Silly Taxpayers! Only Government Should Invest in Gun Companies!

So, we've already established that the gun-hating government of New York has spent nearly $6 million in taxpayer money to subsidize the New York-based Remington Arms Co., which manufactures the politician-hated Bushmaster rifle used in the Newtown school shooting. We know that New York is part of a group of states (including Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Oklahoma) that has doled out more than $19 million in subsidies and targeted tax breaks to gun manufacturers over the past decade.

In between gifting gunmakers and trying to outlaw their products (or I should say, their competitors' products; we can always carve out exception for hometown factories, amirite Joe Lieberman?), politicians are now pressuring state-run pension funds to disinvest from gun manufacturers, and even using their bully pulpits to shame the banks that lend to them. From the New York Times:

Fresh from persuading a $5 billion pension fund in Chicago to divest from companies that make firearms, the city’s mayor, Rahm Emanuel, on Thursday urged the chief executives of two major banks to stop financing companies "that profit from gun violence."

Mr. Emanuel sent letters to TD Bank, which provides a $60 million credit line to Smith & Wesson, and to Bank of America, which provides a $25 million line to Sturm, Ruger & Company, asking the C.E.O.'s to push the companies to "find common ground with the vast majority of Americans who support a military weapons and ammunition ban." [...]

New York State's big public pension fund and California's fund for teachers have already frozen or divested their gun holdings, and California's fund for other public workers, known as Calpers, is expected to take up the issue in February.

New York City's public advocate has put pressure on banks and investment firms by ranking their gun holdings by size and calling the companies with the 12 biggest stakes the Dirty Dozen.

"Elected leaders understand that this is a tool of government with huge ramifications," said the public advocate, Bill de Blasio, who is a trustee of the city's $45 billion pension fund.

This is precisely why we need to give the Bill de Blasios of the world smaller "tools." The more government takes, regulates, and manages your money, the more it is guaranteed to offend your values, often in the name of protecting them. And the more it is likely to squander the money in question.

As Jon Entine wrote in a prescient February 2009 Reason cover story,

State, local, and private pension plans covering millions of government employees and union workers with "defined benefit" accounts are teetering on the brink of implosion, victims of both a sinking stock market and investment strategies influenced by political considerations. [...]

Traditionally, public investments and union-based corporate pension funds were managed according to strict fiduciary principles designed to protect workers and taxpayers. For the most part they invested in safe government securities, such as bonds or U.S. Treasury bills. Professional managers oversaw the funds with little political interference.

But during the last 30 years, state pension funds began playing the market, putting their money into riskier and riskier securities—first stocks, corporate bonds, and foreign investments, then real estate, private equity firms, and hedge funds. Concurrently, baby boomers whose politics were forged in the 1960s and ’70s began using those pension funds to advance their social visions. Investments designed for the long-term welfare of retirees began to evolve into a political hammer. [...]

Despite much hype to the contrary, socially responsible stocks, as measured by major broad-based SRI stock funds, have significantly underperformed the market this decade, and some of the most aggressive pension funds that use "responsible" screens—such as the California Public Employees' Retirement System—have taken some of the largest hits.

"Investing in socially responsible stocks just because they are socially responsible is not—underline not—a valid investment thesis," says Steven Pines, a senior investment consultant for Northern Trust. Many of the largest socially responsible mutual funds, including a leading benchmark, the Domini Social Index, have been laggards for years. The Sierra Club's high-profile social fund, which had regularly trailed the benchmark S&P 500 index by about 6 percent a year, liquidated in December, a victim of its poor performance record. As recently as last November, 76 out of the 91 socially responsible stock funds were underperforming the Dow, according to the investment research company Morningstar.

Want to invest in companies that reflect and uphold your values? Fine, invest in companies that reflect and uphold your values. Just don't invest mine.

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  • ||

    find common ground with the vast majority of Americans who support a military weapons and ammunition ban

    [citation needed]

  • Agammamon||

    Can someone tell them that their goal has already been achieved - that military weapons are already banned.

  • sarcasmic||

    There you go thinking that standards apply equally.

    You need citations for your assertions.

    Liberals do not.

  • R C Dean||

    I'm curious:

    Is he talking about banning ammo in toto, or only military ammo?

    If the latter, would that be only the military loads, or would he ban all ammo in calibers used by the military?

