NC State Treasurer’s Race: Janet Cowell, the Democratic candidate, invested $26 million from the state employees’ pension fund into the facebook ipo, immediately losing over 4 million, with many millions more projected as an eventual loss from the investment. Note that the only reason this information on the investment is publicly known is that it was detailed in court documents. You see, Cowell later signed North Carolina up to participate in a class action lawsuit against facebook for the loss.
Janet Cowell appears to have later engaged in “pay-to-play” cronyism by suggesting a law firm out of NY (Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossman) represent NC in the class action lawsuit, rejecting the use of five other “firms specializing in securities litigation to bring class-action suits against firms that engage in securities fraud,” (http://www.ncinsider.com/2011/10/05/116970/pension-litigation.html). Why would our state treasurer take special effort to ensure that NC hires a law firm out of New York to represent North Carolina in a lawsuit? A review of Cowell’s campaign reports indicate that her campaign has received over $72,000 in campaign funds from employees of the NY law firm since 2008!
This from a piece on the Civitas Institute website: “An examination of political contributions to Janet Cowell’s campaign since 2008 courtesy of the NC State Board of Elections shows that employees of Bernstein have donated nearly $75,000 to Cowell in the last two elections cycles (you can see a spreadsheet of the donations here).” http://www.civitasreview.com/budget-taxes/cowell-facebook-fiasco-more-questions-that-demand-answers/
One should also note that when asked to comment on the loss of millions from the state employees’ pension fund, a spokeswoman for Cowell gave a very dismissive response, which insinuates that several millions lost from the pension fund is just peanuts (less than .1 percent of the stock portfolio), and that they do this sort of thing all the time, almost as though it is ridiculous to express concern over the matter. From an Associated Press article: “This was an ordinary investment by the outside investment manager, made within the manager’s ordinary discretion under its contract with the department,” Julia Vail wrote in a statement. “The Facebook IPO investment was less than a tenth of 1 percent of the pension fund’s global (stock) portfolio.”
Fergus Hodgson, director of fiscal policy studies with the John Locke Foundation, counters that “state employees expect their pensions with 100 percent certainty—and there is legal precedent to support that—so the security of investments should reflect that expectation. The initial Facebook stock offering could hardly be considered secure, so Cowell appears to be attempting, but failing, to keep up with unrealistic projected returns. With each failure, the unfunded liabilities within the state’s pension plans continue to worsen.”
Monday, October 15, 2012: Carolina Liberty PAC was guest to a standing-room only discussion on socialism in Denmark, presented by the founder/CEO of a Danish investment bank, Lars Christensen. The presentation had the overall feel of a dire warning to Americans not to follow in the path of Denmark.
Some interesting facts that were made known regarding taxation in Denmark:
High taxation bracket on income tax kicks in at around 50,000 income (American dollars)
Capital Gains tax: approx. 42%
Sales tax: 25% on any item purchased
House tax: 3% of the value of your house annually
Vehicle purchase tax: over 200%
One of the most entertaining anecdotes to illustrate the point of how unfair a socialistic society is to the working class was that of the “no poor people in Denmark” debacle.
Last year, the far left party of Denmark was making an argument for increasing entitlements, which essentially entailed: give more entitlements to the poor and it will help them to get educated, get into the workforce, and eventually be on their feet and independent of the excess entitlements. Joachim Olsen, member of the right-wing party of Denmark, claimed (via a public facebook post) that there are no poor people in Denmark. This argument was countered by Ozlem Cekic of the leftist party. Mr. Olsen asked Ms. Cekic to find a poor person in Denmark, and a very public challenge was initiated.
The poor person that Ms. Cekic found – “Carina” – claimed that she has had to borrow money from friends/family in order to simply provide shoes for her child, an experience that she said was humiliating for her. The two party members visited with Carina to evaluate her poor “status.”
Carina, a 31 year old single mother of two children, one of whom lives at home with her, has qualified for government welfare since she was 16, and was still collecting entitlements at the time of the interview because of a psychological condition of anxiety, which she claims prevents her from working. She hoped to soon qualify for permanent disability, though she had no actual physical ailment.
Upon review of Carina’s budget, it was discovered that she receives over 15,728 kroner per month. In American dollars, it is currently equivalent to over $2,700 per month. After her monthly bills which include rent, utilities, internet, pet food & vet bills, private soccer lessons for her child, healthcare, cigarettes, and personal debts, she had only 5,000 kroner left for food, clothing, and housekeeping (or $880 American)! Sounds like a terrible life for the unemployed, right? Mr. Olsen concluded that if Carina had no money for shoes, it was due to poor budget management rather than lack of funds. This publicized debate was a real wake-up call for many Danish viewers, who realized that an unemployed woman, considered to be among the poorest of the poor in Denmark, has more take-home pay than many of the blue-collar employees upon whose tax dollars she relies.
