Why don’t pension funds divest from ALL arms companies?

F-16 Egyptian Air Force WikipediaJan. 30, 2013

By John Seiler

After the December shootings at Newtown, Conn., California Treasurer Bill Lockyer and others took aim at some arms manufacturers.

Lockyer “said he’ll propose that the state’s public pension funds, the two largest in the U.S., sell off investments in firearm manufacturers that make guns prohibited under state law,” reported Bloomberg. “The California State Teachers’ Retirement System, known as Calstrs, with $155 billion of assets, has a stake in Cerberus Capital Management LP, a private equity firm that owns Freedom Group, the maker of the Bushmaster .223-caliber semiautomatic rifle that police said was the primary weapon in the Dec. 14 shootings that killed 20 elementary school children in Newtown, Connecticut.”

Under pressure, Cerberus said it would sell Freedom Group.

But why should CalPERS and CalSTRS stop with pressuring Cerberus? A lot of other companies make weapons that potentially could kill thousands more people than those killed in isolated U.S. domestic killing sprees.

Here’s a list of world’s top 100 arms manufacturers, the investments of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System.

I looked up some matches. The rankings below for the arms companies are for the size of their worldwide arms sales in 2010. And the numbers invested by the pension firms are holdings for CalPERS in 2010 and CalSTRS for 2011. Companies are U.S.-based, unless otherwise noted.

1. Lockheed Martin. CalPERS: $7 million in bonds and $73.3 million in equities. CalSTRS: $70.8 in equities.

2. BAE Systems (United Kingdom). CalPERS: $61.3 million in equities.

3. Boeing. CalPERS: $40 million in bonds, $155.2 million in equities. CalSTRS: $170 million in equities.

4. General Dynamics. CalPERS: $73.6 million in equities. CalSTRS: $87.7 million in equities.

5. Raytheon. CalPERS: $5.2 million in bonds, $49.3 million in equities.

6. (No. 6 on the list is BAE’s American branch.)

7. EADS (Trans-European). CalPERS: $30.9 million in equities.

8. Finmeccanica (Italy). CalPERS: $15.3 million in equities.

9. L-3 Communications. CalPERS: $4 million in bonds, $43.3 million in equities. CalSTRS: $23 million in equities.

10. United Technologies. CalPERS: $244.9 million in equities. CalSTRS: $215.1 million.

Merchants of death

So, will Bill Lockyer and the others who hate guns demand that CalPERS and CalSTRS divest their holdings in these merchants of death?

After all, these arms companies send their killing machines abroad to such murderous dictatorships as Saudi Arabia, which in 2011 bought $29.4 billion in F-15s from Boeing.

Or how about unstable Egypt? It wants to buy $3.2 billion more F-16s from Lockheed-Martin. (One of Egypt’s current F-16s is pictured above.)

In the Newtown killings, 20 children were killed. But what happens if these F-15s and F-16s in a couple of years kill thousands of children in Israel? How will Lockyer and the CalPERS and CalSTRS retirees feel?


Write a comment
  1. Sherry Maher
    Sherry Maher 30 January, 2013, 09:17

    They won’t feel anything. They are not in the business of feeling. Everything they do is to further their agenda of democratic rule forever.

    Reply this comment
  2. us citizen
    us citizen 30 January, 2013, 09:19

    You got that right, Sherry.

    Reply this comment
  3. jimmydeeoc
    jimmydeeoc 30 January, 2013, 09:51

    “They are not in the business of feeling.”

    Disagree entirely. Democrats are about feelings and nothing else. Every bit of legislation they propose, every position they take, is carefully staged to pull on heartstrings. Exhibit A: Gabby Giffords, who this very morning was giving a statement to some Congressional hearing on gun control, her mere appearance supposedly cementing the case. Let’s be honest – the Dems trot her out every so often when they want to appeal to the shepple. No offense, but she’s a stage prop.

    Logic and reason would dictate they take a look at ALL arms manufacturers, as Katy made abundantly clear. But right now “feelings” are all about Newtown. And they will ride that horse until it keels over.

    Does anyone think for a moment we would be having these discussions absent Newtown?

    Reply this comment
  4. jimmydeeoc
    jimmydeeoc 30 January, 2013, 10:08

    Just re-read the by-line……LOL….sorry John…..no offense to either of you….LOL

    Reply this comment
  5. SkippingDog
    SkippingDog 30 January, 2013, 17:59

    Easy, John. None of the firms you list sell dangerous weapons to civilians for retail profits. There’s a difference between armed national defense and armed paranoids who barricade themselves and think they are preparing for some fight against their own government.

    Reply this comment
  6. Mike W
    Mike W 30 January, 2013, 20:20

    This is such a LIBERAL Knee Jerk Reaction!! I mean can you get any more typical??? Yes – divest hundreds of millions of dollars that are invested to provide for the retirement of members!! DUH!! These companies provide dividends and growth for a portfolio and this FOOL wants to divest!! Maybe this fool should take an economics course! LIBERALS are always “feeling” they don’t think they “feel”! It feels good to say divest regardless of what havoc it might cause!!

    Reply this comment
  7. StevefromSacto
    StevefromSacto 31 January, 2013, 13:01

    Jimmy, you’ve gone round the bend. Courageous Gabby Giffords is a “stage prop”? I guess the parents of the Newtown kids, the police officers from all over the country, and the responsible gun owners who demand change are just “stage props” also.

    And of course, Wayne LaPierre is just a good old ‘merican,not a paid spokesman for the arms manufacturers ansd sellers. LOL

    Reply this comment
  8. eatingdogfood
    eatingdogfood 6 March, 2013, 12:38

    If The Democrats Didn’t Give ” Sweetheart Deals ” To Your Public Service Union.
    Goon Employees To Get Reelected; You Would Have Plenty Of Money and The.
    Taxpayer would have Some Spare Change in His Pockets! Democratic Hustler
    Politicians + Corrupt Union Goons = BANKRUPTCY BABY! Time To Bring.
    RICO Conspiracy Charges Against The Hustler Corrupt Democrats and the.
    Criminal Unions!

    Reply this comment
  9. eatingdogfood
    eatingdogfood 6 March, 2013, 12:58

    Isn’t It Time For The Abused Taxpayers Of California To Leave In Masses.
    In Order To End This Unholy Conspiracy Between The Totally Corrupt.
    Democrats And The Equally Corrupt Public Service Unions? It Is Really.
    The Only Way To Finally End This Criminal Activity! Did Anybody Ever.
    Hear Of RICO?

    Reply this comment

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Bill LockyerCalPERSCalSTRSJohn Seiler

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