DANIEL VAUGHAN: Green New Deal uses the environment as a cover for socialism

February 8, 2019

DANIEL VAUGHAN: Green New Deal uses the environment as a cover for socialism

The so-called “Green New Deal” recently announced by New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D) and Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey (D) isn’t green; nothing in it is new; and, since it relies exclusively on deficit spending and inflation for funding, is not a deal.

In fact, if it acts anything like Franklin Roosevelt’s original New Deal, this Green New Deal will end up hurting the economy and smothering our robust recovery.

Firstly, the legislation is not green, because it’s not interested in using green energy technology that actually works — most notably, nuclear. In fact, not only does the Green New Deal not permit the use of nuclear power, the deal also falsely equates it with fossil fuels.

“It’s unclear if we will be able to decommission every nuclear plant within ten years, but the plan is to transition off of nuclear and all fossil fuels as soon as possible,” a write-up of the plan reads.

Democratic Socialists like Ocasio-Cortez want you to believe they can reduce emissions without nuclear power. But we know that’s utterly false, because it’s been tried already.

Liberals in Bernie Sanders’ home state of Vermont tried decreasing emissions by relying solely on renewables and energy efficiency while forcing the local nuclear plant to close. The result? Air emissions went up in Vermont by 5 percent, while emissions fell across the larger United States by 17 percent.

Indeed, nuclear energy is among the safest and green energy technologies we have — but instead of harnessing that power, Ocasio-Cortez and Markey are trying to shut down an entire industry.

What will we get instead? Most likely, the same failed “green company” cronyism we got from the Obama administration. Taxpayers propped up failed companies like Solyndra, who provided few returns while getting stern lectures on how we were failing to be green enough for progressives. We got the same story during debates ahead of the signing of the Paris Climate Accords: finger-wagging talks while green corporatists sucked up government money.

Nothing in the Green New Deal is new, either. Democrats just lumped all their favorite crazy ideas into one big piece of legislation. And you can tell it’s nothing to take seriously, because even House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is waving her hand at it dismissively.

“It will be one of several or maybe many suggestions that we receive,” Pelosi said. “The green dream or whatever they call it, nobody knows what it is, but they’re for it, right?”

Most of the main points in the Green New Deal are modern Democratic Socialist talking points: “A job with a family-sustaining wage, family and medical leave, vacations, and retirement security[;] High-quality education, including higher education and trade schools[;] Clean air and water and access to nature[;] Healthy food[;] High-quality health care[;] Safe, affordable, adequate housing[;] Economic environment free of monopolies[;] Economic security for all who are unable or unwilling to work.”

These all sound well and good, but as we’ve learned time and again, Democrats are calling for more spending and increased government control of your life. They want the government to use a heavy hand to dictate what you’re eating, how healthcare works, and how much you pay in taxes.

Ocasio-Cortez and Markey aren’t even pretending they’ll pay for the Green New Deal. In their FAQ on how they’ll pay for all their new government programs, the two say:

The Green New Deal is a massive investment program, not an expenditure. The question isn’t how will we pay for it, but what is the cost of inaction, and what will we do with our new shared prosperity created by the investments in the Green New Deal.

While they might not be providing the hard numbers, when you dig into the links they provide, the answer is clear: deficit spending and inflation. As Megan McCardle observed in The Washington Post last year, this is precisely the path Venezuela took under Hugo Chavez that has made a resource-rich nation sink into abject poverty.

W. Ben Hunt, author, venture capitalist, and founder of Epsilon Theory has repeatedly argued that this Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), which Ocasio-Cortez and Markey claim is the magic answer, is just spending without end. Hunt writes:

It is essentially the argument that significant sovereign debt is a good thing, not a bad thing, and that budget balancing efforts on a national scale do much more harm than good. Why? Because there’s so much to do and so little time for the right-minded sovereign. Because it is fundamentally unjust for the demands of private lenders to thwart the necessary ends of the sovereign, and it is politically difficult to finance those ends through tax levies on a fickle citizenry. MMT is the sovereign-friendly justification for deficit spending without end.

In short, Ocasio-Cortez, Markey, Sanders, and the rest of the Democratic Socialists are pretending we can spend and inflate our way into prosperity. They’re using climate change as the political MacGuffin to justify socialist policies. (You’ll note that if it’s a capitalist or non-socialist answer to climate change, like nuclear power, it’s immediately rejected.)

The Green New Deal isn’t about fixing the environment; it’s about using the cover of climate change to enact socialist policies. People who want to make the situation better don’t mind if we use things like nuclear power.

And that’s the takeaway: the Green New Deal is another form of an old and failed ideology seizing power. Sane Democrats should reject it, but as we’re learning, the Democratic Party is terrified of the socialists in their midst.

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Daniel Vaughan

Daniel Vaughan is a columnist for the Conservative Institute and lawyer in Nashville, Tennessee. He has degrees from Middle Tennessee State University and Regent University School of Law. His work can be found on the Conservative Institute's website, or you can receive his columns and free weekly newsletter at The Beltway Outsiders. Connect with him on Twitter at @dvaughanCI.