Saturday, May 7, 2011

Milken Reports: PEU's Savior for Pension Plans

Private equity underwriters (PEU's) believe they're the answer to America's retirement woes.  They said so at the annual Milken Conference, according to Reuters:

Several private equity executives at the Milken powwow contended that both defined contribution and defined benefit plans could reverse their funding deficits by pouring investment money into "alternative" investment classes, including hedge and private equity funds.

David Rubenstein, a private equity executive who co-founded the Carlyle Group, said "more and more money is likely to go into private equity, particularly public pension funds."
Crank up the risk, crank up the reward.  Pay no attention to PEU's role in the froth, which Rubenstein analogized to sex.  

Milken Institute's promo stated:

Major equity investors will forecast where the markets are headed, military and intelligence leaders will assess global risk, and Nobel laureates will predict the future of medical science. That's all in addition to scores of sessions on finance, education, government, media, regions and industries.
Milken PEU speakers I've cited over the years include:

Milken Institute hosted panels to make sense of the latest headlines.  They include::

From Revolution to Rebuilding, discussing the economic impacts of the profound political shifts occurring in the Middle East
The Future of Organized Labor, debating how the events in Wisconsin and other states may affect unions
The New Economics of Food, outlining the dramatic rise in prices and what might happen next

Times are tough for most people.  Americans spend more of their income on health care, health insurance, gasoline, and food, or they do without.  Citizens are asked to fund a greater share of their retirement, partly because major equity investors don't want to meet pension obligations or pay more taxes.  PEU's wish to pay less in worker benefits and taxes.  How might they accomplish such?  .Fascism, where corporations and the state are effectively one.

It's been said that democracy is messy – but today it seems downright cumbersome, too. The United States seems stuck in neutral on pressing issues such as ending our addiction to foreign oil, rebuilding our infrastructure or transforming our schools. Meantime, China is building vast new projects and implementing policy shifts seemingly overnight. But its speed and decisiveness often come at the expense of individual rights and the environment, and its state-run system has monumental challenges to overcome. India, the world's most populous democracy, has economic potential to match China's. But can its government pull off the massive infrastructure improvements and bureaucratic reforms needed to maintain growth? Can European democracies deal with the increasing costs of their more robust socialist safety net? Which approach will carry the day? Which nations have models and results worth examining? Can participatory democracy respond quickly enough to a world where change moves at lightning speed?   . 

That the promo for a Milken panel titled:  "Are Democratic Governments Up to Meeting 21st-Century Challenges?"  Watch for yourself.