You may have heard that our South Carolina governor recently signed legislation that authorizes $1.3 billion of Palmetto State taxpayer cash, infrastructure spending, and tax incentives to Volkswagen/Scout for the construction of a new electric vehicle manufacturing plant near Columbia that might employ 4,000 workers and perhaps 4,000 more later if the new company survives.
Many of us are scratching our heads over the implications of this bill. Most baffling is that while this legislation was under consideration our legislators promoted several bills that would prevent the encroachment of ESG (environmental, social, and governance) precepts into our state. ESG may be the biggest threat to freedom in our time – when fully implemented, it will give government full control over all personal and commercial activity by assigning “social scores” based on which transactions are deemed environmentally and/or socially acceptable. ESG is enforced by manipulating our funds via digital currency. If that sounds familiar, it’s because communist China is well down that path, using social scores to influence spending, income, and activities. Thanks to state-controlled electronic banking, the CCP can track the activities of any person or company and stop any transaction or confiscate funds at any time. Here in the USA, companies are already being refused bank loans and services because of the nature of their business. Gun manufacturers and oil-related companies are the among the first targets. South Carolina bill H3564, introduced by my representative Doug Gilliam along with reps Burns and Leber, would prevent our state government from doing business with companies that discriminate or operate under the cloud of ESG. Well done!
But at the same time, many SC congressmen who staunchly oppose ESG voted to support the gargantuan handout to Volkswagen, who state Senator Shane Martin called on the Senate floor “the poster child for ESG”. At a recent local meeting Representative Gilliam said he can’t find any indication that Volkswagen will engage in ESG or require its local vendors and suppliers to do so. But the VW website features a large segment on “supplier sustainability” which requires vendors to comply with their directives for “sustainability management, environment, human rights and working conditions, ethics and compliance, as well as responsible sourcing of raw materials.” Any South Carolina vendors who don’t measure up will presumably not make the cut.
Senator Martin also pointed out that the cost per new job is roughly $350,000 and articulated how many other critical state programs could make good use of those funds. I submit that if the goal of our legislature is to create new jobs, and incentives to employers is their method of choice, why not just offer a calculated tax credit to loyal, existing SC employers for every new job they add? Isn’t a new job at the local retailer or construction site just as valuable as a VW job? Our home-grown companies would love to be able to afford the $58k annual earnings for hourly jobs touted by VW and subsidized by taxpayers. It would be less disruptive to existing companies who don’t need new competitors taking away their trained employees. It would be quicker, and less costly – no new interstate ramps or infrastructure needed. Not to mention the taxpayers would not be saddled with the risk of bankrolling a foreign-owned, China-dependent “woke” company in an industry that, to date, has not been able to operate profitably without heavy government subsidies and that causes more environmental damage with open-pit mining and disposal of heavy-metal components in batteries than it can ever offset. Even Ford, despite Herculian effort, has not been able to build EVs profitably and announced new plans to double-down on high-tech carbon-fueled vehicles. Volkswagen’s CEO has admitted that the company is being politically forced into its ESG position both by European interests and heavy-handed Chinese influence.
South Carolina taxpayers are fronting $400 million in cash to VW. SC legislators justified most of the other $900 million as permanent infrastructure which will serve the area in the future, plus tax incentives. To their credit, lawmakers did put in “clawback” provisions which would require VW to pay us back in case something goes wrong. Hopefully we won’t have a Solyndra-type situation to deal with. In the end, the VW proposal was, on the surface, just too sexy for 96 of our 108 voting legislators to resist.
Still, the dichotomy between VW and ESG doesn’t go away. If VW follows through with their ESG plans and ideology, both internally and to associated entities (including the state), how will South Carolina actually enforce our new anti-ESG laws?
Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side
Money changes everything
I said money, money changes everything
We think we know what we’re doin’
That don’t mean a thing
It’s all in the past now
Money changes everything