“During melting markets, all pension funds come under siege.”
I’m quoting from a February article by John Entine. This Reason magazine cover story is entitled “The Next Catastrophe,” and, like so many things these days, it’s scary. Entine explains how fragile pension funds can become when markets collapse.
Regular listeners know that I’ve been worried about what we might call the Ultimate Catastrophe. Increasing demands on Social Security and other entitlement programs, like Medicare, added to never-ending deficit spending, threaten to bankrupt the nation.
But Entine looks at a different economic crisis. He points out that all pension funds can become unhinged in chaotic markets. Old news. What’s new? Well, many government and union pension funds began taking riskier stances regarding stock investing a few decades ago. And with greater risk comes You Know What.
Worse yet, many funds have been hijacked by well-meaning do-gooders, investing in “socially responsible” causes rather than reasonably run profitable companies. These funds are worth over $2 trillion. That is, they are until their fundamentals prove weak or worse, and they go down, down, down.
As with the mortgage markets, it seems that pension management has undergone a huge paradigm shift, away from security and savvy, towards . . . nonsense.
Things are not looking up, up, up.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.