Move over Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Bernie Sanders has a Green New Deal (GND) now too.
While nearly every one of the 2020 Democrat presidential candidates has voiced support for a GND, the Deal is more a vision than tangible public policy. AOC’s iteration of the GND is an obvious Trojan horse to implement socialism, with climate as the justification. Her former chief of staff has even admitted as much. I dissected the logistical shortcomings of her GND in a prior article.
Congratulations to @JayInslee on his impactful campaign to bring the climate crisis to the forefront of the national conversation. There is no more important issue facing humanity. Together we will work to pass a Green New Deal and create millions of jobs.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) August 22, 2019
AOC’s vision would cost at least $93 trillion to implement (which is still probably more realistic than banning cow farts), and Bernie’s has a hefty price tag as well. As the socialist magazine Jacobin explains it:
Bernie’s vision is noteworthy for its aggressive stances. The timeline is rapid, in line with the findings of climate science and the demands of the climate justice movement: it calls for decarbonizing energy and transit by 2030, and full decarbonization by 2050 — a standard that sets both near- and longer-term goals that are ambitious but possible.
How possible, you might ask? Not possible at all, actually.
Sanders GND calls for the abolition of fossil fuels by 2050 and the creation of 20 million jobs (though this would not be a net 20 million, because he would put everyone in the fossil fuel industry out of work in the process). And that’s hardly the only absurdity.
The Washington Examiner’s Becket Adams had read the score:
To fight the deleterious effects of climate change, Sanders proposes the following allocation of public funds:
- $40 billion for “frontline communities and “under-resourced groups” to “recover from, and prepare for,” climate change.
- $200 billion for the Green Climate Fund.
- $681 billion for “low- and moderate-income families and small businesses for a trade-in program to get old cars off the road.”
- $1.52 trillion for investing in renewable energy
- $852 billion to build “energy storage capacity.”
- $526 billion for investing in a “modern, high-volt, underground, renewable, direct current, smart, electric transmission and distribution grid will ensure our transition to 100 percent sustainable energy is safe and smooth.”
- $964 billion for “sliding-scale grants for low- and moderate-income families and small businesses to invest in cheaper electricity for these needs.”
- $2.09 trillion in grants to low- and moderate–income families and small businesses to “trade in their fossil fuel-dependent vehicles for new electric vehicles.”
- $85.6 billion for building “a national electric vehicle charging infrastructure network similar to the gas stations and rest stops we have today.”
- $407 billion in “grants for states to help school districts and transit agencies replace all school and transit buses with electric buses.”
- $216 billion to replace all diesel tractor trailer trucks with “fast-charging and long-range electric trucks.”
- $300 billion to “increase public transit ridership by 65 percent by 2030.”
- $607 billion for a regional high-speed rail system that would “complete the vision of the Obama administration to develop high-speed intercity rail in the United States.”
- $30 billion for a solar energy storage initiative.
- $100 billion to decrease the cost of a new electric vehicle to “at most $18,000.”
- $500 billion to research technologies “to fully decarbonize industry.”
- $150 billion to “fully decarbonize aviation and maritime shipping and transportation.”
- $75 billion to improve roads, bridges, and other transportation infrastructure.
The total cost? A whopping $16.3 trillion.
What that figure, which is nearly the size of America’s entire economy, may seem minuscule relative to AOC’s GND, that’s not the case. AOC also includes $36 trillion for socialized medicine, and anywhere between $6.8 billion to $44.6 trillion for a federal job’s guarantee. If elected, Bernie would at least implement the former policy, bringing his GND cost to $52.3 trillion if he were to amalgamate his policies under one banner like AOC.
Bernie admitted that those critics blasting his plan as expensive are correct about the price tag – but wrong because the costs of inaction are far greater.
Ironically, there’s plenty of inaction within Bernie’s plan. As Adams further notes, “China is mentioned only five times and India is mentioned once. Neither country is recognized explicitly for being the world’s leaders in pollution, adding on more than enough carbon emissions to offset any U.S. reductions. Sanders’ proposal never once explains how he intends to address either country’s carbon footprint. Nor could he.”
And when it comes to paying for his plan, he hasn’t got a clue either. Forget tax dollars, Bernie says we can fund his GND in 15 years solely by litigation, fees, and taxes levied against the fossil fuel industry. The entire energy sector (in the S&P 500) had a market value of roughly $3 trillion as of writing. Stocks trade at multiples of earnings, so even if the entire fossil fuel industry had a market value of $16.3 trillion, only a fraction of that would actually be available for Bernie to loot anyway.
But Bernie shouldn’t feel too bad for himself. When a panel of elite economists was polled on whether they agreed with AOC’s plan to fund her GND, she found zero percent support. I’d expect the same for him.