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Op-ed Placement

The Rotten Green New Deal Will Transform U.S. In Worst Way

BY Stephen Moore
02/05/2019
Originally Published in Investor's Business Daily by Stephen Moore on 2/1/19.

The left's hot new policy manifesto is the "Green New Deal." It's being touted by the latest sensation in Washington, freshman congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, and has been endorsed by many leading contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination.

This isn't just about climate change, but a roadmap for where the left wants to take the country if they reassume power. A recent poll finds solid support among voters for a Green New Deal, even though most people don't know what is in it.

Last month, Cortez drafted an actual plan of action and it is the official blueprint of a House Select Committee on Climate Change created by Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The GND plan states that "small-scale solutions" won't work, because "time has run out. Given the magnitude of the current challenge, the tools of regulation and taxation, used in isolation, will not be enough to quickly and smoothly accomplish the transformation that we need to see."

Here is the kind of transformation the GND has in mind:

"Within the target window of 10 years, i.e., by 2030, dramatically expand existing renewable power sources and deploy new production capacity with the goal of meeting 100% of national power demand though renewable resources."

Green New Deal: War On Fossil Fuels.

This quest to outlaw fossil fuels is even more delusional given that shale oil and gas is now providing the cheapest energy in world history to even the poorest areas of the globe. Our competitors like China, India, Russia and OPEC will replace the U.S. as major producers of cheap coal, oil and natural gas. Because these countries have much lower environmental standards than we do, the GND could cause global greenhouse gas emissions to rise, not fall.

Moreover, 100% renewable energy in the next 10 to 20 years is probably technically infeasible. The U.S. government has spent well over $150 billion over the last decade, according to the Institute for Energy Research, but today we get less than 10% of our energy from "green" renewable sources. To move to 100% renewable could cost the economy at least $2 trillion — making these handouts to the wind and solar industries the biggest corporate welfare giveaway in American history.

"The Green New Deal shall recognize that a national, industrial, economic mobilization of this scope and scale is a historic opportunity to virtually eliminate poverty in the United States and to make prosperity, wealth and economic security available to everyone participating in the transformation."

Eliminate poverty? Under this plan energy prices would rise dramatically, as we see in Europe with $5-a-gallon gasoline. Electric power and home heating costs could easily double as we know from the experience of states like California and New York with 50% renewable energy mandates that are much less onerous than the GND. These higher costs are extremely regressive taxes on the poorest Americans, who pay at least five times more of their income on energy than do rich households.

10 Million Jobs Lost?

Meanwhile, as many as 10 million Americans currently employed directly or indirectly in the oil, gas and coal industries are likely to lose their jobs, while manufacturers, transportation companies and steel producers will see factories chased out of the U.S., thus reversing the productivity gains from the Trump tax cuts and deregulation policies.

"Provide ... a job guarantee program to assure a living wage job to every person who wants one. ... Mitigate deeply entrenched racial, regional and gender-based inequalities in income and wealth (including, without limitation, ensuring that federal and other investment will be equitably distributed to historically impoverished, low income, de-industrialized or other marginalized communities in such a way that builds wealth and ownership at the community level); Include additional measures such as basic income programs, universal health care programs and any others as the select committee may deem appropriate."

Who knew that windmills were capable of solving so many societal ills? The GND in short is a grab bag of stale liberal ideas wrapped in green clothing.

Fiscal Irresponsibility, On Steroids.

The job guarantee program is modeled after FDR's New Deal, which is portrayed as a major success for workers. It wasn't. During the era of FDR make-work programs like the WPA, the Great Depression continued for another eight years with the unemployment rate averaging above 12%, about three times higher than today's.

"We pay for this? in the same ways that we paid for the 2008 bank bailout and extended quantitative easing programs, the same ways we paid for World War II and many other wars. The Federal Reserve can extend credit to power these projects and investments, new public banks can be created (as in WWII) to extend credit and a combination of various taxation tools (including taxes on carbon and other emissions and progressive wealth taxes) can be employed."

In other words, the Fed is going to magically print trillions of dollars, Congress is going to erect tax rates that Cortez has suggested could reach 70%, and all Americans will pay a new hefty energy tax.

Who'll Pay? You.

The sad reality of this clarion call to "social justice" is that if anything resembling this GND were to come to pass, the "millionaires and billionaires" the document refers to — many of whom are cheerleaders of the green agenda — would see minimal disruptions in their lifestyles. The burden of the economic chaos from exploding energy and transportation costs and the millions of lost jobs and incomes will be borne by middle- and lower-income Americans.

This is all just fine with the left.