U.S. wealthy dump assets amid ‘fiscal cliff’ worries

“For many of the wealthy, 2012 is becoming a good year to sell,” Robert Frank reports for CNBC. “They’re worried about the ‘fiscal cliff,’ which is when tax cuts expire and spending cuts are set to go into effect at the end of the year.”

“Fearing an increase in capital gains and dividend taxes, many of the rich are unloading stocks, businesses and homes before the end of the year,” Frank reports. “Wealth advisors say that with capital-gains taxes potentially going to 25 percent from 15 percent, and other possible increases in the dividend tax, estate tax and other taxes, many clients are selling now to save millions in taxes. ‘Under almost any scenario, it makes sense to take the gains this year,’ said Gregory Curtis, chairman and managing director of Greycourt & Co. ‘Clients aren’t selling willy nilly. But if they can and they have a huge gain, they’re selling now.'”

“If the Bush-era tax cuts expire, taxes on capital gains would revert back to its previous rate of 20 percent from its current 15 percent. Another 5 percent may be added from health-care levies and changes in itemized deductions, bringing the rate to 25 percent for many high earners. Taxes on dividends could go from 15 percent to over 43 percent. And the estate tax could go from 35 percent on estates worth more than $5 million to 55 percent on estates over $1 million,” Frank reports. “As a result, the wealthy are taking a close look at all of their assets to see what could or should be sold off now to avoid potentially higher taxes next year.”

Frank reports, “The most noticeable sell-off has been in stocks. Wealth managers many of their clients who have large gains on stocks are selling them now, or selling them or buying them back again to create a higher basis (and thus a lower tax bill later).

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Apple, buy when others are fearful – November 9, 2012
Apple shares up in premarket, U.S. ‘fiscal cliff’ remains a worry – November 12, 2012
U.S. Apple investors, beware looming expiration of Bush era tax cuts – March 22, 2012

76 Comments

    1. People with significant assets can’t afford to “calm down” and wait to see what Obama and Congress does, IF they do anything before Jan. 1.

      Notice how George Lucas sold his company a couple of months before these taxes were going to go up? He was going to sell it someday, or his estate was, but he’s not likely to see lower taxes anytime in the near future than what he has now, so he sold and kept more of his money.

      You’re going to see a lot of Apple movement, also, because people who have held for a long time (over 12 months) will sell to take advantage of the lower capital gains taxes, then buy as the stock is driven lower by more sell-offs. It’s not a panic, it’s smart planning.

        1. He’s donating it to his own foundation. Yes, he does good work with it, but it’s not like he’s giving it to other people. And if you think he’s not keeping a healthy sum, think again.

        1. Right, Freekazoid, because we should not actually pay for government services. If you don’t want to pay taxes, then I strongly encourage you to leave the country.

          We need a balance between taxation and spending. I am in favor of reasonable cuts in spending across the board, including substantial cuts to defense spending. But I fail to understand why a subset of American citizens insists on classifying taxes as government theft. How can you reconcile your professed patriotism, fiscal conservatism, and hatred of taxation?

          1. Simple, Mel. Because (a) government is doing things with our tax money that government shouldn’t be doing, (b) the laws are what the laws are and permit this kind of tax-shifting, and (c) until you voluntarily pay more taxes than the “tax due” line on your form 1040 shows, shut up about what other people pay according to the law.

      1. Oh, and I forgot the 3.8% profits tax that comes on top of any capital gains tax (part of Obamacare), and also includes any profits on the sale of your home, business, stocks, etc.

    2. Calm down? I have $10 billion in assets now, and if I sell it after January I may only be worth $9 Billion. This is TERRIBLE! Of course I’m in a panic! Wouldn’t you?

        1. If I were starting a company, I wouldn’t have any profits to be taxed. Where is your logic?

          .. and yes, I do own my own company, and the higher the taxes go, the more I invest. I’d rather hire people and make investments rather than pay taxes. If the taxes go down, I would just keep my profits, if the taxes go up, then you scramble to invest to avoid taxes.

          You obviously have never run a business and drink the Republican Kool-Aide.

          …but let me make it simple for your little mind. Let’s pretend, you have a business with 10 million in profit and the tax is 100%. It is now November, what would YOU do, give it to the government, or buy a new factory, or hire more workers? It’s simple isn’t it?

          What if the taxes were 0%, what would do in November. Nothing? No Hurry? Relax right?

          The logic is so simple, try running a business yourself and stop being told how to think by the Republicans and think for yourself.

