Thursday, July 08, 2004


(UPDATE: Link fixed.)

Oh, this is pathetic -- James Pinkerton, Newsday columnist and former Reaganoid, is chiding John Edwards because he claims to be a "man of the people" but has the audacity to invest some of his money in ... European and Asian stocks!

How do we know this? We can peruse Edwards' 2003 senatorial disclosure forms, reprinted in yesterday's USA Today. On page five of the paper is a list of Edwards' assets, including a holding worth between $1 and $5 million - that's the deliberately obscuring style of "full-disclosure" forms - in "American EuroPacific Growth Fund." Actually, once we look at the prospectus, we learn that it's really the "EuroPacific Growth Fund." And that's honest billing; on page eight, the prospectus tells readers, "Normally, the fund will invest at least 80 percent of its assets in securities of issuers located in Europe and the Pacific Basin."

That's the truth. On page 10, we see a list of the fund's holdings by country: Japan accounts for 21.5 percent of its assets, followed by the United Kingdom at 13.4 percent. And in a breakdown by industry, as opposed to country, we see "commercial banks," 9.40 percent, and pharmaceuticals, 8.67 percent. And specifically what companies are involved? The top five listed are AstraZeneca, Vodafone, KPN, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance, and Nestlé - foreign companies all.

Oh my God, that's appalling! What a hypocrite! What a traitor! I bet he's taken Bayer aspirin! I bet he once drank a Heineken!

I don't get this. If Edwards criticizes firms that shut down operations in the U.S. and shift jobs overseas, does that mean he can't put money in companies that have been established overseas for decades? Where's the hypocrisy?

Now, perhaps I'm misreading the tenor of the times. Perhaps, in the weeks and months to come, anger over outsourcing will develop just as Pinkerton predicts, and eaters of Nestle's Crunch bars will be savagely beaten by vigilante thugs from Hershey, Pennsylvania. But somehow I doubt it.

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