Democrats look to divert more money to liberal causes
Spending other people’s money is what the left does best, so it’s no surprise congressional Democrats would come up with a scheme to bankroll pet causes with cash from retirees. In 2009, the Democratic-controlled Congress passed a law encouraging the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) to come up with new investment options. Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, Virginia Democrat, wanted to know whether greenbacks could be steered toward “socially responsible” firms.
That would be a bad idea, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) concluded in a report released Thursday. About 4.5 million federal employees have $308 billion in the government’s 401(k)-style retirement program, which allows employees to put their assets into several index funds that vary in potential risk and return.
One fund invests in Treasury securities, offering the least risk. Another invests in bonds and other asset-backed securities. The most popular option tracks the Standard and Poor’s 500 Index, investing not in any one particular firm but in the broader market.
“Socially-responsible” patronage directs dollars toward firms that meet criteria laid out in the United Nations document, “Principles for Responsible Investment.” These values are kept vague for obvious reasons, but in practice the idea is to set up a system to reward corporations for such things as speaking out against the evils of global warming, promoting alternate lifestyles and “contributing to their community” with donations to liberal causes. There’s no room for anyone involved in, say, nuclear power or national defense.
The Thrift Savings Plan surveyed its members and found there was no demand for a socially responsible fund. In other private-sector retirement programs that did offer a save-the-polar-bears option, as few as 0.5 percent of members chose it. When people are in control of their own money, they’re not looking to hug a tree — they’re looking to get the best bang for their buck.