The Green New Deal

Harold Black, PhDBlog

In one Rocky and His Friends episode, the bad guy, Boris Badenov, sought to incapacitate America by spraying its leaders with goof gas turning geniuses into babbling idiots. He went to Washington and listened to a debate in Congress, looked at his colleague, Natasha Fatale, and said “someone beat us to it”. I had the same feeling when I watched the roll-out of the so-called “Green New Deal”. The main speaker was the socialist darling of the media who was just elected to Congress. Under normal circumstances virtually any other person who misspoke as much and was so consistently wrong, would be mercilessly ridiculed by late night comics and parodied on Saturday Night Live. However, for whatever reason this person is actually being taken seriously. After warning that in 12 years we will all be dead, she proposed a “Green New Deal” to make America’s energy 100 percent renewable in 10 years. “We set a goal to get to net-zero, rather than zero emissions, in 10 years because we aren’t sure that we’ll be able to fully get rid of farting cows and airplanes that fast, but we think we can ramp up renewable manufacturing and power production, retrofit every building in America, build the smart grid, overhaul transportation and agriculture, plant lots of trees and restore our ecosystem to get to net-zero.” Apparently, she doesn’t realize that there are around 6 million commercial buildings, 360,000 government buildings, and 137 million housing units. No rational person would think that all these could be retrofitted from fossil fuels to renewables in a 10 year period. And they ignore the costs. Conservatively, retrofitting would run into the trillions of dollars. But not to worry, the Green New Deal says that the Fed can finance the costs. I guess this group has never heard of hyperinflation. All of this is to be done using land intensive renewables wind and solar (nuclear is banned), requiring many times the acreage to generate the same power as fossil fuels. Can you imagine an America dominated by wind-farms and solar panels? Environmentalists have sued to stop renewable energy projects citing concerns ranging from damage to natural habitats, killing of migratory birds and medical problems. Moreover, the economy would experience a dramatic uptick in brown outs and black outs when portions of the new energy grid would go down.

From a strictly economic standpoint, even though the Green New Deal says it will create economic prosperity for all by creating “millions of family supporting wage, union jobs,” it would do the opposite. It would cause massive unemployment and is regressive – dramatically increasing energy costs, harming the middle income and lower income households who spend proportionately more of their incomes on energy.

In truth, the Green New Deal is not about the climate. Studies show that if the US cut carbon emissions by 100 percent the impact on global temperatures will be less than 0.2 degrees – well within the margin of error if nothing were done. Rather the Green New Deal is a rope-a-dope about social engineering. It wants the government to mandate virtually every facet of American life. It promises among other things jobs with a family-sustaining wage, family and medical leave, vacations, and retirement security; high-quality education, healthy food; high-quality health care; safe, affordable, adequate housing; an economic environment free of monopolies (except apparently government monopolies); and economic security for all who are unable or unwilling to work. Of course, the government is incapable of doing any of these things. The Green New Deal is a ruse to convert the US into a socialist paradise like Venezuela. What is sobering is that over 70 members of the House and 11 senators including every announced Democratic presidential candidate have endorsed this nonsense. Don’t forget that most of this crowd also want to abolish ICE, abolish private health insurers, and confiscate wealth. Instead of calling this the Green New Deal, truth-in-labeling would call it the Green Manifesto.

Dr. Harold Black is professor emeritus at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. This piece appeared in the USA TODAY NETWORK – TENNESSEE. Dr. Black can be reached