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Ipers Buy Back TOP

The Moline, Illinois-based tractor maker, hit hard by a slumping farm economy, has shed hundreds of workers as sales and profit have fallen. As conditions worsen, Deere has been raising record amounts of debt, helping to finance loans to buyers of its farm equipment, while also spending billions of dollars on share buybacks.

ipers buy back

The demand from pension funds is helping to finance record levels of corporate debt. The low interest rates that have crimped returns on investments also make it dirt cheap for companies to borrow, and many of them are doing just that, often to buy back their own shares.

In fact, buybacks have become the fuel powering the more-than twofold increase in the stock market since the depths of the financial crisis in 2009. Together, U.S. non-financial companies have spent $2.24 trillion on buybacks since 2009, while borrowing an extra $1.9 trillion to help finance those purchases, according to a Reuters review of Federal Reserve data.

St. Louis, Missouri-based agrochemical giant Monsanto Co, for example, is caught in the same commodities downturn as Deere. It said in October that it would slash 2,600 jobs as commodity prices slump. But it has increased debt by $7 billion since 2013, helping to fund $8 billion in share buybacks in the same time frame.

San Diego-based chip maker Qualcomm Inc said in July that it would cut 4,500 full-time staff, or 15 percent of its workforce, as foreign competition pinches sales. The company raised $11 billion in debt this year, helping to finance $11.25 billion in buybacks for the year.

And Atlanta-based beverage maker Coca-Cola Co said in January that it would cut at least 1,600 white-collar jobs as it faced sluggish soda sales. It has added $9 billion in debt since the end of 2013 and bought back $6.13 billion of its shares in that time.

Her cousin is having a tough time making ends meet. Happel will collect unemployment insurance as long as he is enrolled in classes, but the $400 a week he receives is only a fraction of what he earned at Deere. The family has cut out extras: no movies, no dinners out. He dipped into his 401(k) retirement savings account to pay off credit cards, but notes ruefully that those card balances are now drifting back up as he scrambles to cover expenses.

As a regional medical center serving communities throughout central Iowa, we want everyone who comes through our doors to feel like they belong. By being open and accommodating to a diversity of opinions and backgrounds, Mary Greeley will always be a welcoming place for patients and their family and friends, and for our employees.

Can a person offer to buy back an easement or have it canceled? My husband did not understand what he got into until it was too late. He did not have a lawyer represent him when he bought the house and signed the papers. He bought the house from a lawyer who took care of all the paperwork. The lawyer passed away within a year after he bought it. What is my husband's option? ? K.A., via email

Dear K.A.: I think what you mean is your husband was granting two easements, since properties next to his house were essentially landlocked. Properties have since been acquired that connect those adjacent homes to a public road. You want to know whether you can buy back the easements or have them canceled.

You can buy back the easements if the other parties wish to sell. If you are friendly with your neighbors and they see no reason to maintain the easements, they can be canceled with all parties agreeing. If not, then sit down with an attorney and find out what the laws in your state require about handling this.

