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Wall Streeters call 10b-18 the "safe harbor" rule. Why this odd term? Because the rule doesn't make buybacks any less fraudulent, any less a case of illegal market manipulation. (The IRS in its own context calls this type of maneuver a "sham transaction" because it has no legitimate business purpose.) Rule 10b-18 merely shields criminal perpetrators from penalty or prosecution — hence, "safe harbor". The very term tacitly admits this crime is ongoing, and is still a crime. Looters in suits are now doing a trillion dollars a year of stock buybacks, siphoning into wealthy pockets a substantial chunk of the US economy. Imagine vast positive impacts on American prosperity of Congress or the SEC were to rescind the "safe harbor" rule. But that would likely first require an end to industrial-scale political bribery (read: Citizens United etc).

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"Layoff Capitalism," is nothing new in the corporate business world. Call it what ever you want, but it is jus the latest obsentity of the profit addicted corporate CEO's in their mad persuit of seeking "stock options" by fulfilling the mantra drill into them at business school. Which is "maximize profits, cut costs and ELIMINATE LABOR." No one answers the question: "How much profit is enough? How much do your really need to charge your customers the business to continue?

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