Published in the San Diego Union Tribune
March 8, 2019
“America was founded on liberty and independence – not government coercion, domination, and control. We are born free, and we will stay free. Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country.”
That was President Trump’s declaration during his recent State of the Union address. The need for such an obvious statement would have been unfathomable a few years ago. Aside from Bernie Sanders, there were not many Members of Congress who would openly describe themselves or their policies as socialist in nature. Times have changed. The socialist label has become a badge of honor for today’s liberals and, apparently, a prerequisite for any Democrat who is considering a run for the White House. In this environment, President Trump’s declaration was necessary and, I believe, will go down as a defining moment of his presidency.
Case in point, the Green New Deal (GND), a proposal to radically transform our economy and impose expensive government mandates on the American people. This policy has inexplicably become the rallying cry of liberal Democrats. From hard-charging newly elected representatives to presidential hopefuls racing to raise money, liberal Democrats have gone all in on new legislative efforts that seek to eliminate all greenhouse gas emissions from every sector of the economy within 10 years. Under the GND plan, 100% of all power demands will be provided through clean and renewable energy sources.
While this sounds worthwhile, in reality, what would such an effort actually entail? All industries would be under the knife. From methane-producing cows, to cars and planes. From traditional fossil fuels to clean-burning liquid natural gas. Even nuclear power plants that produce tremendous amounts of reliable, CO2 free energy would not escape this overzealous mandate.
Every building will have to be upgraded or replaced (yes, replaced!) to achieve full compliance. Our transportation system would be totally overhauled by huge increases in electric vehicle production and air travel will be supplanted by a tremendous expansion of high-speed rail (insert California high-speed rail joke here.)
How do supporters of the GND propose to eliminate all these power sources and convince the private sector to support such an effort? Incentives? No, the GND approach is the same as any socialist endeavor—the government becomes the prime economic driver, creating massive bureaucratic regulation and taking draconian punitive actions against American citizens and private businesses that do not achieve the coordinated response and complete transition from fossil fuels.
What is the cost of the GND? Beginning estimates start at $6.6 trillion per year, but realistic expectations have the cost much higher. This coming from the same group who claimed a $5 billion investment into our border security was too much. Who is going to pay that cost? Working Americans, through higher taxes and expensive government mandates. Our choices – gone. Our desires – irrelevant. Our quality of life – inconsequential. The only thing required to put this plan into place, our pocketbooks and our silence. Well, they will get neither.
Before considering such a massive overhaul of our economy, we need to take a step back into reality. Right now, the U.S. is a world leader in reducing carbon dioxide emissions. To imply different is a disservice to the accomplishments we have achieved. We should always strive to be better stewards of our environment, to breathe clean air, to drink clean water, to preserve America’s natural resources for generations to come. The socialist left would have us believe that this objective is completely inconsistent with energy production, but they are wrong, these are not mutually exclusive goals. The federal government continues to make investments in green technology research and private companies, fueled by a free market and competition, are making great strides in manufacturing cleaner cars, safer buildings, and more efficient power plants.
GND advocates will argue they want a “democratic and participatory process,” that their proposal is only a House Resolution, without the force of law, an expression of Congress with which to start a dialogue and conversation. Any such conversation, however, must start with truth. The truth is America did not get where it is through top down government mandates that kill the innovative spark that fuels small business and defines the very nature of our energetic and expanding economy. America got to where it is through the ingenuity and tenacity of the American people, empowered by the freedoms enshrined in our constitution. The stark reality is that the massive economic overhaul that the GND requires would be a march towards socialism.
The Green New Deal is the old, tired Socialist Steal, a plan that has the government picking winners and losers. A plan that deserves to be rejected. A more productive conversation and dialogue is finding ways to encourage the private sector and free market in innovative energy science to do what it does best, invest in America.