The Art of the Green New Deal, Part 1

Lots of hype and misinformation from both sides are floating around the Green New Deal, but few facts are to be found.

After day upon day of stories and interviews and retractions and conservatives poking fun and Democratic presidential hopefuls climbing aboard the Green New Deal train, I figured it was time to take a look at the actual language, not the hype and hysteria.

The Resolution initially focuses on the “why” we need to make drastic changes to our economic system and references the October 2018 “Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 ºC” which contends that global warming is the cause of an ever-increasing list of catastrophes spreading over the globe. The resolution claims that the United States is largely to blame for a “disproportionate” amount of greenhouse gas emissions in the world.

In addition, the resolution contends that we (the United States) are experiencing several related crises including declining life expectancy, increasingly inaccessible basic needs, stagnating wages and declining socioeconomic mobility. Further, the resolution contends that these problems are disproportionately affecting “frontline and vulnerable communities” such as minorities, rural, indigenous, and migrant peoples.

Now the left and the right will argue forever as to whether global warming is caused by humans or would be happening anyway, whether or not it is mostly the United States’ fault, but the earth’s temperatures are rising and neither fault nor cause matters when attempting to solve a key problem facing our world. When Einstein wrote to President Roosevelt warning of Nazi Germany possibly developing atomic weapons, we did not spend all our time arguing whose fault it was or if it was even believable. For better or worse, we mobilized to successfully develop atomic weapons first.

I suggested a new “Manhattan” style project after the 1979 oil crisis to develop alternative energy that would eliminate the need for oil. That may have solved a whole lot of problems (and prevented wars) that have occurred since then. Hey, maybe I was a Green New Dealer before my time, but people just shrugged at my idea then. Anyway, typical of human nature, once the crisis eased so did any major concern for alternative energy. So, we continued on our merry fossil fuel way.

There have been numerous fact checkers checking “facts” about the Green New Deal, but they all seem to focus on claims others are making about the plan, not statements that are in the plan itself such as that we have the “greatest income inequality since the 1920s.” This seems to be basically true. I am not advocating socialism. In fact, just the opposite, which is why issues like income inequality raised in the Green New Deal are so alarming.

Capitalism is in danger if it becomes so off course that the working and middle class can’t make ends meet and start to believe that they cannot get a fair chance without it coming from big brother. In part 2, I will look at the meat (not from cows of course) of what the Green New Deal will or won’t do to combat all these grave problems.