What the Green New Deal will do to our family
My wife and I are proud of our daughter, who is a full-time stay-at-home mom taking care of our nearly two-year-old granddaughter. She is able to devote herself 100% to the little darling because her husband Todd has a high-paying job as lead engineer on a crew working in the oil fields of West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. It is hard work, with him away from the family for extended periods, but it has allowed them to focus on their daughter and purchase a home.
Todd will be losing his job in the not too distant future if the proposed Green New Deal (GND) is enacted into law. This proposal has been embraced as a serious alternative to the energy status quo by many left-leaning Democrats on Capitol Hill. It requires a transition away from non-renewable energy sources (no nuclear) to technologies such as wind turbines, solar cells, tidal power, and geothermal energy. This transition is mandated to occur by 2030.
Full enactment of this policy will destroy most of the fossil fuel industry and eliminate my son-in-law's job along with the jobs of at least 4 million other people directly or indirectly employed in the business of providing coal, oil, and natural gas to America. In fact, the text of the GND states that there will be 3.9 million jobs displaced in the conventional energy sector by this bill.
Not to worry: According to the proposal, 3.9 million new jobs will be created in a booming business of renewable energy construction while converting the nation to "clean" power sources. And that is only from employment in electric generation sector.
According to the proposal, going 100% to "clean" energy will require "replacing non-essential means of transportation" with modern mass transit. The GND anticipates that a transition to a "comprehensive national mass transit program" will mean many new jobs available in that sector. With a commercial driving license already in hand, a new job as a bus driver would be a logical choice for Todd.
Complicating employment opportunities for the newly unemployed energy workers like Todd will be an influx of ex-military personnel looking for work, owing to the mandated 50% reduction in military spending and closure of most bases around the world. With no need to fight wars for oil, the thinking goes, there is no need for robust military forces, so a goodly percentage of the current 1.3 million active-duty military and many more in support roles will be beating the pavement, looking for a job.
If the anticipated increase in employment in the new clean energy economy doesn't pan out, Todd can be comforted by knowing he will not be jobless for long, because the Green New Deal will "end unemployment in America once and for all by guaranteeing a job at a living wage for every American willing and able to work." Plus, if he wants to go back to college to study sustainable development, economic justice, or one of the other majors that are likely to be in demand, the plan will provide that to him through "a tuition-free, quality, federally funded" college education. On top of that, he would get the benefit of having the remainder of his current college loans forgiven.
Any of the new job possibilities makes it likely that Todd would see a significant decrease in income and require our daughter to return to work if the two want to keep their home. Fortunately for them, the proposal includes a ban on all home foreclosures and enables a restructuring of their home loan that would be financed by a new federal bank. If they do have to sell their home to make ends meet, they can rely on Green New Deal guarantees of affordable housing at a cost of no more than 25% of their income.
Of course, the proposed new carbon taxes and increase in energy costs due to reliance on more expensive "clean" energy will make nearly all goods costlier and add to their new financial burdens. Some relief would come to them, because their newly reduced income would not be subject to a new higher tax rate of 70% that Todd would have paid if he still had his old job.
Life will surely be more difficult for Todd and our daughter with approval of the Green New Deal, but, after all, one needs to make sacrifices in order to make no difference whatsoever in the climate.
Gregory Wrightstone is a geologist who has been investigating the Earth's processes for more than 35 years, including paleoclimate controls on deposition. He is author of Inconvenient Facts: The science that Al Gore doesn't want you to know, sits on the advisory board of the Heartland Institute, and is a contributing writer for the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation.