Politicizing investment decisions is usually not a great idea, but that is exactly the plan espoused by Democrat State Treasurer candidate Dave Young. In a ghoulish attempt to derive political capital from the Parkland school massacre, Young distributed a press release last week that boldly claimed his plan to “work to” divest from PERA firearms and ammunition manufacturers. It should be noted that Colorado’s Treasurer, even in his capacity as a Director of PERA, does not call the shots on PERA’s portfolio investments. But why let that little fact get in the way of a good press release?
This political divestment movement gained steam in the past 15 years, as anti-Semitic student groups pressured their endowments to dump investments that centered on Israel. It is called the BDS Movement, standing for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (against the Jewish State). Seeing that this was somewhat effective at getting press (note: NOT affecting actual change), left wing activists overlaid a similar strategy against industries that they disagreed with, in an attempt to inflict economic and reputational damage against their perceived adversaries.
The oil and gas industry, big pharma, tobacco, and the firearms industry have all found themselves in the crosshairs of this tired, intellectually lazy, and mainly useless tactic.
Such a press release from Young does little more than expose his lack of financial acumen and raise serious doubts about how he would exercise judgement as a senior executive in state government overseeing our state’s budget. Which other investment would Young jettison because of personal preferences against a particular industry? Which types of investments would he try to block? Which other industries does Young harbor similar feelings towards? Inquiring minds want to know.
Are Young’s investment recommendations underpinned by any thoughtful financial analysis – or is he simply wagering the future wellbeing of our state’s retirees on his feelings?
These are all legitimate questions to ask someone who wants one of the most serious positions in our state government because right now his antics are looking pretty unserious.