Archive | December, 2009

Don’t trust them with your money!

20 Dec

I wrote a column for the student newspaper, but it is only in print right now.  Whenever it comes online, I will post it as a new report.  In the meantime, enjoy these news updates.

  • Invest smartly, we’re the experts – Nobel Prize winners in Economics don’t know how to invest their money.  One professor won for telling people they should diversify their investment portfolios.  Naturally, he didn’t.  Neither do the other winners.  If these eggheads can’t get it right, how should we expect average Americans to make very complicated decisions about retirement?  Or health care?  Sometimes choice is a bad thing, and the customer isn’t always right.  And the experts preach what they can’t practice.
  • Taking back what the rich “nonprofits” won’t give – The city of Pittsburgh is cursed with having very rich nonprofit organizations that bring employment and jobs to the city but no tax money.  Pittsburgh has to still provide city services like fire, emergency, and police services to these wealthy nonprofits and has to deal with the nonprofits eroding the tax base by buying up profitable business and properties and making them non-taxable.  If you remember my account about nonprofit hospitals, you’ll remember that the University of Pittsburgh is the worst.  The solution?  The city demanded that the 10 colleges contribute or face a 1% tuition tax.  I am broadly sympathetic with the city’s plight, but I am not sure taxing students is the best way to get money out of the colleges.  Still, any organization paying millions to its CEO and not paying taxes is suspicious.
  • Let’s combine the stories – Perhaps the worst idea would be to get economics professors at rich universities to dabble in investing.  Perennial Clinton hack and good-for-nothing bigmouth Lawrence Summers ran Harvard in his post-Clinton Administration years.  After he ran out a famous African-America studies professor for making a rap album and engaging too much with the public, he jumped into managing the Harvard endowment.  As Treasury Secretary, he believed he had invented a brave new world of finance where the Ivy League school could muck it up with the most garbage of financial instruments and make a killing year after year.  Post-recession score? Endowments are down 17% nationally, but Harvard lost 30%.  No free cookies anymore for the poor professors.

Perhaps it is inbred “brilliance” like this that keeps Lawrence Summers on as Barack Obama’s chief economic adviser.  Or his wise comment that we should export toxic waste and pollution to Africa because they have lower life expectancies there anyway.  With jerks like that in charge of America, is it any surprise that the climate change negotiations failed?

Advertisements