investor and head of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRKA: NYSE) (BRKB: NYSE) Warren
Buffett – continues to butt heads on Capitol Hill in an attempt to get the
proposed “Buffett Rule”, enacted. His proposed rule calls for an increase in
taxes on the wealthy. On Monday, Buffett published a New York Times editorial
calling on Congress to impose a 30% tax on people making $1 million to $10
million a year and 35% percent above that. A study by the Joint Committee on Taxation
reported that the 2011 Buffett tax would not have raised much money. Buffett is
holding ground from a 2011 article, “Stop Coddling the Super-Rich” where he
pointed out that he paid a lower percentage of his taxable income than anybody
else in his office. “So let’s forget about the rich and ultra-rich going on
strike and stuffing their ample funds under their mattresses if — gasp —
capital gains rates and ordinary income rates are increased,” Buffett said.
“The ultra-rich, including me, will forever pursue investment opportunities.”
Buffett initiated latest stance with a question over whether higher taxes would
keep an investor from playing a good tip from a trusted and admired adviser in
favor of keeping their money in a savings account earning a quarter of 1%.
four years after she took to the helm of the Securities and Exchange
Commission, Chairman Mary Schapiro is stepping down effective December 14. Her
rein consisted of a period marked by disappointments as well as, several
accomplishments. Schapiro said in a statement Monday, “It has been an
incredibly rewarding experience to work with so many dedicated SEC staff who strive every day to protect investors and ensure our markets
operate with integrity.” Schapiro was appointed in January 2009 and presided
over the SEC during an extremely difficult period after the financial crisis of
2008 and shortly after the agency came under fire again for not detecting a
massive Ponzi scheme run by financier Bernard Madoff. Schapiro was at the helm
during the time when the SEC was responsible for implementing the Dodd-Frank
Act, a statute written in the wake of the financial crisis. Under Schapiro’s
leadership, the SEC implemented three-quarters of all the rules required by the
Dodd-Frank law. Additionally, during her rein, the SEC brought a record number
of enforcement cases including 735 actions in 2011 and 734 actions in 2012
including prosecuting what regulatory experts contend as the largest
insider-trading scheme ever discovered. Arguments continue that the reason
Schapiro has not been able to impose tougher settlements is because the
Republican-controlled House Appropriations Committee has failed to allocate a
sufficient budget for the SEC. Schapiro, who has been a chief regulatory
advocate for new money-fund rules, acknowledged in August that she did not have
the votes needed at the five-member agency to move forward with a plan of her
own to impose further regulation of the industry. She was an advocate in trying
to implement new rules for the $2.7 trillion money-market fund industry.
Schapiro has argued that the industry should bail itself out and not seek
taxpayer support after the Treasury Department created a taxpayer-backed
guarantee program when a major fund “broke the buck” during the 2008 crisis and
suffered a run on assets. Schapiro pushed lawmakers to adopt a provision to
give shareholders significantly more power over corporate-board elections. A
U.S. appeals court in July 2011 struck a major blow to Schapiro and the agency
by rejecting the rule even though the provision was passed into law. The
rejection impacted not only the shareholder rule but the court said the agency
failed to conduct an adequate cost-benefit analysis, a decision that drove
Schapiro to delay further rules in favor of hiring more economists and taking
more time to consider regulations. Under Schapiro’s watch, the SEC implemented
a series of regulations seeking to fend off another ‘flash crash’ including the
approval of a variety of circuit breakers to help limit the impact of
York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Monday, Hurricane Sandy could potentially cost
New York nearly $42 billion. The death toll from FrankenStorm
stands at 135. A breakdown of the potential cost includes $32.8 billion for
repair and restoration and $9.1 billion for mitigation and prevention. New York
City and suburban Nassau County account for $15 billion and $6.6 billion,
respectively. Governor Cuomo said the devastation caused by the killer storm
"is of unprecedented proportions, ranking among the worst natural
disasters in our nation's history in terms of loss of life, property damage,
and economic impact."
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Nov 26, 2012