Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) have released an overview for their "Green New Deal" to save the environment.
Among other liberal wish-list items, the plan calls on the United States to "upgrade or replace every building in US for state-of-the-art energy efficiency" and admits that every "billionaire and company" could not pick up the price tag for such an endeavor.
What's in this plan?
The Green New Deal suggests making sweeping — and very pricey — changes to U.S. infrastructure. These include having the country "upgrade or replace every building in U.S. for state-of-the-art energy efficiency." The plan does not mention an estimate for the carbon footprint of such an endeavor.
As a separate bullet point from upgrading every building, the Green New Deal would "repair and upgrade U.S. infrastructure." The document states estimates that it will cost "$4.6 trillion at minimum."
But wait, there's more. The plan called for a massive overhaul of the U.S. transportation system.
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
In addition to phasing out all fossil fuels and airplanes, the deal would also get rid of nuclear power.
"It's unclear if we will be able to decommission every nuclear plant within 10 years," the plan states, "but the plan is to transition off of nuclear and all fossil fuels as soon as possible."
When it's not cleaning up the environment, the Green New Deal would also solve poverty by creating "millions of high-wage jobs and ensure prosperity and economic security for all." It would also provide "economic security for all who are unable or unwilling to work"
The biggest winners of the deal? Labor unions.
This deal would "create millions of family supporting-wage, union jobs" and would require "that all [Green New Deal] jobs are union jobs that pay prevailing wages and hire local."
But who would pay for this massive undertaking?
To their credit, Ocasio-Cortez and Markey admitted that their plan would be expensive:
The level of investment required is massive. Even if every billionaire and company came together and were willing to pour all the resources at their disposal into this investment, the aggregate value of the investments they could make would not be sufficient.
So if all the billionaires and companies can't afford this plan, where will the money come from? According to Thursday's release, it would come from credit extended by the Federal Reserve:
The Federal Reserve can extend credit to power these projects and investments and new public banks can be created to extend credit. There is also space for the government to take an equity stake in projects to get a return on investment. At the end of the day, this is an investment in our economy that should grow our wealth as a nation, so the question isn't how will we pay for it, but what will we do with our new shared prosperity.
What's the time frame?
These plans to dramatically overhaul U.S. infrastructure, transportation practices, and the economy would take place over a decade. According to the release, the U.S. must "get to 0 [carbon emissions] by 2030."
The plan admits:
The speed of investment required will be massive. Even if all the billionaires and companies could make the investments required, they would not be able to pull together a coordinated response in the narrow window of time required to jump-start major new projects and major new economic sectors.
Because of this, the government would have to step in and take control. The report says that "the level of investment required will need every actor to pitch in and ... the government is best placed to be the prime driver."
Even Pelosi seems skeptical of this deal
Despite the claim in the Ocasio-Cortez/Markey release that "92 percent of Democrats and 64 percent of Republicans support the Green New Deal," Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) seemed wary of openly supporting it.
On Thursday, Pelosi named eight Democratic members of Congress to the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, including three freshmen. Notably, Ocasio-Cortez was not one of those freshmen.
When Politico asked Pelosi whether or not the committee would be focusing on the Green New Deal, she dismissed the idea.
"It will be one of several or maybe many suggestions that we receive," she said. "The green dream or whatever they call it, nobody knows what it is, but they're for it, right?"
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