RealClearMarkets – Greek Journalists Thrash Pension Fund Manager

3 Dec

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December 3, 2012

Enraged Greek Journalists Thrash Their Pension Fund Manager

By Bill Frezza

If you want to get a peek at what the future holds for entitlement democracies like our own, look no further than Greece. The spectacle of enraged journalists “punching, kicking, and tearing at clothes” on the way to sending their pension fund manager to the hospital offers a poignant vignette of the coming war of all against all when the broken promises made by generations of politicians come due. The story, recently reported by Reuters, shows a society that is unwinding, crushed by unfunded liabilities that have piled up for years across both the public and private sectors.

What helped kill the Greek Journalist Union’s pension fund was a requirement to pool the union’s investments with other pension funds, placing them in Greek government bonds now trading for pennies on the dollar. With no chance that these bonds will be redeemed at face value and every prospect of default, retired and soon-to-be-retired journalists worked themselves into a frenzy, attacking not the politicians that robbed them, but one of their own members responsible for looking after their nest eggs.

That’s probably how U.S. pension fund victims felt when their bonds were wiped out as part of the extra-judicial Chrysler bailout. The difference is that they had no one to beat up. But as the federal government’s credit rating heads south and the rule of law that protects private assets continues to erode, don’t be surprised when the mob starts looking for the nearest bystander to pummel and the largest pile of assets to plunder.

You can read the rest of the column here.

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