Monday :: Feb 7, 2005

Kalifornia a test case for Privatization

by Duckman GR

I've been brooding on this subject for a while now, a couple of months anyway, but now that State Treasurer Phil Angelides has this op ed in the LA Times, I gotta go forth.

Peel back the budget wrapping on his plan, though, and you will find the governor's real agenda: the California prong of a national attack on the pension funds that have stood up for corporate reform and the interests of ordinary families and investors hurt by the recent wave of corporate scandal.

HairGrowthClub for Men says:

Moore calls such actions a "witch hunt against corporate excess and corporate accounting scandals," as if the abuses at companies like Enron, WorldCom and Tyco had never happened.

Some other bastard,

denigrates the corporate reform efforts as "straying from bottom line of the benefit of members."

But protecting the bottom line for members is precisely the goal of the corporate reform movement. ... When scandal hits those markets, the pension funds — made up of taxpayers, teachers, police and firefighters — get hurt. CalPERS and the teachers retirement fund lost more than $1 billion in the WorldCom and Enron frauds.

[my bolds throughout]

Angelides is talking about the schwarzenngrabber's call to privatize CalPERS, the largest public pension fund in the Nation with some $180 BILLION in funds to manage. And guess what? They make money.

So what is the gop up to?

It would seem that they really are out to destroy public governance and replace it with Corporate Governance, with a pablum overlay of Holy Rollerism for good measure. Yeah, that’ll work. Businesses go out of business, declare bankruptcy, fuck up, or just get plain out competed, just like government. What do you think war is, but the abject failure of reason and propriety.

Why CalPERS though?

They seem pretty well run, “This rating validates that CalPERS is a healthy, strong retirement system and a great investment for California,” said Mark Anson, CalPERS Chief Investment Officer, and actually makes money, get this, “CalPERS 10-year average rate of return of 8.5 percent further supports its actuarial assumptions." and doesn’t have the funding considerations of Social Security, yet with all that, why does Arnold want to change it from something successful to something else?

Could it be…... this?

“CalPERS, concerned with the auto industry's decisions to file a lawsuit rather than comply with California regulations calling for cleaner cars, has asked its staff to invite the auto companies to come to Sacramento to explain their reasoning.”

In related actions, CalPERS Board voted to reduce energy consumption in its $8.7 billion core real estate portfolio by 20 percent over the next five years.

Or ... this?

Citing concerns about the market fallout from the Vioxx uproar and the safety of drugs, CalPERS is ratcheting up its pressure to solve the issue on its investment and health fronts.

CalPERS has sent letters to several drug companies demanding answers about how they will restore and retain shareholder value.


CalPERS is also taking issue with Merck's reported severance benefits plan to protect key managers if the company is taken over or liquidated.

"The timing of the plan leaves the impression that your highest priority is protecting the economics of the management team rather than the owner," Anson said.

Or ... this?

The CalPERS Board of Administration voted today to officially oppose privatizing the U.S. Social Security System.

"Privatizing Social Security is a bad idea," said Sean Harrigan, President of CalPERS Board of Administration. "It is bad from a fiscal perspective because it will contribute $2 trillion to our national budget deficit. It is bad from an investment perspective because defined benefit plans are more prudently managed, produce higher risk-adjusted rates of return and are less costly to administer. And it is bad for retirees because privatized accounts will transfer all of the risk to the participant while jeopardizing their retirement security."


Anson also said that top mutual funds can charge twice as much for investment operation expenses than defined benefit plans like CalPERS.

Ding ding ding, Winner, WINNER, Winner!! Could this be it? That CalPERS is responsible, productive, and works for the long term good, not just of their pensioners, but everyone that is touched by their system? That they recognize that you can’t run on a purely capitalistic system of everyone for themselves because this leads to system failures and overloads, to war and privation, despair and depression? That when businesses compete there ARE winners and losers, but society must still deal with the losers? That businesses are the biggest abusers of the court systems and the greatest practitioners of frivolous lawsuits? That when Merck cranks out Vioxx knowing it is dangerous but not disclosing those risks, or when Ford cranks out the ever popular Exploding Pinto, and people fucking die to preserve those corporate profits, that society is wrongfully paying a price, and has been disserved by those that purport to be honest and reputable and concerned with the public interest.

Can there be any better example of the potential malfeasance that corporate governance can produce then the enron case. As more and more tapes and e-mails come to light, as the scope of the abuses is revealed, it only becomes self evident that something is horribly wrong with this idea that the gop is enraptured with, that privatization will solve all problems.

When the goppers decry states rights and how the states know best, then try to impose a one size fits all fundamental scheme like privatization, you just know that there’s something else rotting beneath their foundation planks.

Greed. Envy. Lust. Pride. Gluttony. Anger. Sloth. In no particular order.

I’m still pissed off at the CA Dems for their response to the Recall, and now the goppers get to replace the Sec of State who put the kibosh on the voting machines, and this CalPERS crap is further evidence. There is no good that comes from the republicans, none. They hate California, they hate government, they hate blacks and browns and Jews and Muslims and Atheists and the French, but oh, they love their killin.’

They are waging an all out assault on any and all that get in their way; lawyers, honest brokers, the press, academia, politicians, Democrats, bloggers, you name ‘em, they hate ‘em.

I can’t think of any reasons why rational and informed people would support a policy that would aim to destroy a public trust that actually works and does what it’s supposed to do, yet they do. (I know, I know, rational and informed, and gop rank and file=oxymoron) That’s what arnold wants to do. You think that this CalPERS assault was his idea? You think the Kennedy’s and Shrivers put him up to it? Could this be payback time for giving him the Govenorship of the 7th largest economy in the world?

We are indeed in a state of war. The Democrats better start realizing en masse that it ain't the terrorists they need to worry about, but the corporatists, aka fascists. Not their tools the fundies, but the boys with all the money.

This is a clash of governing systems, one founded in the streets of Boston and Princeton and Philadelphia and Yorktown, the other on Wall Street and K Street. One of the people and for the people, the other for the corporations and their boards of directors. That's why the middle way of the DLC is so pernicious, because it's a false trail that leads right back to the boardrooms.

We can and must do better. Having DR. Gov. Dean heading the DNC is a start. Getting 36 Senators to vote against alberto "just following orders" gonzales is a step forward. Getting rid of joementum would be another step. We can't afford these backstabbers and cowards, and it behooves us to call 'em out, put up, or shut up. I don't agree that we shouldn't be shooting fellow Democrats. They're deadwood, they need to go. They aren't doing the Democrats any good, in fact they do more harm than good by giving cover to the enemy, confuse the people, cloud the issues, give ammo to the goppers.

Every Democrat that voted for this effing tool in Sacramento should be working double to make amends, for he is a serious impediment to saving our democracy. We have a lot of resources in CA, but spending them on fighting arnolds issues isn't helping the national picture.

Gee, could that me reason number 5,347 why having a slithering rat bastard in the Governorship of California is a bad thing for democracy?

Duckman GR :: 3:24 PM :: Comments (6) :: Digg It!