Some $2 billion has been spent on Xanadu and much of it has gone to contractors, tradesmen and teams of politically connected professionals.
But where did all that money come from?
The answer, to a large degree, is pension funds for police, firefighters and other public employees around the country.
Nine public pension systems from Alaska to Texas to New York poured nearly $1 billion into two private-equity funds that include Xanadu among their investments, according to pension records reviewed by The Record. Those pensions have seen their collective investments in these funds shrink to about $360 million, a decline of about 60 percent, according to the pensions' records spanning the last year.States and towns use regressive taxes. When they don't have enough money to pay for things like pensions, they could make their taxes more progressive.
Instead, they play games and get burned. This is borne from the same attitude that gave us a 20-year "pension holiday" in NJ.
Rather than getting money from the very wealthiest - who are taking a bigger piece of the pie than at any time in the last century - politicians fund ponzi schemes that ultimately impoverish public workers and middle class taxpayers. The fees for these schemes go right to the same wealthiest few who continue to avoid paying their fair share in taxes; it's all part of the plan.
This is why Christie will never, ever move public workers to "defined contribution" plans: there's just too much money for Wall Street to make this way. God forbid teachers take their own money and put it into transparent, reasonably-priced investments, either through 403(b)s or truly transparent and well-managed pension funds.
Christie's solution remains having teachers pour more and more money into a funnel that may as well end directly in TriBeCa. We'll continue to capitalize his friends' wacky adventures, and take the blame from the taxpayers when their property taxes soar once again.
By the way - it is a very legitimate question to ask why the public employee unions weren't on top of this.