culture, politics, commentary, criticism

Thursday, June 22, 2006
Another stupid investment for stupid times. How many mutual funds is too many mutual funds? Currently at 8,000 and counting, surely there must be a tipping point beyond which any more mutual funds becomes absurd.

Maybe we have found that tipping point, given that there's a new proposal for The Blue Fund Group,
a mutual fund for Democrats. I mocked this idea before when it was a poor-performing Republican fund, and I don't see any reason why I shouldn't mock it now. It's still a stupid idea.

Here's the real Republican revolution — polarizing and ghettoizing everything in the whole fucking country. They started with how people vote by re-engineering congressional districts and now have even affected how people save. Will we someday have savings accounts in your choice of Red or Blue?

How far can this insanity go? Should you have the choice of mutual funds in all of the following flavors?
No Smoking
Non Christian
Gay Single
Gay Married
Moderately Sane White
Support-the-Troops-Ribboned-SUV Chickenhawk
KKK White Supremacist
Nonwhite Immigrant
Smelly Hippie
Let's take the idea a bit further. At mediocre restaurants in strip malls there should also be separate parking sections for each self-identified tribe. After all, what makes the handicapped so special?

Stop! Enough with the divisive identity politics already. Everything from our retirement pensions to our health insurance have been converted to privatized investments like IRAs, 401(k)s and HSAs. It's bad enough that privatization is enabling unwary investors to make stupider and stupider investment choices — "choice" being the code word for really bad idea, or "God's gift to Republicans." And adding ideology and identity politics into the mix makes the choices worse and worse.

The Blue Fund Group's mutual fund is anticipated to cost 1.75% of assets in fees. That's high, and high is bad. So investors will be paying a premium for ideological purity. Is it worth it, or have we up-ended the entire idea of investing? How is it even possible to judge the competence or success of such funds? Can you imagine yourself saying, "My Blue State Fund is down ten percent, but that's okay because it reflects my values"? If so, are you nuts?

I can understand not wanting to invest in Halliburton, but the proper way to fix that is to fix the US government as opposed to creating new investment ghettos as a workaround. Isolationism driven by ideology in personal investment makes no sense. It's a bad idea for bad times.

UPDATE: After the fact I learn that a similar opinion is held by Chuck Jaffe of MarketWatch.

Greatest Hits · Alternatives to First Command Financial Planning · First Command, last resort, Part 3 · Part 2 · Part 1 · Stealing $50K from a widow: Wells Real Estate · Leo Wells, REITs and divine wealth · Sex-crazed Red State teenagers · What I hate: a manifesto · Spawn of Darleen Druyun · All-American high school sex party · Why is Ken Lay smiling? · Poppy's Enron birthday party · The Saudi money laundry and the president's uncle · The sentence of Enron's John Forney · The holiness of Neil Bush's marriage · The Silence of Cheney: a poem · South Park Christians · Capitalist against Bush: Warren Buffett · Fastow childen vs. Enron children · Give your prescription money to your old boss · Neil Bush, hard-working matchmaker · Republicans against fetuses and pregnant women · Emboldened Ken Lay · Faith-based jails · Please die for me so I can skip your funeral · A brief illustrated history of the Republican Party · Nancy Victory · Soldiers become accountants · Beware the Merrill Lynch mob · Darleen Druyun's $5.7 billion surprise · First responder funding · Hoovering the country · First Command fifty percent load · Ken Lay and the Atkins diet · Halliburton WMD · Leave no CEO behind · August in Crawford · Elaine Pagels · Profitable slave labor at Halliburton · Tom Hanks + Mujahideen · Sharon & Neilsie Bush · One weekend a month, or eternity · Is the US pumping Iraqi oil to Kuwait? · Cheney's war · Seth Glickenhaus: Capitalist against Bush · Martha's blow job · Mark Belnick: Tyco Catholic nut · Cheney's deferred Halliburton compensation · Jeb sucks sugar cane · Poindexter & LifeLog · American Family Association panic · Riley Bechtel and the crony economy · The Book of Sharon (Bush) · The Art of Enron · Plunder convention · Waiting in Kuwait: Jay Garner · What's an Army private worth? · Barbara Bodine, Queen of Baghdad · Sneaky bastards at Halliburton · Golf course and barbecue military strategy · Enron at large · Recent astroturf · Cracker Chic 2 · No business like war business · Big Brother · Martha Stewart vs. Thomas White · Roger Kimball, disappointed Republican poetry fan · Cheney, Lay, Afghanistan · Terry Lynn Barton, crimes of burning · Feasting at the Cheney trough · Who would Jesus indict? · Return of the Carlyle Group · Duct tape is for little people · GOP and bad medicine · Sears Tower vs Mt Rushmore · Scared Christians · Crooked playing field · John O'Neill: The man who knew · Back to the top

. . .