ever be unemployed again with such a foreign language skill.

This second of two blog posts focuses on The Economist artice at page 39 of the Decembert 18, 2010 edition covering the time period 12/18/10-12/31/10, entitled "Field of Tears". Economist articles are written and published without author attribution. However, whoever wrote these articles "gets it".

The story focused on the journey and life of Teresa Vega and Marco Lopez, a married couple from Oaxaca, Mexico. They came to the United States illegally in 2005 when their oldest son died after a flood contaminated their town. They wished for a better and more sanitary life with health longevity for their family. I provided a summary of this story in the earlier post.

Now, on to the "meat" of this post.

Many Americans are convinced that undocumented workers take jobs that American nationals would otherwise perform.

To disprove this notion, the United Farmworkers Union ran a promotion called "Take Our Jobs".

In the "Take Our Jobs" promotion this past summer of 2010, Americans were invited to work in the fields harvesting fruit. In the following three months of the promotion, 3,000,000 people visited the website www.takeourjobs.com. But 40% of the visits/postings resulted in hate mail.

Only 8,600 people expressed an interest in working in the fields reports Maria Machuca, the United Farm Workers’ spokesperson.

As of late September 2010, only seven American applicants in the "take our jobs" campaign were actually out picking crops.

Perhaps the failure of the "Take Our Jobs" program may mute some of the complainants who deride hispanic immigrants as "taking" jobs away from Anglos.

I have had the humble and sobering experience of being of assistance to anglo and hispanic families and singles as far north as Snohomish County and Whatcom County, and as far south as Clark County, Washington and Skamania County, Washington. I have with pleasure helped many stressed-out people in Aberdeen, Hoquiam and Gray’s Harbor County, along with the Kitsap County area and the Key Penninsula; Tukwila, Washington; Lakewood, Washington; University Place, Washington; Puyallup, Washington; and Olympia, Washington; Federal Way, Washington; Bremerton, Washington; Gig Harbor, Washington; Silerdale, Washington; Bangor, Washington; and Tacoma, Washington.

I have helped thousands of people since the mid-1990s.

It doesn’t matter where you are in Western Washington. I regularly help stressed-out people in a diverse number communities in and around the Puget Sound area of Washington, including but not in any way limited to Seattle, Washington, Everett, Washington; Renton, Washington, Kent, Washington and Auburn, Washington.

Please don’t hesitate to give me a call if you find yourself in trouble with a home or investment property. We can set a brief no-obligation in-person consultation.

Don’t forget that it does not matter where tyou live in Western Washington, be it Bellevue, Olympia, Chehalis, Aberdeen, Olympia, Lacey, Graham, Puyallup, Orting, Fife, Milton, Edgewood, Pe Ell, Raymond, Onalaska, Tenino, Tumwater, Chehalis, Centralia, Gig Harbor or Tacoma., I can often be of foreclosure and/or short sale assistance. I offer a brief, thirty minute no obligation/no cost obligation. You have nothing to lose!

Remember, in Western, Washington, I am here to help you, regardless of where you are facing financial problems, be it Federal Way, Washington; Lakewood, Washington; University Place, Washington; Puyallup, Washington; Graham, Washington; Orting, Washington; Spanaway, Washington; Lacey, Washington; Burien, Washington; Seatac, Washington; Des Moines, Washington; Bremerton, Washington; Silverdale, Washington; Tacoma, Washington; Renton, Washington; Auburn, Washington; Tukwila, Washington; Federal Way, Washington; Renton, Washington; Auburn, Washington; Tukwila, Washington; Kent, Washington; Bremerton, Washington; Silverdale, Washington; or Olympia, Washington.

Fields of Tears: One of Two: Reflections on unemployment and the Illegal immigration “problem”.

Historically, it seems that many economic downturns have been accompanied by a good dose of anti-immigrant sentiment.

I ask that before you say, write, post, preach or think things for which you may some day be embarassed, that you take a short moment to pause about the reasons for and origins of immigration.

