Thursday, November 9, 2006

Blue Investing

There's been much discussion, well, in my head anyway, about how to break the gop for good. One way I've long advocated is that we stop supporting the gop, and their corporate masters. No Dells, better MPG vehicles, etc.

That's why I clicked on this ad on DKos for the Blue Fund, a mutual fund that invests responsibly and requires that the companies and top three officers donate to Democrats. I'm not promoting or advocating this fund per se, I'm not an investment advisor and i don't play one on teevee either. But it's worth thinking about, if not this fund, then something else, buying Blue at the least, but it does point out one strategy we can take to further the progressive agenda. I mean, why give your money to companies that turn around and give that money to republicans? How many of the mutual funds you own have Exxon and Dell and Wal Mart in their portfolios?

This is a new fund, they don't as yet have a trading symbol, there's a $5,000 buy in, and there are real economic questions, about their rate of return, costs, etc. But that's an investment issue, not a political issue, and that's what I'm talking about.

Consider this discussion over at the charming Jane Galt blog I found while verifying the veracity of the Blue Fund, it's very illuminating.

It seems that tthe free marketers, the privatize Social Security crowd, don't have much respect for mutual funds or mutual fund investors. Yet they want to privatize Social Security in order to replicate what mutual funds do. How very, shall we say, inconsistant?

"I went to the University of Chicago, which means I am legally barred from believing that mutual fund managers can beat the market over the long run"

Which sums it up pretty clearly. Mutual funds are for losers, unless, maybe, you invest in index funds alone.

But what these geniuses miss is the whole point of the Blue Fund. It's the notion that profit cannot be measured by a dollar sign alone, that there's more to this then just beating some arbitrary, well reasoned as it may be, benchmark. It's a small pushback against the greed of the gop and their appalling lack of vision or strategic thinking. Yes, looked at as a purely financial, short term investment, it's risky, but looked at in the larger, longer term context of wresting our country from the grasping embrace of the "Corporation," then it takes on a slightly different purpose.

Suddenly, it's about values, about respect and sanity, of substantive solutions to problems in the real world, not the Bush/GOP bubble fanatasy world. It's now an investment in the future where businesses aren't just driven by the next quarter profits, but by improving the market as a whole to the benefit of everybody, including themselves. It's worth looking into, maybe the Blue Fund isn't the one for everybody, but it certainly has the right idea


phidipides said...

It's the notion that profit cannot be measured by a dollar sign alone,

Heretic! It's all about corporate greed and profits. With talk like yours how will any child want to grow up to be a corporate pirate?

There are several social responsibilty funds there that outperform the smokestack and fraud funds. This student exercise is an example. There are so many instance where Socially responsible Investing (SRI) outperforms the pirates of industry, that it's best left to a google least from my lazy ways of looking at things.

muckdog said...

"Stupid Investment of the Week" honors from CBS Marketwatch. Link.

Duckman GR said...


Good to hear from ya!

I can make the arguments against the Blue Fund without linking to any articles, but of course, that's not the point.

If returns are all you want, then clearly SRI is really not for you, now is it?

But any pool of money has to start somewhere, nobody expects the Blue Fund to start acting like CALPers right out the gate, do they? That would be foolish thinking.

They also are planning on a Small Cap fund too, so there's hope for a better, more responsible way of investing down the road.

Now, about those expenses, they're just like taxes, and if the Blue Fund wants to get rolling, they need more than just investment money, hence higher expenses.

It will be interesting to see how they do, the critics notwithsanding.

muckdog said...

The expense ratio is 1.5% for the large cap Blue and 1.75% for the small cap Blue. Pretty expensive when you consider Vanguard and Fidelity runs their annual fees for their total stock market indexes at less than .2%.

So it's 700% more expensive for the Blue large and 900% more expensive for the Blue small.

And when investing, returns are what you want. Those expense ratios are a serious drain on performance.

And who'd want their investments to act like CalPERS? CalPERS underperforms the market over the long term and their pension system is underfunded. If we get a 2007 recession like your leftcoaster buddies were saying on a thread earlier today or yesterday, then lots of pension systems will be making newspaper headlines in the coming years.