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TURNER: Corporate America Is Learning The Hard Way — Go Woke, Go Broke

(Photo by Pedro PARDO / AFP)

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Daniel Turner Contributor
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Social media repeats one of my favorite phrases: go woke, go broke. After PayPal announced plans to penalize those who violate their standards regarding gender and trans issues with a $2,500 fine, its stock plummeted and the company lost $6 billion. #BoycottPayPal trended.

This backlash has hit the NBA, the NFL, Hollywood and the music industry, all financially weaker, in part, because their wokeness clashes with mainstream American values. No bigger industry is feeling the backlash than Wall Street. 

With $10 trillion in assets, Blackrock is the country’s largest financial firm. It has been pushing a woke and green agenda for years. Following the 2016 election, Brian Deese, the Obama climate aid, was hired by Blackrock where he used the financial powerhouse to push his radical agenda. Since the 2020 election, Blackrock executives, including Wally Adeyemo and Mike Pyle, joined the Biden administration where they use the power of government to drive their agenda. Deese is now Biden’s chief economic advisor. The revolving door at its finest.

Meanwhile, the Biden economic agenda has lost $9 trillion in wealth. American families have lost $6 trillion. Inflation persists at a 40 year high

One would think a cabal of Wall Street executives would be better at making money, until you realize it is about the agenda, not the finances. 

Blackrock pushed the “ESG Movement,” innocuous in name but deadly in philosophy. Environment, social and governance, ESG pushes companies toward a woke vision of the business world. No longer is your company judged by the quality of its product and the behavior of its employees, but rather how many people of color have high-ranking positions. How many women are managers. How many LGBTQ members work on the C-Suite. Do you have a business relationship with those industries who generally do not favor liberals? Guns, agriculture, meat and none worse than fossil fuels. All that matters is ESG – even at the expense of the business itself. 

Democrat leaders cheered them on. 

But their actions did not happen in a vacuum. Leaders acted. State Treasurers like Riley Moore in West Virginia, a state with hundreds of thousands of fossil fuels workers, determined that if Blackrock wants to punish West Virginia energy workers, West Virginia would no longer work with Blackrock. In simplest terms, Mr. Moore fired Blackrock and took $8 billion in pension funds to another Wall Street firm.

Texas soon followed when the State House passed legislation mandating that only financial institutions without a woke agenda could manage state funds. The Texas Teachers Retirement account alone is worth $200 billion

Other states followed. Alaska. South Carolina. Arkansas. Louisiana. 

In total, Blackrock has lost hundreds of billions in state funds. Their stock is down nearly 33%. Go woke. Go broke. 

Today, Blackrock president Larry Fink is singing a different tune. He claims they have no ESG agenda, and this is all a great misunderstanding. The myriad of op-eds and speaking engagements where he and other Blackrock employees proclaimed their wokeness and pushed the anti-fossil fuel agenda are easily available in an online search. Even Big Tech cannot censor that much content.

The left deserves credit for their craftiness. Infiltrating Wall Street and forcing their agenda through financial pressure was a brilliant strategy, and maybe they expected America to roll over. Leaders like Riley Moore who steered finances away from the enemies of his state, and the individual actions of millions of Americans who canceled their PayPal account, demonstrate that woke does not have to win. In fact, we can win by pushing back on an agenda that is costing America its wealth, stability and opportunity. 

Woke, no matter how big, will go broke when we fight back. 

Daniel Turner is the founder and executive director of Power The Future, a national nonprofit organization that advocates for American energy jobs. He raises heritage breeds on a farm in rural Virginia. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @DanielTurnerPTFPower the Future has donated to the DCNF.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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