Biden vetoes ESG bill — left wins, retirees lose

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President Biden is doubling down on efforts to compel (“nudge” is the preferred euphemism) investors to put their hard-earned dollars into schemes that supposedly promote often misguided — but highly politicized — environmental, social and governance (ESG) priorities.

On Monday, March 20, he vetoed – his first such action – a bill, which would have reinstated a Trump-era ban on federal managers of retirement plans from considering factors such as climate change, social impacts or pending lawsuits when making investment choices.

As things now stand, a decades-old rule requiring these fiduciaries to maximize returns has been reversed. A congressional override of his veto isn’t in the cards. It would take a two-thirds Senate-House vote to do so, of course, and sufficient support just isn’t there.

Though applauded by the left, the President’s veto is not widely hailed; far from it. The original bill in question enjoyed, albeit somewhat limited, bipartisan support.

It doesn’t take a Sherlock Holmes or an Inspector Hercule Poirot to figure out why many, including the investing public, seem far less enthusiastic about all this leftist ESG sturm und drang than the president and his claque of committed fellow leftists.

At least a dozen rating firms now tag companies with ESG scores, often based on subjective and obscure criteria. Be that as it may, several studies have shown that ESG funds “underperform” their less woke counterparts, especially in downturns.

Nevertheless, no dog whistler he, as President Biden vetoed the bill, he offered the wacktivists in his leftist base some tasty (to them) partisan raw meat – turning to his Twitter account, he said that the (vetoed) bill would have made it “illegal to consider risk factors MAGA House Republicans don’t like.”

End of story? Hardly.

Other legislators and officials at the state level have been rising to the occasion. State officials are pulling billions of dollars out of various well known investment companies on board with ESG priorities, citing ESG’s sub-par performance and federally- forced know-towing to way-beyond-the-salad fork Leftivists. For example, On December 1, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis pulled $2 billion of state funds from the investment management and financial services behemoth BlackRock. The state’s Chief Financial Officer, Jimmy Patronis warned — Don’t use Florida’s cash for “social engineering.”

Also, attorneys general from more than two dozen states have initiated lawsuits against DOL’s ESG rule. They’ve filed a preliminary injunction against it in federal court in Texas. West Virginia has deemed five financial institutions as ineligible for state banking contracts due to the fac they’ve boycotted fossil fuel companies. Oklahoma Treasurer Todd Russ plans to bar financial firms that flat out refuse to do business with conventional (fossil fuel-based) companies from dealing with government entities.

The investing public is showing its displeasure with all this wactivism as well, by voting with its feet, so to speak. They’re abandoning ship and taking the money and running – away from ESG oriented investment vehicles as quickly as they withdrew funds earlier this year from the beleaguered fraudulent crypto currency “exchange” FTX and its sister firm Alameda appendage as well as now from once-thought-safe-and-secure financial institutions such as Silicon Valley Bank and Republic First Bank, Credit Suisse, etc.

Exhibit A: Investors have been dumping the iShares of ESG Aware Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) USA Exchange Traded Fund ETF. On Friday, March 17, saw a record breaking $4B in withdrawals from the fund, followed by an additional $1B on Monday the 20th , according to Bloomberg News.

For the moment, monetary authorities and treasury and other government officials in the US and elsewhere are busy grappling with the fallout from bank runs and similar widely anticipated financial turmoil.

But the left in the US seems, for now, to have achieved another small, nose-in-the-tent-type legislative victory with this veto, which allows the wactivists to deny prudent investors the fruit of their labors, and invest wisely. The long march through the institutes which once provided a firm foundation for the American republic continues, though not, so far, unabated.

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* This article was originally published here


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