Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Report Card - Fall Semester
Student: STRS Retirement Board
Teacher: Richard DeColibus
Gender: Mixed
Current GPA: 1.83
Date: 12 Dec 08
Subject: Mathematics..... Grade: C+
Comments: Does a nice job getting data organized and collated. Understands the necessity of accurate information. Very weak on estimation and prediction.
Subject: English..... Grade: C
Comments: Newsletter writing is clear and unobtrusive. However, some passages in essays are clearly opinions disguised as facts, and obviously manipulative. Masterful ability to write with technical accuracy while concealing unpleasant realities.
Subject: Personal Relations..... Grade: A+
Comments: All STRS personnel seem to be exceptionally personable, willing to be gracious in the face of disagreements, and polite. Couldn't be better.
Subject: Economics 101..... Grade: F+
Comments: While a few bright spots remain, the facts are horrific, namely:
(a) Total Fund Market Value..........May 2008: $74,634,000,000
(b) Total Fund Market Value..Nov. (est.) 2008: $51,460,000,000
(c) Loss of Market Value over 7 months:.........$23,174,000,000
Subject: Personal Responsibility..... Grade: F
Comments: Student's explanation for failure in Econ 101 is that STRS is merely a helpless leaf caught in a rushing torrent of flood water losses on Wall Street, and no one is to blame. Your instructor would like to point out someone had to decide which stocks and bonds to buy, and someone had to decide which stocks and bonds to sell, and when it was all that happened. Your instructor believes that is called accountability. If we are merely a leaf caught in the current, then the investment department has no reason to exist. If the investment department did the investing, then it seems logical it should be responsible for the results. The fact is, each investment associate lost an average of 1.82 ($126,847 v. $70,000) times as much money as his bonus was, and did it every single day for seven straight months. Maybe it's time for the leaf to start rowing.
Subject: Debate (Advanced)..... Grade: B+
Comments: The argument we should pay the investment associates a bonus averaging $70,000 each, while losing $30 billion of asset value, is utterly brilliant. Never in the history of modern debate has a student taken such a completely illogical and ludicrous position, and then refused to reconsider despite being drowned in an avalanche of facts, figures, and other information, all to the contrary. Student will be nominated for the "I Don't Care What the Facts Are" Modern Debate Award. Competition is stiff since so many members of Congress are also in the running. Student is encouraged to listen to the other side of the debate, not just leave the lectern and go home after speaking.
Subject: Health..... Grade: Inc.
Comment: Given the losses above, we shall see what state our Health Care Stabilization Fund is in soon. It used to be good until 2021. No doubt, if we have invested wisely, that number is still good and, hopefully, destined to go up.
Larry KehresMount Union Collge
Division III
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