Stock buybacks have hit record levels - but what's driving the growth is dangerous for you and our economy.
Total stock buybacks for 2014 amounted to $696 billion, or 4% of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP), according to Research Affiliates. That's a lot spent on a practice that used to be tightly regulated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission because it was considered manipulative.
You see, even though they're common now, buybacks are manipulative. They make sense for some companies, but now they're often used to inflate stock prices - and make executives rich.
In fact, most of today's stock buybacks are not only unproductive for the long-term health of corporations, but destructive in terms of economic growth.