          So answer back and tell us all, which would cause you to invest faster, 100% tax or 0%? And then explain why more investment occurs as business tax go down. I’d like to see you try?

          It is simple, at a 100% tax rate, 100% of your money would be invested, right?

          Seems like you are the idiot.

          1. In a simple world where a ‘one tax’ system were in place, this would make sense. But you also need to consider your payroll taxes, and the cost of benefits (not the least of which is the healthcare tax/insurance mandate. Premiums have already gone up over 30% in my practice). So go ahead and hire people (over 50 employees and the ‘taxes’ skyrocket), or take the profit for yourself (income tax set to go up over 45% if you make more than $200G), or corporate tax if your ‘reinvest’ in your company (equipment purchasing tax and/or depreciation, depending on how you handle your purchase; in addition to bank rates if you decide to finance; and don’t forget trying to expand your line of credit because your payroll is going to go up with all of these new hires you’re planning). Just food for thought…

            1. @jdoc

              You bring an interesting point. There is also the issue of taxation without representation and corporations don’t vote so in theory they shouldn’t pay any tax at all. Only people should pay tax, which I would also be in favor of.

              Also, I don’t believe corporations should provide health insurance at all and here’s why. Two hundred years ago if I worked for you and charged you $500 to paint your house and you paid me $400 and said, you were “holding” $100 for my medical and pension, I’d hit you with a rake and demand my money. The idea that YOU would be handling MY medical and pension would be ridiculous.

              Today it is the opposite. Today if you DON’T worry about my medical and pension, I get angry and demand that you do.

              So who is right. The person I would have been 200 years ago, or the person I am today. I tend to think that our employers should have nothing to do with our benefits, HOWEVER, I do believe it SHOULD be the role of government.

              In general I believe the think you need (like, education, healthcare, military, fire, etc) should be socialized, and the things you want (like iPod, TV, Car, Vacations, etc) should be privatized.

              A true society must be part privatized and capitalist, and part socialist. There is no getting away from that. (we need roads). The only debate should be about where do we draw the line between what you need, and what you want. Is Internet a need? How about phone?

              All other discussions about capitalism/socialism are stupid. They are both necessary, the only question should be where do we draw the line.

              I also believe we should have a Flat tax so everyone pays equally, and we should raise the minimum wage to a high enough level where the poor are not unfairly punished by the flat tax.

              ….and by flat tax I mean VAT or something similar, not income. I believe it is morally wrong to tax income. It is also morally wrong to pay workers minimum wage just because we can.

              In a society, supply and demand should not rule all the time. Sometimes socialism MUST kick in.

              If I have a river on my property, should I have the power to sell you water for $100 a bottle and let other people die of thirst just because I don’t like them?

              In a true Capitalist country where we live and die by supply and demand, the answer would be yes, but I guarantee you that if your land didn’t have water, all the capitalists would become socialists in a minute.

              So in short, yes it is complicated, but under the existing circumstances, increasing corporate taxes does increase the incentive to invest. It comes back to what I said before. If the Corporate tax rate were 100% of profit, ALL companies would find a way to invest every penny before the end of the year.

          2. Wow… Nice story. Too bad you’re pathetic at coming up with real life examples. You left out one IMPORTANT PIECE OF THE PUZZLE. It’s called INCENTIVE. In your 100% tax rate example, I would not invest in more factories. I’d have no reason to because the govt would be taking all the profit. I’d rather file for chapter 11, take the profits I already made from previous years and buy a retirement condo in Florida. But if the tax rates were 0%, or more realistically 25%, then hell yeah I would build more factories if the demand for the products was there. This would create more jobs as you pointed out, plus with the share of the profits I decided to keep I could work toward upgrading that condo in Florida to maybe one in Belize. You see, by allowing me to keep a fair share, we all win. And this little thing called INCENTIVE keeps driving me to work harder.

            It must be a terribly lonely existence to continually think that humankind won’t do the right thing when given a chance. Maybe you should try trusting someone occasionally.

            And yes, I own my own company with 4 employees and would like to expand someday so that I can get that dream place in Belize… But I’ll treat my employees and customers along the way with respect and dignity.

            1. Incentive? I am not suggesting a 100% tax rate, I am just using that as an example. The higher the Corporate tax rate goes, the more incentive there is to spend and invest. If you don’t want to invest or buy a factory, you would pay yourself all the profit in salary before the end of the year and pay your taxes. You would still have a choice. You can invest and be a “Job Creator”, or you can not create jobs and pay yourself and pay the income taxes.

