It’s becoming increasingly clear the path to a clean, healthy environment isn’t socialism.
The “Green New Deal” — introduced as a non-binding resolution by socialist darling Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Senator Ed Markey (D-MA)— isn’t being met with great enthusiasm as initially believed.
The “Green New Deal” wants to ensure our economy cuts its dependence on traditional energy sources by switching to 100% renewable energy by 2030. It also calls on guaranteeing “full employment and generate up to 20 million new, living-wage jobs.” In an ode to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR)’s New Deal, the plan calls for “massive mobilization of our communities, government and the people on the scale of World War II – to transition our energy system and economy to 100% clean, renewable energy by 2030, including a complete phase out of fossil fuels, fracked gas and nuclear power.”
Jim Geraghty noted in National Review that the “Green New Deal” would wipe out 88 percent of the economy in its goal to go 100% renewable within 10-11 years. As Geraghty noted, natural gas (32% of America’s energy), nuclear power (10% of America’s energy), coal (18% of America’s energy), and liquid natural gas and oil ((LNG) 28% of America’s energy) would be gone. All of these energy sources are produced in a cleaner fashion today and have propelled us to energy independence.
Jonah Goldberg aptly described this environmental plan, which does little to actually bolster the environment, as the “Green Leap Forward” — a nod to Mao Zedong’s “Great Leap Forward” that killed nearly 50 million Chinese people last century.
In the text, it’s unclear who will pay the exorbitant costs for this wayward plan. It can be assumed that the “tippy top” wealth earners in the U.S. will pay at least 70% in taxes to foot the bill for this, despite obtaining it by “exploiting the masses” to become rich. How ironic.
In the FAQ sheet, which has been subjected to many revisions, the new “New Deal” parrots much of FDR’s Second Bill of Rights calling for guaranteed jobs, economic security for those unwilling or unable to work, healthy food, high-quality healthcare, and more.
Additionally, the “Green New Deal” calls for eliminating farting cows, upgrading all existing buildings here, building high-speed rail to kill air travel, and guaranteeing jobs with family-sustaining wages to every American. Yes, you read that right.
Lest “Green New Deal” supporters forget, the past New Deal prolonged the Great Depression by an average of seven years. I detailed this in a recent article here at the website.
Fact: FDR’s policies kept poor people in poverty:
New Deal taxes were major job destroyers during the 1930s, prolonging unemployment that averaged 17%. Higher business taxes meant that employers had less money for growth and jobs. Social Security excise taxes on payrolls made it more expensive for employers to hire people, which discouraged hiring.
Other New Deal programs destroyed jobs, too. For example, the National Industrial Recovery Act (1933) cut back production and forced wages above market levels, making it more expensive for employers to hire people – blacks alone were estimated to have lost some 500,000 jobs because of the National Industrial Recovery Act. The Agricultural Adjustment Act (1933) cut back farm production and devastated black tenant farmers who needed work. The National Labor Relations Act (1935) gave unions monopoly bargaining power in workplaces and led to violent strikes and compulsory unionization of mass production industries. Unions secured above-market wages, triggering big layoffs and helping to usher in the depression of 1938.
What about the good supposedly done by New Deal spending programs? These didn’t increase the number of jobs in the economy, because the money spent on New Deal projects came from taxpayers who consequently had less money to spend on food, coats, cars, books and other things that would have stimulated the economy. This is a classic case of the seen versus the unseen — we can see the jobs created by New Deal spending, but we cannot see jobs destroyed by New Deal taxing.
I also listed a 2004 study by UCLA economists Harold L. Cole and Lee E. Ohanian which found that FDR’s policies — including high taxation — prolonged the Depression:
“Why the Great Depression lasted so long has always been a great mystery, and because we never really knew the reason, we have always worried whether we would have another 10- to 15-year economic slump,” said Ohanian*, vice chair of UCLA’s Department of Economics. “We found that a relapse isn’t likely unless lawmakers gum up a recovery with ill-conceived stimulus policies.”*
“President Roosevelt believed that excessive competition was responsible for the Depression by reducing prices and wages, and by extension reducing employment and demand for goods and services,”said Cole, also a UCLA professor of economics. “So he came up with a recovery package that would be unimaginable today, allowing businesses in every industry to collude without the threat of antitrust prosecution and workers to demand salaries about 25 percent above where they ought to have been, given market forces. The economy was poised for a beautiful recovery, but that recovery was stalled by these misguided policies.”
“High wages and high prices in an economic slump run contrary to everything we know about market forces in economic downturns,” Ohanian said. “As we’ve seen in the past several years, salaries and prices fall when unemployment is high. By artificially inflating both, the New Deal policies short-circuited the market’s self-correcting forces*.”*
Keen observers are right to note that radical environmental policies are green on the outside, yet red on the inside. Some call this “red baiting” but it isn’t so far-fetched.
Previous attempts at central planning, including socialist environmental policies, not only had a serious toll on the population but also resulted in many environmental disasters. I’ll use the case study of environmental problems in the Soviet Union to highlight this.
