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Buffett Rule

Buffett Rule

Billionaire 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%.  

Almost 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 technology errors. 

New 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


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