Ahh, the idiotic gotcha game of calling out candidates’ foreign investments:
Since economic nationalism plays well with crucial blue-collar white voters in Ohio, in the bizzaro land of presidential politics, campaigns and the media create the expectation that candidates invest their money patriotically. If you watched the debate credulously last night, you might believe both candidates have failed to do so.
The argument goes that Romney is a vulture capitalist who lays people off, downsizes companies, and ships jobs overseas, while the feckless largesse of Obama’s stimulus built electric cars in Finland and wind turbines in China.
Obama has ceaselessly attacked Romney for his foreign accounts but supports upping the foreign aid budget, evincing a preference for patronage over partnership. Romney, though he may have completely botched a critique of Obama’s foreign policy last night, got in a solid rebuttal that rightly implicates the millions of pensioners indirectly abetting the evil act of providing capital to second- and third-world markets.
Investment of American public pension funds in international securities is at its highest level in 12 years. CalPERS, for example, for public employees of California, is one of the largest with investments in more than 30 countries, and international assets make up about 15 percent of its portfolio.
Though receiving a pension from a fund that contains international assets isn’t exactly the same thing as owning them in a blind trust, both provide the candidates with plausible deniability. But that they have to deny it at all is proof of the unseemly nationalism surrounding the politics of investing abroad.