Investing

State pension cronyism

State pension cronyism

A new report details the way state pension funds harm workers and taxpayers through cronyism. Updated to accurately reflect the time period of the targeted investments. American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has released a report detailing the various ways state employee pension funds are harmed by cronyism. The report may be read at Keeping the Promise: Getting Politics Out of Pensions. The problem, ALEC reports, is: "Unfortunately, many lawmakers and pension plan officials have other priorities besides doing what is best for workers. They see the billions of pension fund dollars they manage as an opportunity to advance their own…
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KPERS problems must be confronted

This week the Kansas Legislature may work on the problems facing the Kansas Public Employee Retirement System, or KPERS. Past legislatures have failed to enact reforms necessary to put this system on a sound financial footing, and the legislature has shown itself incapable of managing a system where it's easy to pass on the problem to future generations. Now Kansas faces an unfunded liability of some $9.3 billion in KPERS. The most important thing the state can do is to stop enrolling new employees in this failing system. When confronted with the realities of the finances of KPERS, the response…
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Social Security: A good and moral deal?

Social Security and its future have been in the news lately. Supporters promote it as one of the best examples of successful government programs, and denigrate its critics as pessimists. Locally in the campaign for United States Congress from the fourth district of Kansas, one candidate promises to defend the current system, while another has spoken approvingly of Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan and the reforms recommend in his Roadmap for America's future. Many of the arguments in favor of Social Security and strengthening the system revolve around the issue of fairness, even casting a moral tone. So what about the…
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Investment strategies to be discussed in Wichita

This Friday (August 13) the Wichita Pachyderm Club features a program titled "Could any investment strategy be successful in today’s economic climate?” The presenter will be Dr. Malcolm Harris, who is Professor of Finance at Friends University. His blog is Mammon Among Friends, and he is regularly quoted in Wichita news media regarding financial and economic matters. All are welcome to attend Wichita Pachyderm Club meetings. The program costs $10, which includes a delicious buffet lunch including salad, soup, two main dishes, and ice tea and coffee. The meeting starts at noon, although it's recommended to arrive fifteen minutes early…
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John Bogle on Investing: The First 50 Years

John Bogle on Investing: The First 50 Years John C. Bogle McGraw-Hill, 2001 "The one great secret of investing is that there is no secret." "Investment success, it turns out, lies in simplicity as basic as the virtues of thrift, independence of thought, financial discipline, realistic expectations, and common sense." John C. Bogle, whom I greatly admire, founded Vanguard investment management company, a mutual fund company owned by its shareholders. He pioneered the no-load mutual fund and the index fund. These two ideas have made it possible for the average person to be in charge of their investments and do…
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The Random Walk Guide to Investing

The Random Walk Guide to Investing: Ten Rules for Financial Success Burton G. Malkiel W.W. Norton & Company, 2003 The title of this book derives from the author's famous book A Random Walk Down Wall Street, published in 1973. That book, and this too, refer to the theory of efficient markets. In the author's words: "The main premise of the theory is that the stock market is an extraordinarily efficient institution for reflecting without delay any information that arises. When news arises, an army of profit-seeking Wall Street professionals pounces on it rapidly, driving stock prices up or down. As…
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