Dem candidates trip over each other to declare who will best destroy the economy
When the candidates at the second round of the 2020 Democrat presidential debates weren't calling Donald Trump a racist, they were often railing about the supposed extreme dangers we face from man-made climate change. In fact, a search of the transcripts reveals that the subject was mentioned more than 50 times in the two debates.
All of the top-tier candidates have endorsed the Green New Deal (GND), and most of the nearly twenty-some others have as well. During the debates, we saw many of these would-be commanders-in-chief attempt to outdo each other with statements concerning the severity of the problem and their "solutions" to save Mother Earth. Nearly all support a complete transition from fossil fuels and an end to our "carbon addiction" by 2050. Some want it done sooner.
In response to a question on climate change, Andrew Yang went so far as to tell the audience to forget about it, as we are ten years too late, and we "need to start moving our people to higher ground."
So what exactly is in this GND that the candidates are embracing? It is a transformational proposal that was rolled out in both the House and the Senate in early 2019. Actions that would supposedly assist in curtailing man-made warming include a complete transformation to renewable energy for the power demand sector, upgrading every existing building in the United States, and expanding high-speed rail to a scale that obviates air travel.
The proposal does not stop at targeting global warming, but includes far-ranging social programs that include guaranteed jobs for all, universal health care, guaranteed housing for all, and a food security plan for every American (whatever that means).
With a trillion dollars here and a trillion dollars there, it soon adds up to gargantuan costs to American citizens and businesses. The Competitive Enterprise Institute recently analyzed the costs of this plan for just the energy portion of the GND, revealing it be economically crippling to the U.S. economy and each household in America. According to the CEI report, it would cost the typical American household $70,000 in the first year of its implementation and impose recurring yearly costs of more than $37,000.
Not included in this estimation are the costs of the social items, and these would likely dwarf the costs of the energy programs. A study earlier this year by the Energy Action Forum (EAF) estimated that the costs of these energy-related items were "only" $6 trillion to $8 trillion over the initial ten years of the plan. We say "only" because the social welfare segment was projected to be between $66 trillion and $108 trillion, or $350,000 to $650,000 to the average family over the same ten-year period.
That the Green New Deal reads more like a socialist manifesto than a serious effort to improve the environment was confirmed recently by Saikat Chakrabarti, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.)'s former chief of staff. In a Washington Post interview, he admitted that the Green New Deal was created not to protect the environment, but to implement socialism. According to Chakrabarti, "[t]he interesting thing about the Green New Deal, is it wasn't originally a climate thing at all." Chakrabarti continued, "We really think of it as a how-do-you-change-the-entire-economy thing."
Democrat candidates may favorably distinguish themselves with the far left by adopting socialist ideas disguised as environmental policy, but they may just as well put them at loggerheads with the bulk of the American electorate for the 2020 election. Embracing the Green New Deal likely gives Donald Trump another cudgel to use to beat them up politically.
Gregory Wrightstone is author of the new book Inconvenient Facts: The Science That Al Gore Doesn't Want You To Know. Wrightstone is a geologist with more than 35 years of experience researching and studying various aspects of the Earth's processes. He is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Geological Society of America.
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