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Opinion: The Green New Deal Would Cost a Lot of Green

I usually avoid discussing federal issues in reports. Partly because I serve at the state level, and partly because we have a good federal delegation representing us and protecting our interests in Washington, D.C. For this report, however, I am making an exception and writing about an issue that has a lot of us scratching our heads and wondering if some politicians in D.C. live in the real world.

Over the past few months, it’s more than likely you’ve heard a little something about what its proponents call the “Green New Deal.” It’s a socialist’s dream, a top-down, government-forced wealth transfer with the goal of remaking American energy use in the eyes of its environmentalist advocates. It is nothing short of wholesale restructuring of every aspect of society and people’s lives.

First, the plan would require every new building constructed and every existing structure, including homes and businesses, to be retrofitted to meet strict new energy requirements. This is as unrealistic as it is expensive. An economist recently estimated that to retrofit all buildings, alone, would cost about $1.7 trillion a year, or every dime of annual federal income tax revenue. Income tax revenue makes up almost 50 percent of revenue already, so just one part would cost about half of the money coming into the treasury. The “Green New Deal” is not off to a good start.

Next, the proposal calls for the elimination of all internal-combustion engine vehicles. Chances are, the car or truck in your driveway has an internal-combustion engine, so wave goodbye to it and get ready to drive an all-electric vehicle. Never mind that most can’t travel farther than 100 miles on a charge, or that there are few, if any, charging stations in all the 29th Senatorial District; the government said to do it, so you better buck up and do what you’re told. Maybe you are thinking, “well, I can’t drive anywhere for vacation anymore, but at least I can still fly there.” Think again. The plan also wants to replace airplanes with zero-emission, high-speed trains. Good luck getting to Hawaii.

If you are worried that you may lose your job because it’s connected to one of the industries targeted by the “Green New Deal,” don’t worry. The government is going to give everyone a job retrofitting all the country’s buildings, building high-speed trains or taking arable farmland to put up the wind turbines and solar panels needed to replace all traditional energy sources. If you don’t want to work, that’s no problem either. Your friends in the federal government are going to give everyone a universal basic income whether they work or not. That sounds like it will encourage hard work and initiative. Okay, so you went to your government-provided job that doesn’t pay very well because the country is broke, you drove home in your small, electric car to your house that is dark because of one of the rolling blackouts because we aren’t producing enough energy. But, at least you can have a tasty hamburger or steak for dinner. Hold up a second. The “Green New Deal” blames the flatulence of cattle for global warming, so you are going to have to eat a veggie burger or tofu steak instead.

There isn’t enough room to include every ridiculous, half-baked idea from the “Green New Deal” in this report, but here is a quick rundown of the rest: it would extend government-run health care to all, make college free, forgive student and mortgage debt, nationalize the utility and banking industries and end enforcement of most immigration laws.

So, what’s the price tag for this pie-in-sky, utopian society? It’s just a paltry $93 trillion! That’s $10 trillion more than the combined GDP of every nation on earth and would exceed the total spending of the U.S. government since the Constitution was ratified in 1789. To fund this socialist dream world, every American family would have to pay $65,000 annually, or more than most households in Missouri make in a year. If you ever thought that the Soviet Union, when it existed, looked like a great place to live, work and raise a family, or that Venezuela’s problems could be our problems, the “Green New Deal” can make it happen.

The problem with the “Green New Deal” isn’t just that it is unrealistic, ridiculous and embarrassing, it’s that it’s been tried before and failed miserably. It wouldn’t create the socialist utopia espoused by its sponsors. It would put us all under the thumb of a government big enough to tell us where to work, to take away our cars and trucks, and even to tell us what to eat. The “Green New Deal” would cost a lot of green, yes, and our freedom and way of life.