Videos from Mr. Christensen’s presentation can be found on the Carolina Liberty PAC livestream channel: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/clpac
Also present were NC Liberty State House Rep. Glen Bradley, ConstitutionalWar.org’s Chuck Suter, and Leadership Institute President Morton Blackwell, who had friends among the NC liberty folks, as we previously got to know him during a North Carolina delegation meeting at the RNC in Tampa, in which he was present to give his opinion on RNC rule changes (as a senior member of the RNC rules committee).
Thanks to Terry McIntyre and Craig Holland Dixon for the photography, and to the Leadership Institute for having us!
Author: Nicole Revels
A forum was held in a joint effort between the Caldwell Patriots and Carolina Liberty PAC to learn more about the candidates running for the Caldwell County Board of Education. Carolina Liberty PAC thanks the candidates Rob Bratcher, Charles Woodie, Bob Henson, and Annette Caldwell-Swanson for attending and engaging in straight-forward discussion about the issues that the school board will be facing.
Eddie Jolly of the Caldwell Patriots acted as moderator to the forum. Candidates were asked various questions that were submitted from parents, teachers, students, and voters of Caldwell County, including:
1) According to the Hickory Daily Record, Caldwell county schools pay its employees on average, a few thousand dollars less than the school systems in surrounding areas. The exception is the top position of superintendent which earns $159,960 annually, that’s ten thousand dollars more than the highest paid superintendent in Catawba county. Should Caldwell county consider restructuring the school pay scale to be more in line with the surrounding areas? (approx. 6:00 in on video)
2) Caldwell county schools currently practice policies of locker searches and random parking lot K9 sweeps. Civil liberty advocates are concerned that such practices can lead to a compliant populous. What is your stance on where the line is drawn between rule enforcement and civil liberties for children in the Caldwell county school system? (approx. 13:00 in)
3) There are times when the local legislatures, such as the school board, may go into sessions that are closed to the public. Proponents for transparency in government believe that “closed sessions” can undermine representation of the parents and voters. Are there times when “closed sessions” are necessary and if so, what should be the criteria for calling a “closed session”? (approx. 17:30 in)
4) Earlier this year, the topic of social matters within the school curriculum was raised pertaining to the North Carolina constitutional amendment on marriage.
Proponents of the amendment said that the amendment was necessary in order to keep the topic of same-sex marriage out of NC school curriculum. What is your stance on social matters taught within the curriculum? Are there some social issues that shouldn’t be taught and if so, which ones? (approx. 22:00 in)
5) Some of the council of state candidates are advocating a new plan for North Carolina high schools, which entails splitting the high schools into two different curriculum paths. High school freshmen will then choose between a higher education curriculum, or a vocational education curriculum for the rest of their high school career.
Proponents of the plan have stated that it will foster a well trained work-force to fill industry-related jobs for North Carolina. Opponents of the plan have compared it to soviet practices, stated that it will create clear division of classes of students, and that high school freshmen should not be forced to make binding decisions that will impact their path in life. If North Carolina schools begin to adopt the split-curriculum plan, should Caldwell County schools accept the changes to the school curriculum? (approx. 26:00 in)
Thank-you to Homegrown TV for the following video of the forum:
Around 33:00 into the video, the forum is turned over to the audience for questions. Highlights:
A parent asked the candidates about a practice implemented during the former school board term, which entailed sending political information home with children, for the purpose of pushing the political agenda of a 1 cent sales tax increase on North Carolina residents. The candidates explained where the decision to send the information home to parents stemmed from, and their own stance on mixing political agendas with school resources. The parent expressed disappointment that there were no incumbent school board members present to address the question.
A question was asked about the candidates’ stances on teachers unions and collective bargaining. A question was asked pertaining to the reason for a decision to eliminate contests for valedictorian/salutatorian. An audience member asked a question pertaining to the idea of revolutionizing curriculum on a local level, tailored specifically to our county rather than stemming from DC/Raleigh curriculum. Discussion broke out over the level of sovereignty that a local school board has, and strings attached to receiving funds from state/federal levels. A student brought up a point about the teaching styles having a bigger impact on the students’ education than does the curriculum itself. The forum closed out with candidates giving a short summary of what they will bring to the school board of Caldwell County.