The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Friday, February 08, 2019

The New Green Deal

Because I run 40 percent of my home using solar power and own two zero-emission electric vehicles, I suspect that I have done more to fight air pollution and conserve energy than 95 percent of all Americans, including climate "activists" and those politicians who continually tell us there's a climate crisis but don't act like it (think: using private jets to travel or living in 10,000 square foot homes). Having said this, I can't help but comment on the latest idea to come out of the Democratic socialist wing of the Washington elite—the so-called "New Green Deal."

Kim Strassel skewers the Deal when she writes:
It is for starters, a massive plan for the government to take over and micromanage much the economy. Take the central plank, its diktat of producing 100% of U.S. electricity “through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources” by 2030. As Ron Bailey at Reason has noted, a 2015 plan from Stanford envisioning the goal called for the installation of 154,000 offshore wind turbines, 335,000 onshore wind turbines, 75 million residential photovoltaic (solar) systems, 2.75 million commercial solar systems, and 46,000 utility-scale solar facilities. AOC [Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] has been clear it will be government building all this, not the private sector.

And that might be the easy part. According to an accompanying fact sheet, the Green New Deal would also get rid of combustion engines, “build charging stations everywhere,” “upgrade or replace every building in U.S.,” do the same with all “infrastructure,” and crisscross the nation with “high-speed rail.”

Buried in the details, the Green New Deal also promises government control of the most fundamental aspects of private life. The fact sheet explains why the resolution doesn’t call for “banning fossil fuels” or for “zero” emissions across the entire economy—at least at first. It’s because “we aren’t sure that we’ll be able to fully get rid of farting cows and airplanes that fast” (emphasis mine).

This is an acknowledgment that planes don’t run on anything but fossil fuel. No jet fuel, no trips to see granny. It’s also an acknowledgment that livestock produce methane, which has led climate alarmists to engage in “meatless Mondays.” AOC may not prove able to eradicate “fully” every family Christmas or strip of bacon in a decade, but that’s the goal.

Finally, the resolution is Democratic math at its best. It leaves out a price tag, and is equally vague on what kind of taxes would be needed to cover the cost. But it would run to tens of trillions of dollars. The fact sheet asserts the cost shouldn’t worry anyone, since the Federal Reserve can just “extend credit” to these projects! And “new public banks can be created to extend credit,” too! And Americans will get lots of “shared prosperity” from their “investments.” À la Solyndra.
This plan reads like it was written by a 10th grade science class. It exhibits the bright-eyed enthusiasm of children, but lacks clear-eyed adult understanding of the economy, of the underlying science, of real-world politics, of the profound influence of special interests, or just about everything else that would lead to a successful outcome. It might have good intentions, but it is laughably naive, ridiculously disingenuous, and irresponsibly dictatorial.

The Deal wouldn't be as loopy as it is if it defined a 50-year timeline in which innovation by the private sector driven by market forces and (gasp!) profit led to a cleaner and more livable planet. The Deal doesn't do that. It wouldn't be as irresponsible as it is if it laid out a plan for making an economically sustainable transition from fossil fuels to alternative energy and recognized that some fossil fuel usage would remain well into the 21st century (think: air travel). The Deal doesn't do that. It wouldn't be coercive as it is if it recognized that careful analysis of existing scientific data, divorced from political influence, is required before massive decisions about restructuring the economy are made. The Deal doesn't do that. And finally, it wouldn't be naive/insane (choose your term) as it is if it admitted that history indicates that the federal government has not been particularly effective at instituting major programs and doing so without waste, fraud, abuse, and corruption. The Deal doesn't do that.

But the Deal does exemplify the core tenets of the philosophy of the Democratic Socialists—coercion, domination, and control. But that was the topic of my last post.


As more and more people delve into the actual text of the proposed Green New Deal, the reaction has been ridicule mixed with withering criticism. The hard left and members of the democratic socialists love every word, every comma and every concept, but for the rest of us ... not so much.

Much of the original text of the Deal has been deleted from AOC's web site. She claims that a draft was inadvertently posted and that the final version does not reflect the idiocy noted in the draft. Maybe. But the simple fact that a draft suggested centralized control of the economy, a massive revamp of the energy sector that would quadruple electricity rates for average Americans, and a crazy short/unreralistic timeline. All of that along with stuff that has NOTHING to do with climate change, e.g., guaranteed jobs for everyone and for those who choose not to work, guaranteed income, and free medical care indicates that the Deal is more than 'green." It's a roadmap for a socialist government in which coercion, domination, and control are the central tenets. Not surprising, but fundamentally dishonest to wrap this stuff in an environmental blanket. Then again, dishonesty is yet another central tenet of socialism.