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More on the Green New Deal

Mike Kozinski, Opinion Columnist

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On March 26th, the Green New Deal was rejected by U.S. Senate. 57 senators, including three Democrats and one independent who caucuses with the Democrats in the Senate, voted against the legislation. The other 43 senators, all Democrats, did not even bother to vote for the bill; they all voted to simply mark themselves “present” when voting occurred. Even Senator Markey (D-MA), who introduced the Green New Deal in the Senate, did not vote for it. The fact that the primary sponsor of a bill did not vote for his own legislation when it was brought to a vote is peculiar, and it raises an obvious question: Why did the primary sponsor of a bill brought to a vote not even vote for it? 

As per my last op-ed on the Green New Deal, the answer is in the bill itself: it is a Democratic Party wish list masquerading as environmentalism. The actual text of the bill contains several provisions that are completely unrelated to the bill’s alleged goal of combating climate change. For instance, it proposes that the U.S. government create “millions of good, high-wage jobs” in order to “ensure prosperity and economic security for all people of the United States.” Granted, the goal of “prosperity and economic security for all people of the United States” is one that all sides of the political spectrum wish to achieve; however, the link between achieving that goal and curbing the effects of climate change is unclear. Why does this bill attempt to link those two seemingly unrelated goals? 

Again, as per my last op-ed regarding this subject, the answer is in the legislation itself: it explicitly states that it recognizes the potential for government action on climate change as a “a historic opportunity— (1) to create millions of good, high-wage jobs in the United States; (2) to provide unprecedented levels of prosperity and economic security for all people of the United States; and (3) to counteract systemic injustices.” 

Once again, the far-left faction of Democratic Party has demonstrated that their sole concern is to expand the size and power of the federal government: all other goals, to them, are to be subservient to this one. This is why Representative Ocasio-Cortez, the main advocate for the bill in the House of Representatives, and Senator Markey included several provisions in the bill to expand the role and the power of the federal government that lack any correlation with stemming the effects of climate change. 

This bill deserved to be rejected by the U.S. Senate. It is a vague and ludicrously expensive farce that will not solve climate change. The bill’s provisions, despite being incredibly ambitious, also paradoxically contain such a dearth of detail that an accurate cost estimate is difficult to produce. Nevertheless, according to Bloomberg’s Noah Smith, the bill is estimated cost the American taxpayer “$6.6 trillion” per year, which is a figure that is consistent with other projections. For context, according to U.S. Government budget data, tax revenue for the 2018 fiscal year was approximately $3.6 trillion, and the United States’ economy was worth approximately $20 trillion. For further context, in 2017, the average American household paid $16,749 in taxes, which is greater than the $9,562 they spent on food and clothing according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. This bill would rob American taxpayers even more of their hard-earned money, and all they would get in exchange is a larger and less efficient 

government. The American public would likely gain greater satisfaction setting that “$6.6 trillion” on fire. 

Should the far-left faction of Democratic Party actually become interested in combating climate change, as per my last op-ed on this topic, they should consider a proposal that has support from economists of all political affiliations: carbon dividends. The idea is simple: impose a fee on carbon that increases every year and rebate the revenue back to taxpayers. This proposal would align economic incentives closer with the environmentalist goal of lower carbon emissions without requiring that the U.S. spend more than 30 percent of its GDP every year. 

The fact that far-left Democrats attempted to present this vague and budget-busting bill as a viable plan to solve the imminent threat of climate change should demonstrate to the American people that the far-left faction of the Democratic Party is not serious about solving the issues that they raise: they are interested only in grandstanding on them.

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