In September 1990, the now-defunct (and Ralph Nader-founded) Multinational Monitor noted how prevalent pollution was in drinking water and air quality:
40% of the Soviet people live in areas where air pollutants are three to four times the maximum allowable levels. Sanitation is primitive. Where it exists, for example in Moscow, it doesn’t work properly. Half of all industrial waste water in the capital city goes untreated. In Leningrad, nearly half of the children have intestinal disorders caused by drinking contaminated water from what was once Europe’s most pristine supply.
Going off of a Soviet case study on central-planning’s toll on the environment, a 1996 Russia country study published by the Library of Congress’ Federal Research Division broke down more alarming inconvenient facts about centrally-planned policies a la the environment.
It noted its “air still rates among the most polluted in the world.”
The study also noted that “231 out of 292 cities exceeded maximum permissible concentrations (MPCs) for particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, or carbon monoxide” per Russia’s Hydrometeorological Service, which examines air quality.
Per a 1992 New York Times article, the Soviets also had a penchant for dumping waste—especially the nuclear variety— into the sea at the height of the USSR:
Of possibly greater concern [than the nuclear reactors disposed in the ocean] is the radioactive waste dumped at sea. Russian authorities told Dr. Charles Hollister [of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution] that 11,000 to 17,000 waste containers, holding 61,407 curies of radioactivity, were dumped off Novaya Zemlya from 1964 to 1990. In addition, 165,000 cubic meters of liquid waste were dumped in the Barents Sea west of Novaya Zemlaya from 1961 to 1990. For comparison, the Chernobyl accident released about 86,000,000 curies of radioactivity.
[In addition], Dr. Hollister reckons the amount of nuclear material within some of the [four Soviet submarines lost at sea] at seven times that in the ill-fated Chernobyl reactor.
A 1994 New York Times article noted that the pollution was so bad in then-Soviet Russia, sturgeon and its prized caviar were “pushed by pollution, corruption and greed to the edge of extinction.”
A November 2012 Guardian article notes that the Soviets stored nearly 250,000 tons of pesticides and farm chemicals in “ramshackle warehouses, land-filled or dumped” throughout Siberia and other places.
Lake Karchay in modern-day Russia was once considered the most polluted place on Earth.
Moreover, the Soviets had such a reverence of life—they killed upwards of at least 60 million of its citizens from 1917-1987.
Learning from the history of socialism’s failures—especially that on the environmental front—it can be argued the Green New Deal will bankrupt this country, demoralize our citizens, encourage poverty, result in lower quality of life, and do little to bolster the environment.
As conservatives, we are often lambasted for being silent on environmental issues. We often get accused of being willing participants in environmental disasters that befall our country. We are sick of being blamed for the misgivings of bad actors.
I understand where much of this hesitation to engage in environmentalism comes from. When people are told to give up meat, have fewer children, not go hunting or fishing, reduce their means, give up the majority of their income, and other acts of coercion in the name of the environment, of course there will be reluctance by conservatives and Republicans to engage in debate or believe in climate change theory.
Interestingly enough, POLITICO notes climate scientists and meteorologists are changing their tune by talking politics out of talks about climate change because they realize their tactics aren’t working. Here’s how their new tactics are described:
The new language taking root is meant to instill this sense of urgency about what is happening in ways to which everyday citizens can relate—without directly blaming it on human activity: The spring blossoms keep coming earlier; seasonal allergies are worsening and lasting longer; extreme heat is upending the kids’ summer camp schedule; crops are drying up or washing away at alarming rates.
The strategy is being increasingly employed in more conservative regions of the country, where climate doubt still runs deep—even if there are signs of cracks in the resistance thanks to the pummeling pattern of highly unusual and costly weather events.
The article also notes they want to tap into conservatives’ connection with nature since many of us hunt and fish—as excise taxes collected on guns, licenses, tackle fund an average of 60-80 percent of conservation funding in this country.
Some are asking for conservatives to come up with an alternative to the “Green New Deal” but fail to grasp this: We don’t need a comprehensive government -mandated plan to unleash an energy revolution. We don’t need carbon taxes or to phase out traditional energy sources. The government shouldn’t be awarding subsidies to solar, wind, or other energy sources (think Solyndra) if they cannot compete in the market. If people wish to use alternative energy sources to power their homes — a good example is Congressman Thomas Massie (R-KY), who is keen on pointing out environmental hypocrisy—they should do it on their own accord. All power to them.
The U.S. is emitting fewer emissions—especially since President Trump pulled us out of the Paris Accords. We pollute far less than our global competitors. Much of the advances in energy have been achieved BECAUSE of the free market.
As an angler and new hunter, my personal connection to nature and the environment compels me to promote true conservation. I don’t know anyone who wants dirty air, water, or environmental conditions. The fear-mongering associated with modern-day environmentalism will continue to turn people off—as it should.
What conservatives need, however, is to push a true conservation agenda that welcomes public-private partnerships, mixed sustainable public lands use, exploration of all viable energy resources, more hunting and fishing, habitat and wildlife management efforts, and private market-based solutions when government fails. We don’t need a plan in the form of a “comprehensive” bill. Much of the solutions we believe in and that work are already in place; they just need to be enforced.
Let’s engage in debate and not promote half-baked environmental issues that mirror our competitors. Let’s make the moral case for free market environmentalism and true conservation efforts.