Money or morality
When asked to divest from fossil fuel industries and private prisons, the Public Employees Retirement Association says “no.” The retirement fund for public school teachers, bus drivers and police officers sees their role only to make money for their members’ retirement and not play politics.
I’d argue the looming climate crisis and the injustice of incarcerating immigrants who’ve committed no crime are moral issues, not political. That’s what happens when your only motivation is to make money. Morality and the common good go out the window. Why doesn’t PERA invest in the mafia or the Sinaloa Cartel? They make a lot of money.
PERA’s investments aren’t even doing that well. They have $32 billion in unfunded obligations that’ll result in retirement benefit cuts and increased taxpayer contributions. Fossil fuel companies and private prisons are hardly good long-term investments. The future of the fossil fuels industry had better be short or life on this planet will be. Private prisons could well be history, too, when we make America kind again in January 2021.
One organization that could change PERA’s mind about divestment is the state legislature. Last year, House Bill 1270 proposed only to have PERA study the possibility of divesting from fossil fuels. It was blown out of committee by a 10-1 margin with six Democrats crossing over.
Let’s make sure PERA divestment from fossil fuels and private prisons comes up again when the legislature reconvenes in January. Tell your senators and representatives Coloradans think PERA can make investments that are moral and financially lucrative.
Fred Malo Jr.