West Virginia Leads the Nation

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by Clarice Feldman, American Thinker:

Apart from its legislative and regulatory policies, the administration is doing everything it can to hamper the production of conventional fuels. The standard, and oft used, countermeasure is to seek judicial relief from nonsensical overreach, which takes a lot of time and money, but several states this week showed a more creative side, and it’s a good thing in my book.

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At the Federalist, Tristan Justice details the administration’s misguided actions which prompted the response:

President Joe Biden has been aggressive in quickly curtailing oil and gas development as promised on the campaign trail. Beyond the illegal suspension of new leases on federal land, the prohibition of new drilling sites on major untapped reserves, and higher fees in the pipeline for new energy exploration permits, however, it’s the administration’s pressure on Wall Street to refuse investment in the capital-intense industry that’s dealt the biggest blow to producers, spiking prices at the pump in the process.

I suppose the White House thought this sideways non-governmental attack was a clever move. After all, similar non-legislative moves are taking place everywhere with outside outfits like Blackstone and Merrill Lynch playing to the leftist administration’s lead in demanding corporate boards ignore their fiduciary responsibilities to stockholders by filling up their boards using racial and gender quotas and investing only in those outfits which meet the vague, immeasurable standard of ESG investing (Environmental, Social Governance) compliance.

As I said over a year ago:

If people really want to put their money into virtue-signaling instead of reasonable returns, why doesn’t someone just create a Virtue Fund? Investors would agree not to hold the managers of it accountable for losses as long as the investments tickle their fancy. That would leave those of us such as the Calpers beneficiaries who rely on secure returns to use more traditional measures of risk and reward (like debt-equity, dividends and price-earnings ratio) which have an historical measure of efficacy.

I suppose if boards succumb to the ESG pressure at the cost of their beneficiaries, suits claiming breach of fiduciary obligations will be brought. But that approach takes time and money and will probably be brought on a company-by-company basis, not across the board where it would have more impact.

It’s a rare but welcoming sign to see a tough pushback against these silly and intrusive campaigns. We finally got our wish this week when 15 states whose treasuries hold $600 billion in assets responded to the administration’s demand that financial institutions forego assistance to the capitol-needy conventional energy producers.

State financial officers wrote, “We have a compelling government interest, when acting as participants in the financial services market on behalf of our respective states, to select financial institutions that are not engaged in tactics to harm the very people whose money they are handling, Any financial institution that has adopted policies aimed at diminishing a large portion of our states’ revenue has a major conflict of interest against holding, maintaining, or managing those funds.”

West Virginia is leading this rebellion, just as their Senator Joe Manchin leads the rebellion against Biden’s preposterous and misnamed Build Back Better initiative. The fourteen states which have joined on are Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming, Alabama, Texas, and Kentucky,

Other energy-producing states like Alaska should join in. So should the rest of the states which are energy consumers, where rising costs and product scarcity are intimately related to the administration’s incoherent and irrational energy policies which demonize production of essential fuels.

As for Joe Manchin, Tom Finnerty is right — the senator gave us all a Christmas present. Other Democratic senators had reservations about this pork-filled legislation, but it needed people up front like Manchin and Senator Kyrsten Sinema to just say no, and kill it.

Here’s some of what that rebellion has saved us from:

The $5 trillion BBB bill would have been a handout to Democrat-backed unions, federalizing child-care and pre-K workers into their ranks. It was full of gifts for everyone from rich people living in Democratic states (via the state and local tax deduction) to journalists (via media subsidies). Besides being a colossal waste of money, its “climate change” subsidies would have hurt Manchin’s state of West Virginia…

The legislation would have driven up the cost of everything for everyone — adding to our already historic inflation. It was nowhere close to being “paid for,” as President Biden claimed. And yes, it is $5 trillion, not the $1.75 trillion Democrats dishonestly advertised — by pretending programs would disappear after a year or two, when they knew they’d extend them forever. Even not accounting for that gimmick, the bill would add at least $367 billion to the federal deficit.

Senator Chuck Schumer, in particular, I think, has made a tremendous error in targeting Manchin. The Democratic playbook is getting shopworn. Apart from screaming meemies attacking him in public, the Democrats obviously got the AFL-CIO leadership to pressure the UMWA president Cecil E. Roberts to urge Manchin to “revisit “ his decision to block BBB. He contends, “The United Mine Workers and Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) have a long and friendly relationship. We remain grateful for his hard work to preserve the pensions and health care of our retirees across the nation, including thousands in West Virginia. He has been at our side as we have worked to preserve coal miners’ jobs in a changing energy marketplace, and we appreciate that very much.”

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