Small business: death by a thousand cuts.

There are a litany of new and previously un-encountered issues than many owners are dealing with ever since covid; let's face it, almost everything has changed when it comes to running a business and, depending on where your operation is domiciled, some differences are huge! Enter government who want's to make it all better! As if the last three years didn't put enough burden on small business owners, now there are new expectations imposed on them which, although they have nothing to do with the company's actual operations nevertheless they have become as necessary and expensive to operate a business as having insurance. I'm speaking specifically about DEI (Diversity, Equity & Inclusion) and ESG (Environmental, Social Governance).

At first, these initiatives sound noble; Companies regularly market themselves to different groups as being sensitive to one social purpose or another like promoting inclusion or protecting the environment. This association however is voluntary and a choice made by the business ownership with a specific purpose to market themselves. Not an obligation to follow a specific ideological stance.

Before anyone gets the wrong idea, I am examining the "Obligation" aspect in a secular manner. I'm not advocating for, or against the initiatives DEI & ESG, I'm simply pointing out the ramifications on small business owners and their operational costs when they are compelled to hire a DEI or ESG officer and sometimes even change their own internal hiring and management practices to comply.

Complying with initiatives that have to do with racial desegregation and environmental protection cost money and many companies would opt-out of implementing them out of necessity alone. Does that mean they're somehow not sensitive to social issues or that they don't care about the environment? Probably not. It means they made a conscious decision to not spend money on initiatives that have nothing whatsoever to do with their business model.

What has happened is that these initiatives used to be a voluntary choice but now they're an obligation to comply. The Government, Large corporations and banks have all unified to demand that their "associates" all report their DEI & ESG "scores" before they're approved. That basically means, get with the program or get cut out of lucrative contracts. Large operations can financially withstand undue, burdensome costs in order to stay in the club, small business owners can't. That's the point, the fewer small business owners there are the more market share will be enjoyed by the compliant club-member operations. Who needs laws or regulations when you can just demand that any business that wants to play must comply or be cancelled?

Recently, the single worst environmental disaster since the Exxon Valdez happened in East Palestine, Ohio when a train operated by Norfolk Southern Railroad, derailed dumping highly toxic waste into the community and surrounding areas. On the Company's website they tout their ESG rating to make it clear they're club members:

Forget about the mushroom cloud and toxic gasses they helped to launch over East Palestine. In its ESG section, Norfolk Southern has won plenty of awards recently for “delivering the low-carbon economy.”

They are also actively promoting themselves as big supporters of racial diversity and inclusion - I'm not certain if they believe that helps them run a more profitable and efficient railroad however, they don't explain exactly how that policy helps their operations:

"In its DEI page, Jason Pettway, the company’s Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (a role created by the company in 2021) cheers the fact that more than half of all new hires belong to a racial minority."
"The DEI page makes clear to readers that Norfolk is committed to hiring its workforce on the basis of gender and skin color, and not merit."

There are now large banks who have started loan programs which violate the Civil Right Act by including (and excluding) recipients based exclusively on their skin color:

"TD also committed to increasing residential mortgage loans by 65% — to $21 billion — for LMI and nonwhite borrowers, including in LMI and majority-nonwhite census tracts. The bank also said it would hire extra mortgage loan officers who are of diverse backgrounds."

Non-white borrowers? What has that got to do with running a bank? How is that even legal?

My point here is that small business owners are once again under coordinated attack which is meant to "cull" weaker operations and make way for club members (larger operations who comply with the latest "thing") Small business owners may well be true social warriors and may also deeply care for the environment; DEI & ESG are not about those things however. They're about control, just saying.

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