President Discusses Strengthening Social Security in IowaKirkwood Community CollegeCedar Rapids, Iowa President's Remarks view In Focus: Social Security12:23 P.M. CSTTHE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you all for coming. Iwant to thank our panelists here. We're about to discuss Social Security. Before we do, I've got some things I want to say. First, I want to thank the good folks here at Kirkwood Community College for letting us come by. (Applause.) It's a fantastic facility you got here.I want to thank Mick and Steve and all the faculty here. I believe thecommunity college system is an important part of making sure that oureconomy continues to grow. And the reason why is one of the bottlenecksfor economic growth is to whether or not we've got a work force that istrained for the jobs of the 21st century. There is no better place totrain people for the jobs of the 21st century than the communitycollege system in America. And so I want to thank you for letting uscome by. (Applause.) I want to thank Chuck Grassley. He and I just came from the Spring House -- yes, it was nice. We had a cup of coffee. I hope you paid, Senator. (Laughter.) Well, I forgot your reputation. (Laughter.) I guess I had to pick up the check, probably. (Laughter.) But I'm proud of the Senator's leadership on the Finance Committee.This will be the committee in the United States Senate that will starta piece of legislation that will modernize Social Security. He'scommitted, as am I, to taking on this big issue. And as I told them atthe Spring House, he's stubborn. I'm going to be stubborn on the issue,and we're going to keep working this until we get something done. Weneed to. Now is the time to address tough problems, before it becomesacute for younger generations of Americans. Thank you for understandingthat, Chuck. Appreciate you coming. (Applause.) I want to thankCongressman Jim Leach, the congressman from this district. I'm lookingforward to -- (applause.) Leach is flying back with me. I'm always abetter person after having sat down to listen to his wisdom.(Laughter.) He's a good, strong guy, and I'm proud that you're here.As well as Jim Nussle, Chairman of the Budget Committee for the Houseof Representatives. (Applause.) Thank you for coming, Jim. I appreciateworking with Chairman Nussle. He's done a very good job on the budget.Now this is the year in which we're going to set priorities again -- wedid it last time, we're going to do it this time -- set clearpriorities. And we're not going to fund programs that don't work. Itseems like to make a lot of sense to me that we're wise about how wespend your money. And there's no better partner in being wise about howwe spend the people's money than Jim Nussle. I'm proud of yourleadership and proud to call you friend. (Applause.) And your parentsare here. Yes, you brought mom. Mom and dad -- good, yes. You stilltelling him what to do? (Laughter.) So is my mother. (Laughter andapplause.) The difference is, Nussle is listening. (Laughter.) I wantto say something about Senator Chuck Larson. I appreciate you beinghere, Chuck. I want to thank you for your service to our country.(Applause.) State Auditor Dave Vaudt is with us. Mr. Auditor, thanksfor coming. Mr. Mayor, thank you for coming. I appreciate Paul Patejoining us. I want to thank all the state and local officials forcoming. Particularly, I want to thank you all for taking time out ofyour busy lives to become educated on a very important subject. BeforeI do get there, I do want to say something about Al Smith. Al -- Idon't know if you know Al Smith. He's been involved with the CedarRapids Kernels Baseball Club. He organizes a program for children withspecial needs around baseball. He's also been a mentor. He told me thatover his last, I think he said 40 years -- didn't you say, Al? I thinkit's 40 -- you dealt with a million children. I want you to stand up.The reason why I wanted to introduce Al, he is a soldier in the army ofcompassion. He's a soul who understands that you can make a differencein a person's life. And I want to thank you for being here. (Applause.)Appreciate your service. For those of you here interested in servingyour nation, find somebody who hurts and love them, or feed the hungry,or find shelter for those who are looking for housing. Al has done thesame thing through a mentoring program, and I appreciate -- he alsotold me that he was in the Cleveland Indians organization and new RockyColavito. Yes, pretty good. Obviously, we've got some baby boomershere. (Laughter.) A couple of things before we get to Social Security.One, I just talked to Laura this morning and she sends her best. Sheknew I was coming to Cedar Rapids; she said to say hello to everybodythere. (Applause.) She was calling from Afghanistan. She'd just goneover there and she was explaining to me how hopeful it was to have goneto a dormitory for women at a teacher's college. We helped build thatdormitory -- we, the people of America. Think about a society that hasgone from a Taliban-dominated society where, if you're a women andspoke your mind, you were taken to the public square and whipped, to afree society in which women are now being trained to be able to followtheir hearts and teach. That's the difference between tyranny andfreedom. And free societies -- (applause.) And free societies, it'simportant for people to know, free societies will be peacefulsocieties. Free societies in the part of the world that's desperate forfreedom sets a clear example to others that it's possible to be free.And it's -- I've been impressed by the protests in Beirut, Lebanon,where people are saying to Syria, get out of our country so we can be afree country and a democracy. (Applause.) I was impressed by the peopleof Iraq, who, in the face of car bombings and suiciders, said, we'regoing to defy these folks because we want to be free. And they voted inoverwhelming numbers for the first assembly, democratically-electedassembly in years. Freedom is on the march, which means peace is on themarch. And we shouldn't be surprised, because in America, we understandfreedom and we know freedom is not our gift to the world; freedom isthe Almighty God's gift to each man and woman in this world.