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State Democrat Says It’s a Waste of Time, Federalism Begs to Differ

A Republican state legislator pens resolution opposing the Green New Deal.

As we understand the principles that animate the United States, we see that the federal government has veered away from being the mere custodian of state power meant to preserve unity and facilitate certain mutual functions.  It has sapped the power from states to the point where states are reliant on the federal government.  It has imposed regulatory regimes that stifle innovation and state sovereignty.

The Green New Deal is perhaps the largest expansion in the size of the federal government in US history.  Should it pass (it won’t), it would alter everything we know about life in America and place the various states in a serious bind.  Formerly sovereign states would be reduced to administrative districts and lines on a map. The federal government’s role in the minutia of life would increase to the point where they regulate your toilet paper choices. 

What then is the appropriate role of the states in this Lime Fresh Bargain?

The chief guarantor of federalism is supposed to be the 10th amendment.  In America, federalism is this idea that local, state, and federal authorities all have different roles to play.  The 10th amendment solidifies the belief that the federal government possesses only the powers granted to it by the constitution.  Any power, not delegated or enumerated, is left to the states or to the people of the states.

But the 10th amendment has been forgotten.  Ease, practicality, and now socialism have moved us toward a centralized system.  The Lime Fresh Bargain is perfect example of how this central government is going too far.  

Addressing it requires congressional self-restraint, a judicial kibosh, or the reassertion of state power.

To that end, a Michigan State Legislator has introduced a resolution that would express the state’s opposition to the Lime Fresh Bargain.

In an exchange between the legislator in question and a democrat, the democrat remarked that the resolution was a waste of time, implying that federal policy was of no concern to the State of Michigan.

According to a local radio station, “A Michigan State Representative from the Battle Creek area is fighting back against a federal plan to radically overhaul America’s stance on climate change and numerous other issues.”

WBCK adds, “Of his the plan, [Representative] Matt Hall says This plan would be devastating to the automotive and manufacturing economies Michigan depends on. Not only will this Green New Deal cost taxpayers as much as $93 trillion, it would also cost many of them their jobs.” His HR 41 lays out opposition to the Green New Deal as outlined in those federal resolutions, and encourages “our national leaders to pursue smarter evidence-based regulatory practices.” The resolution is now before the Michigan House for their consideration.”

The Michigan GOP obviously supported this measure. The text of the resolution can be found here.

I want to look at the substance of the resolution.

“A resolution to oppose the Green New Deal as outlined in U.S. House Resolution 109 and U.S. Senate Resolution 59 and encourage our national leaders to pursue smarter evidence-based regulatory practices.

            Whereas, U.S. House Resolution 109 and U.S. Senate Resolution 59 have been introduced in Congress recognizing the duty of the federal government to create a Green New Deal. The Green New Deal calls for an elimination of greenhouse gas emissions through public works projects and federal regulation. In addition to climate goals, the plan includes far reaching social promises that are contrary to traditional American principles by providing a basic income for able-bodied adults unwilling to work; and

            Whereas, The projects proposed in the Green New Deal would be extremely expensive. One analysis estimated the cost could be as high as $93 trillion over 10 years, which would lead to crippling new taxes and debt; and

            Whereas, Well established American industries would be harmed by excessive environmental regulation proposed in the Green New Deal. Our trucking, automobile, and agriculture industries would all be affected, putting countless jobs at risk; and 

            Whereas, The Green New Deal would stifle economic development and consumers will bear the burden. Rather than allow efficient market forces to put pressure on businesses to lower greenhouse gas emissions, business decisions will be based on the whims of federal regulation at the expense of consumer affordability and employee wages; and

            Whereas, Achieving the goals set out in the Green New Deal may not even be technologically feasible in the 10-year time-frame. There is no justification for the enormous economic harm this deal will cause especially if it cannot meet its stated goals; now, therefore, be it

            Resolved by the House of Representatives, That we oppose the Green New Deal as outlined in U.S. House Resolution 109 and U.S. Senate Resolution 59 and encourage our national leaders to pursue smarter evidence-based regulatory practices.”

Now, let’s look at some of the specific provisions in the Lime Fresh Bargain. I will try to keep this short. Here are some of the more outlandish provisions.

