The Stingy News Weekly (05/01/2011)
Berkshire Annual Meeting
"It's time once again for Berkshire Hathaway's annual shareholder meeting, the two-day frenzy of Warren Buffett aficionados who have descended here to listen to his latest musings. This year's meeting promises to be even more interesting than ever, given the controversy over David Sokol, whose resignation has cast a pall over the normally jovial proceedings."
Value hunters swoop in on Japanese stocks
"Tim McElvaine picks the online brokerage Monex Group, which has made an offer to buy its U.S. peer TradeStation Group for about $411-million (U.S.), and recently acquired Hong Kong-based Boom Securities. 'The balance sheet and corporate governance is reasonably good,' he said. 'It trades at almost 75 per cent of book value.'"
Supersize our pension plan
"The overconcentration of financial power isn’t even the biggest flaw with the proposed Mega CPP. Even worse, it will take money away from many of those who need it, and give it to those who don’t. Advocates of a fat CPP insist that it is needed to keep the elderly out of food banks. In fact, poverty among seniors is remarkably low. Fewer than 5% of those over 65 are below Statistics Canada’s low-income cutoff. Thanks to Ottawa’s Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement programs, many seniors actually see their disposable income go up when they retire, says Vettese. Poverty is a far bigger problem among working-age adults—nearly 10% of them fall below the Statscan line. Yet most of them would have to pay extra taxes to fund the Mega CPP. That’s Layton’s anti-Robin Hood scheme in a nutshell: removing money from the pockets of younger workers, business owners and the working poor to give better pensions to everybody, including those who already have a sweet deal at retirement. I can understand why union leaders like this approach. I just can’t understand why anyone else thinks it’s fair."
Berkshire weighs suit against David Sokol
"Former Berkshire Hathaway Inc. executive David Sokol intended to deceive the company in the way he disclosed his interest in Lubrizol Corp. and violated Delaware law in the way he behaved, the company’s audit committee concluded in a scathing report. The report, released by Berkshire just three days before its annual meeting, leaves Mr. Sokol open to civil proceedings, a move Berkshire’s board said it was considering."
Keynes vs. Hayek Round Two
"In 'Fight of the Century', Keynes and Hayek weigh in on these central questions. Do we need more government spending or less? What's the evidence that government spending promotes prosperity in troubled times? Can war or natural disasters paradoxically be good for an economy in a slump? Should more spending come from the top down or from the bottom up? What are the ultimate sources of prosperity?"
"If tuition has increased astronomically and the portion of money spent on instruction and student services has fallen, if the (at very least comparative) market value of a degree has dipped and most students can no longer afford to enjoy college as a period of intellectual adventure, then at least one more thing is clear: higher education, for-profit or not, has increasingly become a scam."
Irish Setter Dad
"Whose children are going to succeed in life, Amy Chua’s or mine? Her Lulu has that violin going for her — there’s hardly a Silicon Valley billionaire, Wall Street plutocrat, senator, four-star general, or pope who isn’t a violin virtuoso. And Sophia, who tickles the ivories, can always say, “Don’t tell Mom I work for Goldman Sachs, she thinks I play piano in a house of ill repute.” But my kids practice too, hour after hour every day. They practice being jerks. And since almost every boss I’ve ever had was a jerk, this gives them a leg up. Plus there’s the cat in the microwave. That shows an inquisitive, experimental turn of mind. You can see how electronic cat-zapping could lead directly to the invention of something like Facebook."
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