Brett Arends
Brett Arends
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New York Subway pension loses over $300 million in collapsed hedge fund

New York Subway pension loses over $300 million in collapsed hedge fund

Why do they keep doing it? Why do pension fund trustees keep doing this, and falling for one of the oldest games in the business? The $4.8 billion pension fund of New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority just became the latest to sue a hedge-fund manager after losing hundreds of millions of dollars in complicated financial vehicles that maybe nobody could understand.The MTA joins a list of woebegone pensions suing German financial giant Allianz over its “Structured Alpha” funds, which collapsed in the market turmoil earlier this year wiping out 97%—yes, really—of investors’ capital....

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Brett Arends
Sep 28
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Bye, boomer: the coming cull of workers over 50

Bye, boomer: the coming cull of workers over 50

Uh-oh. Those of us who remember when ’80s music was new had better start bracing ourselves for those big-box-store greeter jobs earlier than we expected.It doesn’t take a genius to see that the jobs market is probably heading for a massive, rolling shakeout. And that means plenty of employers may be using the cover of COVID-19 to get rid of lots of expensive older workers.Age discrimination in the jobs market, which is supposedly illegal, goes up in recessions. Some employers take the opportunity to ax experienced workers who are paid a reasonable wage, and replace them with cheap,...

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Brett Arends
Jul 30
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Yikes — The private equity crowd wants your 401(k) money

Yikes — The private equity crowd wants your 401(k) money

From the Department of Dangerous Ideas comes the news that your employer may soon offer you the “opportunity” to invest some of your hard-earned money in private equity as well as in the public stock and bond markets.Opportunity? Er…indeed. More on that in a moment.But last week the current administration’s Labor Department to including private equity funds in 401(k) plans as part of diversified funds, such as all-in-one “target date” mutual funds.The excitement is palpable…at least among people in the private equity business.“We believe private equity has an important role to play in...

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Brett Arends
Jun 12
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Hey, Mitch McConnell — Have you seen your state’s pension fund lately?

Hey, Mitch McConnell — Have you seen your state’s pension fund lately?

David Eager laughed.The executive director of the Kentucky state retirement plans says he tries not to get involved in politics ­— which is just as well, given his job.But when I asked him if his state’s senior senator, Mitch McConnell, was throwing stones in glass houses with his attacks on “blue-state bailouts” — well, that’s when Eager suddenly seemed to find things pretty funny.Two weeks ago Mitch McConnell, the senate majority leader and the most powerful Republican on Capitol Hill, sparked a furor when he said he opposed further federal aid to the states during the coronavirus crisis,...

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Brett Arends
May 11
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‘It’s disturbing.’ U.S. Justice Department white-collar criminal prosecutions fall to their lowest level on record, study says

‘It’s disturbing.’ U.S. Justice Department white-collar criminal prosecutions fall to their lowest level on record, study says

The U.S. Justice Department is prosecuting fewer white-collar criminals now than at any time since records back more than 30 years ago, a new says. Federal prosecutions of white-collar criminals plunged in January to the lowest level on record, falling 25% from the levels reached just five years ago, says a study from Syracuse University.The 5,702 white-collar prosecutions recorded last year are expected to fall to 5,175 this year, if current levels of prosecutions persist, the study added. Records go back to 1986 during the Reagan administration when there were 7,843 white-collar...

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Brett Arends
Mar 7
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‘Totally bizarre!’ — nutritionists see red over study downplaying the serious health risks of red meat

‘Totally bizarre!’ — nutritionists see red over study downplaying the serious health risks of red meat

The Annals of Internal Medicine published a report contradicting decades of growing consensus about the health risks of red meat. Editor’s Note Jan. 7, 2020: In January, the Annals of Internal Medicine corrected the Oct. 2019 study on red meat referenced in this story to explain that the study’s lead author had received funding for separate research from AgriLife Research, an agency within Texas A&M University that is funded in part by the beef industry, the Washington Post reported. Put down the T-bone and slowly back away from that side order of ribs. Nutritionists across the country...

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Brett Arends
Jan 7
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What America’s gun fanatics won’t tell you

What America’s gun fanatics won’t tell you

Can we please stop pretending that the Second Amendment contains an unfettered right for everyone to buy a gun? It doesn’t, and it never has. The claims made by the small number of extremists, before and after the Orlando, Fla., massacre, are based on a deliberate lie. The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution doesn’t just say Congress shall not infringe the right to “keep and bear arms.” It specifically says that right exists in order to maintain “a well-regulated militia.” Even the late conservative Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia admitted those words weren’t in there...

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Brett Arends
Mar 25
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