As the Beatles once sang, “You say you want a revolution, well you know, we all want to change the world.” The Green New Deal casts a wide net and reaches for the stars as far as its goals are concerned. Is that a bad thing?
Our Declaration of Independence spells out that all people should have the right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. These are broad principles that tragically were not granted to so many for far too long and for which many are still struggling for.
The Green New Deal lays out five new duties for the Federal Government. The first is to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions through a fair and just transition for all communities and workers. On the surface this sounds like a noble goal. Is it possible? I don’t know and neither do the experts, but a noble goal is worth perusing whether possible to achieve or not. The issue becomes who defines fair and just? Is this to be done in a bi-partisan manner or will it be a heavy-handed abuse of power by those in the majority at the time?
The second duty is for the Federal Government to create “millions” of good high-wage jobs. By create, does it mean to incentivize the private sector to create them, or does it mean millions of additional workers on the US payroll? What will they do and what is the definition of high-wage? The cost of housing alone makes it hard to live on your own for under $40,000 per year.
Duty number three is to “invest in the infrastructure and industry of the United States to sustainably meet the challenges of the 21st century.” I am not exactly sure what this means but it sure sounds good.
Fourth, the Federal Government is to secure for all people of the United States for generations to come, clean air and water, climate and community resiliency, healthy food, access to nature and a sustainable environment. This sounds a bit like how we used to live before scientific advancements came along and mucked everything up. So, I am all for this, but how can we trust ourselves to accomplish this when we ourselves created the threats to all the above?
Last, but not least, the Federal Government is to promote justice and equity for indigenous peoples, communities of color, migrant communities, deindustrialized communities, depopulated rural communities, the poor, low-income workers, women, the elderly, the unhoused, people with disabilities, and youth. Who could argue with that?
I can see why some would dismiss the resolution as too pie in the sky to be anywhere near the realm of a realistic possibility. In the past, we have had grand visions, but they were more focused, such as going to the moon or creating weapons to vaporize entire cities.
I think the Green New Deal goals are worth trying for if we work collaboratively in a decentralized partnership with the private sector and local communities. However, if it is a one-sided totalitarian pathway to the Federal Government becoming the all-powerful “Big Brother,” then don’t you know that you can count me out. After all, big always turns bad, and not in a good way.