Will Weatherly is a contributor to RI Future and a senior editor at the College Hill Independent. He lives in Providence, RI. You can follow him on Twitter @willbweatherly.

17 responses to “Raimondo’s pension cuts benefited hedge funds more than RI, says Brown”

  1. PinkHatLib

    “Brown pushed further, arguing that ‘the drastic cuts that Governor Raimondo put in place did not need to be made,’ and that the state had lost $500 million in in ‘high-risk, high-fee’ hedge funds, as opposed to what would be made in stable index funds, in the process.”

    Progressives’ BS detectors should be registering on that one. Raimondo introduced hedge funds to provide lower but stable returns, irrespective of the performance of equities. She actually dropped one of the best performing funds because it did not fit the risk profile. Brown is essentially saying something akin to “your 401k is losing thousands because the bond portion of your investment doesn’t outperform index funds during bull markets.”

    On the other hand… Uunnngh! hedge funds baaaaaad!

    Hey, lets’ go 100% in stocks! The market will always go up. What could possibly go wrong?

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  2. PinkHatLib

    I’m also curious what Brown means when he says “the drastic… cuts did not need to be made.” Is he claiming that Raimondo should not have lowered the assumed rate of return? She was accused of cooking the books when that happened, but then Magazine lowered the assumed rate of return even further.

    If not, would Brown prefer making cuts to other programs or perhaps raising taxes? Both valid options but one would expect some specifics if he’s making that case.

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  3. cailin rua

    I think the video of Tom Sgouros’s turn at the podium at this event, filmed by Steve Ahlquist, is instructive. I won’t link. It’s available over at Uprise R I.

    The problem is, the event was held in the newly established TIF district which seems to exist to guarantee a return on the investments of those who, in one way or another, have a stake in the trillions Sgouros says have taken a remarkably short amount of time to accumulate because of actuarial and accounting policy which benefits whom? That said, there are also those invested in the soon to be very valuable real estate in the area, maybe even some of the same people, who will benefit doubly?

    The 6/10 toll scheme will create a rising tide that will lift the yachts of those who are able to finance projects that will keep their property from being seized through eminent domain. The remodeling of Valley/Olneyville will punch holes in the boats of many others, however. And, after it’s determined that it is unconstitutional to only toll trucks, we’ll all have homing devices installed in our vehicles to track our every movement, showering even more publicly funded profits on the same financial class. It’s a win, win situation for some, I guess.

    I don’t see anyone leading us out of these neoliberal scams.

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    1. PinkHatLib

      I haven’t seen the video but will try to check it out. Tom is a smart guy, but I have it on good authority he’s no psychometrician.

      It’s fair enough imho for progressives to say we don’t want the risk or fees that can be associated with certain types of investments, but if those folks are being honest they should also be calling for even further reductions in the assumed rate of return. Brown seems to want to have his cake and eat it too.

      Here’s Buffet’s take on the jolts to come…
      I should mention that people who expect to earn 10% annually from equities during this century – envisioning that 2% of that will come from dividends and 8% from price appreciation – are implicitly forecasting a level of about 24,000,000 on the Dow by 2100. If your adviser talks to you about double- digit returns from equities, explain this math to him – not that it will faze him. Many helpers are apparently direct descendants of the queen in Alice in Wonderland, who said: “Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” Beware the glib helper who fills your head with fantasies while he fills his pockets with fees.

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  4. cailin rua

    Tom Sgouros, in the Uprise video, says he has been harping on the issue of pension funding since 2005, well before Gina Raimondo entered the political arena. I’ve been reading about what he has said about the “Pension Tsunami” since I first started coming to this site. I regret not buying his book, as of yet.

    The term “Pension Tsunami” was coined by the California Public Policy Center which Sourcewatch describes as:

    “The California Public Policy Center (formerly the California Public Policy Center) is a right-wing pressure group based in California. Founded in June 2010, it is a state affiliate of the $83 million right-wing State Policy Network (SPN), a web of state pressure groups that denote themselves as “think tanks” and drive a right-wing agenda in statehouses nationwide.[1] See SPN Members for more.”

    And then there are the Arnolds of Enron?

    The pension problem is NOT unique to R I. I think the issue is way more than pensions. I forget how many trillions Sgouros says are involved. Didn’t Kohlberg Kravis and Roberts drop out of the Manhattan Institute over the issue of public employee pensions? That’s the group that worked in concert with Fleet > Bank of America to leave Providence high and dry. Where’s Edwards & Angell now? How important are pension funds to such LBO companies like KKR? How are pension funds implicated in offshoring U S industry?

    This issue has been framed from a much larger picture that has to do with the parasitical nature of Big Finance manipulating an unbridled market economy.

