Mailbag: Digging Deeper on Marco Rubio, Stock Buybacks and Killer Radiation

We stopped by the accountant’s office last night.

We walked in with a stack of papers, crinkled envelopes and some hand-scribed notes and said, “Here, you figure it out.”

With a business to account for… all sorts of investment accounts… and the fact we picked up and moved the farm halfway through the year, we reckon the man has quite a job in front of him.

It’s the time of the year when so many Americans – at least the forward-thinking ones – realize just how much their money and their government are tied together.

Nearly every decision we make with our money comes down to how Uncle Sam will treat it.

Should we stash cash in an IRA… or should it go into a Roth? Should we keep the money in a taxable account… or find a way to funnel it to the kids?

They’re complex topics, and we hope readers take them seriously.

As we told Mrs. Manward on our way home (she wasn’t happy with the accountant’s cut of things), getting things right could put hundreds of thousands of dollars in our pockets over the course of our career and retirement.

And, of course, the inverse is true… and much more unpleasant.

Make just a few inefficient tax choices and hundreds of thousands of dollars could quietly leak out of our lives.

Put that way, it’s no wonder we meander into the occasional rant and cause the mailbag to light up…

Get Our Heart Pills…

Wow, getting a little worked up today. Better watch your blood pressure. Between Bernie and Chuck, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Ocasio-Cortez and others, the list just keeps getting longer and longer. People need to get off their a**es and start getting involved or they are going to wake up and wonder what the h**l happened. The fact that these ideas can be promoted and people are for them scares me to death. 

Thanks for shining the light on these nincompoop leaders. The other issue is how the media keeps giving this garbage airtime without challenging the logic behind them. 

Keep up the good work and keep the challenges coming. Look forward to your daily missives!!Reader S.E.

Oh boy… Don’t go poking us and getting us started.

Not only is the media feeding into this nonsense by giving it a slew of airtime, it’s twisting the story and making it appear that there’s far more support for outlawing buybacks than there really is.

Take the headlines last week about Marco Rubio…

“Senator Marco Rubio Joins the Call to Limit Stock Buybacks,” said the headline on Yahoo Finance.

Whaaat?!

Rubio has joined Bernie and Schumer?

The headline writers would love the idea. It’s the epitome of divide and conquer.

Too bad it’s quite far from the truth.

Unlike the folks who want to put a knife in the back of the free market, Rubio is aiming to set the free market, well, free.

“I support free market over socialism [because the] market [is] better than gov’t at encouraging investment and innovation needed for widespread prosperity,” he wrote last week on Twitter. “But tax code discourages best aspect of free market by giving buybacks a deferral advantage over dividends or investment.”

Don’t trust the headlines… or at least nurture your Know-How and do some digging on your own.

Even our email-blasting nemesis, who seems to have nothing better to do than to send us notes about why our thoughts and ideas are misguided, agrees with us.

Sort of…

Hi Andy – Like you, I think the bill from Schumer and Sanders is ridiculous. Not bad from your friendly nemesis, eh?  

And Andy, fear not, that stupid bill will never get any traction, so why even mention it or any other lame bills that never get out of committee? But I think one part of their bill – that $15 minimum wage – might have merit, but only independently of the rest of that nonsense. 

But you seem to support or like stock buybacks very much, whereas I oppose them despite being a stockholder in hundreds of companies. Unlike you, I think stockholders should prefer to have companies with tons of cash on hand to invest in R&D, to upgrade plants to be more efficient for greater long-term profits, or to expand the company by buying other smaller competitors and such. 

I think CEOs like stock buybacks because they make more money on their stock options, not because it does the rest of us much good. I do not think they are being altruistic – no, just self-serving. But I understand that; I just wish they took a longer view of building and expanding and improving the company rather than short-term profits. At the same time, I like dividends, and I can see and accept relatively rare stock buybacks at severely depressed prices – I see that as smart. But widespread stock buybacks in a raging bull market I suspect may not be the best use of company money. Still, I would never try to legislate that, and you are certainly right about that. Cheers. Reader J.H. 

We pick on J.H., but we really do appreciate his nudging. After all, the only way to keep an arrow straight is by trimming the edges every once in a while.

But when our thoughts match those of J.H., hmmmm, that’ll keep us up tonight.

Let us remind readers of this one key point. When we say CEOs are self-serving… aren’t we being the same simply because the guy in the corner office is getting more than us?

Should we make a law that says one man shouldn’t earn more than another?

We hope you agree that’d be horror.

But that’s where this fight is headed.

Blind Trust

Moving on to an even more controversial subject…

Your 2/9/2019 letter about a victory in the fight against cellphone radiation mentions a study done by the National Toxicology Program concluding that rats developed malignant tumors when exposed to RF radiation emitted by cellphones.

The following day, I received a piece [from another letter] that references the same National Toxicology Program study. In his essay, he directly contradicts your assertion about the results of that study.

Left out of your negative reporting on this research was the fact that the study used levels of radiofrequency energy that were considerably above what the FDA deems as the current safety limit for cellphones. And the current safety limits have a 50-fold safety margin to ensure consumer safety.

In the words of the FDA, “the levels and duration of exposure to radiofrequency radiation were much greater than what people experience with even the highest level of cellphone use, and exposed the rodents’ whole bodies. So, these findings should not be directly extrapolated to human cellphone usage.”

A direct quote from the FDA seems like pretty strong evidence that your article is inaccurate. Comments? – Reader R.S.

As controversial as this one may seem, the answer is obvious.

Should we blindly trust the folks who slapped their stamp of approval on the prescription drugs that are ripping our nation apart?

Should we blindly trust the government agency that was forced to admit recently that a third of the drugs it approved ended up having serious safety issues?

Should we blindly trust the agency that approved Posicor… a blood pressure drug that turned out to have fatal reactions with more than two dozen other drugs?

And should we shake the hand of the agency that has allowed artificial sweeteners to flow into so much of what we eat and drink (and even deem them the healthier “diet” version)… even though they’re now proved to shorten our lives?

Look… nobody knows what the long-term effects of holding a radio to our head and body for hours each day will do.

And nobody knows what covering every inch of our cities with high-power radio signals will do.

Some folks say it’s harmless. But those same folks have made some grave mistakes before.

We’d rather think for ourselves.

We’ve found we’re healthier that way.

Keep the questions, comments and nemesis musings coming. You can email us at mailbag@manwardpress.com.

 

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