Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Standing on Principle

James J. Florio’s autobiography touches upon what is important to the 49th governor of New Jersey making it easy to read (and skip) chapters. Here are the parts of interest to me:

Continue reading

Labor’s Last Best Weapon: Lying

From the front flap of The Rise of the Working-Class Shareholder: Labor’s Last Best Weapon:

David Webber uses cases such as Safeway’s to shine a light on labor’s most potent remaining weapon: its multitrillion-dollar pension funds. Outmaneuvered at the bargaining table and under constant assault in Washington, state houses, and the courts, worker organizations are beginning to exercise muscle through markets. Shareholder activism has been used to divest from anti-labor companies, gun makers, and tobacco; diversify corporate boards; support Occupy Wall Street; force global warming onto the corporate agenda; create jobs; and challenge outlandish CEO pay. Webber argues that workers have found in labor’s capital a potent strategy against their exploiters. He explains the tactic’s surmountable difficulties even as he cautions that corporate interests are already working to deny labor’s access to this powerful and underused tool.

I can’t speak to the first seven chapters of the book but that last chapter (The Retirement “Crises” and the Future of Labor’s Capital) makes the case that the pension crisis is a fraud perpetrated on the public by “billionaire conservative activists Charles and David Koch and their organization Americans for Prosperity, as well as Enron billionaire John Arnold and his Laura and John Arnold Foundation (LJAF) and other allies [who] are determined to reform public pension funds in ways that would destroy labor’s shareholder activism.” (page 213).

To that claptrap of a chapter I can speak.

Continue reading

How Do I Tax Thee

Subtitled “A field guide to the Great American Rip-Off” by Kristin Tate the book serves as a primer on various ways governments raise money for their own benefit with several examples hitting home.

Continue reading

Politics in New Jersey

Open Borrowing got me back to checking out books from the Morris County Library for the first time since my wallet was stolen at the Montclair YMCA about twenty years ago and the card I had been using, possibly illegally, for years without renewing was lost forever. Excerpts from that first checkout which, based on my experience, remain relevant:

Continue reading

Public Pensions, Secret Investments

A new book by Chris Tobe, CFA examines ‘alternative’ investments primarily in the retirement system of Kentucky with chapters on Rhode Island and North Carolina and reports that fees are much higher then they let on though a lot remains intentionally hidden.

Excerpts follow:

Continue reading

Fire and Fury

Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff is still difficult to borrow from libraries around here but I stumbled upon it at Roselle and made it to page 255 before it became too TMZy. These are the excerpts that I found interesting….

Continue reading

Beyond the 401(k)

A marketing book for cash balance plans that came out in 2010 geared for financial advisors with some questionable assertions* but also some helpful excerpts (some for my clients) including on pension history:

Continue reading