The “Green New Deal” is a Total Disaster
Alexandria Ocasio Cortez has finally released a resolution to “recognize the duty of the Federal Government to create a Green New Deal,” which was released alongside an outline/FAQ of the “Green New Deal” that reads more like a bad high school policy paper than an attempt at serious policy analysis.
Overall, Cortez’s New Deal aims to “mobilize every aspect of American society at a scale not seen since WWII to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions and create economic prosperity for all.” Cortez thinks it can all be done in less than 10 years, and if that doesn’t sound ambitious enough, Cortez tells us it’ll create “millions of family supporting-wage, union jobs,” provide economic security to all, and even “ensure justice and equity,” because why not.
Not only does this Green New Deal look like it was conceived by a high schooler – it appears to have been proofread by a bartender. Read the passage below and see if you can figure out where exactly Neil Armstrong stepped foot on.
That was immediately followed up with a bullet point in which AOC ponders that perhaps because people questioned how they’d fund a $500 billion interstate highway system (which we were able to afford), that somehow that means we can afford her $40 trillion+ New Deal.
Cortez seems to be under the impression that because people laughed at past ideas that turned out fine, therefore hers must too be on “the ride side of history.”
To paraphrase Carl Sagan – just because someone laughs at you doesn’t mean you’re correct. People may have laughed at Galileo and Newton – but they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.
Cortez also thinks that it was investing half of our GDP in a world war was what created America’s greatest period of middle-class prosperity – not the fact that most of our international competition was literally destroyed.
Cortez would like an end to nuclear energy, even though nuclear gives off fewer greenhouse emissions than solar panels, and is the safest energy source.
Vermont is one example of a state that saw a rise in emissions when they closed their Vermont Yankee nuclear-power plant despite a commitment to renewables.
And as nuclear goes out the door, Cortez wants to retrofit every single building in the entire U.S. to make them Green New Deal-compliant.
As one person estimated, we’d “only” have to retrofit 39,179 buildings every single day for 10 years for this to be viable. An analysis of what it would require to fully convert the U.S. to renewable, zero-emission energy sources, includes “335,000 onshore wind turbines; 154,000 offshore wind turbines; 75 million residential photovoltaic systems; 2.75 million commercial photovoltaic systems; 46,000 utility-scale photovoltaic facilities; 3,600 concentrated solar power facilities with onsite heat storage; and an extensive array of underground thermal storage facilities.” Price tag: $7 trillion.
These logistical challenges would be quite the task for government – but if you ask AOC, the New Deal either will or will not require a massive role for government (depending on what part of the day you ask). Within a 12 hour period, she went from blasting Republicans who mischaracterized her plan as a “massive government takeover” to saying that her plan requires “massive government intervention” the following morning.
AOC tonight: “One way the Right tries to mischaracterize what we’re doing as though it’s like some kind of massive government takeover…obviously it’s not”
AOC this morning on if her plan requires "massive government intervention": “It does…Yeah, I have no problem saying that” pic.twitter.com/IDRpeLIrwg
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) February 8, 2019
Knowing she’ll need revenue sources besides the uber-rich, AOC came up with a brilliant idea every banana republic has also thought they invented: simply printing a ton of money. She did at least give it some financial lingo (quantitative easing), which you have to admit, does sound more sophisticated than “print a ton of money out of thin air and pray there are no consequences.”
World War II and FDR’s New Deal were funded with massive hikes in the income tax and establishing new payroll taxes for Social Security and unemployment insurance at the expense of the middle class. A middle-class family in 1939 could earn up to $60,000 (in 2018 dollars) before paying a cent of income tax. By 1945, that was only $8,000. By contrast, the 2008 bank bailouts were repaid almost entirely by the banks that were bailed out.
The call for money-printing does illustrate that despite some of her rhetoric, Cortez is aware that there simply is no possible way her vision can be funded by taxes due to the exorbitant cost.
Perhaps AOC knows taxes won’t be enough to fund her dream, because nobody would be working if it were a reality. She calls for guaranteeing “jobs with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations, and retirement security,” but also raises the question of how many people would bother to work in the first place under her system. Just look at that final bullet point below:
Key word: unwilling.
Oh – And By The Way, None of This Fights Climate Change
While the goal of the Green New Deal is reduce carbon emissions to zero, as economist Nicolas Loris notes, even that wouldn’t make a difference in global warming.
Using the same climate sensitivity (the warming effect of a doubling of carbon dioxide emissions) as the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assumes in its modeling, the world would be only 0.137 degree Celsius cooler by 2100. Even if we assumed every other industrialized country would be equally on board, this would merely avert warming by 0.278 degree Celsius by the turn of the century.
When the reward is 0.137 degrees, it’s hard to imagine a less efficient way to blow through $40 trillion.
Admittedly, I have doubts that climate change is even the end goal of this “green new deal” – I think the climate is just the trojan horse being used to justify a radical reorganization of society. While there’s plenty of talk about climate in AOC’s paper, there are numerous other references to the minimum wages, the alleged gender wage gap, the wealth gap between whites and African-Americans, indigenous rights, healthcare, affordable housing, racial justice issues, and more. It’s for that reason one climate scientist calls this brand of progressives “watermelons” – green on the outside, red on the inside.
Luckily, we don’t have much to worry about. A recent poll found that two-thirds of Americans wouldn’t pay even $10 a month extra to fight climate change (most drew the line at $1). If the American public won’t pony up a few bucks, they won’t pony up trillions either.
In the meantime, AOC has removed the Green New Deal FAQ documented quoted liberally in this article from her website. She must’ve realized that her document is a better advertisement for the Republican Party than her own.