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Guest Column: South Carolina Rolling Out ‘Woke-come’ Mat

“We’re not living in 1992 anymore …”

Most South Carolinians are unaware of the $1.3 billion incentive package aimed at inducing VW to manufacture Scout electric vehicles in the Palmetto State.  With promises of up to 4,000 jobs, we at the Mom and Pop Alliance of South Carolina saw this deal sail through the S.C. House by a huge majority with little to no time for debate – or for legislators to hear from their constituents.  Now it’s on to the S.C. Senate which we feel sure will be pressured to rubber stamp the deal asap.  

Clearly, this is a massive amount of the people’s money, and South Carolina has a long history of redistributing money to big business, often with unfulfilled promises (recall the Carolina Panthers’ boondoggle or the Element Electronics deal).  We at the Alliance would prefer to see state income tax breaks for South Carolina’s hard-working small businesses (similar to what Ohio offers), but we believe a much more critical point is the far-reaching and permanent impacts this deal could have on our state culturally and politically.  

Proponents point to BMW’s success as a reason to support this deal, but much has changed since we incentivized BMW to come to our state – not to mention that BMW produces a product that people want, while EVs continue to struggle with component sourcing and flat-to-decreasing sales demand. 

(Click to view)

(Via Scout Motors)

It’s important to realize we’re not living in a 1992 America anymore, which is the year BMW broke ground in South Carolina.  We live in an era of wokeism, Build Back Better green agendas, and ESGs – so we believe allowing just a little time for discussion and vetting seems reasonable, especially with a company which has a history of fraud

The Mom and Pop Alliance does not weigh in on social issues, but we do think legislators and constituents should at least be aware that Volkswagen sponsored a drag queen show at an event to highlight women at VW last August in Chattanooga.  At the time, many questioned the company’s judgment in hosting this event and found it demeaning and tone deaf to feature drag queens at a luncheon to celebrate women. 

Also, given the current state of global affairs in 2023 the Mom and Pop Alliance has concerns that VW continues to boast about its strong ties to China and its claim to “remain firmly committed” to China.  

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Then there’s the very concerning issue of ESGs – which have roots in the UN and other globalist institutions with the goal of converting shareholder capitalism to “stakeholder capitalism.”  They are the source of the DEI and woke-ism we see in corporate America today. In America, ESG is encouraged and rewarded – but not mandated by law as it now is for European companies. As of December 2022 the European Union adopted new ESG reporting requirements that will also apply to their American vendors. Granted, BMW is also under these new European mandatory ESGs, but now that we are aware of the danger of ESGs should we really bring in more ESG mandates to South Carolina?  

With good intentions, there is talk of Senate amendments being offered to try and disallow incentive dollars going to further ESGs – but honestly, we see no way how one could track those dollars or enforce it considering ESG compliance is now the law for European companies. Obviously, even if one could do this the benefits would be temporary at best.  Also, some legislators told us that ESG is just the latest “fad issue,” and nothing to worry about; these things come and go.  We at the Alliance could not disagree more! 

“The new EU rules will require ESG reporting on a level never seen before, and will capture a whole host of companies that previously were not subject to non-financial reporting requirements, including public and private non-EU companies.”  (Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance)

“Even if your business is not covered by the new reporting requirements, we anticipate that you will feel the impact of these requirements if your business is part of the value chain of an entity that is required to report." (Harvard Law Forum on Corporate Governance) 

Ironically, many of the state representatives who voted YES for this deal have also sponsored anti-ESG legislation.  They haven’t had enough time to realize their own contradiction.  The recent carnage from failed banks and the Build Back Better green agenda tells us it is definitely not 1992, so perhaps it would be wise to deliberate and have a thoughtful discussion about the potential ramifications (good and bad) for South Carolina if this deal is passed.  

In the past, a mistaken incentive package meant a loss of taxpayer dollars, but the Mom and Pop Alliance believes the consequences of making a mistake could now be much, much greater.  The Mom and Pop Alliance would like to see our Governor and state elected officials turn their attention to the Palmetto State’s hard-working in-state small businesses rather than roll out the “woke-come” mat for foreign companies. At the very least, our legislators need time to digest this very big deal with permanent ramifications for the Palmetto State.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR ...

Diane Hardy is a former nurse anesthetist turned entrepreneur who opened her business over six years ago and now has 38 employees.  She is also the Executive Director of the Mom and Pop Alliance of SC, which she founded during Covid upon discovering SC’s almost 400,000 small businesses had little representation in our State House. The Alliance provides education, communication, and advocacy for SC’s family-owned businesses.  Her passion for SC's small business is strong, and as such she donates her time to the organization, accepting no salary or government funding.  Her love for our state isn’t new.  Before launching the Mom and Pop Alliance she was the founder and host of The Palmetto Panel (2014-2019), an annual statewide conference highlighting issues impacting South Carolina.  She has a bachelor’s in nursing and psychology from Michigan State as well as a master’s from MUSC.  

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26 comments

Alex Jones' Browser Tab March 14, 2023 at 3:56 pm

WV did a drag queen event once therefore WV bad.

The obsession over gays, trans people, drag queens, to the point where it is the sole focus of the party, is just aiding in your quick, spiraling descent into the dustbin of history.

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jbl1a March 14, 2023 at 8:27 pm

Equal or more force. Push back as hard or harder than the wokeness is pushing the alphabet agenda. And they are pushing it hard.

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Ron Paul's Drag Race March 14, 2023 at 9:45 pm

Push back what? Just don’t buy one of their cars so some drag queen doesn’t get a fraction of a penny from the sale. You did it, you beat the system, culture warrior. Here’s your smiley face sticker big boy.