              I am not debating what you might want to do with your money, or if you want to buy a house in Belize. All I am saying is that the debate about lowering taxes causes more “Job Creation” is bull and you know it. Once again, at 100% (or some level of increased taxation) actually causes/forces more investment.

              You may not like it, you may want to pay zero tax and buy a big house, but it is a fact. –in fact your very rebuttal proves the point. You couldn’t disprove my argument, you just gave me reasons why you don’t like my argument.
              That is a very different matter.

              It also means that we should stop lying and saying that lower taxes causes more investment when the opposite is true. The real issue we are arguing about is whether or not company taxes should go UP, which FORCES them to create jobs. Yes they are the job creators, but only when the taxes go up–which brings out the other truth, no, they don’t want to be job creators, they would rather buy houses in Belize.

              I have a small Corporation, and just like you, I don’t want my taxes to go up. I’d rather carry my profits over into the next year, and use it as I see fit, but at the same time, whether I like it or not, when I am faced with a tax bill, or spend my money, I spend. The higher the bill the more I invest, and the more I bitch about being forced to do it just like you.

              ….but let’s be honest, just because we don’t like it, doesn’t mean it is not true.

              I stand by my argument, and nobody yet has argued against my point. The higher the corporate tax, the more companies will invest. The lower the corporate tax, the less investment. Telling me you don’t like it, doesn’t disprove that truth.

      1. …and remember, my employees worked really hard to get me all this money, and now the government will probably waste some of it on somebody’s cancer treatment, or even worse, educate the poor. These entitlements should stop! My employees sacrificed so much to earn this money for me, and now the government wants to take some. This is a slap in the face to all the people who contributed to my wealth!

        Oh, wait. I did it ALL by myself. Nobody helped. It’s mine all mine!

        1. Except that the CBO has found that the cost of the government’s health care administration is increasing by $40 billion. That’s not a wise use of your tax money, and that’s an awful lot of cancer treatments, schools, meals for the homeless, etc. etc. that could be donated to a charity to handle rather than wasted on government bureaucracy.

          1. Actually, since the law went into affect under the Affordable care act that Insurance companies MUST spend out 80% of the money they take in premiums, this was the first year my medical premiums DIDN’T go up. Plus the insurance companies are forced to give out refunds for over charging.

            I can see why Insurance companies hate it, and you can read about the 1.1 billion that insurance companies must give back right here on CNN
            http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2012/07/27/checks-come-as-surprise-under-obamacare/

            So, reality doesn’t seem to match the CBO does it. How about you, did your insurance go up this year? I doubt it?

            Insurance companies are stuck with the 80/20 rule. If they raise rates, they have to provide more. It is as simple as that. Now tell me again, why you hate ObamaCare?

    3. No, it’s time to sell. In reality, it’s not these people who are initiating the sell-offs, but their CPA armies, brokerage houses, and fund managers. The ones who can read the tea leaves told their clients about all of this months ago, and we know about it now because the transactions came through.

    4. It might be like screaming fire, but it’s true. Nobody needs to calm down, just act. If someone screams fire, get up and head towards an exit. This is exactly what people are doing.

  1. Great news for brokers, huh? Sell commission and then a new buy commission. Of course not all stocks come under one year cap gains. A lot of big investors have their stock shielded in IRAs like the hundred plus millions Romney had. So cap gains tax is not effective there. I think CNBC is nuts. The world is not ending for rich mothers, they will find a loophole in and case.

    1. Big investors do NOT have their money shielded in IRAs. There are annual limits for contributions to IRAs, so those are not very useful for very wealthy people. The very wealthy don’t use IRAs, 401(k)s, etc.

      On the flip side, the U.S. is seeing a lot of money coming into the country from Venezuelans, Argentinians, etc. who are trying to get their money OUT of their countries. So they’re buying up real estate, stocks, etc. here.

      1. “Big investors” are what? If I picked up 2,000 shares of AAPL at $7.50 in 2000 that would be $15,000 in 2000 and $1,100,000 now.

        I red the average 401(k) is $76,000. If in 2000 they bought at $7.50 that would be $5,573,333 with the stock at $550 now.

        So, “Big investors” are what to you? If only 10,000 people did this, that would be over $55,733,000,000. (Yes, those are BILLIONS behind the dollar sign.)