People migrate. Every continent except Antarctica had natural migration. From wherever the craddle of homo sapien is ever found to be, we have moved and dispersed. Humans are very adaptable. As immigrants come to the United States, no amount of hate, border security or legislation is likely to dislodge them. Yes, they can adapt…but we can too.

With immigration comes a great opportunity. If you sell or marke a good or service, consider learning a little of the immigrant’s language and use this to reach out. You may be enriched personally by the mental challenge and financially by an increase in revenue. You might even make a new friend.

Spanish is probably the most common immigrant language at present. Spanish is a beautiful language, and just a fun blast of a language to speak. Learn a little of it…and embrace the inevitable hispanicization of America. Try it Mikey, you might like it!

This post focuses on The Economist artice at page 39 of the Decembert 18, 2010 edition covering the time period 12/18/10-12/31/10, entitled "Field of Tears". Economist articles are written and published without author attribution. However, whoever wrote these articles "gets it" about what is going on demographically in North America.

The story is of Teresa Vega and Marco Lopez, a married couple from Oaxaca, Mexico. They came to the United States illegally in 2005 when their oldest son died after a flood contaminated their town. They had no money to hire a doctor, so they watched their two year old son die as he vomited, got diarrhoea and ran a high fever. They left a child behind with his grandfather (little Erminio), as that child was too small to make the journey. It has been nearly six years since either Ms. Vega or Mr. Lopez has seen Erminio.

Ms. Vega and Mr. Lopez failed three times before finally being able to cross the border on their fourth try. Ms. Vega endured the hardships of trying to cross notwithstanding her pregnancy.

On one try they were intercepted by bandits and stripped naked. Ms. Vega’s fear of rape was great, but with great relief, it never came to pass.

The hostile vastess of America provided its own challenge. 80% of America’s crop workers are Hispanic, and more than half are undocumented workers.

In contrast, however, Rob Williams director of the Migrant Farmworker Justice Project (which represents farmworkers in court) estimates that 90% of farmworkers are undocumented "illegal aliens".

It is not against the law in a criminal sense to be an illegal alien, so that term "illegal alien" is syntactically incorrect. It is a crime to cross the border illegally, but to be in the US without visa or "papers" is actually just a civil infraction, not a criminal act, according to The Economist.

Many Americans are convinced that undocumented workers take jobs that American nationals would otherwise perform.

To disprove this notion, the United Farmworkers Union ran a promotion called "Take Our Jobs".

Read the next blog post to read about "Take Our Jobs"….it will suprise you! I will post the "Take Our Jobs" blog post on Friday, June 3, 2011.

Local police are not supposed to enforce immigration laws (that is what all the fuss is about in Arizona, where a state law was enacted directing that local police had to enforce federal immigration law). The Arizona law has been at least partially suspended by a federal court order.

Nevertheless, for the Vegas/Lopez family, any brush with the law is potentially disasterous. Mr. Lopez was pulled over by local police while in his car and his car was impounded for lack of a drivers’ license. The fine was $1,580 and the car was impounded and seized. Mr. Lopez had to buy a replacement car for $1,500. These expenses set the family’s finances back by years, according to The Economist.

Mr. Lopez indicated to the corresponent that the mood in America has grown darker and more hostile this past year 2010.

Crop workers (documented and undocumented) earn so little that many farm workers, even as they spend their waking hours picking food for other people, can sometimes barely afford to eat. Grape picking pays about $8.00 per hour, and on a good day, one can earn $65.00, but there is child care of about $50.00 per day to consider for the Vegas/Lopez family.

Also, not every day is a work day as there is substantial "off time" between seasons.

I have had the humble and sobering experience of being of assistance to families and singles as far north as Snohomish County and Whatcom County, and as far south as Clark County, Washington and Skamania County, Washington. I have with pleasure helped many stressed-out people in Aberdeen, Hoquiam and Gray’s Harbor County, along with the Kitsap County area and the Key Penninsula; Tukwila, Washington; Lakewood, Washington; University Place, Washington; Puyallup, Washington; and Olympia, Washington; Federal Way, Washington; Bremerton, Washington; Gig Harbor, Washington; Silerdale, Washington; Bangor, Washington; and Tacoma, Washington. ; I have even had clients in and around Port Townsend, Jefferson County.

