Let me summarize this NRO article by Deroy Murdock: Democratic (specifically, Barack Obama’s) rhetoric about Bain Capital has not particularly stopped Democratic-aligned organizations from investing with it. This includes groups like government employee pension funds ($1.56 billion since 2008), universities ($at least 425 million between 1998-2008), ‘center-left foundations and cultural establishments’… and my personal favorite: the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CSTRS), which has invested $1.25 billion with Bain Capital. And I want to highlight what CSTRS told the Boston Globe about why:
A spokesman for the system, Ricardo Duran, says in an e-mail that its fiduciary duty to 856,000 members and their families is paramount. “With that as a backdrop,” he says, “the scrutiny generated by a heated election year matters less than the performance the portfolio generates to the fund.” And private equity, Duran says, has been the best-performing asset class in the system’s portfolio over the past 24 years.
CSTRS has quite a few problems, you see. To begin with, it is apparently underfunded to the tune of $65 billion*; couple that with the news that they’re poised to take a bath from the Facebook IPO disaster (the fallout of which is poised to wreck California’s day in general [N/T: @BenHowe]) and you’ll understand why the fund has no intention of divesting from Bain. CSTRS has 14% of its assets invested in private equity: these days, its managers probably wish that they had more. And that in general is why Democratic anti-Bain rhetoric is going to stay just that: rhetoric. Business is business, and too many Democratic-leaning organizations and entities need private equity companies (explicitly including Bain) around and in business in order to keep said organizations and entities afloat.
All of which is at least mildly annoying for those of us over at the VRWC: but at least we’re not progressives who are currently imbibing the anti-Bain venom. Those people have to tie themselves into knots to avoid noticing how cynically they’re being emotionally manipulated by their slumlord masters in the Democratic party. For that matter, they also have to tie themselves into knots to avoid noticing how pathetically they’re working to enable their own hoodwinking.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
*Numbers derived as follows: this story reports that CSTRS and the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) are underfunded by about $165 billion, and this story puts CalPERS’ unfunded liabilities at $100 billion.