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SCOTT SHEPARD: Hate Woke Corporatism? Vote Your Shares Against It In Minutes

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Scott Shepard Scott Shepard is a fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research and Director of its Free Enterprise Project.
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The fight against woke corporate non-capitalism grinds on, with the forces of free markets and non-partisan corporate management beginning to secure some big wins. Now there’s another tool to fight woke – one that shareholders can use, whether they own a few shares or millions. It’s called ProxyNavigator.

In recent years the left has taken control of an astonishing array of American companies. Under acronyms such as ESG and DEI and claims about being “responsible citizens,” corporations have enacted policies and programs they claim are non-partisan but that somehow mirror the “whole-of-government” initiatives of the Biden administration. These are the New Discrimination of “equity” – differing from the old discrimination only in the race, sex and orientation of the victims; and politically driven decarbonization wholly decoupled from reality.

These are obviously terrible business strategies. Hiring people because of surface or private characteristics instead of their merit and their potential guarantees sub-optimal results – and violates the codex of civil rights laws and even the U.S. Constitution. And changing production methods, products offered and energy sources on climate-catastrophist schedules, rather than affordability and reliability, raises prices and cuts corporate value.

Then there’s the woke-corporate eagerness to jump into hot-button social and political controversies – always, somehow, on the left’s side, and sometimes supporting truly extreme and divisive positions, such as using shareholder assets to support indoctrinating gender confusion in schools and hiding it from parents.

Any savvy eighth-grader could have predicted the results. The most-woke corporations are learning about “get woke, go broke,” with DisneyTargetAnheuser-Busch (Bud Light) and more recently Alphabet (Google), Sports Illustrated, and others crashing in value because of their partisanship and abandonment of good business practices. And the car industry is learning that sinking billions in politically correct, largely dysfunctional products hurts – a lot.

Executives who put their politics over real-world company value violate fiduciary duty, as do giant investment-house executives (particularly BlackRock, State Street and Vanguard) who use other people’s money to “force” partisan “behaviors” on companies.

Now shareholders can get executives back into line. It’s been virtually impossible for supporters of business neutrality and good business practices to have their say. As noted, the giant investment houses have been stealing their voices to “force” woke “behaviors.” To avoid this, shareholders had to submit proxy votes to every company whose shares they held. This takes a lot of time and research to do right – investigating directors and nominees, figuring out what nice-sounding shareholder proposals would really achieve. Few investors bothered.

Disney’s annual shareholder meeting, scheduled for April 3, promises to be quite a show. Nelson Peltz and his team are seeking board seats to wrest the company back from Bob Iger, Kathleen Kennedy and others who are destroying it. The proxy ballot also features shareholder proposals both from left-ESG outfits and from those seeking to get Disney out of politics and back to entertainment. The new ProxyNavigator app will give shareholders a quick and easy way not only to vote for Disney’s salvation but to automate all of their proxy voting to accord with what they want from companies and from share performance – not what Bob Iger, or BlackRock & co., want.

To learn more about the ProxyNavigator app and how to download it for free in Apple’s and Android’s app stores, as well as for youre desktop, click here.

Scott Shepard is a fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research and Director of its Free Enterprise Project.

The views and opinions express 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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