February 11, 2019

Green New Deal vs Green New Deal, part 2
Cost, affordability and more

My first post comparing Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other Dems' version of a Green New Deal to the original US political version of that by the Green Party had gotten so many updates, I realized that it was time for a second post.

First, now that AOC has released her own Green New Deal document, it looks highly aspirational. No carbon tax or other sticks to go with carrots. No real estimate of costs. No carbon tariff to increase domestic political feasibility, plus, per the reality of climate change, to force the whole world on the same page. These are going to be questions that need to be answered, issues that need to be addressed. Carl Beijer notes this, in noting AOC's document does discuss "funding" with no talk about real costs. The Green Party has also weighed in, saying it has fossil fuel industry loopholes. And that photo reminds us where, within the political world, the idea first articulated in the US>

Michael Grunwald has another critique. That is that the manifesto is a laundry list grab back. Agreed! Prioritization is important. For example, were I president? Climate change and national healthcare would be the top priorities. A step below that would be a minimum wage hike. Other things fall yet lower.

As for the cost? Contra a Reason claim of $7 trillion, this Stanford study goes much lower, without specific final numbers. Among other things, it says that reduced electric generation costs would offset some of the construction and installation costs. I'm going to say $3 trillion over a time period until 2040 rather than 2030, and scrapping some localization issues of the Stanford study. Still pricey? Yes, but not THAT pricey. At $150 billion/year, less than half of DoD's budget. And, Reason also ignores technology improvements, as well as the possibility of nuclear being part of the renewables mix. The Green Party response to AOC, meanwhile, notes that cutting the defense budget by 50 percent would take care of things. The allegedly libertarian Reason, often a foreign policy imperialist squish, ignores that.

And, it is a squish. That includes, under a No True Scotsman pleading, the claim that capitalism does not almost inexorably lead to imperialism. Small-l libertarians are generally squishes on imperialism. The Libertarian Party is better ... though not perfect. The Koch Bros help fund a Latin American think tank growth project, which is OK with local think tanks that are OK with military-backed authoritarianism, including when it's connected to the US.

European Greens have done some calculations years ago and say 3 percent of GDP per year. In the US?

Showing that the wingnuts are running scared, the Washington Times has also weighed in. There's a fair amount of whataboutism in the piece. Let's just tackle a couple of them.

1. High-speed rail. It talks about the cost of this while ignoring the cost of airport runways, the higher cost of airports vs train stations, the cost of air traffic controllers and many other things.

2. Interstate Highway System? Ike got the money by declaring it the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways, as the 1956 act notes. Klein surely knows that and ignores it. The Green Party specifically notes we can cut defense spending by 50 percent. At the same time, speaking of, the Pentagon is repeatedly on the record as noting that climate change is an issue.

3. Apollo? This is silly. The rockets were already being built for the Defense Department at Mercury and Gemini stages. And, the capsule and lander were all contracted out to defense contractors. Apples and oranges.

4. World War II? Well, not silly, since many people have said we need the equivalent of a Manhattan Project funding level and mindset to tackle climate change. Manhattan Project? Refresh me again if that wasn't about national defense and national security.

That said, I'm seeing a trend here. Let's call this the National Defense Green New Deal. Problem solved! (We can also put former, post-abolishment, ICE workers to new use, eh?)


Update, Feb. 22: The New Republic, of all places, not a leftist outfit, now asks if some Dems (not necessarily AOC) are deliberately trying to steal Greens' thunder.


Smokey_the cat said...

Want a simple reason her deal won't work? Abandoned mines- the ground is sinking in western PA and other parts of the country. The idea of trees is absent here. Let me put it to you this way- Central Park has had a magnificent makeover in the last couple of years. They attract a lot of birds, etc. If she was in anyway serious about this- she would've got together with people who work in this park as a start. This plan will go nowhere- no explanation on how seniors will pay for it and like I said- the ground is sinking- if trees are falling in PA and Ohio how will they support windmills?

dbcgreentx said...

Thank you for the analysis and for the campaign picture of Dragonfly (Robin Laverne Wilson), who rocks in multiple dimensions.

No matter how many Republicans & media talking heads bring up the question of cost, remember that (a) the GND resolution offers no answers because it is just a Sense of Congress resolution, and (b) the most appropriate answer is that, according to the most reliable science, we can't afford not to undertake these measures.

Gadfly said...

Thanks, David. I wanted a pic of an actual Green, for obvious reasons. And, you're right otherwise. Beyond cutting the defense budget, cutting fossil fuel tax breaks would also help pay for this.