For Bernie, climate change is just a ruse to grow government
In 2008, Rahm Emanuel, then-president-elect Barack Obama's newly named chief of staff, uttered the infamous phrase: "You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that, it's an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before."
Emanuel was referring to the economic crisis that precipitated Obama's 2008 election victory. Once in office, the Obama administration used the economic upheaval to rapidly expand government power through several boondoggle programs. Remember the $787-billion "stimulus" package? How about "Cash for Clunkers"?
Eleven years after Emanuel's notorious quip, it seems 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is taking a page out of the Emanuel political playbook. In other words, Bernie is trying to use a so-called climate crisis to implement a series of socialistic programs, under the banner of his newly released "Green New Deal" (GND).
However, there is a key difference between the circumstances Obama faced during his 2008 presidential run and Sanders's 2020 quest for the presidency. In 2008, there was a legitimate economic crisis. In 2020, there is not a climate crisis.
In fact, this could be the very reason why Sanders begins his GND with, "The climate crisis is not only the single greatest challenge facing our country; it is also our single greatest opportunity to build a more just and equitable future, but we must act immediately."
In one sentence, Sanders declares a climate crisis and then uses it as an excuse to implement his socialistic agenda. This is called framing the argument on their terms, something the Left does quite well.
Sanders's proposal is rife with fear-mongering and full of hyperbolic language. According to Bernie, "[t]he scientific community is telling us in no uncertain terms that we have less than 11 years left to transform our energy system away from fossil fuels to energy efficiency and sustainable energy, if we are going to leave this planet healthy and habitable for ourselves, our children, grandchildren, and future generations."
Actually, there is no scientific consensus that our planet is in jeopardy if we do not abandon fossil fuels over the next decade. Ample evidence indicates that humans' use of fossil fuels is not destroying the planet. Moreover, eliminating fossil fuels would do more harm than good. In and of itself, this is a preposterous statement that undermines Sanders's credibility.
Yet Sanders goes even farther: "[a]s rising temperatures and extreme weather create health emergencies, drive land loss and displacement, destroy jobs, and threaten livelihoods, we must guarantee health care, housing, and a good-paying job to every American, especially to those who have been historically excluded from economic prosperity."
One simple question: How does solving a nonexistent climate crisis justify the federal government providing universal health care, housing, and jobs? Even if the planet were in extreme danger, these massive federal programs have absolutely nothing to do with the environment and would do nothing to prevent any possible impending doom.
However, Sanders does not stop there. He goes on to claim: "The scope of the challenge ahead of us shares similarities with the crisis faced by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the 1940s. Battling a world war on two fronts — both in the East and the West — the United States came together, and within three short years restructured the entire economy in order to win the war and defeat fascism."
This is beyond the pale, even for Sanders. Equating a nonexistent climate crisis to World War II, in which more than 100 million people died, is pitiful.
As if comparing climate change to the deadliest war in human history was not enough, it only gets worse. "As president, Bernie Sanders will boldly embrace the moral imperative of addressing the climate crisis and act immediately to mobilize millions of people across the country in support of the Green New Deal. From the Oval Office to the streets, Bernie will generate the political will necessary for a wholesale transformation of our society," the plan states.
Yikes — what does a "wholesale transformation of our society" even mean? It sure seems as if Sanders is attempting to use the so-called climate crisis as a golden opportunity to implement his reckless socialistic agenda.
However, here is the good news: most Americans are not drinking the "climate crisis Kool-Aid." In fact, according to Gallup, polls show that voters rank climate change as one of the least important issues.
Even more telling, Republicans and Democrats don't rank climate change near the list of top priorities for the country, according to the Pew Research Center.
The bottom line is that Sanders, and much of the Left, has declared climate change the new "existential threat" of our time. Then leftists claim we must spend trillions (16 trillion over the next decade, at least) in socialistic programs, to prevent the destruction of the planet. This is a total farce.
Shortly after Obama's spending spree to "solve" the Great Recession, an organic movement on the Right coalesced to counter the Left's big spending, big government agenda. By 2010, the Tea Party Movement burst onto the American political scene and shifted the U.S. political discourse back to sound fiscal policies, adherence to the Constitution, and individual freedom.
As they say, history tends to repeat itself. Over the decades, the Left has often gone too far in its quest for more centralized, top-down control. In the 2020 election, their attempt is predicated on a non-existent climate crisis.
However, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. In 2020, voters will have the opportunity to reject the Left's ruse that socialistic policies will somehow solve a non-existent climate crisis.
The 2020 election very well could result in a case of political déjà vu. The Tea Party 2.0.
Chris Talgo (firstname.lastname@example.org) is an editor at The Heartland Institute.