Right From the Start
Rigid adherence to any political ideology will ultimately produce foolish results. For instance the accepted norm for conservatives is to oppose abortion on demand while supporting imposition of the death penalty. I have been a conservative all of my adult life – over fifty years – and have never been able to reconcile those two views. The taking of a human life (except in self-defense or war) is the taking of a human life. I oppose both and feel quite comfortable defending those views. I believe in individual responsibility and yet recognize a societal obligation to care for the poor, the disabled, and the abused.
In this same regard the ideology of the liberal/progressive (they mean the same thing) left is equally disturbing in that they promote taxpayer funded abortion on demand and oppose the death penalty. And while those positions from my point of view are irreconcilable, they nevertheless adhere to another constant of the left – burdening the innocent to benefit the guilty.
But there are those, particularly on the left, who allow rigid adherence to a political ideology to drive them to – well, to just plain stupidity.
Several weeks ago I mentioned a recent decision by the Portland City Council to sell the Caterpillar stock in which the city had invested retirement assets – apparently some of the snowflakes who drive the political agenda for Portland were upset that Caterpillar equipment has been used by Israel in combating the ongoing armed conflict with Hamas, Hezbollah and the Palestinian Liberation Organization – shame on Israel for defending itself against people who have vowed to annihilate Jews from the face of the earth. Well it has gone from “stupid” to incredulous. On April 5 of this year, the Portland City Council voted to divest itself of all corporate securities. No, not just those listed by the Council’s “Socially Responsible Investment Committee” – a bizarre group which appears to focus on political correctness – ALL corporate securities. Apparently the Council in one of those regular moments of hand wringing became distraught over the possibility that other corporations could be engaging in activities that could be deemed contra to political correctness. Having decided that it cannot identify “offenders” specifically, the Council voted to punish all corporations. Does that sound familiar?
As reported by Edmund Kuzak in the Polizette:
“’As their decision stands now, it’s permanent,’ said Amanda Aguilar Shank, a member of the radical left-wing group Enlace, which describes itself as an ‘international multiracial multisector alliance that does capacity-building training and engages in strategic campaigning for the self-determination of the working people.’
“’We can rest assured in Portland that our money won’t be funding prisons, pipelines, and the occupation of Palestine,’ Shank added.”
Added a fellow snowflake and former member of the Socially Responsible Investment Committee:
“’This is a win,’ Hyung Nam, then a member of the SRIC, told The Oregonian. ‘The city is actually willing to lose money to their budget because they want to get out of these big corporate nightmares,’ Nam said.”
And therein lies the rub. The income lost from this mindless divestment has two direct and immediate impacts – loss of services and/or increases in taxes. To the degree that any of the income is used to be current expenses for the City, the services funded must be reduced or eliminated. Of course the Council did not address that issue and has not identified which programs will be cut. Oh, that’s just plain stupid – the Portland City Council never cuts programs (except fire and police protection or roads and streets) so the probability is that the Council will have to raise revenue from additional taxes and fees.
To the degree that any of those investments were related to the public employee retirement programs, the effect is that the income goes away but the financial obligation remains unchanged – you see public employee pensions are “defined benefit programs” that are wholly unrelated to the income produced from investing funds. The city’s has already grossly underfunded the future liability for public employee pensions and this has just made it worse. Taxpayers will now be required to make up the lost income from the Council’s decision to divest its corporate holdings.
But never mind, it isn’t their money. The Portland City Council members will all get paid. The city employees will all get paid. The pensions will all get paid. Only the taxpayers will be required to cough up more. This is another classic example of far left politicians willing to risk your money on their great ideas.
But it isn’t over. Mayor Ted Wheeler asked the question as to whether Portland is still buying Caterpillar products. Do the Council and the morons at their Socially Responsible Investment Committee now inventory all of the City purchases and equipment to ensure that the City does not use products produced by companies in whom the City will not invest? That is the logical extension of an ideology driven too far. Welcome to Portlandia, I mean Portland, where reality is even more bizarre than the television transcript.
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