This past week, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez released on her website what she called the “Green New Deal.” Now, it was not actual legislation, but rather a vision for America’s future in dealing with climate change, economic inequality and social justice.
The very title of the legislative proposal harkens back to the Great Depression of the 1930’s and the New Deal that was pushed through congress by FDR. The New Deal has reached almost mythological status in American politics.
However, it is questionable whether or not it actually brought an end to the Great Depression at all. The unemployment rate stayed above 14% until the beginning of WWII regardless of all of the economic policies of the Roosevelt Presidency (Forbes).
Regardless Cortez has decided that she wants to herald in a new age of progressive democratic politics regardless of if the massive amount of government spending actually helped anything during the Great Depression. The legislation suffers from rampant economic and environmental illiteracy.
To achieve its stated goal of eliminating the use of fossil fuels in a decade will require electrifying everything, including all home heating and transportation that are currently supplied by fossil fuels.
In order to do this America would have to triple its electricity production. This simply isn’t possible with the current state of wind and solar energy. Our battery technology is not where it needs to be either in order to store the electricity that is produced by wind and solar systems (Thebulwark).She also wants to reduce carbon emissions while removing the largest source of non-carbon energy we have, nuclear power. James Hansen a prominent environmentalist suggests that nuclear power is going to be essential in the quest to reduce carbon emissions.
Of course, Republicans are consistently accused of being “Science Deniers” and certainly some of them are. However, if neither party can be consistent in listening to climate scientists and energy experts who can we trust to pass logical and meaningful legislation on the issue. It seems to me that Cortez’s fuzzy math and distain for nuclear energy does not make her the right person to forge ahead.
She also ignores the simple reality that it is not the United States or other developed nations that are contributing the most to the climate change. China’s methane emissions have increased by 50% over the past five years even after government regulations were passed in 2010. The reality is if the United States were to do everything that the Green New Deal suggests we would have some serious issues.
First, we would tank our economy because of substantial tax increases to pay for all the government programs. This would undercut American business and ultimately it is the middle and lower class that would pay for it in the form of higher prices brought on by inflation.
Second, it might reduce the effects of climate change by a little bit but because of china and other developing nations it would have an almost insignificant effect (Daily Wire).
Cortez says this plan would pay for itself but the reality is it wouldn’t. She hasn’t done the math. I could write a whole other article about the other parts of the plan that don’t make any sense economically.
In other words, like the original New Deal, the Green New Deal might not work as advertised, but it might work for Democrats in fantasy land.Noah is a junior Political Science major and the President of the BU Republicans.