The green new Disaster
How 40 Legislators plan to overhaul the American Economy
buy prednisolone for cats uk In the midst of party majorities shifting in the House, a not so new idea has resurfaced with tenacity. In 2007, Thomas Friedman proposed a Green New Deal (GND) that incorporated ideas congruent to those advocated for in the current deal. The idea picked up marginal steam over the next decade, but has reached a staggering amount of publicity since adopted and formalized by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), the newly elected Representative from New York’s 14th district. She, along with 40 other Democratic Members of Congress have signed onto the Green New Deal1, forcing us to consider its claims, objectives, and mandates seriously and comprehensively. A circulating news clip features AOC advocating for 70% marginal tax rates2, which should be a paper on its own. Don’t believe me, watch her this 60 Minutes clip:
The premise includes a feeling that the wealthy aren’t paying their fair share, so they need to pay more. Interestingly enough, the top 20% of earners contribute 87% of annual tax revenue3. I would argue they pay a sufficient amount, but maybe we should just make the financially successful pay 100% of the taxes, that sounds ethical, especially when you consider they earn less than 50% of the annual income4. But even 2+2 can equal 5 with enough denial. The GND encompasses a set of goals revolving around a transition to renewable, combatting climate change as though it’s an enemy of the state, and “mobilizing” the economy and politics to fight for social and economic justice. The deal is commendable in theory, but theory is unwaveringly challenged by reality, a fact that appears to have escaped its purview.
Income Earned by top 20%
Tax Paid by top 20%
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist, joined the Sunrise Movement shortly after her transition to office. Since then, the group and its GND have received massive amounts of publicity, coupled by surprising degrees of support1. In my estimation, any level of widespread support must be due to misinformation coupled by a lack of information…an issue I’m attempting to address. To do so, I have laid out the goals I find to be most problematic in terms of their implementation and accomplishment, not intent. Within each goal, we will attempt to understand why the Green New Deal is a very much avoidable disaster. Keep in mind that each goal is to be accomplished within the span of 10 years.
AOC has made war on climate change and global warming the deal’s clear number 1 priority. But, according to study by Yale and George Mason University, only 29% of Americans believe global warming affects climate change “a lot”, and 25% think it may have some effect (however 70% of Americans do believe in global warming6, which is reason for optimism if an ominous threat waits in our future). These numbers are large, but likely not large enough to convince a majority of Americans that overhauling our entire economic structure is a feasible objective at this time. Even those that care dearly about climate change, aside from those that adhere to the extremities of cataclysmic predictions, may not be willing to devote such extravagant spending towards a lofty task. In terms of numbers, the United States garnered 18% of its national energy consumption from renewable sources, an improvement from all prior years7. Of the renewables however, the largest singular source was biomass (wood, wood pellets, and other burning matter like animal dung), which new studies indicate may accelerate global warming, not help it. Biomass is also the largest energy provider in the unindustrialized world and might not be as advanced as its name implies8. The future certainly can and does hold better options, but it may be unwise to consider all renewables as eco-friendly.
Take this with a grain of salt, being that it was stated by the Senate Republican Policy Committee, but they claim that “Producing 100% of electricity from renewable sources is a practical impossibility in the near future,” and that “scientists doubt it would be achievable by 2050, let alone 2029…and would require the closure and replacement of about 83% of US electricity generation.” 9 Also, the US Energy Information Administration reported that 2017 CO2 emissions declined marginally since 2016 (we had the largest decreases worldwide)10, and have fallen by 14% since 2005 11. While we certainly have room to improve, the United States can only do so much, and its citizens would likely see this progress as sufficient grounds for not mobilizing the economy and facing the process’s inherent volatility. We can and should continue to improve, but environmental impacts would be much more notable if the rest of the world could parallel our trends. Thus, this goal is not only impossible, but would not likely pass with a majority of Americans that knew the cost and reward ratio.
The idea that government will provide jobs and income to a significant portion of Americans rings eerily like that of communism, let alone socialism. Either way, establishing a wage floor violates basic principles of economics, and would likely lead to an inability to employ the desired number of workers once tax revenue dries up. Guaranteeing a job also destroys an incentive to work harder or improve. Take, for example, a saying popular among Soviet workers, “They pretend to pay us, we pretend to work,” indicating that federally guaranteeing a majority of jobs in a nation destroys work ethic.
Regulations are great, why not add more, and make them even stronger and more cumbersome! It is my opinion that over-regulating business in the free market will discourage investment and stifle the economy. Evidencing this point is our D+ grade on infrastructure, in a country that leads the economic output and technological innovations12. Many would argue that bureaucratic “red-tape” is what leads to such unnecessary deficiencies. Additionally, unionizing most of America’s industries will only further entangle our business with government, an unappealing vision at best. This goal of the GND is symbolic of its overarching plan, to have government increasingly interwoven with business to a point in which the free market is a shadow of its name.
My largest issue with the proposal is the brief mention of universal basic income and universal health care. I’ve already expressed my displeasure and misgivings about a guaranteed wage, but health care is a tricky issue. While I do not possess a comprehensive solution to our medical costs, it’s worth noting that American medical research, technology, and treatments loom large over the rest of the world. However, many Americans struggle to pay exorbitant health care bills, and AOC and the Sunrise Movement want you to believe that universal health care is the answer. As to refrain from a tedious analysis of socialized health care and its deficiencies, we can look at the prices instead. Estimates for AOC’s and Bernie Sanders’ universal health care are around $33 trillion14. For perspective, the 2018 national budget was $4 trillion15, and $33 trillion over 10 years would comprise most of that. $3.3 trillion, combined with at least $0.26 trillion annually (over 20 years) for infrastructure and smart grid development13, would almost surpass our already laughable spending. Costs must go down in the health care industry, but instituting a hurricane of expenditures to blow air into our already inflated budget is not the solution.
