I know many of you think I hate Christian Fong. Let me be very clear, I don’t hate the kid, I just don’t think he is ready to be Governor of the State of Iowa. Yesterday, Fong’s campaign issued a press release regarding the mess that IPERS is in. After reading it I wondered why he’s running for Governor and not State Treasurer.
Here is Fong’s Press Release:
Responding to the news reports yesterday on the drop of the IPERS pension fund by over $4 billion dollars, Republican candidate for Governor, Christian Fong commented on the current situation.
“My wife, a former schoolteacher, is one of nearly 320,000 Iowans who have their retirement account with IPERS. As a family, and collectively as a state, we depend on IPERS to be self-sustaining and solvent, not just today, but 30, 40, 50+ years from now.”
Fong a finance professional, and CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) designee added, “I believe that the worst thing we can do is stick our head in the sand and just hope that things improve. We have to take steps to protect the retirement of the more than 1 in 10 Iowans that depend on IPERS for their later years.”
Simply hoping things get better is not an adequate, nor positive solution, for the gaping hole in IPERS. The following are policy recommendations proposed by Christian Fong:
1. Protect Iowa Taxpayers: The IPERS Benefits Advisory Committee will present possible changes in November. We must ensure that taxpayers are not put on the hook for potential changes to make up IPERS losses. Now is not the time for state government to follow the Obama administration’s habit of forcing taxpayers into expensive bail-outs. The solution must come from within IPERS.
2. IPERS benefits should be in line with the private sector. This is a matter of fairness to Iowans, no matter where they work. Public employees, in IPERS, shouldn’t have a worse retirement plan than the typical private sector employee. An IPERS with questionable solvency in thirty or forty years is the worst plan of all.
3. Ensure that the IPERS board is fully qualified to make difficult investment decisions. We need the majority of that board to be portfolio managers and investment professionals. IPERS is not the place for inexperienced political appointees.
4. Do not pit one generation against another. Reject a plan that says, “Today’s retirees are going to be fine, but we’re going to have to hope things get better so tomorrow’s retirees are safe.” Pitting one generation against another is bad for Iowa.
Fong continued, “The gaping hole in IPERS underscores a serious problem in Iowa. The ratio of workers to benefit recipients of many government programs is shifting toward an unsustainable number. Why? Our young people are moving away due to lack of good jobs.”
“As a state, we need to do better at keeping our young people here in Iowa. We must recognize that the strategies of the past decades have not worked to turn around our ‘Brain Drain’ problem. We need a Governor with the background to understand how economic growth happens, and the strength to lead Iowa into more opportunities for ourselves and our children in the coming decades,” concluded Fong.
Look, I’m not kidding. Iowa Republicans have a tremendous opportunity to take out an entrenched incumbent in Michael Fitzgerald. His stewardship of the IPERS fund is beyond embarrassing. I would like to see nothing more than Republicans find a young, smart, articulate, candidate to run against him, and nobody fits the that bill better than Christian Fong.
Hey, I’d rather be the Governor too, but at age 32 Christian Fong has an entire lifetime to pursue higher office. I can’t think of a better situation for Fong to start his political career. In fact if would happen to abandon his gubernatorial campaign and run for State Treasurer, I would wholeheartedly endorse his campaign.
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