    It should be noted that Brown’s non-profit is part of the same non-profit industrial complex that created the juggernaut movement led by Governor Raimondo when she took office as treasurer in 2010, framing it as a “social justice” issue – baloney, not Bologna. The Marciano’s Guess Jeans is part of the “non-profit’s” portfolio he worked for. The NPIC is deeply implicated in the exploitation of those whose misery so many non-profits claim to ameliorate. Just track the rise of homelessness with the exponential growth in the R I Foundation’s endowment since 1977. Then there is Brown University’s which has grown by how much since 2000???

    The same juggernaut fueled by fear mongering was used push through the Olneyville gentrification project, using tolls to pay off Big Finance to fund the infrastructure that will be provided as was for the 195 reclamation project. This project, however, will be funded locally through trickle down costs and whatever is left of the money going out of state to the companies who operate the tolling systems, not the federal government.

    Brown grad Rachel Weber’s Selling City Futures: The Financialization of Urban Redevelopment Policy and Ellen Dannin’s Toll Road to Serfdom is recommended reading. Sharon Zukin writes incisively about these issues, too. As I wrote before, I don’t currently see anyone leading us out of this morass.

    Final thought, a promise was made to the public employees of this state which has been reneged on. On the other hand, the bondholders enjoy the protection of their investments by the corrupt state. That’s really the bottom line where the public employees’ pensions are involved.

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  5. cailin rua

    This is interesting:

    “Pension funds that have invested billions of dollars with KKR are re-examining their relationship with the investment group amid anger over the treatment of workers at the bankrupt retailer Toys R Us.”

    Then there is the bit about the “KKR Infrastructure Fund” . . . .

    Yves Smith wrote it just a month and one half ago:


    Meanwhile, Elorza sues Sessions not on behalf of the entrepreneurial city of Providence but on behalf of Family Services whose CEO headed up the engageri campaign, aimed at the pension theft, along with one of the Nortek guys or was it someone else? She tried to make it a matter of “social justice” but discreetly dropped out after the resulting backlash. She is still there with Family Services, a lifetime position, it seems, never appointed by an elected official. Can’t Providence and Central Falls hire their own bilingual interpreters w/out going through them?

    A good part of government has been privatized, not much further to go. Sad.

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  6. leftyrite

    “public-private partnerships”

    great eye-catcher;

    sounds intelligent.

    How about: WE TAKE YOUR TAX MONEY.



    How friendly can fascists ever be?

    Ask Comcast, I guess.

    Ask ATT.

    Ask the National Enron Grid.

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  7. cailin rua

    Class warfare, or, how the upper fifty operates:


    Fenway Partners Capital Fund II 1998 Nautic Partners V 2000 CVC European Equity Partners III 2001 Parthenon Investors II 2001 Leeds Equity Partners IV 2003 Nordic Capital Fund V 2003 TPG Partners IV 2003 Aurora Equity Partners III 2004 W Capital 2004 Birch Hill Equity Partners III 2005 CVC European Equity Partners IV 2005 Providence Equity Partners V 2005 Centerbridge Capital Partners 2006 Fenway Partners Capital Fund III 2006 LNK Partners 2006 Nordic Capital Fund VI 2006 TPG Partners V 2006 Green Equity V 2007 Nautic Partners VI 2007 Providence Equity Partners VI 2007 Trilantic Capital Partners IV 2007 Bain Capital Fund X 2008 CVC V 2008 Nordic Capital Fund VII 2008 TPG VI 2008 Advent International GPE VII-C, L.P. 2012 Providence Equity Partners VII 2012 Nordic Capital Fund VIII 2013 Riverside Capital Appreciation Fund VI 2013 Carlyle Asia Partners IV 2014 CVC Capital Partners VI 2014 Nautic Partners VII 2014 Riverside Micro-Cap Fund III 2014 Sorenson Capital Partners III 2014 Baring Asia Private Equity Fund VI 2015 Paine & Partners Capital Fund IV 2015 Centerbridge Capital Partners III 2015 Advent International GPE VIII 2016 Nautic Partners VIII 2016 Southvest Partners VII 2016 RLH IV 2017 MHR Institutional Partners III 2006 WLR Recovery Fund IV 2007 Oaktree European Principal Fund III 2011 Centerbridge Special Credit Partners II 2012 Garrison Opportunity Fund IV 2014 CSIP V 2016 Tenex Capital Partners II 2016 Virgo Societas Partnership IV (Offshore), L.P. 2017 Davidson Kempner L-T Opps. IV 2018 Owl Rock Capital Corporation 2018 First Reserve Fund X 2004 Kayne Anderson Energy Fund III 2005 First Reserve Fund XI 2006 Kayne Anderson Energy Fund IV 2007 EnCap Energy Capital Fund IX 2013 EnCap Energy Capital Fund X 2015 EnCap Energy Capital Fund XI 2017 Coller V 2006 W Capital II 2007 Alta BioPharma Partners III 2003 Granite Global Ventures II 2004 Leapfrog Ventures II 2005 Alta Partners VIII 2006 Castile Ventures III 2006 Focus Ventures III 2006 GGV III 2006 Point 406 Ventures I 2006 Point Judith Venture Fund II 2006 Lighthouse Capital Partners VI 2007 Paladin III 2008 Industry Ventures Partnership Holdings III 2014 Industry Ventures Partnership Holdings III C 2015 Industry Ventures Partnership Holdings IV 2015 Other funds in aggregrate** various Total
    Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout
    Debt Debt Debt Debt Debt Debt Debt Debt Debt Debt
    Energy Energy Energy Energy Energy Energy Energy
    Secondaries Venture Capital Venture Capital Venture Capital Venture Capital Venture Capital Venture Capital Venture Capital Venture Capital Venture Capital Venture Capital Venture Capital Venture Capital Venture Capital Venture Capital . . .

