So, according to the Feb. 16 editorial “Legislation in search of a problem,” stock buybacks aren’t a problem. Before 1982, stock buybacks were illegal or greatly limited. They were considered stock manipulation. And I’ve read many times that, before 1982, a significant share of profits went to research, investment and worker raises or benefits. No, it’s not just about “spare cash.” Corporations spend their profits, and many borrow money to buy back even more.

Matt O’Brien’s Feb. 17 Wonkblog analysis, “The economy has real problems. Stopping stock buybacks wouldn’t fix them.,” said that, since the most recent tax cut, $1.1 trillion has been spent on buybacks (one year), but little has been given in raises — mostly one-time, $1,000 bonuses — and little has been invested.

How many trillions have been spent in the 37 years since 1982? No taxes were paid on those trillions. Change the rules back, and make companies give their profits to shareholders and executives, and let them pay taxes on the trillions. Yes, there are other problems, but this is a problem.

Allen Ahearn, Silver Spring