It appears fairly evident that AOC’s Green New Deal will not be able to pass the test of democracy, and would be infeasible even if it did. To pay for health care alone, economists estimate that we would need to: increase the payroll tax on employers and employees by 10%, institute a 20% nationwide sales tax, and increase income tax by 10% for everyone, simultaneously 16. If all this would need to occur at the same time just to pay for health care, then raising the marginal tax rate to 70% on income above 10 million would not be sufficient, and all socio-economic classes would suffer undoubtedly. In her own outline of the plan she even explains that government must bear this responsibility because of time and scale. Her argument, laced with contradiction, states that even if all the American billionaires and corporations gave everything to the government, we still could not fund her plan5. Clearly, with 100% of the billionaires’ wealth not being adequate, we would have tax everyone else? But AOC and her supporters have evaded the grasp of such logic, and the rich must pay. Not to mention that she imagines government is faster and more efficient than the private market (Those standing in line at the DMV and USPS would beg to differ). All in all, the GND is praiseworthy in intention, but potentially catastrophic in implementation.
The works cited for this post can be found at the bottom of this webpage.
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- Roberts, David. “The Green New Deal, Explained.” Vox.com, Vox Media, 4 Jan. 2019, www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2018/12/21/18144138/green-new-deal-alexandria-ocasio-cortez.
- “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: ‘Call Me a Radical.’” Produced by 60 Minutes™, YouTube, YouTube, 4 Jan. 2019, www.youtube.com/watch?v=_HKhP0nzaAM.
- Saunders, Laura. “Top 20% of Americans Will Pay 87% of Income Tax.” The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones & Company, 6 Apr. 2018, www.wsj.com/articles/top-20-of-americans-will-pay-87-of-income-tax-1523007001.
- Hansen, Steven. “High Rate Of Spending Continues For Households.” NASDAQ.com, Nasdaq, 4 May 2018, www.nasdaq.com/article/high-rate-of-spending-continues-for-households-cm958450.
- “DRAFT TEXT FOR PROPOSED ADDENDUM TO HOUSE RULES FOR 116TH CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES” https://docs.google.com/document/d/1jxUzp9SZ6-VB-4wSm8sselVMsqWZrSrYpYC9slHKLzo/edit
- Leiserowitz, A., Maibach, E., Roser-Renouf, C., Rosenthal, S., Cutler, M., & Kotcher, J. (2018). Climate change in the American mind: March 2018. Yale University and George Mason University. New Haven, CT: Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
- Morris, David Z. “Renewable Energy Surges to 18% of U.S. Power Mix.” Fortune, Fortune, 18 Feb. 2018, fortune.com/2018/02/18/renewable-energy-us-power-mix/.
- Lomborg, Bjorn. “Wood: The Lethal Renewable Energy Swindle.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 28 Mar. 2018, www.forbes.com/sites/bjornlomborg/2017/04/20/wood-the-lethal-renewable-energy-swindle/#4f0ef693a815.
- Stepman, Jarrett. “The Green New Deal Is a Trojan Horse for Socialism.” The Daily Signal, The Daily Signal, 4 Jan. 2019, www.dailysignal.com/2019/01/04/the-green-new-deal-is-a-trojan-horse-for-socialism/.
- Perry, Mark J. “Chart of the Day: In 2017, US Had Largest Decline in CO2 Emissions in the World for 9th Time This Century.” AEI, 12 July 2018, www.aei.org/publication/chart-of-the-day-in-2017-us-had-largest-decline-in-co2-emissions-in-the-world-for-9th-time-this-century/.
- “U.S. Energy-Related CO2 Emissions Fell Slightly in 2017.” Produced by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Factors Affecting Gasoline Prices – Energy Explained, Your Guide To Understanding Energy – Energy Information Administration, 5 Sept. 2018, www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=36953.
- American Society of Civil Engineers, “GPA: D+.” ASCE’s 2017 Infrastructure Report Card, American Society of Civil Engineers, 2017, www.infrastructurereportcard.org/.
- Jones, Terry. “Democrats’ ‘Green Raw Deal’ Will Deliver Only Socialism And Misery.” Investor’s Business Daily, Investor’s Business Daily, 26 Dec. 2018, www.investors.com/politics/editorials/democrats-green-new-deal-socialism/.
- Demko, Paul. “What We Don’t Know about Bernie’s Favorite Healthcare Idea.” POLITICO, POLITICO, 12 Sept. 2018, www.politico.com/agenda/story/2018/09/12/medicare-for-all-democrats-2020-000691.
- Amadeo, Kimberly. “Secrets of the Federal Budget Revealed.” The Balance Small Business, The Balance, 14 Aug. 2018, www.thebalance.com/u-s-federal-budget-breakdown-3305789.
- Benson, Guy. “Stunning: Here Are the Tax Hikes Required to Pay For Single-Payer Healthcare’s $32.6 Trillion (Minimum) Price Tag.” Townhall, Townhall.com, 31 July 2018, townhall.com/tipsheet/guybenson/2018/07/31/liberals-respond-to-medicare-for-alls-astonishing-price-tag-byattacking-the-koch-brothers-n2505163.