    So many here, without even getting into P3s, infrastructure funds, real estate investment trusts and the conflicts of interests involving the local taxpayers who have the revenue sucked out of their local economies and who end up paying for the resulting tax deficits in the form of user fees, traffic penalties, higher and higher property taxes, and the like . . . Paul Singer . . . . Bain Capital . . . EnCap is a good one? . . . Gem Realty . . . Fenway Partners . . . . Providence Equity/Altegrity . . . the Russell 3000 – Exxon, Amazon, social networking surveillance companies, and, of course JP Morgan Chase & Co . . . . are you funded by Chase Giving? Will you ever bite the hand that feeds you or will you direct your satire toward those without the means to spin whole cloth? Who reviews the Empire in this town?:

    Apple Inc.
    Microsoft Corp
    Facebook Class A
    JPMorgan Chase & Co
    Berkshire Hathaway B
    Alphabet Class C
    Alphabet Class A
    Johnson & Johnson
    Exxon Mobil Corporation

    Who’s got the time to look who is behind all the firms the pension fund invests itself in and the kind of activities they involve themselves in? How is pension investing not cannibalistic? . . . Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout Buyout
    Debt Debt Debt Debt Debt Debt Debt Debt Debt Debt
    Energy Energy Energy Energy Energy Energy Energy . . . .

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  8. leftyrite

    The Republican Party is now a money-laundering, influence-selling racket.

    The Democratic Party is now largely the Republican Party of Nelson Rockefeller

    (Pops married an Aldrich, ya know.)

    Consultants. Hangers on.

    What incredible energy and tenacity it will take to change things.

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  9. cailin rua

    The Democratic Party has been taken over by a former Republican turned Independent billionaire mayor who models his organization after Mothers Against Drunk Driving. End of story.

    This one is for you, Lefty:

    Percy’s Song


    Bad news, bad news
    Come to me where I sleep
    Turn, turn, turn again
    Sayin’ one of your friends
    Is in trouble deep
    Turn, turn to the rain
    And the wind

    Tell me the trouble
    Tell once to my ear
    Turn, turn, turn again
    Joliet prison
    And ninety-nine years
    Turn, turn to the rain
    And the wind

    Oh what’s the charge
    Of how this came to be
    Turn, turn, turn again
    In the highest of degree
    Turn, turn to the rain
    And the wind

    I sat down and wrote
    The best words I could write
    Turn, turn, turn again
    Explaining to the judge
    I’d be there on Wednesday night
    Turn, turn to the rain
    And the wind

    Without a reply
    I left by the moon
    Turn, turn, turn again
    And was in his chambers
    By the next afternoon
    Turn, turn to the rain
    And the wind

    Could ya tell me the facts?
    I said without fear
    Turn, turn, turn again
    That a friend of mine
    Would get ninety-nine years
    Turn, turn to the rain
    And the wind

    A crash on the highway
    Flew the car to a field
    Turn, turn, turn again
    There was four persons killed
    And he was at the wheel
    Turn, turn to the rain
    And the wind

    But I knew him as good
    As I’m knowin’ myself
    Turn, turn, turn again
    And he wouldn’t harm a life
    That belonged to someone else
    Turn, turn to the rain
    And the wind

    The judge spoke
    Out of the side of his mouth
    Turn, turn, turn again
    Sayin’, “The witness who saw
    He left little doubt”
    Turn, turn to the rain
    And the wind

    That may be true
    He’s got a sentence to serve
    Turn, turn, turn again
    But ninety-nine years
    He just don’t deserve
    Turn, turn to the rain
    And the wind