    Because the military uses 12 gauge shotguns, and I would dearly love to see that ban pass.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    The first part of creating a black market is getting in on the action.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    ...urged the chief executives of two major banks to stop financing companies "that profit from gun violence."

    There are a lot of people profiting from gun violence these days. Our money, as much as legislation and regulation, is a great tool for our betters to use against us.

  • Drake||

    companies "that profit from gun violence."

    Doctor's and hospitals?

  • Rick Santorum||

    Doctor's and hospitals?

    The media, Democrats, progressives, and government busybodies.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Ding.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    The FOP?

  • Killazontherun||

    The spouse of a California senator?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Oh, snap.

  • R C Dean||

    I'm guessing not a single company profits from gun violence.

    I mean, is that a line item in their financials? An operational division? What?

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Might be hard to explain that on your annual statement to the SEC.

  • Atanarjuat||

    Actually, gun companies profit from reducing gun violence, since increasing rates of law-abiding firearm ownership correlate with a lower crime rate.

  • LarryA||

    So now who are they going to invest in who is making a profit?

  • TheZeitgeist||

    I wonder if they hate the gun company when it spits out Phallic Amplifiers to all their little jack-booted minions dressed up ready to play Soldier over a bag of dope? God, I hate politicians.

  • Tim||

    These targeted companies should refuse to sell "assault weapons" to the various states and cities pushing this crap. Let them all go back to revolvers.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    That would be good - no sales to the Chicago PD. Maybe they would have to go out to a gun show and get their arms, heh heh.

  • Tim||

    OT
    Khan in the news

    The Weather Channel has named a winter storm system moving through southeast and mid-Atlantic states on Friday "Khan."


    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....51143.html

  • LTC(ret) John||

    It gave the Atlantic Seaboard SNOW!

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Fresh from persuading a $5 billion pension fund in Chicago to divest from companies that make firearms, the city’s mayor, Rahm Emanuel, on Thursday urged the chief executives of two major banks to stop financing companies "that profit from gun violence."

    The only appropriate response to the is, "You mind your business, and let me worry about mine."

  • Alex||

    It's not that they oppose guns, it's that they oppose anyone but the government having them.

  • Enough About Palin||

    This can't be said enough.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    "Elected leaders understand that this is a tool of government with huge ramifications," said the public advocate, Bill de Blasio, who is a trustee of the city's $45 billion pension fund.

    And yet, they get all bent out of shape when the real mafia does it.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    For the most part they invested in safe government securities, such as bonds or U.S. Treasury bills.

    Haha, can you say, "Thanks, Ben!"?

  • sarcasmic||

    Government run agencies "investing" in government debt.

    What could possibly go wrong?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Well, they said they don't want to invest in organizations profiting from gun violence, and Uncle Sam is at the top of the list.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    This is precisely why we need to give the Bill de Blasios of the world smaller "tools."

    If Bill de Blasio's tool were any smaller, he'd need a microscope to find it.

  • JW||

    Fresh from persuading a $5 billion pension fund in Chicago to divest from companies that make firearms, the city’s mayor, Rahm Emanuel, on Thursday urged the chief executives of two major banks to stop financing companies "that profit from gun violence."

    I think they could easily and happily stop paying their taxes. Unless Mr. Crisis meant something else.

  • Longtorso||

    I just canceled my Groupon membership over their dropping gun related groupons. Their response:

    Thank you for taking the time to reach out to us.

    We understand that this is a sensitive topic, and that some of our customers may not agree with our choice to pause the promotion of firearm-related deals. Groupon has always aimed to offer a diverse range of products and services to meet the various tastes and interests of our subscribers. However, at this time, enough customers and merchants have voiced their opinions that we believe a hiatus is warranted.

    Please note that we have never sold guns, and this hiatus only applies to firearm-related deals including shooting ranges, clay pigeon shooting, and concealed weapons training classes. We have not made a final determination regarding this category -- we are simply taking a break and may reevaluate in the future.

    It would be somewhat on point (although I'd still cancel in protest) to stop selling guns themselves, but I'm still waiting to hear how clay pigeon shooting endangers school children.

  • Dallas H.||

    They'll get back to you as soon as they explain how Gun Free Zones protect school children.

  • waaminn||

    lol, silly laws are for honest folk lol

    www.Anon-ids.tk

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