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Thursday
Feb142019

The Green New Deal is a Good Deal

There is a lot of controversy about the Green New Deal proposed by Senator Edward Markey and Representative Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez. Is it the only answer for our country and perhaps our planet? Is it socialism in disguise? Is it affordable?

First of all, the Green New Deal is a nonbinding resolution in both houses of congress, so it is not a bill that commits anyone to anything. It is aspirational: a vision for the direction the country should take if we want to reduce greenhouse gases, rebuild our infrastructure in a way that doesn’t produce more environmental degradation, and solve several of the problems our economy has created for those with limited means. It is both Green, in the sense of aiming to stem global warming, and a New Deal, in proposing to use government interventions to solve problems associated with healthcare, housing, education and infrastructure that plague many citizens of our country, particularly those with lower incomes. 

The Green New Deal asks for a ten-year “national Green New Deal mobilization” to achieve its goals and projects. That’s where the “by 2030” wording has come in when the resolution is analyzed by critics, although such a phrase does not occur in the actual proposal. Some of its goals are phrased in terms that imply total achievement, e.g., “meeting 100 percent of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable, zero-emissions energy sources.” Many goals are phrased more tentatively by employing the wording, “as much as is technologically feasible” or saying “working to ensure,” rather than “achieve” some of the goals. The Green New Deal is a blueprint for a direction to follow, not a mandate for accomplishments.

The resolution does mix some provisions into its goals that are favorites of the left, but not the right, such as creating “high quality union jobs” and protecting unionization and collective bargaining, or obtaining “the consent of indigenous people for all decisions that affect indigenous people and their traditional territories.” The latter reflects some of the issues that surfaced at Standing Rock Indian Reservation with the Dakota Access Pipeline. Healthcare for everyone, a sustainable income, and “retirement security” for everyone, and "providing resources, training, and high-quality education, including higher education, to all people of the United States,” which may or may not mean free higher education, depending upon one’s interpretation, are mainstream progressive goals. There is a paragraph that refers to "providing and leveraging, in a way that ensures that the public receives appropriate ownership stakes and returns on investment,” which many have interpreted as meaning increasing at least partial public ownership of industries involved in achieving the goals of the Deal, but could mean payback on government investments, such as Obama achieved with the auto and banking industries federal bailout loans.

The majority of the goals in the Green New Deal reflect what scientists and experts have said are necessary if we are to avert a climate disaster, and protect our most vulnerable citizens from the disasters that are already happening. They are not revolutionary in terms of ideas, but it would be revolutionary to actually try to achieve them by the time most climate scientists say we need to. Unfortunately, our political processes and our private industry, left to its own goals and priorities, have almost no chance of halting or even reducing the march of climate change unless goals such as those included in the Green New Deal are taken seriously and given shorter timelines. Government leadership is necessary for this to occur. The first step is to agree on the goals, which is what the Green New Deal tries to do. 

I hope that congress affirms the resolution.

Reader Comments (1)

I wholeheartedly agree with NGD and your comments. I believe, Amazon, Google, Apple, and Microsoft
and others should contribute and or pay back at least part of the Tax break that the Nation gave them to build their fortune. In fact, they should do it voluntarily, before the environment destroys what they have built. They should also be reminded that it was the Nations infrastructures they used to amass their wealth,/
.

February 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSam

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