Wednesday, June 06, 2007

When Pro is bad and Con is Bad do we have to compromise on Badder?

I opted for the defined contribution plan, so I have no money being managed by the public pension funds who are the subject of HB115. I will tell you this: I think that asking the fund managers to voluntarily divest 50% of their current holdings in energy companies doing business in Iran and Sudan is one of the absolute most wrongest solutions I can imagine.

The fund managers are supposed to have the single job of growing the assets of the fund. The legislature should let them do that, or mandate that they divest completely, or mandate exactly how a partial divestment should work, and take responsibility for the positive and negative consequences of that decision. I don't want a hypothetical future Husted claiming that 'OPERS would have performed better if they had simply divested themselves of the "right" energy companies', or hear a similar hypothetical future Mandel claiming that OPERS was 'subverting the intent by not divesting itself of the "worst offenders."'

Do you know what seems like a better idea? Let the people whose money is in the system hold a referendum on HB115 as written. Public employees are going to be a lot more willing to vote their conscience and pull their own investments than they will be to watch the legislature set a precedent that allows their families' futures to be used as political points (or that's my guess, quickly could OCSEA/OEA/SEIU, etc. poll a representative sample of members?). I'd be for letting the people to whom fiduciary duty is owed decide to release their fund managers from that duty in explicitly circumscribed ways.

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