David Bruining

100% Green, 100% Mean

100% Green, 100% Mean

Image by Vox

Image by Vox

 The powerhouse of every economy; the backbone to every government model;  the sine qua non of necessities for life: energy. Behind every great nation is their ability to process, use, and reuse energy.  It has been nearly 50 years since the modern environmental movement has begun, and the U.S. has spent trillions of dollars attempting to address environmental threats.  Since 1970, the world has lost more than 48% of all tropical and subtropical forests and greenhouse gas emissions have nearly doubled.  There is an overtly prominent climate change epidemic, but sadly, many solutions just create more problems.  For the latter part of this 50 year period, the U.S. economy has shifted from an approximate trade balance (on a long-term basis) to a chronic trade deficit – with crippling debt.  The push for environmental regulation has come sharply, with proposals that are poorly compiled and unequivocally juxtapose our nation’s attempt to lower the deficit.  We do, in fact, need a ‘Green New Deal;’ however, we need one that is forward-thinking and forward-looking: where fiscal, economic, environmental, and industrial policies are integrated together to provide mutual support.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez recently proposed her solution, “The Green New Deal.” With the entirety of the Democratic Party backing this legislation, many Americans will blindly support it – along with the other half of Americans that will blindly oppose it.  The point is this: half of the U.S. believes that reusable energy can replace all other forms, and half of the U.S. believes that it cannot. The truth is, it can. But it will take an unreasonable and sickening amount of time and money. So let’s break it down and see what exactly will happen:

The Green New Deal is said to “tackle the twin crises of inequality and climate change.”  One would assume that this deal should better the quality of life for families, communities of color, and all alike.  To no one’s surprise, this deal leaves them out. The benefits are immediately counteracted by the policy’s effect on the economy.  Complying with environmental regulation – or any regulation for that matter – is often never likely to yield fruitful, positive financial returns.  The Huffington Post said “[America] must give up our obsession with trying to ‘pay for’ everything with new revenue or spending.”

As far as I’m concerned, finding funding is the most important job.  It is irresponsible simply to think that spontaneous spending will make middle-class Americans the beneficiary in any situation.  The means of incorporating a fully green economy do not justify the ends of getting one. For instance, new solar energy, according to a 2016 study by the Institute for Energy Research, is estimated to cost 5 times more than existing fossil fuel-powered electricity; wind power said to be a stunning 3.5 times more expensive.  California is at the precipitous of renewable energy – where electric bills are almost 40 percent higher than the national average, poverty rates are the highest in the nation, and families must devote a tenth of their income for home energy expenses. We can even look at European countries that showcase what the Green New Deal would look like.  According to Energy and Environment Legal Institute, electricity rates are costing families $400 per month in Germany–and the regulation is lower than what the U.S. version of the Green New Deal is calling for.  In France, green energy legislation is such a devastation, 8 million households cannot afford to pay the electric bill.  Is this the America that Democrats want? Rather than advocate for this extreme, policy makers should base environmental regulation goals that carefully balance the costs and the (hopeful) benefits.

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With just a 10 year timeframe, the Green New Deal plans to eliminate all fossil fuels and nuclear energy and to “meet 100 percent of national power demand.”  Currently, reusable energy accounts for 11% of the energy consumed in the U.S. Close to 0% of that is used for any type of transportation. Forcing America to go ‘green’ at this time is the ultime inhibitor of innovation, market opportunity, and wealth creation.  It has never truly been easy going green.  In the past, companies attempted and greatly succeeded in making improvements.  This lead them, and the world alike, to believe that future gains would be just as easy.  What most companies saw in the long-term was soaring compliance costs and little, illy-significant changes.  The optimistic tone that corporate voices and politicians use to reflect their desire to go green do not provide any serious discussion about gaining a competitive advantage from these environmental swings, and they surely do not address or emphasize any future possibilities of such.  We must be sensitive, and certainly cautious, when it comes to issues relating to energy costs.

The Green New Deal is one step closer to a Socialist America.  Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s plan extends much farther than how energy is produced.  It regulates how it is used on a personal basis.  A key section to this legislation is the addition of trucks and public transportation that carry food to homes and Americans to work.  That not only limits the infinite ways Americans can now use energy, but it limits their freedom all together. As America has seen from the recent government shutdown, the economy seems to do better without so much government interference.  

The idea that Americans would want this type of government reliance and blanent lack of freedom is beyond me.  With energy regulations, high tax rates, and complete control of the job market, large private businesses may not survive a generational transfer.  They will die with their owners, along with the jobs they once provided. The environmental ‘value’ of their products must now be compared against their financial value and social innovation.  Ironically, the poor and minority population – that the Green New Deal claims to ‘save’ – would be the hardest hit by this surge in energy ‘affordability.’ According to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, low-income households pay 7.2% of household income on energy costs.  When these households add into effect that 5-fold increase for solar energy and the 3.5-fold increase for wind energy, one household is now dishing out 61.2% of their income on energy alone! Not including the 70%+ tax rate on that same income to ensure that this generous deal is carried out nationwide.  Most of the choices we as a society must make in order to survive are far more complex and with far less empirical decision-making support. This seems like an easy decision for the American people to make.

This ‘Green New Deal’ is more like a ‘Green New Scam.’  It has its roots in Socialist behavior and a Socialist sponsor.  America should not follow in the footsteps of the European countries that have tried and failed.  We should set a out for a new path; one that not only benefits American society, but the world alike.  We do not need to endlessly throw money at new environmental opportunities that come our way. We need improved products and structured processes.  Traditionally, government regulations, especially on the environmental side, have focused on the imbalance between private and social costs. This deal redefines that, implying that private costs no longer matter.  And should they?  The government is right behind them with an all-you-can-eat buffet of subsidies and reimbursements (of which, building out the energy generating capacity alone would cost over $2 trillion).  These globally impactful problems can only be solved when business, government, and environmentalists bring forth legislation that has common sense compliance and alliance between all parties.  This will ensure the development of methods that measure environmental impact and assess the value created for shareholders.

If you believe that We The People deserve less power over the government, then this ‘deal’ is for you.  

If you benefit from crippling debt and widespread poverty, then this ‘deal’ is for you.

If you enjoy being told where to spend your money, then this ‘deal’ is for you.  

But to me, nothing about this is a ‘deal.’