The great con

The great con job is on again. With your taxpayer dollars. And if you are in the state pension system, it is with your retirement dollars.

The con is pretty much the same as the con the mobsters pull with union pension dollars.

The con is this. The comptroller in New York City (the job Elliott Spitzer thirsts for) invests the money of the city workers’ pension fund. The comptroller for New York State invests the money of the state workers’ pension fund. The money in the funds comes from the workers. And from the taxpayers.

The pols have rigged the system. They have given all the power to invest the money to one guy. A politician. The comptroller. In the city this is control over $140 billion. In the state it is control over $160 billion.

This is why power-hungry politicians like Spitzer lust for the job.

Here is the real world: When you are the guy who invests all that money, people lick your shoes. They want you to give them some of the bucks to manage. In their investment firms. They are politicians who want you to bestow some of the bucks to companies in their districts. They want you to give to - “invest” bucks in - their favorite causes. And in the ventures of their buddies.

In return, they donate money to your campaign coffers. They give jobs to your cousins. They kiss your backside in dozens of ways. They may even slip some money into your pockets. A recent state comptroller is in jail for shenanigans of this sort.

Here is the real world: When you are the guy who invests billions you get to play hero. You get to bully companies (whose stock your fund owns). If you like green causes, you promote companies who do what you like. You punish companies who do not. By withdrawing investments.

The current state comptroller, Tom DiNapoli uses pension bucks to pressure companies. To increase benefits for same-sex couples who they employ. A state comptroller pulled investment bucks from companies that made guns.

In various ways, the comptroller is like a king. He uses the pension fund billions to wield power and influence.

Don’t believe me? Here is Spitzer on TV recently. “That is where the power really comes from,” he said. Billions to push companies around. To get them to what he perceives is the public good.

The problem is two fold. First, he may love a certain cause. He may plump for it. But a lot of the folks who contributed to the pension fund don’t agree with him. So he is doing the pushing and shoving with their money. This is like the teacher union bosses giving teachers’ contributions to Democrat candidates. When lots of the teachers are Republicans or Independents.

The second problem is that the comptroller is supposed to get the best return on this money. That is all. He is supposed to invest it in ways that will keep it relatively safe. And in ways that earn good returns. Period.

Ah, but pols smell the money. They smell the power. They rig things so that a single politician gets to invest the billions. (Instead of, say, a board of trustees.) And they use other people’s money to advance their own self-serving goals.

In this respect they are no different than mobsters who got their hands on Teamsters pension funds. We called those guys crooks. We call these crooks comptrollers.

Believe me, there ain’t no difference. They are engaged in a massive con. With your money.

This ought to be outlawed. But the guys who write the laws are the guys who benefit from the con.

From in Morgan.

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