Why Does a Texas Billionaire Care So Much About Our Pension?

You know how there are questions that make you say hmmm?!?!. Well, I have one question that plagues me because the only answers I can come up with are very disturbing and only lead to more questions.  They should, also, be disturbing for current, present and future Oklahoma public retirees.

Why would the John Arnold Foundation care about pensions of Oklahoma teachers and public employees? A quick Wikipedia search shows that John Arnold, a Texas billionaire and former hedge fund manager, made millions off Enron before it went under in 2002. In 2005, during the collapse of Amaranth Advisors, Arnold’s company, Centaurus, continued to amass their fortune.  In other words, he is a master of making money, but others seem to pay the price and go under.

So back to my question---why is his foundation interested in our pension system? They have contributed $2 million and are sending so called experts into Oklahoma to advise our legislators and leaders as to why we need pension reform. Read the ALEC report by Dan Liljenquist entitled “Keeping the Promise: State Solutions for Government Pension Reform.” Ironically, Liljenquist is the person who has been sent by the Arnold Foundation to work with our Oklahoma legislators.

Will our pension system end up like Enron and Amaranth Advisors?  The changes being proposed seem to have us on a path to retirement INSECURITY.

Will our pension system be able to survive these changes?  Our retirement system should not be for sale.

To our legislators, I say follow the money. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and looks like a duck, it is a duck. In my opinion, this duck is going to do away with our pensions and then move on down the road to the next opportunity to make a buck—or, at least, a few million bucks.


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