      2. You are wrong. Romney has more than a hundred million in his IRA account. You can view it in the 2010 tax form he provided. Just because we can only contribute a limited smount there are plenty of loopholes for the wealthy. Romney also paid no income taxes between 1998 and 2009. None. Check it out on Bloomberg. You clearly do not know the many many ways the 1% get by.

  2. Again, never talking about the 401K investors. THEY ARE NOT TAXED THE SAME WAY. And, if you sold a month ago, now is a good time to buy your stock back cheeper! And if your AAPL shares were sold on a large retirement fund, I am sure they took a few more percent out of your money too for their efforts!

    Just scare the long investors so you can buy their shares on the cheep! You all are being played (AGAIN).

    1. So, you are saying you don’t have a lot of cash so you are here. I find MDN a great place to find out what Wall Street will uncover tomorrow. Knowing what is going on with an investment is a big part of good investing and you get your information from as many places as possible. People submit information from all over the InterNet.

      Understand then invest!

    2. This is baloney, and it’s thought process is exactly why we have re-elected a socialist President.

      “The wealthy” has for some bizarre reason come to be viewed negatively.

      If somebody has earned enough (in net income – already taxed!) to own a decent amount of investment value in unqualified accounts, of course they would be concerned about capital gains tax consequences.

      1. Its pretty simple man, as corporate culture began to change and employees found less stability an anger towards people at the top started to take root.

        I’m not sure its right, but I can’t blame someone for being angry when they get laid off from a company citing ‘costs’ as the cause while the CEO pulls down an extra million dollar bonus that year for cutting ‘costs’

        We need to stop treating people like tools and ‘cost centers’ if we want to change attitudes.

        1. “We” doesn’t mean anything. Small business owners (entrepreneurs) don’t treat people like tools. Accountants do. And if the accountants are running you’re company you are already in trouble.

          I have expanded and shrunk my company three times since the mid-90’s as our fortunes have brightened and dimmed. Each time I had to lay people off it was awful. My employees are not numbers to me, they are often friends. But they each knew that the company could either shrink or it could die. I have often rehired those I laid off as things got better. Even those I couldn’t rehire still keep in contact with me and with each other because, as is often the case in small businesses, we are like family. At the moment things are — or were — getting better. I have always paid for my employees health insurance. Not partly paid, completely paid. For them and their families. But with Obamacare looming, not only can I no longer afford to do that, and I can no longer afford to hire more employees whom I desperately need. Nor hire some part timers on as full time. In fact I have to reduce their hours to avoid the additional taxes/costs I would incur. But as always, better some have jobs than none have jobs.

          Thanks, President Obama. You’re swell. How’s your golf game these days?

          1. >But with Obamacare looming, not only can I no longer afford to do that, and I can no longer afford to hire more employees whom I desperately need.

            And there you have it Dude… do you need these workers or not? If so, then pay up. If you can’t then go out of business, we’ll go to work somewhere else, I guarantee.

            GoApple!

            1. What…are you kidding me? Of course I haven’t hired a soul to do anything…I’ve been too busy earning my friggin’ wages to worry about any of that Bro. Been way too busy putting other peoples children through college for the best part of my career. I’m not complaining mind you, just saying… So don’t even call me a lazy “libtard” Buddy. I’ll stick to my original point (without the pithy name calling), if you can’t pay, then go away, ’cause you ain’t all that. We’ll do just fine without ya Bub! Unemployment rate be damned! We’ll find something else to do or starve. Who knows, now that your business is kaput, you’ll see fit to join us on someone else’s payroll…and get to work.

          2. @GallowayCreations.

            You just made that up. ObamaCare requires the 80/20 rule, which means this year Insurance companies had to REFUND money because they overcharged!
            This is the first year my insurance DIDN’T go up, and neither did yours! Because of the 80/20 rule, if insurance companies raise their fees they have to provide more services. They cannot keep more than 20% by law.
            Since you just made up a line of crap, show me a link to ANYTHING that shows how rates could possibly go up under ObamaCare. In fact share it with us all!

            In if you can’t show me one link that proves that insurance rates went up under ObamaCare, then I am beginning to doubt you whole story. I think you made it all up and you are not running a business. I have a few employees and this is the first year my rates held the same.

            Maybe Obama has a special insurance tax just for you, huh?
            Here is the CNN article about people getting refunds:

            http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2012/07/27/checks-come-as-surprise-under-obamacare/

            Now you share with the community your link as to how rates could possibly go up with the Affordable care act 80/20 rules! Do you get your insurance from the Mafia, or some foreign country?