(Applause.) And flying in, I saw a lot of people on tractors. It's agood sign. (Laughter.) But it reminded me about what is possible whenit comes to reasonable energy policy. See, one day I hope that thosetractors are planting fuel so we become less reliant on foreign sourcesof energy. (Applause.) We have got a significant problem. We're toodependent on energy sources from overseas, and it's beginning to showup at your gas pump. We need to think differently about energy. And nowis the time for Congress to pass an energy bill which encouragesconservation, encourages research and development so that biodiesel orethanol can work -- more likely work in our automobiles, encourages theresearch and development on hydrogen-powered automobiles. We've gotresearch and development going to FutureGen plants so that we can burncoal in a zero emissions way. In other words, now is the time to get abill passed to not only make us less dependent on foreign sources ofenergy, but to encourage new ways of using energy here in America. Nowis the time for Congress to act and get the bill to my desk.(Applause.) I could go on. Laura warned me, don't -- she said,sometimes you talk too much, and so make sure you keep it relativelyshort here. And I said, okay, I'll try and give it my best shot.Obviously, I haven't done a very good job. Let me talk about SocialSecurity. I'm talking about Social Security because I see a problem,and I believe the job of the President is to confront problems and notpass them on to future Presidents or future Congress. That's what Ithink you elected me for. (Applause.) First, I agree with Chuck when hesaid that Franklin Roosevelt did a good thing in creating the SocialSecurity system. Social Security has worked for a lot of people. It hasprovided a safety net for a lot of citizens. The problem is, there's ahole in the safety net for a generation which is coming up, and let metell you why. Let me -- I'll just put it in personal terms. There's alot of people like me getting ready to retire. We're called babyboomers. I turn 62 in 2008. It's a convenient year for me to retire, bythe way. (Laughter.) We are living longer than the previous generation.We have been promised more benefits than the previous generation. See,people ran for office saying, vote for me, I'm going to give you morebenefits if you put me in. So you've got a lot of baby boomers gettingready to retire who will be living longer years and promised morebenefits. That's part of the math. The other part of the math is thatthere are fewer workers paying for people like me. In 1950, there were16 workers paying into the system for every beneficiary, so you can seethe load wasn't that heavy. Today, it's 3.3 workers for everybeneficiary. Soon, it's going to be 2 workers. If you're a youngerperson going to community college here, you're going to have to pay alot of money out of your pocket to make sure I get the benefits I'mpromised unless we do something different. So the math has changed.The system is an important system, but it's got a hole in the safetynet. I say, the hole in the safety net for the younger workers becauseif you're somebody who's retired or near retired, somebody born priorto 1950, you don't have a thing to worry about. The promise will bekept. I don't care what the politics -- politicians say, I don't carewhat the propaganda says. The truth is, this government will keep itspromise to those people who are receiving their check today and thepromise to those who were prior to 1950. (Applause.) When the math haschanged like it is, the system starts going in the red pretty quickly.In 20 -- 2017, there's going to be more money going out than coming infor Social Security. By the way, we don't have a trust in SocialSecurity. It's called, pay-as-you-go. See, some people think there's aSocial Security trust where we've taken your money, and we've held itfor you, and then when you retire, we give it back to you. No, whathappens is we take your money, we pay money out for the promises forthose people who have retired, and if we've got anything left over, wespend it on things other than Social Security. That's just the way itworks. It's been working that way for a long period of time. And what'sleft are a pile of IOUs, paper. Now, as a pay-as-you-go system, whenyou've got a lot of people like me retiring, getting bigger benefits,living longer, with fewer people paying in, pretty soon the system goesinto the red. And it does in 2017. And every year thereafter, thesituation gets worse, and worse, and worse. To give you an example, in2027, the government is going to have to come up