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September 17, 2003

CALPERS: Don't Use Fund to Fire Beneficiaries

California Public Employees' Retirement System (CALPERS), the nation's largest pension fund, had decided to look into restricting investments in companies that take over government services and thus could put some of CalPERS 1.4 million members out of work.

What a concept-- not using peoples pension money to get them fired. Seems like a pretty common sense idea that my pension savings as an employee should not be used to fund my own unemployment.

But critics think that CALPERS should sacrifice its beneficiaries' jobs "for the good of the taxpayer". See this editorial by the Sacramento Bee:

The PERS broad, dominated by public employee unions, has a fiduciary responsibility to safeguard retirement funds of PERS members. But they have a responsibility to protect taxpayers as well.
Why should public employees have to bail out the taxpayers at the sacrifice of their jobs using funds for their own retirement? Why do they have a "fiduciary" duty to screw themselves, while the wealthy aren't asked to step up and pay more taxes?

It doesn't even make good economic sense. Privatization often takes jobs out-of-state and even out-of-country, further eroding job creation.

CALPERS is serving both taxpayers and its own retirees by refusing to fund privatization of public service jobs.

But watch something-- the same people who throw around the rhetoric of privatizing social security so retirees can "control their own money" will be the same people saying public employees in California should not be able to decide where their pension money is invested.

Posted by Nathan at September 17, 2003 01:49 PM