This from Barry Ritholtz is just stunning. Over the past four years, more than 100% of reported earnings has gone into either dividends or stock buybacks. In other words, collectively the companies in the S&P 500 cannot think of a better way to invest money in a way that will produce more money for shareholders than simply giving the money directly to shareholders. This is, I think, a very powerful sign that the U.S. economy hasn't been able to come up with anything to do that is particularly productive. Hopefully a shift in government policy will help change that.