Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez proposed a “Green New Deal,” and green it is because it could cost taxpayers an incredible amount of money. According to reports, the Green New Deal would cost approximately $93 trillion, or $600,000 per household. Democratic hopeful Kamala Harris declined to comment about how much the Green New Deal and “Medicare-for-all” are going to cost, claiming that “it’s not about a cost.” Included in the Green New Deal was the release of official documents from Ocasio-Cortez’s office, which promised economic security for those that are “unwilling to work.” It also called for the end of “farting cows” and air travel. And of course, this plan isn’t going to come cheap.
According to a study conducted by Douglas Holtz-Eakin, the president of the American Action Forum, and his colleagues, “The Green New Deal is clearly very expensive. Its further expansion of the federal government’s role in some of the most basic decisions of daily life, however, would likely have a more lasting and damaging impact than its enormous price tag.” But the study also reported that “the breadth of its proposals makes it daunting to assess the GND (Green New Deal) using the standard tools of policy analysis.” It also stated that “many of the policies proposed in the GND are redundant with other aspects in it, which also complicates a precise analysis, as the interactions are difficult to predict.” Holtz-Eakin, who previously served as the economic adviser for John McCain’s presidential campaign in 2008, estimated that the sweeping policy would likely cost between $6.8 trillion to $44.6 trillion, or roughly $49,000 to $322,000 per household.
Senior strategist at the Mercatus Center and the author of its study, Charles Blahous, claimed that Ocasio-Cortez had completely misunderstood his study and used it make false statements that “Medicare-for-all” would save the United States money. Unfortunately, going through with the Green New Deal would drive costs through the roof, according to Holtz-Eakin. A 10-year transition to an exclusively low-carbon electricity grid would cost $5.4 trillion. The net-zero emissions from the transportation network, which would mean that air travel would no longer be necessary, would cost $1.3 to $2.7 trillion. Green housing, including possible building renovations, would cost $1.6 trillion. For every living person in the U.S. to have food security, it would cost $1.5 trillion. According to the study, there may have been some double-counting, due to flaws in the Green New Deal.
According to the study: “A costly retrofitting of every structure in the United States seems considerably less environmentally beneficial once the electricity grid is completely transformed to use 100 percent clean energy than it would be if undertaken with today’s energy mix. Such a retrofit would have no impact on emissions. Similarly, the GND promises to ensure that every person has a guaranteed job, a family-sustaining rate of pay, and benefits such as paid leave and paid vacations. If everyone has good pay with good benefits, why is it simultaneously necessary to provide targeted programs for food, housing, and health care?” The study relied heavily on figures that came from California, a state where Democrats just recently abandoned a rail project because there were too many delays and an incredible amount of increases to the cost. The Trump administration has stated that it will sue California to get back the billions of dollars that it spent on the failed project.
On Sunday, Kamala Harris tried to explain that the return on investment from the Green New Deal would make the whole thing worth it, even though the initial cost is high. “One of the things that I admire and respect is, the measurement that is captured in three letters: ROI. What’s the return on investment? People in the private sector understand this really well. It’s not about a cost. It’s about an investment. And then the question should be, is it worth the cost in terms of the investment potential? Are we going to get back more than we put in?” said Harris when she spoke with CNN’s John King. Unfortunately, the study found that the overall savings would be nothing compared to the overwhelming cost of the proposal.
According to the study: “The GND envisions enough high-speed rail to make air travel unnecessary. We conclude that the rail itself would cost between $1.1 and $2.5 trillion. As a matter of perspective, total 2017 revenue in the airline industry was $175.3 billion, with expenses of $153.9 billion. Fuel expenses were $26.3 billion. It would take decades to pay off the capital investment required for [high-speed rail], and the fuel savings that would presumably be the most important cost difference would only be a fraction of the total investment required.” On to the topic of energy, the study found that the cost of electricity could be expected to increase by 22% and that “with an average monthly electric bill in 2017 of $111, the average household could expect around $295 of increased annual expenditures on electricity.”
The study found that the “Total retail revenue in the electric power sector was $390 billion in 2017. Generation costs were 59 percent of that, and would go from $230 billion to $387 billion each year in the above scenario, about a $157 billion difference, though if $70.5 billion of annual fuel costs are avoided by 2029 the net annual difference falls to $86.5 billion. That increase (accounting for avoided fuel costs) would drive up total electricity costs by 22 percent.” On Friday, a group of children who were visiting the California Democratic Senator, Dianne Feinstein, proposed that cuts to the military could provide the funding needed for the Green New Deal. They suggested this after Senator Feinstein explained to them that it was impossible to afford the Green New Deal with the way things are at the moment. The 2019 fiscal-year appropriated a little under $700 billion for the military budget, which is far less than the $93 trillion estimate for the New Green Deal.
On Monday, protestors from the Sunrise Movement, the same group that organized the trip to Senator Feinstein’s office, poured into the office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. According to reports, several of the protestors were arrested. Democrats have recently complained that McConnell was “rushing” the vote for the Green New Deal policy.
In the meantime, the White House is showing signs that it’s looking to make the topic of socialism the focus of the 2020 debate among the Democrats, who are looking for higher minimum wages and costly universal benefits. Even some of the labor leaders have pushed back against the Green New Deal in recent weeks, saying that the GND calls for a complete economic transformation that could lead to a greater spread of poverty throughout the country.
Despite the Green New Deal, conservatives have argued that most of the proposed solutions to the issue of climate change would cause more harm than good to occur. They’ve also accused the climate activists of crying wolf. In 2006, a scientist from NASA claimed that the world only had 10 years to reverse the catastrophe that is climate change — a deadline that has obviously come and gone.