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Robert Toll, Robber Baron

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Extending Cash-for-Clunkers to housing market could bankrupt the US -- and make Toll a very rich man.

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Caroline Baum sent me the following Bloomberg clips:

14:58 *TOLL BROTHERS CHIEF ROBERT TOLL MAKES COMMENTS ON CONF CALL
14:57 *CASH FOR CLUNKERS FOR HOUSING MARKET WOULD JUMPSTART ECONOMY
14:57 *CASH FOR CLUNKERS FOR HOUSING MARKET IS "NO BRAINER," TOLL SAYS
14:57 *US SHOULD DO "CASH FOR CLUNKERS" FOR HOUSING, TOLL SAYS

Caroline also had this comment on the record that I heartily endorse: "Yeah, no brainer. You have to have no brains to think this is the answer!"

For more on the brainless nature of such proposals please see Government Bailouts and the Stock Market -- The Seen and the Unseen.

One might wonder if Robert Toll is really as brain-dead as he sounds, or if he's simply speaking about what's good for Robert Toll, not the economy.

A Timely Exodus


Inquiring minds are reading Before the Bust, These CEOs Took Money Off the Table.
"Fifteen corporate chieftains of large home-building and financial-services firms each reaped more than $100 million in cash compensation and proceeds from stock sales during the past 5 years, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis. Four of those executives, including the heads of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and Bear Stearns Cos. ran companies that have filed for bankruptcy protection or seen their share prices fall more than 90% from their peak.

"The study, which examined filings at 120 public companies in such sectors as banking, mortgage finance, student lending, stock brokerage, and home building, showed that top executives and directors of the firms cashed out a total of more than $21 billion during the period.

"Some experts say huge paydays inevitably coincide with economic booms. In the tech bubble of the late 1990s, more than 50 individuals each made more than $100 million from selling shares just prior to the crash. Many had just founded companies that had never turned a profit.
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