Frank Gaffney, executive chairman and founder of the Center for Security Policy, called for the Trump administration to stop a federally administered retirement fund from investing in Chinese equities, warning of China gaining further leverage over America through the one-party state’s growing control of U.S. finances.
On Wednesday’s edition of SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Tonight, Gaffney joined host Rebecca Mansour and special guest host Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) to explain how the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (FRTIB), a federal government agency managing the pension funds of federal employees and military personnel, is moving towards greater investment in Chinese securities.
Gohmert said of FRTIB, “Some Obama appointees are moving very, very quickly to invest tens of billions of dollars in China and, significantly, in countries that do not meet the requirements of the law with transparency and other requirements. And yet, they’re rushing headlong into putting our retirement accounts in Chinese companies, some of whom make weapons that kill our soldiers.”
Increasing interconnectedness between Chinese and American capital markets will soon be “inflicted upon” federal government employees if FRTIB’s intentions are allowed to proceed, warned Gaffney.
FRTIB’s plans are “to have [federal employees’] retirement funds — at least those that are being invested in a diversified international portfolio — compulsorily invested in Chinese companies,” explained Gaffney, “some of which are engaged in building South China Sea islands and proliferating various weapon systems for which they’ve been sanctioned; or oppressing Uighurs and other minorities in China with the so-called social credit system; or building weapon systems to be used against Americans.”
Gaffney continued, “Now, think about that for a minute. American military veterans and active personnel are being put in the position [where] they will shortly be compelled to invest their money — their retirement funds — in the companies that are trying to help the Chinese Communist Party being positioned to kill them. It’s obscene.”
Gaffney added, “We have already transferred, by some estimates, three trillion dollars from our capital markets to China, and this has enabled all of the bad things that the Chinese are doing. It is the petty cash war that has underwritten so [many] of the threats that we’re now facing from them.”
“They aspire to get another three to five trillion dollars out of [U.S.] capital markets in the near future,” said Gaffney of China, “and people in Wall Street are still determined to do that.”
China’s growing control of America’s retirement funds afford the one-party state leverage over the U.S., warned Gaffney.
He remarked, “When 160 — maybe — million Americans have their retirement funds — and other college funds for their kids, and who knows what else — [and] their investment dollars tied up in China, not because they want them there but because that’s what Wall Street has done through these passively managed indexes, you will have created the largest China lobby in the history of the world, and it will be vastly more difficult for us to make the kind of sovereign and security decisions that are vital to our future freedoms under the circumstances,” Gaffney stated.
Expanding influence over American financial instruments may enable China to halt future national security measures such as a the coronavirus-related travel ban, Gohmert speculated.
FRTIB is run by a five-person board appointed by the executive branch, Gaffney noted. “It’s a five-member board that no one ever heard of,” he said. “It is a partisan operation. It’s still populated by four Democratic representatives members that were appointed during the Obama years, and there’s a fifth who is a Republican, perhaps in name only.”
Gaddney went on, “About three years ago, they made a decision that they would begin in 2020 to mirror one of these indexes. It’s called the Morgan Stanley National Index, and it’s the all-country world index ex-U.S., which is a real mouthful, but it’s basically an index that incorporates some six — and increasingly, I think, it will be seven — percent of its holdings in Chinese companies, including some that are directly tied into the People’s Liberation Army as well as the Chinese Communist Party doing malevolent things.”
China games globalized capital flows, including U.S. foreign investment via retirement pension funds, to fund its geopolitical ambitions, explained retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Robert Spalding, senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, to Breitbart News in September 2019.
Increasing U.S. investment in China-based companies places American investors at risk given China’s weaker transparency regulations relative to America, explained Gaffney.
“This is imprudent from a financial point of view,” Gaffney estimated. “Look at what’s happening to these Chinese companies. One of them, it was announced last year, lost 4.4 billion dollars. It just went missing. How many more of these companies are in similar financial circumstances is anybody’s guess because we don’t require these Chinese companies in our capital markets to meet our requirements under our laws for transparency, for accountability, for governance, [or] for risk disclosure for heaven’s sakes. They’re given a pass.”
Gaffney continued, “I think this was a result of President Obama’s direction, but the SEC — the Securities and Exchange Commission — is continuing this practice, so we don’t really know whether these companies are financially viable, let alone exposing our investors to the reality that they are investing in companies and business and entities that are absolutely inimical to our vital interests, our security interests, among others, our human rights values and the like. This is just insane.”
“This mustn’t be allowed to metastasize further into the $500-or-so billion-dollar Federal Thrift Savings Plan, so we need people on the net to be letting the president know this should not happen,” advised Gaffney.
Mansour asked what can be done to halt China’s growing control of U.S. retirement funds.
Gaffney advised the implementation of an “America First” ethos beyond manufacturing to include federal regulation and policy regarding retirement funds, beginning with FRTIB.
“My best answer is this is an opportunity to invest in an America First program,” Gaffney recommended. “There is an enormous amount that needs to be done. We’ve been talking about infrastructure for years. There’s innovation. There’s research and development — among other things — for our military. But not least, there’s also the simple capitalization of the lead institution of an American industrial sector, so we can manufacture medicines in this country again, and gloves, and masks, and all kinds of other medical gear, and all of the other things that we foolishly allowed to be shipped off by people whose only interest was maximizing their quarterly profits, and the devil take the hindmost with respect to the national interest, especially the national security interest. So I’d like to say we have an opportunity.”
Gaffney added, “I think if the American people get behind this idea that patriotic investing is the alternative — not continuing to invest in our enemies.”
Gaffney invited listeners to visit the committee on the Present Danger: CHINA, an organization of which he is vice president.
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