Green New Deal And How It Was Successful And A Failure

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Imagine an economic policy that creates consistent economic growth while simultaneously making the world a cleaner and healthier place. Legislators have been exploring this idea for around fifty years, and public support for this agenda is growing by the day. Recently, a proposal for this idea, which has been named ‘The Green New Deal’, has been brought to the legislative government. The proposal is radical and will require substantial economic and legislative change, and for that reason, this proposal, and others like it, have little chance of being passed anytime soon. A Green New Deal (GND) is proven to be a piece of legislation that our planet needs and our economy needs to benefit from, but it needs to be implemented in a way that will have little startup cost, incentivize market cooperation with environmental regulations, and be reasonable enough to gain enough congressional support to even be passed.

The possibility of passing a GND is becoming more likely as public support continues to grow. Support from the left has had continued growth to the point where it’s nearly universally agreed upon among the democrats. In addition, suburban and urban areas show a strong majority in support for a GND while rural areas are surprisingly also increasing in support every year. Many rural demographics even show a majority of support for some kind of GND, as is discussed by Levi Van Sant, ‘Conservative forces and their media mouthpieces are working hard to discredit the Green New Deal as, among other things, an attack on individual freedoms promoted by big-city vegans. But while support for the Green New Deal is higher in urban and suburban areas (67 and 63 percent, respectively), a majority of likely rural voters (55 percent) also favor the idea.’ (Sant 64). Even republicans explore the idea with increasing interest every year, and the increasing presence of rural supporters (Commonly right-winged voters) could prove to be a powerful catalyst needed in swaying Republicans to rethink their old-fashioned views on climate change. Sant reiterates this idea, ‘A bold vision for rural America can build broader support for the Green New Deal and challenge the ascendance of right-wing populism.’ (Sant 64).

The GND being reviewed at the moment is far too radical in both the degree and volume of reform that it proposes. The biggest issue by far is that many proponents are trying to bundle things like universal healthcare and/or education with environmental reform. These issues are not related and have no place being packaged together. H. Boyd Brown is quoted explaining how this GND is radical and why it will never pass, ”The way this thing is written, no Republican can ever be in support of something like the Green New Deal. And to get something passed, you need a congressional majority and the president. We’re not going to have that if some of this far-fetched language is what the Democratic Party stands for,’ says H. Boyd Brown, who served on the Democratic National Committee during Obama’s second term and now works as a lobbyist in South Carolina for the solar industry. ‘I don’t think this needs to be a litmus test. It has good points in it, good goals in it. But at the end of the day, this shouldn’t be some sort of, ‘You’ve got to check this box to get the Democratic nomination.” (Neuhauser, ‘The Green New Deal and the Strength of Ambiguity’). Another testimonial from a republican senator pinpoints the failures of the current proposal, ‘Republicans support a common-sense approach to addressing climate change. We’re interested in solutions, not socialism. We must make American energy as clean as we can, as fast as we can, and we can do it without raising costs on the American public.’ (Sen. John Barrasso 19). What makes the proposal radical? Well, they are simply reaching too far. They’re going for the figurative, ‘Hail Mary’. To put it into perspective, the proposed GND that has been going through congress for the past year or so is a socioeconomic reformation on the same scale as the New Deal passed by president Roosevelt to stimulate the economy during the Great Depression. This GND is estimated by some to cost around $93 Trillion. That amount of money is beyond comprehension. If you think you even comprehend the size of the number, one trillion, think again. Look it up on YouTube, it’s inconceivable. Now multiply that incomprehensible number by 93. That doesn’t sound like an economically responsible plan. This expense is the result of unnecessary clauses in this deal, such as equality of outcome policies like universal monthly welfare checks for all citizens. Another example of an ignorantly expensive clause in this bill is ‘upgrading’ the infrastructure of every building in the country. Really? How is that even possible on a realistic budget or timeline? Most alternative deals that have been proposed aren’t very different from this one, and some are debatably worse. In fact, some are blatantly socialist and, in some respects, could be classified as implementations of communism. In summary, it’s all fiscally irresponsible and unbelievably radical to be taken seriously. It’s obvious that many proponents’ ideas for their GND aren’t developed seriously and are more of a campaign tool than any real plan or proposal that would realistically lead to beneficial change. The most difficult challenge these fallacies create is their unrealistic and illegitimate appearance to legislative voters. Bills with clauses and costs such as these will never pass Congress, and not just due to republican voters, but Democrats as well. It is far too high risk to be passed with confidence. This is all detrimental to the original purpose of a GND, which is to slow down and eventually eradicate our carbon footprint on our planet.

