What You Haven't Heard About: Biden's Gonna Veto an Anti-ESG Bill

Back in December, I warned that the next round of fuckery the right was going to pull had to do with ESG investing. While it's a way more complex thing than I have the ability to explain, lemme give it a shot: investing in well-governed companies that give a shit about the environment and social issues. There you go. E=Environment, S=Social, G=Governance. So, like, it's investing in a corporation that isn't run by shitbags, and instead by those who think climate change is gonna fuck us if we don't do anything and who don't treat their workers like garbage. It's not new, but it's taken off in the last couple of years, and now "ESG accounted for $1 of every $8 in all U.S. assets under professional management."

Doesn't that seem like a good thing? Like, wouldn't you want to invest in companies that don't have completely skeevy motherfuckers in charge? That take things like carbon emissions and the effects of rising seas into account in how they do business? That pay fairly and offer benefits that keep workers happy and productive? I mean, how is any of this bad? In fact, wouldn't it be doing due diligence to see if a company is taking into account, say, droughts and flooding when determining where to build a factory? Or if it isn't, say, hiring migrant children to clean the kill floor of their slaughterhouse?

Well, it is bad because we live in the age of the sentient asshole, and it's a problem because of course it is. See, this is apparently making capitalism "woke," and we can't have that. We can't even have that as a consideration.

The administration of Joe Biden decided to undo a Trump administration rule that said the only thing you could consider in retirement fund investments was "financial factors." In other words, it doesn't matter if Mafia-run Amalgamated Sewage Dumping is pouring shit into the water supply and will likely face future fines and maybe even more enforcement. As long as it's making money now, your retirement plan can put tons of money into it (or a fund that contains it in its portfolio). 

The Biden rule change said, simply, if a retirement fund wants to invest primarily on ESG factors, it totally can. That's it. It didn't mandate it. Trump's rule mandated something. Biden's just says, "Hey, your call." Or, to put it another way, "The rule simply makes sure that retirement plan fiduciaries must engage in a risk and return analysis of their investment decisions and recognizes that these factors can be relevant to that analysis." But it doesn't force investment one way or another like the Trump rule did.

Put another way: Trump said, "You must be shitty." Biden said, "You can be shitty if you want, but you can also not be shitty."

But ESG is ready to be exploited by the shitmongers of the right, like CRT and other abbreviations of the damned. So away we go. 

In Republican states like Texas, Indiana, and, of fucking course, Florida, the cockflea legislatures, encouraged by their dickweed governors, are starting to pass anti-ESG bills that prevent state retirement funds, among other things (like municipal bonds), from being invested with any firms that use ESG as a factor. Florida pulled $2 billion out of Blackrock because it used ESG factors. Governor Ron DeSantis, who always looks like he's gonna giddily evict an orphanage for a single late mortgage payment, has proposed legislation that he says will prevent "financial institutions from discriminating against customers for their religious, political, or social beliefs — like owning a firearm, securing the border or increasing our energy independence." 

By the way, another word for the government controlling the financial sector is "socialism." 

Of course, of course, it shouldn't need to be said that, at the end of the day, the word "douche" is in "fiduciary," and those motherfuckers aren't going to put money in anything that isn't going to make money. And ESG investing is making money. Yeah, companies that are moving away from oil and coal, that are diversifying their boards, that are acting as semi-decent citizens in an indecent economic system are doing well. Why wouldn't you invest in success? In fact, states that prevent such investment are essentially setting money on fire.

Which brings us to Biden's first veto threat. Republicans in the Senate, with the help of fossil fuel Democrats Joe Manchin and Jon Tester, passed a bill to prevent enforcement of Biden's rule. The House passed it on pretty much party lines. And Biden said, "Yeah, go fuck yourselves" and has said he will veto the bill. 

Obviously, Republicans were hysterical pricks while discussing the bill. Sen. John Bearasshole or whatever from Wyoming (motto: "It's fucking hilarious that we have the same number of senators as California") said, "The Biden administration wants retirement plan managers to invest people’s retirement funds based not on the best return for the money — nope — based on woke ideology" and added that it was part of Biden's "radical left" agenda." 

But you know who says the senator from Wyoming should sit the fuck down and shut the fuck up? The Republican-controlled legislature of North Dakota. Yeah, they shit on an anti-ESG bill, going down 90-3 in the House, because the fucking bankers told them it was nonsense. "Our biggest concern is the idea of somebody telling our banks who to do business with or who not to do business with," said the head of the North Dakota Bankers Association. "We believe our banks should be allowed to do business with customers they know, the people they know and to make those decisions." Damn, that's some folksy shit right there in service of both crass capitalism and freedom of association and speech.

The screaming propagandists of the right are going to try to make ESG into the next boogeyman. It'll be interesting to see how far they get.