“The siege of America’s public-fund money really began nearly 40 years ago, in 1974, when Congress passed the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, or ERISA. In theory, this sweeping regulatory legislation was designed to protect the retirement money of workers with pension plans.” Matt Taibbi, Looting the Pension Funds, Rolling Stone, September 26th
Hedge funds geniuses are in the news again and at first glance you would say for very different reasons. Until you peel the onion further and find those tears streaming down your face (“You’ve been hoodwinked, led astray, run amok…we didn’t come over on the Pinta or the Santa Maria…we didn’t land on Plymouth Rock, Plymouth Rock landed on us!”)
Steve Cohen of SAC Advisers is working on settling security boo-boos by giving up (1) a significant amount of money to the government and (2) the ability to manage other people’s money. This deal will still allow him to keep somewhere between $8-$12 billion of his own for managing. John Arnold, who worked at Enron then started his own fund, funneled $10 million to keep the nation’s Head Start educational program afloat during the political shut down. Than there is Rhode Island Democrat treasurer Gina Raimondo who caused quite a stir by tying up the state money in, so far, low performing funds while taxpayers pay exorbitant fees for the privilege.
Do me a favor…the next time your with a local politician that says the state can’t afford pensions currently on the books ask a simple one word question: WHY? What you won’t hear is how state officials have used pension funds as their own piggy banks, while at the same time neglecting their duties to pay into people’s life savings. What you also won’t hear is to what degree the anointed billionaires, like Arnold, plays a role in reconstructing pension rights. Taibbi’s piece exposes this sickness pretty well but for the life of me it’s hard to comprehend how a vehicle that many workers have contributed to every time she or he is paid wages suddenly vanishes (or we’re told is no longer solvent) as if by magic. Yet this same crowd is able to take home hundred of millions of dollars in compensation.
Arnold’s foray into education highlights the biggest problem with American inequality. The few pay themselves zillions than use those funds to influence and corrupt policy makers, which negatively affects the lives of many.
Some folks believe you can buy your way into or out of anything.
Maybe, maybe not…
Legacy however is built on the total life, not a single act.
“Signed…An Educated Brother!“