            1. Well since you just flat out think I’m a liar simply because I don’t agree with you I’m not exactly sure why giving you anything would convince you, but here’s a solid, indisputable fact for you: my total company expense for insurance for 2011 was $38,676. Got that straight off my ledger. In 2012 it will be (I’m pro-rating here) $58,540. You want to come to my office and check those figures… well, I’d say “be my guest” but since you’re kind of a loon, I’ll pass.

              But tell me this: given that the Federal government has now dictated to the insurance industry — a private industry –exactly how much profit it is allowed to make, what is the motivation for stockholders to remain invested in insurance companies? Of course I’m sure you think that’s a great idea — let the insurance companies all go out of business. Then the Federal government can just take over health care and that’ll be great. Everyone will have access to the same quality of health care. Of course, that health care will be absolute crap, but hey, everyone has to be totally equal, right?

            2. @gallowaycreations

              First of all, I am sorry that I implied that you were a liar. That was wrong of me to do, and I publicly take that back. I was being exactly what I hate to see in everybody else. So please forgive me, and lets start over.

              …but I still have a few points to make.

              If your insurance went up during the 80/20 rules, and you received no increase in benefits you should either report it or switch.

              Next point. The shareholders don’t make a dime on the fire department and the fire department doesn’t go out of business so shareholder profit has nothing to do with anything.

              Point three. Buying stocks is not investing, it is trading. Don’t confuse the two. If you and I buy two lots of land and we “invest” and build two houses, we created value.
              If we later “trade” houses because I like your Chimney, and you like my Kitchen, we traded and no value NOR jobs are created. So last time I checked the so called “investors” who buy insurance stock are “traders” not investors, and no value is created and trading creates no jobs. It is a zero sum game. Trading creates no value so we may as well tax the profits. It has nothing to do with job creation. Saying otherwise is a load of crap.

              Point four. Having a “socialized” fire department where we are ALL equal works pretty well, doesn’t it? Having “Capitalist” Apple where you have an iPhone and can’t afford one also works fine. It is all about balance.
              Socialism alone doesn’t work, and nor does unfettered greedy Capitalism. They both fail.

              I used to work for the phone company in the 80’s. It was a regulated monopoly and it worked really well. People in the most rural areas all had phone service because by law, they were required to “even-out” the expenses. (terrible equality word again). Cities subsidized Rural areas. Today we have a total mess. They all compete for the city, and just try to find a tower in Wyoming.

              In those days, the profits that the phone company was allowed to make was regulated and based on the number of Public Service Commission complaints they got, that is why the phone service was so much better back then than it is today.

              All you had to do was whisper the word Public Service Commission Complaint and you would be switched to a supervisor in a second. Good luck getting that kind of service today.

              Obama care only regulates the insurance company in a similar manner. The phone company had guaranteed profits for guaranteed service, and they worked really hard to get those profits. What is wrong with that ?

              An insurance company still can compete with other insurance companies for a greater pool of 80/20. If United Healthcare sucks and Blue Cross is better, then Blue cross gets more customers and a bigger 20% pool, which is good for the shareholders AND the consumer. What’s the problem? Where is that so called “everyone is equal” you are talking about? Where is the lack of incentive?

              There is nothing wrong with regulation, and there is nothing anti-competitive about it, and if I was a “trader”, I’d still buy stock in Blue Cross, (for example) because they are growing and competing base on SERVICE, and are better than United Healthcare (for example).

              You need to look at the big picture here and stop seeing the world through the mind of people like Fox News.

              …and by the way, I also worked for the New York State Power Authority which was and still is a regulated monopoly. Last time I checked it seemed to be working pretty well. When was the last time you heard people complaining about the communist abusive NY Power Authority?

              We all need power. This world is not about what is best for you and me, and is about what is best for us all.

              You need to watch more Star Trek: “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few”.

              in this case, Mr. Spock was right ! 🙂

            3. Firstly, apology accepted. Thank you.

              Secondly: I’m not sure fire departments are a good analogy for this. There are lots of kinds of fire departments: municipal, volunteer, for profit (corporations), not-for-profit, etc. (my source: http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CDMQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwebtools.delmarlearning.com%2Fsample_chapters%2F1418041130_ch03.pdf&ei=cuejUPCNAae-2AXD0oHoDw&usg=AFQjCNFUYMGNKjxZMRVMDP23Z_gP12_S7w&sig2=Xxnc1qXl1eVSuqC-heIjPQ). Now, insurance companies are a different ball game. They are entirely “for profit”. Health care providers themselves I can see as a good analogous fit for fire departments, but they are not (exactly) what we were debating.

