Green is the new red

The Green New Deal would crip­ple the United States

The Washington Times Daily - - COMMENTARY - By Stephen Moore Stephen Moore, a colum­nist with The Washington Times, is a se­nior fel­low at the Her­itage Foun­da­tion. His new book, coau­thored with Arthur Laf­fer, is “Trumpo­nomics: In­side the Amer­ica First Plan to Re­vive Our Econ­omy.”

Rep. Alexan­dria Oca­sio-Cortez, New York Demo­crat, has re­leased her Green New Deal plan to the na­tion — and to great ap­plause from the Demo­cratic Party. This multi-tril­lion dol­lar man­i­festo isn’t just about sav­ing the planet from cli­mate change — though that is the cen­ter­piece — but in­cludes a whole “so­cial jus­tice” agenda that in­cludes ev­ery­thing from Medi­care for All, to a guar­an­teed job for all Amer­i­cans, a $15-an-hour min­i­mum wage, and even reg­u­la­tions on how of­ten you will be able to drive your car and fly in an air­plane.

The cen­ter­piece of the plan is to move to 100 per­cent re­new­able en­ergy (wind and so­lar power) within 10 years. No one with any knowl­edge of en­ergy use and pro­duc­tion be­lieves this is even re­motely pos­si­ble given that we are to­day at about 8 per­cent re­new­able — even af­ter $150 bil­lion of tax­payer hand­outs to green en­ergy pro­duc­ers.

But even to get any­where close to 100 per­cent re­new­able en­ergy over the next 10 or 30 years would be eco­nom­i­cally crip­pling with tax­payer costs that would ex­ceed $2 tril­lion while dis­plac­ing some 10 mil­lion Amer­i­cans in high-pay­ing oil and gas in­dus­tries from their jobs.

En­ergy costs for home heat­ing and elec­tric power would likely dou­ble or triple, as a Her­itage Foun­da­tion study shows — and that’s sim­ply to get to 50 per­cent re­new­able. With­out U.S. mass pro­duc­tion of shale oil, gas prices at the pump could eas­ily reach $5 a gal­lon. Price hikes like these are what in­cited the ri­ots in Paris last month.

Ini­tially, the Green New Deal planned to abol­ish nu­clear and nat­u­ral gas from the en­ergy mix — which is ab­surd given that shale gas has con­trib­uted to a ma­jor re­duc­tion in car­bon emis­sions and nu­clear plants emit no green­house gases what­so­ever. Along with hy­dropower, these are the clean­est forms of en­ergy to­day. A re­cent GND fact sheet pub­lished by Alexan­dria Oca­sio-Cortez’s of­fices has been dis­avowed by Demo­cratic Sen­ate backer Ed Markey over the dog­matic an­ti­nu­clear stance.

This is why the GND frothy rhetoric about this “na­tional, in­dus­trial, eco­nomic mo­bi­liza­tion” be­ing a “his­toric op­por­tu­nity to elim­i­nate poverty and make pros­per­ity, wealth and eco­nomic se­cu­rity avail­able to ev­ery­one par­tic­i­pat­ing in the trans­for­ma­tion,” is dis­ori­ented from re­al­ity.

How does elim­i­nat­ing the in­dus­try — fos­sil fu­els — that has pro­duced the fastest growth of new jobs over the past decade, elim­i­nate poverty? Are we re­ally go­ing to con­vert oil work­ers into wind farm­ers?

There are other utopian ideas to ad­vance this green agenda, in­clud­ing a job-guar­an­tee pro­gram, uni­ver­sal heath care, and tens of bil­lions of dol­lars for new mass tran­sit and elec­tric cars. In one of the orig­i­nal ver­sions of the Green New Deal, the plan re­quires “re­plac­ing non-es­sen­tial in­di­vid­ual means of trans­port with high-qual­ity and mod­ern mass tran­sit.” No more driv­ing the kids to soc­cer prac­tice. Every­body on the bus.

Miss Oca­sio-Cortez says that to re­place the mil­lions of jobs the GND would de­stroy, the new guar­an­teed­jobs pro­gram would work like the orig­i­nal New Deal. But de­spite the fake his­tory of the Great De­pres­sion, FDR’s make-work pro­grams, such as the Works Progress Ad­min­is­tra­tion (WPA), failed mis­er­ably in their quest to end job­less­ness and poverty. Dur­ing the eight years of the WPA, the un­em­ploy­ment rate av­er­aged above 12 per­cent, some three times higher than to­day.

The ar­chi­tects of the GND are to be com­mended for ac­knowl­edg­ing that this “trans­for­ma­tion” of the U.S. econ­omy won’t come cheap. They place the price tag at roughly $1 tril­lion a year.

These costs will be ab­sorbed by Fed­eral Re­serve Bank bor­row­ing (i.e., run­ning up the bud­get deficit), and “var­i­ous tax­a­tion tools in­clud­ing taxes on car­bon and other emis­sions and pro­gres­sive wealth taxes.” Say hello to those 70 per­cent tax rates lib­er­als have been tout­ing.

We will need these to pay for this dein­dus­tri­al­iza­tion of Amer­ica.

Con­ser­va­tives have tended to laugh and sneer at the GND (me in­cluded), but these frontal as­saults on free mar­ket cap­i­tal­ism are quickly be­com­ing Demo­cratic or­tho­doxy. Green is the new red, as the say­ing goes, and un­less con­ser­va­tives de­feat and dis­credit these ding­bat ideas, Don­ald Trump will be proven wrong. Amer­ica will be on its way to be­com­ing a so­cial­ist na­tion.


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