February 8, 2019

Green New Deal

Editor's note: We couldn’t be more proud of one of our teammates, Isaac Rose-Berman, who penned his first op-ed this week in USA Today: “How college students can bridge American divides: 'Study abroad' in Alabama or New York.” Please give it a read, and share far and wide!

“Democrats launched a sweeping plan Thursday to transform the U.S. economy to combat climate change and create thousands of jobs in renewable energy… At least six senators running for president or considering White House bids backed the Green New Deal put forth by freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and veteran Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts.” AP News

Here’s the resolution itself and an accompanying FAQ posted by Ocasio-Cortez. NPR, Document Cloud

See past issues

From the Left

The left strongly supports the general ideas behind the Green new Deal.

“The point of the resolution is not to propose specific, detailed policy prescriptions. What it does accomplish, though, is to lay out the enormous scale of the climate change problem — and, as a commensurate response, call for ‘a new national, social, industrial and economic mobilization on a scale not seen since World War II and the New Deal’... Sooner or later, we’re going to have to go big on climate change. So let’s start thinking big.”
The Washington Post

[FDR] began his New Deal with nothing but a determination to ‘wage a war against the emergency.’ He also believed in experiments: Try it and see. His program changed shape with time, and putting all the elements in place — work relief, new banking regulations, worker protections, unemployment insurance and guaranteed pensions — took years…

“The greatest challenge for advocates of a Green New Deal is to persuade voters that an unprecedented national effort is both necessary and affordable. The right kind of program can be both. Americans increasingly see climate mitigation as a patriotic duty, as they should. Done well, a Green New Deal, like the one that inspired it, can bring them together and help their country succeed.”
Bloomberg

A green way forward will now cost far less than even the optimists imagined a decade ago… US electric bills broke a decadelong rising trend and started falling in 2015. Better still, as costs continue to crash, job creation has exploded. Renewable energy industries in the US employed 4 million people by 2016, according to the Environmental Defense Fund — far more than the coal industry… Solar is now the cheapest form of new electricity on the planet. No subsidies needed.”
Buzzfeed

Critics of the plan write, “if you’re keeping score at home, the Green New Deal now involves a federal job guarantee, the right to unionize, liberal trade and monopoly policies, and universal housing and health care… I’m a big fan of universal housing and health care. But at some point, we have to grapple with the fact that a solution to climate change will require the support of people who may not be ready to join the democratic socialist revolution.”
Vox

Supporters of the plan counter that “its inclusion of damn near every item on progressives’ policy wish list — is actually one of its most politicallypragmatic features… One of the biggest obstacles to major congressional action on climate change has been that, while virtually every Democratic interest group sees climate change as a problem, relatively few see it as their top problem…

“AOC’s decision to append a wide variety of progressive goals — each with its own influential constituency — to her climate plan is tactically sound: If the entire Democratic agenda is rebranded as the ‘Green New Deal,’ a future Democratic government will be less likely to ignore the central importance of climate sustainability to all of its other policy goals.”
New York Magazine

Some are concerned that the plan “excludes nuclear energy from the proposed mix. If it were ever actually attempted nationally, it would [actually] increase greenhouse gas emissions — just as a similar effort did in Vermont… every time anti-nuclear climate campaigners succeed in closing a nuclear plant, whether in California, Germany, or Vermont, the burning of fossil fuels, and carbon emissions, go up.”
Forbes

Others argue that “Biden was almost the only one on the stage who talked like a normal person. There was a point near the end of the debate when he was talking about getting men involved in stopping domestic violence and he said that we need to keep ‘punching’ at it… I knew that the twitterati and the analysts would tut tut. Ol’ Joe is just out of touch! He doesn’t know you can’t use words like that. Meanwhile, every non-political junkie watching the debate thought there was nothing wrong with this. Biden was just using ordinary language, not worrying too much if it was fully approved by the woke brigade.”
Kevin Drum, Mother Jones

From the Right

The right criticizes the plan for being unrealistic and including far-left policies unrelated to the environment.

From the Right

The right criticizes the plan for being unrealistic and including far-left policies unrelated to the environment.