              Point three: buying stocks IS investing when done on a long term basis (> 1 year, such that earnings are subject to capital gains taxes). In fact, that’s the (original) point of selling stock: to raise capital for day to day and long term operation of a company. Now day trading, or any short term gambling on the stock market, is not investing, you are correct. But if you are in it for the long haul — like those lucky folks who bet on Apple in the late ’90s and stayed in, they ARE investors. They even get dividends now! As such, to the extent that investing capital in a company leads to health of the company and growth, it does create jobs.

              Now as to taxing profits on investments, the Federal government already does that. If you sell a stock you bought less than a year ago, you pay normal income tax. If you sell it after holding it for at least a year, you get the reduced tax rate of capital gains tax. The reason is to encourage investment, but not trading. That’s a Federal encouragement. It’s in the country’s best interest that people invest in corporations and support the economy long term. The point of the article — the reason many investors are dumping parts or all of their portfolios — is that come the new year capital gains rates are expected to rise by as much as 66%, from 15% to 25%. If you had $100,000 invested in Apple, and didn’t expect the stock to move much between now and January, and were going to sell it eventually, why would you not sell it now and pay $15,000 in tax rather than sell it after the rates go up and have to pay $25,000? Don’t you think you could find a better way to spend that $10,000 than the Federal government could, regardless of who is in the White House? That $10,000 is a few seconds of interest against the national debt, for example, while to you it’s dance lessons for your kid; school supplies; dues for Chess Club, Photography Club, French Club; a nice present for your significant other for Christmas or Chanukah or Festivus; a donation to your local volunteer fire department 🙂 It’s anything but a load of crap. (Although you could spend your extra $10K on a load of crap, if you so desire.)

              Point four. Of course any pure financial system is doomed; humans are complicated. Some few are altruistic. Some are selfish. (Increasingly the latter, in my opinion.) But to your point, of course some regulation is necessary, even good. Too much is very, very bad. Especially since most is well intentioned, and all has unintended consequences. Read “Economic Facts and Fallacies” by the great Thomas Sowell for many, many examples. But I’ll give one that relates to the phone company, since you mentioned it: everyone gets mad as hell at seeing their enormous cellular bill, say it’s $150. Someone petitions their Congressperson to make the phone company disclose in great detail what makes up that charge. A regulation goes in place. Your phone bill now has excruciating detail of the charges. But guess what? That phone bill that was $150, is now $175, with three dollars for this fee, four for that, yet the company still gets to advertise that the service is $150 a month, because that IS what THEY charge per month. Of course, you were still paying all those fees before the phone company detailed them, but they were only charging $125 a month. The regulation gave them the excuse to charge their customers more. Happens with every regulated utility. Don’t believe me? Check out your cable bill lately. After regulations when into place to force the same kind of disclosure, mine when up by $20 easily.

              But I digress.

              Here is a link that says it as well or better than I — http://libertylegalfoundation.org/2170/obamacare-rebate-ends-capitalism/ — but I’ll give it a crack for starters. Health insurance, like all insurance, is a company taking a risk that you will not need their service. They make money if you stay healthy. Which is the point: to make money. If they are being told by the government that they can only make so much money and no more, what’s the point of staying in that business? If the government came to you in your business and said, sorry, pal, you just can’t be making money like that, what would you do? The smart thing to do is change jobs. Don’t do that anymore. Start a company in a field not regulated like that. Who stays around in such a field? Those who can’t do anything else. It’s like a reverse Peter Principle. If you’re good enough to get out, you do. If you suck, you stick around. Given that knowledge, why would I invest in such a business?

              Lastly, I’ve watched every episode of every series of Star Trek. You’ll notice that the whole point of “The Search for Spock” was to disprove Spock. I rather like the quote, “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.” Obamacare is ENTIRELY about asking what your country can do for you. 500 plus pages of regulation, which “…we have to pass … so that you can find out what’s in it….” Insurance companies are not the enemy. They (and their profits) are in part what has made U.S. healthcare the best in the world. There is a reason people come to America to get their health care if they can, and not to Cuba. If U.S. healthcare perfect? Far from it. But total government takeover — and that’s what Obamacare ultimately seeks (and even if it doesn’t, will still achieve) — is not the answer. It will not provide a race to the top, it will cause a race to the bottom. I have a number of family members in the health care industry, both private and public. They, who have more experience than I, say government takeover of health care will destroy its quality. I believe them. Perhaps the needs of the many DO outweigh the needs of the few. but only if the many are the citizens of the United States, and the few are the politicians who think they know better than the doctors.

