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Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Message Board

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    • Hi HC.
      I tried to answer your challenge, but Yahoo rejected me. One more try.
      Not all the one percent are rogues, thieves and shysters, but a goodly number fall within that category.
      First of all there are the Madoffs, of whom, so far, only one has been brought to justice.
      Next, there are the mortgage sharks, starting with the mortgage lenders, who conned so many people into mortgages they couldn't afford, by telling them that the constant rise in house prices would take care of any problems. Even so, they refused these people 30-year 6% fixed rates, and forced them to take ARM's. They knew they faced no risk, because the banks were waiting to snap up every mortgage they sold.
      That brings us to the securitizers, who bundled junk with good mortgages, knowing that they could buy a triple-A rating from the ratings agencies for the right price.
      Next there were the vendors of Credit Default Swaps, who were willing to sell insurance on a financial bet, even if it had passed through the hands of 19 previous gamblers. The most egregious practitioner of this trade was the London office of AIG. This practice threw the entire derivatives market into unmanageable confusion.
      Next there were the hedge funds who were busily buying up companies,in order to break them up, and sell their component pieces. They persuaded the IRS that their gains in these operations were changeable and uncertain, so that they should only be charged a 15% Capital Gains Tax, instead of a 35% Income Tax.
      Finally, there were the top executives of major companies, who awarded themselves obscene salaries, and obscene bonuses, and obscene stock options, regardless of the prospects of their companies.
      All in all, the top 1% includes a goodly number of practitioners who will have a hard time explaining to St. Peter, at the Pearly Gates, how they succumbed so readily, and so comprehensively to the sin of greed.

    • So, if I understand you HC, some companies buy back stock, not to retire it, and thereby increase book value per share, but simply to distribute it to senior employeees, as incentive stock options, as part of their remuneration.
      As such, it is simply part of the cost of doing business, and adds nothing to the value of the stock.
      Had it been bought back and retired, its value could have been added to a dividend distribution, for the benefit of shareholders. Right?

    • Please,I am a dummy, enlighten me as to
      Kool Aid. Jim Jones style? I just don't get it.

    • Much like the, 'what is rich?' question .... I figured that there was a drastically different assumption on here as to what constitutes the 1%. Please keep posting .... you're a constant reminder to myself of how lucky I am.


    • Gains from incentive options are taxed as ordinary income.

    • geepod,

      They print more shares and hand them out.

    • I get your point. I'm not a big fan of how incentive stock options are used either. It's just not typically a taxation issue.

    • Eck.
      I'm not talking about their investment wealth, or their inherited wealth. I'm talking about the money they take out of their company, as personal remuneration.
      For example, Buffett only pays himself $100,000 from BRK. The rest is investment wealth.
      I don't know about Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, but I never read anything about them paying themselves such huge salaries.
      I don't even know about 'The Salty One'. My guess is that he got a decent inheritance, and invested it wisely in prime agricultural land. Bully for him!
      My concern is with the CEO's of the big banks and industrial concerns, who take these huge amounts of money out of their companies, as if it were theirs by divine right. They are simply riding on the backs of their shareholders and employees, and I consider them beneath contempt.
      Best to you.

    • baltbear Dec 6, 2011 8:14 PM Flag

      yup. so what's the rate of change?
      aother elegant, .xls style datum:
      if you had 6 mm in 2004, and $6mm in 2011,
      you lost 1/2 your comparative wealth to those who merely prey on th economy.

    • Hi HC.
      You're absoulutely right, and I'm totally confused.
      How do insiders get access to a company's equity to sell options? I thought options were just a casino operation on the fringes of the stock exchange. How do insiders legally access a company's revenues to play in the options casino? How is it accounted for on the books?

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