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LGBTQuit Bothering Us March 16, 2023 at 9:29 pm

what the fuck does this even mean? nobody has an alphabet agenda, we just want to fucking live without the harassment from you idiots. chill the fuck out.

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Janelle Austin Top fan March 15, 2023 at 10:20 am

You, yourself, miss the point by focusing on the drag. Why use a bunch of dudes dressed as chicks to “celebrate” women when they could have ACTUAL women do it?

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RC March 14, 2023 at 4:47 pm

You’ve gotta be kidding me with this crap. Also didn’t you already write this same stupid article like two days ago?

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Cruelty is the Point March 14, 2023 at 9:51 pm

The entire right wing is on repeat 24/7/365 about gays, trans people and drag queens “grooming” kids by merely existing. That’s the run of the mill stuff. Matt Walsh and Michael Knowles are straight up pushing genocidal rhetoric. They’re even copying their Nazi buddies with the “you wanted this war” line.

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LGBTQuit Bothering Us March 16, 2023 at 9:38 pm

But we are grooooomerrrrrrrrrr perverts!! We are letting adult men marry underage girls, forcing young girls to carry their rapist’s baby, lowering the age for child labor in Arkansas, making teenage girls tell the school officials when they get their periods… oh wait

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RC March 14, 2023 at 4:50 pm

You have to be kidding me with this garbage. By all means, debate whether this is a good deal. But ESG, China, and “woke-ism” have nothing to do with it either way.

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J- nell Top fan March 15, 2023 at 10:33 am

“EVs continue to struggle with component sourcing and flat-to-decreasing sales demand” – is that not opening the door for debate about this being a good/bad deal?
“….perhaps it would be wise to deliberate and have a thoughtful discussion about the potential ramifications (good and bad) for South Carolina if this deal is passed” is literally what the author wrote. Did you even read past the drag show paragraph??

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William March 14, 2023 at 6:01 pm

The General Assembly of SC is consistently rated as the least conservative Republican legislature in the country.
They are beholden to WOKE corporations, the education establishment and the Biden Administration for money and all the WOKE strips that come with it.

Conservatism, as a political force is dead. Hopefully, the voters will wake up nd thow the RINO Republicans out of office.

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John F March 14, 2023 at 6:33 pm

What does “woke” mean?

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Your Average Republican March 15, 2023 at 8:08 am

Anything outside of a white supremacist wet dream.

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J- nell Top fan March 15, 2023 at 10:35 am

LMAO WOW…….ignoramuses abound

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Tom March 15, 2023 at 1:12 pm

Being woke is the same as being empathetic, but for people who can’t spell empathetic.

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LGBTQuit Bothering Us March 16, 2023 at 9:39 pm

Define “woke”

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NoPerv March 14, 2023 at 6:02 pm

OK Gr@@mer, do as you please. But if you diddle with my kids you will regret it.

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Uno Reverse March 14, 2023 at 9:54 pm

Don’t worry, no one is taking your job from you.

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John F March 14, 2023 at 6:34 pm

Wonder which big money corporations and PACs actually run this “Mom and Pop” club fur dummies?

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Walmart Greeter March 15, 2023 at 8:10 am

Would be mega ironic if they got millions from the Walton family.

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Stephen Guilfoyle Top fan March 14, 2023 at 6:44 pm

The Mom and Pop Alliance doesn’t weigh in on social issues.
But it sure does drop the buzz-words and catch-phrases the right uses to demonize those whose main motivation isn’t the almighty buck.

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Freedumbasses March 16, 2023 at 9:43 pm

The Freedom Caucus kept talking about the mom and pop shops when they debated this on the House floor, and they also used the same buzz words. She’s not very politically savvy if she’s in bed with those clowns. Her legislative priorities will go nowhere quickly.

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PGT Beauregard III Top fan March 15, 2023 at 9:14 am

It is extraordinary how stupid the author is. Back in my day….

Someone needs to send this dunce a telegraph – BMW is building a $1.7 Billion EV Battery plant in Upstate SC as I dip my quill.

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George Johnson Top fan March 15, 2023 at 10:20 am

Too dumb for public comment.

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CongareeCatfish Top fan March 15, 2023 at 3:18 pm

The BMW deal in the early 90s was transformative to the Upstate….but didn’t cost the State anything close to 1.3 BILLION. There does come a point in which the competitive incentive deal gets too rich in return for the promised return. I know there are claw back provisions, but they don’t mean much because they’ve never been used in the past to any meaningful point for those deals in which the recipient didn’t deliver the jobs and development as promised. In some cases we never really knew if the recipient met their metrics – we kinda shrugged and stuck our heads in the sand. Its not crazy to say: “Woah, lets pump the brakes here a little bit and talk about this.” Anybody saying otherwise, and trying to ram this through and shut down just a bit of thoughtful discussion is obviously a paid shill for a lobbyist. Like over half of the new faces on this commentary thread. I’m not necessarily for or against this deal….BECAUSE SO FEW SPECIFIC DETAILS ARE KNOWN. And its OK that we didn’t know alot before very recently because Commerce has to operate in a very competitive environment. The Senate needs to take their time on this, the local community needs to be fully heard, the news media needs time to do its job of scrutiny. SLOW DOWN, TAKE YOUR TIME, GET THIS RIGHT, and don’t be afraid to walk away from a bad deal, or require a better deal.

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James Hardy Top fan March 15, 2023 at 3:38 pm

Asking for time to discuss was not unreasonable on a $1.3 billion dollar deal, yet they passed it out of the Senate in less than 24 hours. That should tell us something. Through both the SC House and the Senate in just under 2 weeks!
Telling and beyond disappointing.

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