            4. A couple of things I think I should add.

              First, buying stock at the inception of a company, or when it actually uses the money to fund the company is investing, but buying Apple Stock right now is only trading stock, even if I hold it for a year. If I sell you my Apple Stock, Apple doesn’t get a dime.

              I don’t know the numbers but I am willing to bet that more than 98% of all stock transactions are “trades”. How many funds actually “invest” in start-ups?

              Ironically, it is too risky, so they play it safe, stick to trading in companies like Apple rather than investing in start-ups like you and I. The bulk of the money traded on Wall Street helps no one but Wall Street and the people trading (hopefully).

              As far as the incentive for Insurance companies. Yes the point is valid, but it begs the question of should people be in Insurance for profits. Not everything has to be for profit.
              My fire department is not in it for profit. Neither are the police.

              No matter how you look at it. You have thousands of doctors, hospitals, and millions of sick people, and then you also have thousands of 50 story insurance office buildings where people profit from the transactions.

              We need to “chop-down” the 50 story office buildings and take all that money and flood it into the hospitals and medical centers. Can you image how good our healthcare system would be then. If every dollar that went to the insurance company salary, bonus, executive pay, office buildings and share holders went to pay for doctors and hospitals, can you image what we can do.

              I am not a communist. If Apple has a product that Samsung doesn’t and they want to charge as much as they can get away with, fine.

              …but when you are dying of cancer and have no money for pain medication, that is when Capitalism breaks down.

              Capitalism is all a game, but we do have rules like no kicking the boxer when he is knocked down.

              Healthcare needs a Referee.

              PS – Soon we will see the outcome of ObamaCare and I guarantee you that none of the insurance companies will shut down, more Americans will have coverage, people with pre-existing conditions will get care, and yes, Insurance companies will be stuck with the 80/20 rule and will make a little less profit. I can live with that. Can you ?

  3. BS. If the wealthy were unloading stocks, we would see the Institutional ownership percentage go up rather than down. The institutions are divesting to put tons of cash on the sideline waiting to buy up all the Fiscal Cliff Panic firesale.

  4. It comes down to this:
    Taxes are going up, by what means and how much are the only real questions. The Feds are running massive deficits and have an accumulated debt in excess of $15 Trillion and have obligations way beyond that.

    The Defense Department, like it or not, is going to have to reign in the spending binge it has been on and our empire of overseas bases is going to have to shrink. We do not need anymore Billion Dollar Bombers that can be ruined by a rainstorm (B-2) unsafe & incapable troop transports (Osprey) or quarter Billion Dollar fighter/bombers designed for non-existent threats (F-35). We are also going to have to replace hundreds of billions of weapons worn out earlier than projected due to a decade of war.

    We also have close to a Trillion $ of backlogged maintenance on basic road, port, and other infrastructure long neglected and deferred. The condition of bridges, water systems, sewer systems, flood control systems and such is nearing third world levels in some areas.

    The tax holiday the ill-advised Bush Era tax cuts provided are a big part of our huge national debt and cannot be extended if we intend on seriously balancing our budget. It’s math- not politics that rules the issue.

    The wealthy are just doing what anyone in their position would do- protecting as much of their assets before taxes increase.

    1. Ohhh, Agent. Let’s have a little more sympathy. I used to have enough money to last twenty-thousand lifetimes of insane excess and luxury… now I’m only going to have enough to last eighteen-thousand lifetimes. Boo-hoo for me.

      After all, the whole purpose of having a country and a society – as in feudal times – is for as few people as possible to accumulate as much wealth and power as possible. I guess you’re one of those wackos who think that, “Do unto others…” and “Love thy neighbor…” actually mean “Do unto others” and “Love thy neighbor”. Man, you’re hilarious, in your delusions.

      1. iOS spelling, sorry for the error. Was on an iPad- not a real computer.
        The fact is we spend as much on defense as the next 10 biggest combined. We also hide part of our Defense spending in the Energy Department, Homeland Security Department and the CIA budget.

    2. The Defense Department, like it or not, is going to have to reign in the spending binge

      DEAR LORD Agent Provocateur! You’ve spoken FACT!

      OFF WITH YOUR HEAD!

