A person shilling for the pension funds management business complained about my recent article revealing extravagant salaries at the BC Investment Management Corporation (BMI). He wrote that I was a “bitter old man” and specifically said my statement about Washington State Investment Board (WSIB) returns was inaccurate.
What I wrote here, was:
Before you suppose that WSIB is an inferior organization, be aware that it manages C$170 billion in assets and its last reported annualized return was 17%.
Assets under management at BCI were C$145 billion as of March 2018 and the corporation reports its return for the year was 9%.
When the article was written, the most recent report from WSBI was for the quarter ended December 2017. It included this:
I understand why people in the wealth management business are bothered when extravagant remuneration and questionable business conduct is examined. It’s human nature. Hedge fund managers in the USA earned billions but, finding that inadequate, they lobbied hard to maintain tax breaks that had them paying lower rates of income tax than the janitors who cleaned their offices.
Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941), a Bengali writer and philosopher, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913. He once wrote:
The greed of gain has no time or limit to its capaciousness. Its one object is to produce and consume. It has pity neither for beautiful nature nor for living human beings. It is ruthlessly ready without a moment’s hesitation to crush beauty and life.
Tens of thousands of pension recipients in BC have been negatively impacted by benefit reductions. Lew is sensitive to their plight.
Wonder how your correspondent would fare sitting across the table from a group of pensioners if he or she used that argument as an explanation for the reduction in pension benefits due to underperformance of the fund while those responsible were being rewarded at record rates? https://t.co/BGiKvqdsJ6
— Lew Edwardson (@valtamtech) August 16, 2018
A person, not a politician, who has worked in the public arena for many years suggested I consider legal action against my attacker:
…you are being demeaned and your character is being called into question, all because you reported salient facts relating to a matter of public interest.
Your capacity is being called into question, the idea that your age affects your judgment. And your motives – you are accused of evil motivations – envy, revenge, bitterness – arising from some kind of selfish animus against these individuals.
All of this is tame stuff compared to the usual social media smears. But it never comes from wealthy individuals and wealthy organizations with money to lose….
Today’s situation is somewhat reminiscent of the numerous times Bill Good allowed his CKNW program to be a platform to criticize people not in corporate media, if they dared to criticize vested interests.
Vaughn Palmer called us nut cases and “Nincompoops ranting in their underpants.”
Keith Baldrey described us as “weirdos.” Bill Good laughed.
I’ve spent years writing about public affairs, not out of bitterness, but out of love for the province that has allowed my family and friends to live fulfilling lives. We are among the most fortunate and privileged people in the world and I hope that my grandchildren and their fellow citizens say the same in fifty years time.
The growing inequality evident in many poverty-stricken parts of British Columbia should offend all of us. In Vancouver, it is not difficult for a couple to run up a $300 to $500 dinner tab but, while walking Vancouver’s streets, they might have to step aside repeatedly as emergency crews treat fallen souls.
I find it dishonourable to reward some public servants with multi-million salaries at the same time that abject poverty and hopelessness stain our communities. Yet, that is a subject about which corporate media remains largely silent.
Maverick journalist Glenn Greenwald wrote:
A key purpose of journalism is to provide an adversarial check on those who wield the greatest power by shining a light on what they do in the dark, and informing the public about those acts.
Avg. CEO pay, top 350 companies —>
Worker compensation —>
— Jeff Stein (@JStein_WaPo) August 16, 2018