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Woke Politicians Warring on Public Pensions and Single-Family Homes: Warning from Maine

Posted on Sunday, January 16, 2022
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AMAC Exclusive – By Sam Adolphsen

Maine

It was below zero in Maine last week. That is not exactly unusual for January in one of the northernmost states in America. But this year the cold isn’t just freezing the lakes, it is also squeezing Mainer’s checkbooks more than usual, thanks to the high cost of heating fuel brought on by the Biden administration’s energy policies.

Energy affordability is a big deal in a state that relies more heavily on heating oil than any other state in the country. In a geographically large, rural, blue-collar state where you are just as likely to see a pulp truck as a Prius, heating oil, diesel fuel, and gasoline make the state economy go.

That is why it is so perplexing that Maine democrats have followed California, Oregon, and New York leftist politics to use the state pocketbook to protest heating oil and gasoline companies. Maine is now the first in the nation to pass a law banning investments in those companies.

Maine Democrats, including democratic Governor Janet Mills, pushed through the law last year titled “An act to require the state to divest itself of assets invested in the fossil fuel industry.” The bill title explains it well. The law requires the state to end all its current investments, and no longer invest, in “fossil fuels” in the state’s public pension program. The state must divest from “any fossil fuel company or any subsidiary, affiliate or parent of any fossil fuel company” by January 1, 2026.

Maine’s public pension program, which invests retirements funds for around 100,000 current and retired Maine state workers and teachers, in a state of just over a million people, holds about 8% of the $18 billion pension portfolio in the traditional energy sector.

But it won’t anymore, thanks to Maine democrats and Janet Mills’s new anti-oil, progressive investment plan.

So-called “ESG” investing, which stands for “environmental, social, governance” investing, is the white-collar version of protesting in the streets against “evil corporations.” But instead of looting a Target, these progressive protesters look at American energy companies as one of their primary targets for destruction.

The Maine bill specifically targets the “200 publicly traded companies with the largest fossil fuel reserves” and companies who use “coal-fired power plants” or have “infrastructure used exclusively for fossil fuels.”

ESG investing upends the traditional fiduciary responsibility of money managers, which is earning their member’s solid returns, and instead requires them to become woke police. The focus is to only allow investments in industries and companies deemed worthy by far-left progressives and climate shills like Al Gore who recently started his own ESG investment group.

While Maine may be the first state with a law on the books, this progressive panacea has quickly become in vogue across the country. The Trump administration slowed the ESG tidal wave with a rule that required retirement plans to focus on financial returns over climate religion, but that rule has since been reversed by the Biden administration.  

That’s not surprising given that much of the Biden administration is populated with former high-level BlackRock employees, who hold millions in BlackRock equities. BlackRock and CEO Larry Fink, the investing group buying up single-family homes around the country, is also leading the efforts to force “environmental investing” down the throats of 401k holders around the country, often under the guise of fighting the “global threat of climate change.”

The Maine public pension program loves BlackRock. Nearly half of the state’s pension portfolio is with the company. They also invest Mainer’s pensions with Carlyle, a group that has partnered with California’s public pension group, and others like BlackRock and the Canadian pension system, to bully companies into giving up data on their “greenhouse gas emissions, renewable energy, and board diversity.” This ESG effort will presumably be used to kick out companies that are deemed “unclean” by ESG standards.

The retirement-fund-rioting extends to the boardroom as well. The Maine retirement system brags in its 2021 “ESG report” that they were part of the hostile takeover of the ExxonMobil board of directors, by partnering with “Engine 1” – an activist ESG investing group.

The Maine pension ESG report also boasts of its increasing investments in “renewables” like wind power. The report notes that “the largest growth in private MainePERS renewable energy investments since 2012 has been in wind energy.” Interestingly, Maine’s U.S. Senator Angus King has been in office since 2012, when he had to divest from his wind project after a congressional investigation.

The Biden administration has also shut down part of the Maine lobster industry, apparently in pursuit of their wind power goals.

Workers and retirees in Maine and around the country, from state employees to schoolteachers, deserve their investment managers to focus on making the choices that deliver the most returns and stability for them. That is clearly not what ESG investing does. Instead, it promotes a global leftist agenda at any cost.

It’s banning investments in oil in Maine right now, but it may be banning companies who won’t support critical race theory next. This sets the precedent that states can force adherence to leftist politics using tax dollars and public pensions. Mainers will have to hope that woke investing won’t make their pension system broke again, like it was before former treasurer and current candidate for Congress Bruce Poliquin, and then republican Governor Paul LePage fixed Maine’s pension system.

Maine public pensioners, thanks to Janet Mills and Maine Democrats, are in the wind with financial returns based on the political left’s social agenda. That could leave them out in the cold, just like they would be without heating oil.

