As was stated in part one, the Democratic Party has substantially changed. Capitalist elements of the party are taking a back seat to a new breed much farther to the left of them. To the whole country’s dismay, this new element is socialistic to a European degree. Democrats have been trending leftward for a very long time, but only recently have they embraced the socialist image openly. What started that was, of course, the candidacy of Vermont socialist Bernie Sanders in the last presidential election cycle. He was defeated, but the energy he mobilized lived on. Sanders tapped into a dormant socialist bloc that had been building on the left and activated it. In the 2018 midterms, the aforementioned socialist energy was enough to elect a number of hard-left congressmen and women most notably Ocasio-Cortez. Emboldened by their capture of the House of Representatives, new policy proposals for 2020 are being advanced which have little coherence. In the article previous, the Medicare for all plan advanced by Bernie Sanders was examined and it was found that multiple estimates placed its 10 year budget at over $30 trillion ($30,000,000,000,000) dollars. This article will focus on the impracticality of the Green New Deal advanced by representative Ocasio-Cortez. The third and final entry in this series will focus on the plans to pay for these central planning schemes. Get ready for frustration, because this article is about to enter the leftist Twilight Zone.
The Green New Deal styled after the 1930s programs of Franklin Roosevelt is a plan to systematically destroy the US economy and rebuild it in the image of a centrally planned green party paradise. Greens are elated at the idea and their website is plastered with its utopianism. To get an idea of what their version of it is (there indeed have been multiple versions), a few excerpts will be provided from its platform.
- Initiate a WWII-scale national mobilization to halt climate change, the greatest threat to humanity in our history. Create 20 million jobs by transitioning to 100% clean renewable energy by 2030, and investing in public transit, sustainable (regenerative) agriculture, conservation and restoration of critical infrastructure, including ecosystems.
- [The Green New Deal includes an] “Economic Bill of Rights” – the right to single-payer healthcare, a guaranteed job at a living wage, affordable housing and free college education.
- Enact energy democracy based on public, community and worker ownership of our energy system. Treat energy as a human right. (Presumably they will wish to rewrite the Declaration of Independence to read “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal and are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of solar energy.”)
- Redirect research funds from fossil fuels into renewable energy and conservation. Build a nationwide smart electricity grid that can pool and store power from a diversity of renewable sources, giving the nation clean, democratically-controlled, energy.
- End destructive energy extraction and associated infrastructure: fracking, tar sands, offshore drilling, oil trains, mountaintop removal, natural gas pipelines, and uranium mines. Halt any investment in fossil fuel infrastructure, including natural gas, and phase out all fossil fuel power plants. Phase out nuclear power and end nuclear subsidies. End all subsidies for fossil fuels and impose a greenhouse gas fee/tax to charge polluters for the damage they have created.”
- The implementation of the Green New Deal will revive the economy, turn the tide on climate change and make wars for oil obsolete. This latter result, in turn, enables a 50% cut in the military budget, since maintaining bases all over the world to safeguard fossil fuel supplies and routes of transportation could no longer be justified.
Congratulations for getting through the highlights of the Green New Deal for anyone who hasn’t closed the page yet. It is not difficult to see that this plan is off-the-rails insane without even going into the numbers but for due prudence, the numbers are ahead. The only question is where to start?
No, there won’t be an economic boom
Displayed loudly and proudly on the Green New Deal platform page is the claim that it will produce “20 million new jobs” but that is not true. Since the plan is so expansive and incorporates the entire economy, it is impossible to measure all its effects. Undeterred, the Heritage Foundation tried to model part of it and reached telling results. Though not mentioned in this version of the GND, the way it is most likely to be done is via a carbon tax as mentioned in Ocasio-Cortez’s version’s FAQ that has since been taken down. The actual carbon reducing portion of the plan is going to cost massive amounts of jobs. Where the 20 million figure originally came from is suspect and its reasoning is even more so.
Did I mention it could cost $90 trillion dollars?
The last article exposing the outlandish proposals of the socialists focused heavily on the price tag of the Medicare for all plan. It is only necessary then to discuss at brief the price tag of the GND at least for the sake of consistency. A report by the American Action Forum peered at the pricier portions of the program and proclaimed that it would at least $50 trillion and could cost a whopping $90 trillion ($90,000,000,000,000) dollars. The aspects analyzed were: redoing the electrical grid, redoing the transportation infrastructure, jobs for everyone, healthcare for everyone, housing for everyone and food security for everyone. With all these other things that seem to have little to do with the environment it looks almost like an attempt to impose central planning on the whole economy cloaked in the rhetoric of saving the planet. The electrical grid will cost at least $5.4 trillion ($5,400,000,000,000) to go green and earlier estimates have even put it at $13 trillion ($13,000,000,000,000). The transportation angle of it wishes to replace air travel with high speed rail lines which will cost $1.3 trillion ($1,300,000,000,000) to $2.7 trillion ($2,700,000,000,000) and hundreds of billions more for the trains themselves. The jobs guarantee will cost $6.762 trillion ($6,762,000,000,000) over the next decade and if workers making less than the wage of the new government guaranteed jobs switched over, the price tag could rise to $44.6 trillion ($44,600,000,000,000). Again, healthcare is a big ticket item and costs a pretty penny. This report gave the number to be $36 trillion ($36,000,000,000,000) over the next decade (this report is all about costs over the next decade). Housing will cost another $12 billion, but if GND building standards are applied to government subsidized buildings, the cost of compliance to that will bring the total to around $4.2 trillion ($4,200,000,000,000). The food program isn’t that bad when looking at these numbers coming in at less than two billion.
Here, America runs into a strange situation: the leaders of the country that is the vanguard of freedom and the bureaucrats under them are running into the problems of Soviet-style central planning. That is what the GND represents, a massive effort of central planning in which various levels of the state will direct massive swaths of the economy. There are references to government control of the energy sector, but by and large this plan is not about government ownership, but rather control. Advocates of this plan gleefully tell of how they will shut down the fossil fuels industry, invest untold billions or trillions into windfarms and move around tens of millions of living, breathing, thinking and free human beings like they were so many inanimate chess pieces. That is central planning whether advocates like that term or not. It is socialistic whether the advocates like that term or not. Parts of it –especially references to “public, community and worker ownership of the energy system” approach being communistic whether they like the term or not. This plan is unworkable, utopian and utterly Soviet in spirit. If the socialists try to sell this plan, they either do not understand its economics or they don’t care about the same. Stated another way, socialist green new deal advocates either don’t understand its economics or are lying about the same.
Photo credit: “The unserious face of an unserious movement” via the National Review
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