Running Away from the Crazier Parts of the Green New Deal

Running Away from the Crazier Parts of the Green New Deal February 11, 2019

As virtually every declared Democratic candidate for president has pledged fealty to the Green New Deal, questions have arisen as to what it actually calls for.

When conservative TV host Tucker Carlson interviewed an advisor to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) about the proposal’s provision to given a guaranteed income to those “unwilling to work,” the advisor denied that it was in there.  He claimed that Carlson was referencing a false version of the document.  Some Democrats said that the parts of the document that were getting the most ridicule–including the professed desire to eliminate air travel and cow flatulence–were a hoax perpetuated by Republicans who were circulating a doctored document.  Later, though, the advisor and Ocasio-Cortez admitted that the document, a FAQ about the proposal, was real and did come from her office.  They said it was an early draft, not intended for release.

The official Congressional resolution, which over sixty Democrats have co-sponsored, is not nearly so specific.  But if the FAQ was prepared by advocates of the plan, that would suggest it reflects their thinking.  Besides, most of the Democratic candidates who announced their support for the Green New Deal were agreeing to the earlier version that had been released to the press, which was the cow-flatulance version.

Here are the statements in question from the FAQ, which you can read here [emphasis mine]:

“Guaranteeing. . . .Economic security for all who are unable or unwilling to work.”

“We set a goal to get to net-zero, rather than zero emissions, in 10 years because we aren’t sure that we’ll be able to fully get rid of farting cows and airplanes that fast, but we think we can ramp up renewable manufacturing and power production, retrofit every building in America, build the smart grid, overhaul transportation and agriculture, plant lots of trees and restore our ecosystem to get to net-zero.” [Yes, methane from cows is a big factor in putting carbon into the air, but is the desire to eliminate the beef and dairy industry?  To slaughter cattle on a mass-extinction scale?]

“Totally overhaul transportation by massively expanding electric vehicle manufacturing, build charging stations everywhere, build out highspeed rail at a scale where air travel stops becoming necessary, create affordable public transit available to all, with goal to replace every combustion-engine vehicle.

Here is the Congressional resolution version.  But it contains some eye-brow-raising provisions as well.  Here are a few:

2.C: “a 10-year-mobilization requiring “meeting 100 percent of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources”  [To eliminate all fossil fuel in 10 years was emphasized in the now withdrawn FAQs, but it is also a part of the Congressional resolution.]

2.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.”  [All existing buildings?  My shed out back?]

4.A: “providing and leveraging, in a way that ensures that the public receives appropriate ownership stakes and returns on investment, adequate capital (including through community grants, public banks, and other public financing), technical expertise, supporting policies, and other forms of assistance to communities, organizations, Federal, State, and local government agencies, and businesses working on the Green New Deal mobilization.” [A reference to state ownership; that is, socialism?]

4. N:  “ensuring a commercial environment where every businessperson is free from unfair competition and domination by domestic or international monopolies.”  [How would that be administered without cutting out the main mechanism of the free market?]

Read this discussion of the resolution, along with the originally accompanying but now-withdrawn Fact Sheet, which observes that the stated environmentalist goals can hardly be taken seriously, since the Green New Deal repudiates the one feasible approach to generating the quantity of clean energy that would be needed–namely, nuclear energy–and that the actual agenda seems to be restructuring the economy.

We have blogged about how the Green New Deal is unrealistic and how it would be prohibitively expensive.  But it will also be a hard-sell politically.  No wonder even some of its supporters are running away from what most voters would consider its crazier provisions and implications.


Photo by Senate Democrats [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons




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