(1) it is the duty of the Federal Government to create a Green New Deal—

(A) to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions through a fair and just transition for all communities and workers;

(B) to create millions of good, high-wage jobs and ensure prosperity and economic security for all people of the United States;

(C) to invest in the infrastructure and industry of the United States to sustainably meet the challenges of the 21st century;

(D) to secure for all people of the United States for generations to come—

(i) clean air and water;

(ii) climate and community resiliency;

(iii) healthy food;

(iv) access to nature; and

(v) a sustainable environment; and

(B) repairing and upgrading the infrastructure in the United States, including—

(i) by eliminating pollution and greenhouse gas emissions as much as technologically feasible;

(ii) by guaranteeing universal access to clean water;

(iii) by reducing the risks posed by climate impacts; and

(iv) by ensuring that any infrastructure bill considered by Congress addresses climate change;

(C) meeting 100 percent of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources, including—

(i) by dramatically expanding and upgrading renewable power sources; and

(ii) by deploying new capacity;

(D) building or upgrading to energy-efficient, distributed, and “smart” power grids, and ensuring affordable access to electricity;

(E) upgrading all existing buildings in the United States and building new buildings to achieve maximum energy efficiency, water efficiency, safety, affordability, comfort, and durability, including through electrification;

(F) spurring massive growth in clean manufacturing in the United States and removing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from manufacturing and industry as much as is technologically feasible, including by expanding renewable energy manufacturing and investing in existing manufacturing and industry;

(H) overhauling transportation systems in the United States to remove pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector as much as is technologically feasible, including through investment in—

(i) zero-emission vehicle infrastructure and manufacturing;

(ii) clean, affordable, and accessible public transit; and

(iii) high-speed rail;

(3) a Green New Deal must be developed through transparent and inclusive consultation, collaboration, and partnership with frontline and vulnerable communities, labor unions, worker cooperatives, civil society groups, academia, and businesses; and

(B) ensuring that the Federal Government takes into account the complete environmental and social costs and impacts of emissions through—

(i) existing laws;

(ii) new policies and programs; and

(iii) ensuring that frontline and vulnerable communities shall not be adversely affected;

(C) providing resources, training, and high-quality education, including higher education, to all people of the United States, with a focus on frontline and vulnerable communities, so that all people of the United States may be full and equal participants in the Green New Deal mobilization;

(F) ensuring the use of democratic and participatory processes that are inclusive of and led by frontline and vulnerable communities and workers to plan, implement, and administer the Green New Deal mobilization at the local level;

(G) ensuring that the Green New Deal mobilization creates high-quality union jobs that pay prevailing wages, hires local workers, offers training and advancement opportunities, and guarantees wage and benefit parity for workers affected by the transition;

(H) guaranteeing a job with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations, and retirement security to all people of the United States;

(I) strengthening and protecting the right of all workers to organize, unionize, and collectively bargain free of coercion, intimidation, and harassment;

 (O) providing all people of the United States with—

(i) high-quality health care;

(ii) affordable, safe, and adequate housing;

(iii) economic security; and

(iv) clean water, clean air, healthy and affordable food, and access to nature.

Aren’t you glad you read all that?  What is interesting to me is that the resolution in opposition to this nonsense is not based on principle, but rather concern for practicality. While Representative Hall’s intentions may be right in opposing this, his resolution fails to oppose it for the right reason.  He offers one paean to our scheme of ordered liberty and the rest of it relies on an argument regarding cost, practicality, and reasonableness.

This is a wasted opportunity.  Suppose that all of the provisions in the Lime Fresh Bargain were practical, that they actually achieved what they were designed to.  Suppose that it cost us no money and actually improved the economy.  Would we still be opposed to it?

The answer should be yes.  That is why the controlling factor in supporting/opposing the Lime Fresh Bargain cannot be practicality.  It must always be constitutionality.  Even under the most expansive reading of the Commerce Clause, these provisions could not stand.

That must be our chief concern.  The Green New Deal dives straight into unconstitutional territory.

First, it assumes itself power that is not delegated or enumerated by the constitution.

Second, it surely violates the equal protection clause.

Third, it usurps state power under the 10th amendment.

Fourth, there are undoubtedly concerns relating to the 1st and 4th amendment, but that would deal more with enforcement.

Fifth, it may even implicate a concept known as “commandeering,” where supposed federal supremacy imposes certain requirements upon state agents.

All of those are rooted in the nature of our founding and the vision of the framers.  We ought not abandon those considerations in order to have the “practicality” conversation.  When you concede constitutionality in favor of addressing practicality, you are inviting coercion, force, and tyranny.

Everything is practical when the tyrant gets to define it.

——————————————————————————————————————–

For more information on the Green New Deal’s origins, check out these articles by Stacey Lennox…

And here is one from Marc Giller.

And one from Erick.

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