I have helped thousands of people since the mid-1990s.

It doesn’t matter where you are in Western Washington. I regularly help stressed-out people in a diverse number communities in and around the Puget Sound area of Washington, including but not in any way limited to Seattle, Washington, Everett, Washington; Renton, Washington, Kent, Washington and Auburn, Washington.

Please don’t hesitate to give me a call if you find yourself in trouble with a home or investment property. We can set a brief no-obligation in-person consultation.

Don’t forget that it does not matter where the property is located in Western Washington, be it Bellevue, Olympia, Chehalis, Aberdeen, Olympia, Lacey, Graham, Puyallup, Orting, Fife, Milton, Edgewood, Pe Ell, Raymond, Onalaska, Tenino, Tumwater, Chehalis, Centralia, Gig Harbor or Tacoma. I can often be of foreclosure and/or short sale assistance. I offer a brief, thirty minute no obligation/no cost obligation. You have nothing to lose!

Remember, in Western, Washington, I am here to help you, regardless of where you are facing a foreclosure or short sale, be it Federal Way, Washington; Lakewood, Washington; University Place, Washington; Puyallup, Washington; Graham, Washington; Orting, Washington; Spanaway, Washington; Lacey, Washington; Burien, Washington; Seatac, Washington; Des Moines, Washington; Bremerton, Washington; Silverdale, Washington; Tacoma, Washington; Renton, Washington; Auburn, Washington; Tukwila, Washington; Federal Way, Washington; Renton, Washington; Auburn, Washington; Tukwila, Washington; Kent, Washington; Bremerton, Washington; Silverdale, Washington; or Olympia, Washington.

Rent-a-kitchen – Beating unemployment.

I found this Wednesday, December 15, 2010, New York Times Article (page 1) by Fernanda Santos to be inspiring.

Ms. Santos writes about Marisa Angebranndt, once employed by a hedge fund, who rents space in a commercial kitchen to make "whoopie pies" for sale. She adapted her grandmother’s recipie, but made it more modern with butter cream filling.

Similarly, Shefalee Patel now rents space in that same commercial kitchen to make Indian sweets.

Miguel Urrego, uses the kitchen, renting space to make a diverse menu of catered food items.

The kitchen is known as the Entrepreneur’s Space, is on 37th street near Northern Boulevard in Long Island City, Queens, New York.

Aspiring chefs and cooks can rent space by the hour in a commercial kitchen which meets all applicable health and building codes. It is quite large, at 5,000 square feet. Rent is high during the day, at close to $231 for an 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. shift, but drops to $154 for the 1 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. shift.

The people using the kitchen sell what they make for a living in a number of different networks. THe Entrepreneur’s Space has no retail outlet – so you cook your food in it and then go out and sell it, or you secure orders and then you cook the food in the Entrepreneur’s Space.

The Entrepreneur’s Space is recognized as a place to combine an interest in food, and an income.

The Entrepreneur’s Space almost closed down last year in late August, but had it closed, it would have displaced some 100 small busineses reports Ms. Santos.

The kitchen was originally started with the Consortium for Worker Education, a union-backed nonprofit group. It was recently extended a lifeline with an infusion of funds from the Queens Economic Development Corporation, plus a number of other city and small group participants.

I was once introduced to a lady who made wedding cakes in a little-used kitchen space that had fallen into disuse when a social club quit using the kitchen space. The cakes were beautiful and she developed quite a little sustainable business in the old kitchen space, paying a small amount of rent.

Many people who are not presently employed have plenty of skills to contribute. I found this article encouraging and interesting, so I mention it for your inspiration.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/15/nyregion/15kitchen.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=A%20kitchen-for-rent%20is%20a%20lifeline%20for%20the%20laid-off&st=cse