Opinion

OPINION: The Green New Deal Is A Government Takeover, Not An Environmental Policy

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Jason Isaac Texas Public Policy Foundation

When the Green New Deal comes to the floor of the Senate, its supporters won’t want to talk about it.

After the publication (and near-immediate deletion) of an FAQ page detailing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s lurid plans for “massive transformation of our society” through the Green New Deal, some supporters publicly distanced from the specifics; now the bill is being touted as a statement of principles, rather than what it really is — a roadmap for a near-total government takeover.

“The #GreenNewDeal is a positive vision,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted, “a roadmap—for our future.”

But as the environmentalist left is realizing, the devil is, in fact, in the details.

When I served in the Texas Legislature, my constituents expected me to be able to defend the bills I supported. I knew I’d be stopped at the grocery store and asked about those bills, so you better believe I knew what they contained.

I think it’s only fair Ocasio-Cortez should be expected to do the same.

But the fact is, the Green New Deal boils down to one question: Do you want the government telling you where to live, what kind of car to drive, and what job to take?

This $93 trillion pipe dream would have government dictate nearly every aspect of Americans’ lives, from health care, energy, and food consumption to transportation and housing. It’s a wolf in environmentally friendly sheep’s clothing, giving the federal government unprecedented control over our day-to-day lives—while doing little to improve our environment.

The Green New Deal plans to eliminate the abundant energy resources that are currently the only means to power America. The resolution would mandate a total nationwide switch to renewable energy — despite the fact that wind and solar produce less than 3 percent of our energy needs, even after billions in subsidies.

Blindly accepting the Green New Deal’s renewable narrative would spell disaster for our economy. Even if technology pushes renewable energy to its physical limits, the massive amount of land required for wind and solar farms, and the unreliability of the weather, render those energy resources unsuitable for powering a modern economy.

Imagine an America where our businesses, banks, hospitals, schools, and law enforcement can’t depend on electricity when and where they need it, because the wind doesn’t always blow and the sun doesn’t always shine. Imagine not being able to count on the luxuries we take for granted, like clean water coming out of the tap or keeping our homes warm in the winter.

But wait; there’s more.

The Green New Deal would also require literally every building in America to be renovated or torn down and rebuilt.

It would compel Americans to give up their cars and buy new electric ones, or walk or cycle to work. In many cases, this would require families to uproot their lives and move to a city center, whether they want to or not. So much for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Worse, the Green New Deal goes far beyond the scope of supposed environmental protection and promises to pay for food, college, health care, vacation time, retirement, housing, and even wages for people who are “unwilling to work” — with your tax dollars.

Such an unprecedented expansion of government power would carry a price tag of $65,000 per household per year, according to one estimate. It would surely be followed by astronomical tax increases, not to mention ballooning our already massive national debt.

The Green New Deal would destroy our economy and our individual liberties, with only insignificant contributions to global climate.

Instead of making energy expensive and scarce, America should pursue balanced policies that put humanity first. Access to abundant, reliable, and affordable electricity is the dividing line between prosperity and poverty worldwide. A responsible energy agenda will not vilify economic growth, but rather promote American energy and environmental technology, which has helped our nation flourish while reducing pollution so much that we have the safest air in the world.

America should embrace its role as a leading producer of oil, natural gas, and coal — the only energy resources reliable enough to power prosperity the world over. The United States has enough supply to fulfill our own needs and help lift billions around the world out of poverty. Congress should eliminate barriers to exportation, streamline regulations, and require global allies and competitors to meet American environmental standards — the most effective way to loosen the grip of hostile nations and level the playing field.

The Green New Deal is neither green, nor new, nor a deal. Congress should reject it once and for all, and prioritize American energy prosperity.

Jason Isaac is senior manager and distinguished fellow of Life:Powered, a project of the Texas Public Policy Foundation to inform the conversation about energy and energy policies that promote economic freedom and human flourishing. He previously served four terms in the Texas House of Representatives.


The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.