    Too late, too late
    For his case it is sealed
    Turn, turn, turn again
    His sentence is passed
    And it cannot be repealed
    Turn, turn to the rain
    And the wind

    But he ain’t no criminal
    And his crime it is none
    Turn, turn, turn again
    What happened to him
    Could happen to anyone
    Turn, turn to the rain
    And the wind

    And at that the judge jerked forward
    And his face it did freeze
    Turn, turn, turn again
    Sayin’, “Could you kindly leave
    My office now, please”
    Turn, turn to the rain
    And the wind

    Well his eyes looked funny
    And I stood up so slow
    Turn, turn, turn again
    With no other choice
    Except for to go
    Turn, turn to the rain
    And the wind

    I walked down the hallway
    And I heard his door slam
    Turn, turn, turn again
    I walked down the courthouse stairs
    And I did not understand
    Turn, turn to the rain
    And the wind

    And I played my guitar
    Through the night to the day
    Turn, turn, turn again
    And the only tune
    My guitar could play
    Was, “Oh the Cruel Rain
    And the Wind”

    Fairport’s and Sandy’s rendition never fails me:


    Truth and justice . . . for people with pockets deep enough for good lawyers. . .

    The judge washes his hands clean as the judgmental are wont to do.[footnote here: we live in a whorl where the predictive robots don’t even recognize the word “wont”. there will peace when robots learn to cry . . . ]

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  10. cailin rua

    What the Democratic Party looks like today – it’s the party of the Rockefellers and the Chafees:

    “17. After backing Hillary Clinton for president in 2016, former Republican Rhode Island Congresswoman Claudine Schneider tells BuzzFeed News she is supporting Democratic House candidates in Colorado – where she currently lives – this year. And she doesn’t appear too concerned with the types of Democrats running this year as long as they take back the House. “In terms of the election, whatever works,” she told BuzzFeed. “As long as it’s honest.”

    . . . and Trudy Cox, and Mac Farmer, and the R I Foundation, and RINPR and Save the Bay for the wealthy who can afford to live by it. It doesn’t say so but Schneider was a Republican, remember? Remember Teddy Kennedy campaigning in 1980 for National Healthcare??? There are no Democrats left anymore, and when there were they were dominated by conservatives like Henry Jackson, Daniel Moynihan, and Mayor Richard Daley.

    What will the 2020 Democratic ticket look like? I wouldn’t be surprised to see Hillary Clinton on the same ticket with one of the Bush brothers. Bleh.

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  11. cailin rua

    Correction: Actually, the charter school apologist from Brown who wrote this actually did mention that Schneider was a Republican. Sorry:


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  12. leftyrite

    That’s a big pot of money, that pension fund.

    Think Gina got all that leverage, the power to end-run Chafee,

    by herself?

    What is Gina’s connection to Paul Singer, the hedge fund billionaire and a partner, perhaps founding father, of the Manhattan Institute?

    This is the story that begs to be told.

    But, alas, it’s too meaningful.

    Squirrel !! Casino !! Squirrel !!

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  13. leftyrite


    up sprang this group:


    These people were just as family-oriented,


    and cliquey

    as ever.

    But, they just could not abide the disrespect

    of science.

    Besides, they had wildlife within their own families

    that needed to be protected.

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  14. leftyrite

    Proud to be a Road Isle Lander today.

    Highlander for a day, Sir !

    Even though, I’m from four miles away,

    as the goose flies.

    Just wanted to say

    what I saw today

    was more than OK.

    Sheldon, think of how many times

    your iron persistence has paid off:

    Multiply it by ten.

    That was a foray into the thicket.

    Stingy- Won’t-Give-It-Up Guy: Yes, indeed… a foray.

    Try it.

    That was a James Garner performance in real time.

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  15. leftyrite

    Watched Maher’s show with my wife last night.

    I was embarrassed a bit.

    Not because I hadn’t heard it all before three or four times MSNBC.

    But because it was so classless, crude, and vulgar.

    Look. It was a bad show, too. I ‘ll watch it again.

    But, again, it was so finished basement; a bad look for the new elderly.

    Aaron represents something far better.

    He’d do great being interviewed by Bill Moyers or Dan Rather.

    BYSTANDER: Look. It’s just a dream. Just go for it.

    He’d look great being interviewed by Bill Moyers & Dan Rather.

    East Greenwich. little necks.

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  16. leftyrite

    News from the Aaron Camp.

    Bernie has endorsed Aaron.

    Uncle Bern !!!

    Aaron, some advice.

    STAY AWAY from any campaign gear,

    sponsored by Ben & Jerry.

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