      The Neo-Con-Job fake ‘fiscal conservative’, ‘starve the beast’ escapees from the insane asylum will NEVER, EVER let it happen. Just watch. The WAR MACHINE is both their left and right suckling teat. The Corporate Oligarchy likes things fscked up just the way they are, except for all those noble entitlement things that actually serve the citizens. Kill that stuff right off the bat!

      Kill the poor, feed the rich.

      Everyone in between is merely a meagre wage slave puppet. Dance or get your strings cut.

      Who is Number One?! 😉

    3. The Bush tax cuts increased revenue to the Treasury. That’s the fact. The huge National debt is because we spent much more than we took in.

      Repeat.

      The Bush Tax Cuts Increased Revenue to the Treasury.

    4. @Agent Provocateur

      You said it EXACTLY the way it is. The truth is the truth and the math is the math. Something is going to have to give. Either we give up the war machine, and reallocate the funds to infrastructure or we have to pay the price.

    1. Then the ignorant DayTraderTards flock in their direction in a mad scramble of FAIL.

      The stock market is a massive human behavior laboratory. Investors are the test rats, if they allow themselves to be so. Scurry scurry scurry!

  5. Reading the article I get the following impressions:

    1) The nation of Mammon. Traitors to the USA and reality.

    2) Hundreds of decrepit little SCROOGEs pinching every little penny to prevent them from going to those lazy loathsome poor people who should be killed.

    3) Now I understand how major money makes people go FRACKING APESHIT INSANE. (0_o)

    4) The world of I ME MINE is one of desperation and self-destruction. (Not that I have any admiration for the extreme in the other direction either!)

    5) It’s like watching ducks and geese and chickens running chaotically around the barnyard with their heads cut off.

    Very silly and desperate indeed. Never let anyone tell you there is anything ‘wise’ or ‘intelligent’ about being among the financially wealthy. We all make their own hell, or not. 😛

    1. Anyway, now we’re getting a good solid clue as to why Apple continues to SUCCEED at a record pace, and idiots herd to the brokers to SELL their AAPL stock.

      This is how dire stupid happens. Watch for dire stupid results.

      Who needs a ‘fiscal cliff’ to ruin the USA when we have the financial cattle dumdums to do it for us.

      Kids: You parents really DON’T know what they’re doing. Did you figure that out yet? May be you can learn how to do better. Please do.

        1. The profound statement of an anonymous coward. He must know what he’s talking about!

          Actually, It’s lots of fun knowing a subject so well that you can be snarky about it. Try it! I did. And it changed my life. Now I’m snarky every day! It’s both delicious and nutritious, chock full of humor and wisdom, those rare dietary supplements kept just out of reach of the ignorant. Get your’s now!

          1. You really have an appalling tendency to not only bring in FACTS but also to connect them with actual THOUGHT and LOGIC. And dare I say it, with more than a modicum of concern for the wellbeing of others. Shocking! Unacceptable!

            1. And effrontery to our frontal cortex! Social suicide!

              Seamus, or whoever you are, it’s easy to propagandize. Any dolt can do it and does. Thinking is the hard part. Making fun of powerful FOOLS-WITH-MONEY is far more brave than bashing on little old me. Don’t let the puppet strings pull too tight.

            2. To be clear — I was complimenting you by being ironically sarcastic about your tendencies to use facts and logic. 🙂 You are unlike many here who seem to think a bunch of frothing hatred and name-calling is “making a point”.

            3. I fall for subtle satire every time. At least I know my brother is even worse. I’m still not sure he actually ‘gets’ the humor of the Colbert Report. Thank you Seamus! At least I got to stretch my retorts imagination a bit tonight.

    1. It does, as I pointed out above, inform us as to why AAPL is inexplicably falling in price while Apple soars beyond comprehension. Unfortunately, it is left to we-the-readers to point that out.

      As for the PoliTardism: That’s the disease with which we must contend here at MDN. Their butt holes are still probably a bit achy from last week, making them particularly grouchy. I know mine still hurts! DemoCrap or ReTardlican, we’re screwed from both sides. A plague on both your parties. 😉

  6. The wealthy are not dumping their investments to protect. They’re just doing Republican economics and redirecting their wealth to job creation projects. Right. Literally and figuratively

    1. Amazing, even Alan Greenspan said that in an apology to the American people. Getting an apology from someone in Washington is unheard of, and yet Greenspan did that! He took responsibility for the conditions we are currently experiencing. Now it’s time for the politicians to be held accountable to where they got us. Maybe some integrity might be in order.

      Strange concepts in the political arena, responsibility, accountability and integrity. Maybe they should try it some time.

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