“The Green New Deal encapsulates everything Americans fear from government, all in one bonkers resolution… It’s a GOP dream, especially because the media presented her plan with a straight face—as a legitimate proposal from a legitimate leader in the Democratic Party. Republicans are thrilled to treat it that way in the march to 2020, as their set-piece example of what Democrats would do to the economy and average Americans if given control

“AOC is determined to force a full House vote. That means every Democrat in Washington will get to go on the record in favor of abolishing air travel, outlawing steaks, forcing all American homeowners to retrofit their houses, putting every miner, oil rigger, livestock rancher and gas station attendant out of a job, and spending trillions and trillions more tax money. Oh, also for government-run health care, which is somehow a prerequisite for a clean economy.”
Wall Street Journal

“The resolution aims to accomplish its ambitious goals by eliminating virtually all fossil fuels from U.S. electricity generation within 10 years. That would destroy at least 3.4 million jobs in the oil, natural gas and coal industries… [It’s also worth noting that] in order to build the thousands of new wind turbines and solar panels that would be needed to power the country, substantially more steel and rare earth minerals would need to be manufactured and mined, causing massive environmental damage.”
Fox News

“The GND essentially bans carbon taxes, cap-and-trade regimes, carbon capture, and most disastrously, nuclear energy, which currently provides half of the country's clean, carbon-free power… [But] despite decades of government subsidies for non-nuclear clean energy, wind power provides just 6 percent of the nation's energy, and solar provides just 1 percent. And energy scientists still haven't refined microgrids and clean energy transmission to the levels of efficiency required to replace all non-clean energy forms without the assistance of nuclear.”
Washington Examiner

“The GND uses the word ‘massive’ to explain the size [of] ‘investments’ (formerly known as ‘taxes’) 13 times. How will we pay for this plan?... It is estimated that instituting a top marginal tax rate of 70 percent would raise a little more than $700 billion over that decade. She does not explain how we’re going to raise the other 20 bazillion dollars it will cost to tear down modernity.”
The Federalist

“The U.S. has long had programs, private and public, to assist those unable to work. But it has never embraced the idea that the role of the government included guaranteeing economic security for those who are unwilling to work… Even Karl Marx thought the economic system should require each of the comrades to supply labor ‘according to his ability’ rather than according to his willingness to work.”
Breitbart

The plan “looks as if the climate argument is pretext for justifying a host of other progressive policies, including progressive policies that have only the most attenuated relationship (if any relationship at all) to climate change. There are a few sure-fire tells — does the progressive climate-change policy inexplicably go after nuclear power? Does it move into condemnations of racism and sexism? Does it advocate redistributive economic policies? The Green New Deal hits the trifecta.”
National Review

Others note, “I’d hate to be a Democratic member of Congress trying to convince Joe Sixpack that this is a whole new ballgame. The transcript shows Trump being Trump and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky trying to ingratiate himself with the big dog by, for instance, mentioning that he stays at Trump hotels. Trump’s conversation is typically scattershot, wandering all over the field, leaving a reasonable listener puzzled about what the takeaways are supposed to be…

“I think Joe Sixpack’s response is going to be a hearty shrug. After all that has emerged about Trump so far, his approval rating is closely tracking Obama’s approval at the same point in his presidency. To get Mr. Sixpack’s attention you are going to have to do better than this.”
Kyle Smith, National Review

President Trump should be happy. As much as Warren is articulate, obviously intelligent, and energetically supported by Democrats, she would also be far easier to defeat than Joe Biden… Considering Trump's economy, the president is well placed to defeat Warren.”
Tom Rogan, Washington Examiner

“The Green New Deal is nice vision of where the United States might try to go someday. But as an actual blueprint for the immediate future, it’s lunatic. And no matter how technically or morally sound your goals may be, as an opening political message, ‘We’re nuts!’ is neither efficient, nor state-of-the-art…

“Wild demands, unmoored from reality, don’t increase what you ultimately take away from a negotiation; they are much more likely to end the negotiation abruptly when the other party concludes that you’re crazy.”
Washington Post

On the bright side...

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