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A GND is a very possible reality with the current political climate, but it needs to be implemented sensibly and reasonably. As discussed earlier, the current strategy for passing a GND is unbelievably ineffective. It should be approached with a simple and straightforward strategy. Mathur summarizes the main issue the current GND platform creates, ‘While the list of goals proposed by proponents of the Green New Deal is long, a list of specific policies to achieve these goals is lacking.’ (Mathur 694). No universal healthcare/education bundled along with it, no equality of outcome unnecessarily involved, and a significantly lower estimated cost. The focus of a GND should be, first and foremost, lowering emissions, and this should be accomplished in a way that benefits the economy. There should not be an attempt to become zero-emissions or 100% safe energy at the flip of a switch. It is far too expensive for the country and far too intimidating to corporations and citizens alike, and let’s be honest, corporations are responsible for a lot of decisions made in congress. The focus should be on reforms such as carbon taxes, especially for manufacturing companies. This is a simple incentive for reducing emissions and bringing money to the federal government. If companies continue their emissions output and decide to pay the full tax instead, then raise the tax. Mathur advocates this approach to climate economics, ‘Economists have advocated that market-based instruments are more efficient than regulations or mandates as a means of addressing the social damages arising from polluting activities (e.g., Knittel, 2019; Phillips and Reilly, 2019; Morris, McKibbin, and Wilcoxen, 2015).’ (Mathur 696),

it’s simple, straightforward, and effective. A basic carbon tax is just an example of a reasonable GND clause. The only way to pass a GND is to make it as small and simple as possible. People, companies, and politicians alike fear a huge GND type of reform. It shouldn’t be a large piece of legislation. It should be a baseline or a starting point. It can still be powerful to immediately influence change, but it’s a somewhat timely process that must start small. Once people see the effectiveness of protecting the environment while also seeing the economic stimulation of something like this proposed, ‘Simple GND’, support will increase quickly and tremendously. At that point, legislation can continue to be added until eventually and hopefully, our country is zero-emission and 100% Self-sustaining clean energy with a booming economy.

There are many that advocate for the current proposal of a GND. Many believe we need substantial or even extreme changes right now. For example, a small clause in Howie Hawkins GND proposal states, ‘Our bottom line is that a ten-year, $27.5 trillion public investment in a Green Economy Reconstruction Program is needed to zero out greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 across all sectors of the economy: electric power, manufacturing, agriculture, transportation and buildings.’ (Hawkins 9). The way they see it, it’s too late to take it slow and it needs to happen immediately. It is reasonable to think this way, but the consensus in the scientific community is that there is still a lot of time before anything in the climate is irreversible or will result in some sort of mass extinction event. These advocates are likely influenced by fearmongering activists and radicals from the Green party. Others advocate the GND because they are in large support of universal healthcare/education and equality of outcome policy. This isn’t to say they don’t also care about environmental reform, but it’s clear the more economic reform (which could easily be called socialism) side of the GND is most important to them. To the socialist advocates of the proposed GND, socioeconomic issues are undeniably present in this country. That being said, the purpose of this paper isn’t to discuss our socio-economic climate, which is ironically the same reason why it has no place in a GND. That issue should be taken elsewhere and as is discussed earlier, it has no business being in the same bill as economically incentivized environmental conservation. As for those who fear a climate catastrophe in the near future, many others are also worried. Nevertheless, it is a consensus that the problem isn’t as dire as some believe it to be. Do more research and use diverse sources. Then rethink the panic of an impending global meltdown.

There is a myriad of challenges associated with GND legislation. Unfortunately, most of these challenges are created by the very proponents who would see it be implemented. Reform is certainly needed to protect our planet. The time of arguing about the existence of climate change or global warming is in the past. It’s supported time and time again in experiments, studies, and data analysis. This is the tragedy of poor effort, overreaching, and bandwagon support by those in office and those campaigning when it comes to a GND. These failures are the reason for an actual reform appearing more and more to be something of imagination. The hope for an effective GND lies on the shoulders of common sense as has been previously explained. Tragically, common sense is very lacking in this country, and even more so in the world of the corporate pawns who have the gall to call themselves politicians. Despite these obstacles, there is still a chance at redemption and triumph to continue improving this country and this world.

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