When I ran against Joe Neguse for the US House of Representatives, 2ndDistrict, I often wondered: Does Joe really believe his policy proposals? Or is this just pandering to be followed with a quick moonwalk?

Well, we are starting to get the answer. And it doesn’t look good.

Joe has just endorsed the “Green New Deal” proposal of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the self-proclaimed democratic socialist.

This is an extraordinary proposal.

It calls for the creation of a House committee to draft “a detailed national, industrial, economic mobilization plan (…the ‘Plan’) for the transition of the United States economy to become carbon neutral.”

This is top-down, economic planning on steroids. When has that ever failed?

The committee must prepare legislation incorporating the Plan by no later than March 1, 2020.  Then the Plan must achieve its goals within 10 years.

And what are these goals? Here are some highlights:

  • 100% of national power generation from renewable sources…
  • Upgrading every residential and industrial building for state-of-the-art energy efficiency, comfort and safety…
  • Decarbonizing…manufacturing, agricultural…[and] transportation…
  • Making “green technology”…a major export…and bringing about a global Green New Deal.

Apparently, these are insufficiently ambitious goals on their own, so let’s include that the Green New Deal is “a historic opportunity to virtually eliminate poverty in the United States.”  We can do this through the simple expedients of “a job guarantee program to assure a living wage job to every person who wants one” (although we already have a massive shortage of skilled workers required by the Plan) and “basic income programs” (for, apparently, the people who don’t want the guaranteed jobs).

But why stop there? Those pesky health care problems? Well, throw in some simple “universal health care programs” and we can clean those right up. And don’t forget to “deeply involve national and local labor unions” so that, with prevailing wage laws, the cost can be maximized.

To call this proposal delusional is an insult to delusions.

We currently generate 17 percent of our electricity from renewables — including almost half from hydro, which is not exactly flavor of the month with the Friends of the Earth crowd. Getting to 100 percent would cost many trillions of dollars and would, due to the intermittency of solar and wind, be infeasible without energy storage, for which there is currently no viable technology.

There are about 137 million residential properties in America and a further 5.6 million commercial buildings. Every one of them? State of the art? Energy, safety andcomfort? Sure.

Since electricity generation is not the only source of CO2 emissions, let’s not forget to “decarbonize” all manufacturing, agriculture and transportation — not that we know how to do this 

The U.S. only accounts for 17 percent of the world’s CO2 emissions (down from 24 percent in 2007 – thank you, fracking!).  Therefore, we can’t save mankind by ourselves and the Green New Deal has to go global. I am sure that China (with about 80 percent more emissions than the U.S. even before consideration of the 259 gigawatts of coal-fired electricity plants under construction) and India (with 40 percent of our emissions and growing rapidly) would be happy to follow us.

And don’t leave out Pakistan, which made the daring commitment in the Paris Agreement to reduce its CO2 emissions once they have peaked.  (Yes, you read that correctly.) 

Of course, there is no mention of a price tag for the Plan, because that would break the unwritten rule of progressive politics (“Thou shall never talk about cost ”).  During the campaign, Joe Neguse promised Medicare-for-All, free college tuition, a $15 national minimum wage, and paid parental leave. He never once said how he would pay for any of this and his campaign website left us no wiser.  We were simply assured that a wealthy country like American can “afford it.” 

I mean, it’s not like we’re almost $22 trillion in debt, right? With growing budget deficits as far as the eye can see? (And, no Virginia, tax cuts are not even close to being the primary cause of these.)

But we have to give Joe credit for consistency. He intends to serve as he campaigned. With pure fantasy.

Roger Barris

Boulder

The author was the Libertarian Party candidate for the U.S. House from Colorado's 2nd Congressional District in the November 2018 general election.


 
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