with $200 billion morethan that which is coming in in payroll taxes just to make thepromises. So you can see from that chart there, the situation in 2017gets bad, and it gets worse. Don't take my word for it. Take the wordof the Social Security trustees. They issued a report recently. It saidthe situation is worse than we thought. In 2017, the system starts togo in the red; worse every year after. And the longer we wait, theharder it's going to be for a younger workers to make up thedifference. So this is a generational issue. It's an issue thataffects not those of you who have retired, but it affects your childrenand your grandchildren. And the fundamental question is, do we have thewill in Washington, D.C. to take on the tough problems? I went infront of the Congress and I said, look, now is the time to act. And Ifully understand, I'm telling you, the longer we wait, the tougher it'sgoing to be on younger workers. And so I said, all ideas are on thetable. I said, if you've got a good idea, bring it forward. I don'tthink there's a Democrat idea, I don't think it's a Republican idea, Ithink these are just ideas that need to be on the table. I think I'mthe first President ever to have stood up and said, bring all yourideas forward. And that's an important message for members of bothpolitical parties to hear, that if you've got a good idea, we expectyou to be at the table; we expect you to bring it forward. We -- Iexpect you to bring it forward, but more importantly, the Americanpeople expect you to bring it forward. There's a lot of people who knowwe've got a problem when it comes to this issue, and now is the timefor people to act. (Applause.) And I think when they bring ideasforward, they've got to be with one thing in mind: fixing this issuepermanently. In 1983, Tip O'Neill, Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole said, we'vegot a problem, let's see if we can't fix it. And they put together a75-year fix, they said. First of all, I appreciate the spirit ofRepublicans and Democrats coming together. But it wasn't a 75-year fix.This was 1953. We're only in 2005. It wasn't a 75-year fix. If it was a75-year fix, I wouldn't be sitting here talking about it. Now is thetime, if we're going to come to the table, to do so and fix itpermanently. Mr. Chairman understands that, and he's told bothRepublicans and Democrats, if you think you've got a good idea, bringthem forward. And people need to understand that, that we want tolisten to good ideas. President Clinton has some ideas when he was thePresident. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan had some good ideas. As amatter of fact, in 2001, he was the Democrat Senator from New York,he'd retired; I asked him to serve on a commission to look at SocialSecurity. Republicans and Democrats came together and they came up withsome very interesting ideas to fix the problem permanently. They didn'tsit around the table and say, I'm not going to listen to your ideabecause you happen to be a Democrat, and I'm not going to listen toyour idea because you happen to be a Republican. They said, we have aduty and an obligation to come together and make recommendations to thePresident and the Congress, not based upon parties, but based upon whatwill work. And one of the ideas they brought forward, both Republicansand Democrats brought forward, is in order to make the system work foryounger workers, that they ought to -- we ought to allow youngerworkers to set aside some of their own money in a personal savingsaccount as part of the Social Security; in other words, a voluntaryprogram that says you should be allowed to take some of your own money-- after all, it is your payroll tax -- and put it aside in an accountof bonds and stocks. That's what you ought to be allowed to do. Now,this doesn't fix the system permanently, but it makes the system abetter deal for younger workers, and I'll tell you why. First aconservative mix of bonds and stocks earns a better rate of return onyour money than the money that's being held in the Social Security --by the government. And that's important for people to understand.(Applause.) And as that money earns, it is a compounding rate ofinterest. It grows. For example, you take a worker making $35,000 overhis or her lifetime, and say, for example, a third of the payrolltaxes, or 4 percent, were allowed to go into a personal savingsaccount, that the nest egg that person would own over time in aconservative mix of bonds and stocks would grow to $250,000, see. Thatwould be a nice part of a retirement package. There will be a SocialSecurity system that the government is going to pay you benefits. Ican't pay you how much until we get people together to the table. Butit will be augmented -- your Social Security plan, your benefits willbe augmented by the money coming out of your own account. In otherwords, money grows if you hold it over time. It's not growing right nowat a significant enough rate. It will grow if you're able to save it.Secondly, I like the idea of people owning something. I want morepeople owning something, not fewer people. There's this kind of notionthat this investor class in America only applies to a certain group ofpeople. That's not what I think. I think the more investors we have,the more owners we have in America, the better off America is. And Iwant to see ownership spread throu

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