What’s our job again?

From the fiddling while Rome burns file. . . State pension fund managers, mostly union leaders and other Democrats, are increasingly using their control of large investment portfolios as a political weapon. As one article puts it, “Blue-state pension funds act to balance GOP control in Washington.” A recent LA Times article reveals the latest move, the CA pension system pressing car makers to make more alternative fuel vehicles. How ironic that the day before the Sacramento Bee noted that, “Despite warnings that the risky hedge fund industry is nearing a bubble, the mammoth California Public Employees’ Retirement System is forging ahead in the Wild West of the investment world,” by doubling its investment in hedge funds. Guess they are too busy saving the world by opposing our democratically elected leaders policies to bother with pesky things like fiduciary responsibility. CalPERS already took a bath in the dotcom bubble, leading to grave fiscal problems and pushing the crisis down to local governments whose pension systems are part of CalPERS. Those losses, combined with government officials running amok in increasing pension benefits is leading to fiscal crises all over the place. For example in Oakland, Fresno, and plenty of others, according news reports (a nice CalTax article on it here.) And it isn’t just California, similar problems are popping up all over.