It was only a few weeks ago when Democrat New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez introduced her highly aspirational “Green New Deal” policy proposal, a sort of grab bag of leftist ideals in the areas of environmentalism and social justice.
Though the expansive, yet disturbingly vague proposal was met with incredible mockery, a group of researchers took it as seriously as they could to try and estimate just some of the costs involved, and those costs were nothing short of astronomical and all but economically impossible to achieve.
More than $94 trillion over ten years
Researchers with the American Action Forum, a center-right nonprofit organization focused on economic and fiscal policy issues, set about attempting to deduce the scope, scale and implications of the Green New Deal, largely in an effort to estimate the total costs of the plan.
The vagueness of the proposal itself resulted in the researchers being forced to make assumptions based on other assumptions and estimates, meaning that the assessments provided are necessarily incomplete and admittedly on the low end, as actual costs would likely prove much higher once details of the proposal emerge with greater specificity.
Nevertheless, despite those caveats, but with ample quotations from the proposal itself and citations of prior studies, the AAF determined that the Green New Deal would likely cost upwards of $94.4 trillion over the next ten years. Broken down to the individual taxpayer level, that figure represents an estimated cost per household of more than $650,000 over the same time span.
“Clearly very expensive”
Unavoidable methodological shortcomings aside, the researchers analyzed the proposal and broke it down into six main goals — the transition to a carbon-free electricity grid, replacing most air travel with high-speed rail, guaranteed union jobs with all sorts of economic benefits and security, universal health care, guaranteed affordable housing, and finally, food security for all Americans.
There is quite a bit of overlap, redundancy and even contradictions in those aspirational goals, but given the support the proposal has received from a number of prominent Democrats — including several prime 2020 candidates — such concerns were set aside or factored in, as necessary, and costs were estimated where possible, even as it was duly noted that actual costs would almost certainly exceed the estimates.
In the end, the study concluded, “The Green New Deal is clearly very expensive. Its further expansion of the federal government’s role in some of the most basic decisions of daily life, however, would likely have a more lasting and damaging impact than its enormous price tag.”
“Bankrupt the nation”
The Washington Free Beacon reported that Republican Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso — chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, which would be at the forefront of transforming the plan into reality — said, “The American Action Forum’s analysis shows that the Green New Deal would bankrupt the nation.”
“On the upper end, every American household would have to pay $65,000 per year to foot the bill. The total price tag would be $93 trillion over 10 years. That is roughly four times the value of all Fortune 500 companies combined. That’s no deal,” the senator continued.
“Instead, we should promote innovation to reduce carbon dioxide emissions,” he added. “Promising new technologies like advanced nuclear power, carbon capture, and carbon utilization hold the key to significant emissions reductions. We can lower our emissions without crashing our economy.”
The pie-in-the-sky Green New Deal would be prohibitively expensive to implement — not even considering the massive societal disruptions it would entail — and is nothing short of a massive government takeover over nearly all major aspects of life, from how and where we live, to how we are permitted to travel, even to what we eat … and should be fervently opposed for all of those reasons and then some.