Is your state next?

Sam Adolphsen is the former chief operating officer at the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. He currently serves as the policy director at the Foundation for Government Accountability and lives in Maine.

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PaulE
PaulE
2 years ago

The primary goal of any prudent financial management team, whether it be for public pension funds or private investment in real estate sector, should be to maximize the total return for its investors in the most long-term, sustainable manner. That means using proper risk mitigation coupled with sound investment principles to ensure a maximum rate of return to the shareholder (either the public sector employee relying on the fund for his or her pension or private investor in the individual stock, mutual fund or ETF market as the case may be). What ESG investing does is introduce so-called SJW (social justice warrior) values into the mix as the chief determination of whether a particular asset should or should not be included in the investment mix. Since SJW values are constantly evolving to reflect the outrage of the day, this makes adhering to what is the accepted ESG values of the day a constantly moving target that is expensive for fund managers, pensions and businesses to keep adjusting to. This of course negatively impacts the total financial return achievable. In short, what the article refers to as “woke” social values become the primary determinant for an asset’s inclusion / exclusion from the investment portfolio mix and tend to lead to lower overall returns over time.

There have been several, well respected, independent studies done over the last 15 years that have looked into the investment returns of so-called ESG investing versus the conventional manner of selecting investment assets based on achieving the best total return for the investor based on their risk tolerances. ESG has always under-performed over the long-term. For someone relying on a pension or their investments to provide for their retirement, this of course translates into less money in retirement. It also starves investment capital from crucial areas of our economy for purely political reasons. Which in turn lead to higher prices, such as presently in the oil and natural gas sector of our economy. Where ESG investment standards by Larry Fink and other state Democrat Governors are intentionally starving the oil and natural gas sector of investment capital to achieve the eventual political goal of ” putting them out of business” as some politicians in Congress have openly stated.

The article does a very good job of outlining Larry Fink’s role in pushing the political values of ESG into the investment sector of our economy via his Blackrock funds. Obviously no current state employee involved in the oversight of a state pension fund in a Democrat controlled state could have conveyed this information without risk of certain job loss. So Mr. Adolphsen did a good job conveying this information to the general public, that is generally unaware of what is going on with state pensions and Blackrock’s role in pushing this political agenda. Blackrock, as the largest money manager and thus controller of substantial stock voting proxies via its funds, is actively influencing literally thousands of companies to not only adopt ESG policies in their board rooms, but also determining whether companies can even get access to investment capital to stay in business. This creates an economic ripple effect throughout the entire U.S. economy and not in a good way.

Bill T
Bill T
2 years ago

Ok, so let’s be extremely clear about the Marxist leftist democrats real intentions here and throughout our country right now. The Green new deal is alive and well and with the bankrupting of our fossil fuel industry there going to force major corporations to address the way they heat, drive, deliver goods and all other modes of transportation and utility services. This is a nightmare for every American citizen who depends on fossil fuels to go about their everyday lives and with the cost of oil and gas skyrocketing out of control (without a doubt totally set up by Biden and delusional climate change objectives they are implementing right now, will not only bankrupt thousands of companies throughout our country but with out of control inflation hitting most hard working families force some to depend completely on the government to survive. This is surely a planned strategy on there part as is a plethora of other devastating situations that are unfolding since the Covid 19 pandemic. Surely makes you wonder how many more destructive and strategically planned outcomes they have waiting for all of us? This must stop and only WE THE PEOPLE can reverse this disaster. All this and not to mention we have the most divisive president in our history and literally is turning our citizens against each other. Yes not a shot fired and this country just destroyed itself. Our foes are literally in disbelieve at what this woke and destructive administration is doing right now and already has done, it’s like a nuclear bomb has detonated and we are just beginning to feel the fallout and devastation after effects from our highly questionable POTUS and so many other characters that are behind the scenes on all of this. Truly disgusting

martha doerfel
martha doerfel
2 years ago

On the bright side of this entirely selfish and destructive legislation (if there is one) is that Janet Mills is up for REELECTION THIS NOVEMBER. It Voters must stand up to woke politicians on a state-by-state basis, and vote them out of office. I look forward to reading that Maine’s voters have replaced their woke governor and her supporters with leaders who care about the economic future of the citizens of their state.

Heelshigh
Heelshigh
2 years ago

Death to the Marxist Democrats, they are your enemy handle them as such. Scorched earth if need be.

Nancy
Nancy
2 years ago

Any plan to destroy the oil and gas industry is a plsn to destroy oil snd gas producing states, especially Texas. Always look further downstream to understsnd how each goal the Dems achieve is used to further s down stream goal and their ultimatd goal, one world domination. Their slogan, Think globally, Act locally, is still at the core of all their efforts.

