This may be the most tasteless take on Hurricane Ian

October 3, 2022

By Tim Worstall

As the worst hurricane to hit Florida in recorded history causes chaos, Salon runs the headline:

“As Hurricane Ian ravages Florida, don’t forget: Ron DeSantis leads the GOP war on green energy.”

One of those little habits of civilized behavior that we might want to retain is that we comfort the afflicted and bury the dead before we descend into party political blame allocation.

Of course, we know that there’s a certain necessity to attack DeSantis for absolutely anything – good grief, the man might run for president and even win, which would never do! Well, a certain necessity if you’re in the tank for the political party that the Florida Governor doesn’t belong to.

But even so, this is dredging the barrel rather than just scraping it.

It’s not even correct, either. The actual critique is:

“On the same day that Senate Democrats announced the Inflation Reduction Act, DeSantis signed an executive order barring Florida’s pension funds from using ESG guidelines in their investment decisions. It’s an effort to lock $240 billion of investments into oil and gas, and keep the money away from the green investment that the Biden bill is likely to make far more lucrative.”

But this entirely misunderstands the actual proposal, which can be read here. The proposal doesn’t say don’t invest green. What it does say is don’t get taken in by the labels and promises of investment firms about being green. Invest in what produces a profit for pensioners, not what makes investment managers feel good.

The result of this is entirely the opposite of what Salon suggests. If the Biden Admin’s changes increase the profitability of such green investments then the DeSantis changes will increase the Florida pension funds’ investments in those very green schemes.  Precisely because they are being forced to look at profitability and profitability only, not fashion, and the Federal changes have made such investments more profitable.

From the DeSantis proposal: “Require SBA fund managers to only consider maximizing the return on investment on behalf of Florida’s retirees.”

If green is more profitable than fossil, this forces the pensions funds to invest green, doesn’t it?

Salon ranks at No. 50 in the listings of U.S. media outlets dealing with law and government. From that position it gains some 10.3 million visits a month. Yes, Salon is determinedly progressive and woke but that’s no reason not to hold them to the normal standards of behavior.

The first of those normal standards is that we do try to clean up from a disaster before shouting about blame. The afflicted need the aid more than they require anything else. The second is to at least try to understand the legislative proposals out there – you know, Salon is listed as a law and government media outlet. To the extent that the claim – green is now more lucrative – the DeSantis proposal increases green investment.

Not that all of this is much comfort to those struggling through the rubble of today’s Florida but then it’s not us here that started this, is it?


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