Pat R
Pat R
2 years ago

The people who pay into those pension plans need to be made aware of what’s happening and take control of their retirement plans themselves. What gives the politicians the right to decide what investments are made with the plans? I guess it’s the little bit the states put in. But to me, once it’s given to the pensioners, the state no longer owns it or any say over it.

Indeed as Ms Webber says, it’s “Rule or Ruin” as far as the Dems are concerned.

Sharon
Sharon
2 years ago

I would like to know what the heat source is that the Governor is using to keep warm. Al Gore is one of the most wasteful oil and coal users in this country, always has been a hypocrite!! Another one of those do as I say not as I do Democrat scum.

Philip Hammersley
Philip Hammersley
2 years ago

We should all switch totally to electric because it just comes from nowhere with no fossil fuels involved. (Tongue firmly in cheek.”

Golfmoto
Golfmoto
2 years ago

They are not fossil fuels, they re ORGANIC fuels. We should refer to them as such.

Liz
Liz
2 years ago

They are getting WHAT THEY VOTED FOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thomas F. Olszewski
Thomas F. Olszewski
2 years ago

These morons voted them in , let ‘em suffer. You can’t teach stupid this shows exactly that.

Pete from St Pete
Pete from St Pete
2 years ago

Hey Maniacs! Wise up and don’t just vote for everyone on the ballot with a D next to their name. Take the time to look beyond the labels and find out what they really stand for. Goes for every other voter in this country too.

Backwoods
Backwoods
2 years ago

The Democratic Party has been highjacked by COMMUNISTS wake up dumb A$$’s.

Tom
Tom
2 years ago

I will enjoy watching them freeze to death to their liberal stupidity! I wonder if the idiots know they will need fossil fuels for their electric autos to be charged? LMAO

HocasPocas
HocasPocas
2 years ago

Probably, we have a communist governor, who killed a lot of senior citizens while his Secretary of whatever it was took it’s mother out of a nursing home. This person is now employed by the federal government

Gen. Grant
Gen. Grant
2 years ago

Wakeup Maine——-time to vote out Comrade Mills

Ed L
Ed L
2 years ago

I grew up in Maine and it has always been a democrat state. I was smart enough to leave in 1971 and never went back except to visit. It does seem like they only vote for people with a D after their name. when they had a republican Governor who tried to fix the system they voted him out of office. They seem to love misery up there.

Jerry Spangler
Jerry Spangler
2 years ago

Nothing but communism from democrats

Art
Art
2 years ago

The picture that accompanies this piece make me wonder. Was Alfred E. Neuman a Democrat and did he father any children? The line of thinking in Maine is horrendous. I believe that it has been sated many times “Vote for the D” and don’t look into what the consequences might be.

REB1957
REB1957
2 years ago

Other than for heating needs, I would stop all shipments of fossil related products to Maine.

I say walk to work, school, medical centers , groceries, …

Of course, the Governor won’t be affected. They’ll find fuel to get her around one way or another.

Harlan Schwendemann
Harlan Schwendemann
2 years ago

You must feel the pain before you do something about. You are the ones who vote that way and if you do not see the problem then you need more pain.

Harlan Schwendemann
Harlan Schwendemann
2 years ago

I might add that we should put the Republicans feet to the fire and make all schools in America teach US history or do not graduate.

Mike B.
Mike B.
2 years ago

Obama stopped lobster fishing in Maine. The Canadians were laughing at us fishing in our waters in the Atlantic. President Trump opened up the lobster fishing in Maine. Now Biden has stopped the fishing on account of some climate bullshit. Anything President Trump puts into law, it’s reversed by Biden. The residents of Maine have their heads up there a**es. Now fossil fuels. WAKE UP MAINE ! Vote these communists out of office. Such a beautiful state & friendly people. Vote red !!!

Nick Patriot
Nick Patriot
2 years ago

I feel sorry for the conservatives on Maine. Such a long winter. As for the commiecrats, I hope you freeze your family jewels off. You reap what you sow, comrade!!

David D
David D
2 years ago

District 1 is made up of out of staters, forced immigrants (brought here by Obama) and brainwashed young people – college educated. It’s Senator is a IINO. It’s Representative is a rich female dog.District 2 is the real Maine. Though it’s Senator is a RINO.If LePage and Poloquin are not elected, yes better to move

james michalicek
james michalicek
2 years ago

I live in a small town on the Mississippi River. What are Woke people?? We have none here. Is that good?

Lee S McQuillen
Lee S McQuillen
2 years ago

It would be interesting to see what’s in the portfolios of those banning investments in fuel industries, etc. Bet they own some of them….

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