To understand what Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's "Green New Deal" would mean for the economy, just watch the video below.
Unsurprisingly, Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., sees things differently. Releasing her Green New Deal resolution on Thursday, Ocasio-Cortez pledged that her plan will be awesome. Promising to move America to 100 percent renewable energy usage over the next 10 years, the plan also calls for redeveloping every element of national energy, transport, and economic infrastructure. It promises high-paid jobs and a government-guaranteed job for every American. It pledges "economic security," even for those who are "unwilling" to work. It commits to high-quality healthcare and higher education, again, paid for by government.
Best of all, it says none of this will cost anything.
The resolution's FAQ document says the "Green New Deal is a massive investment program, not an expenditure. The question isn’t how will we pay for it, but what is the cost of inaction, and what will we do with our new shared prosperity created by the investments in the Green New Deal."
Hmm. The necessary calculation of what climate change inaction might mean for the U.S. economy is legitimate. But the idea that "new shared prosperity" will inevitably flow from this new deal is utterly absurd. It rests on the assumption, as the FAQ notes, that "investments in infrastructure create huge returns on investment. The interstate highway system returned more than $6 in economic productivity for every $1 it cost."
Sorry, congresswoman, but not all infrastructure programs are born equal. Productive infrastructure programs are so because they facilitate greater economic activity. Environmental infrastructure programs like what Ocasio-Cortez proposes? Their record is weak. Consider just one area: how green energy mandates drive up household energy bills.
Still, there is an opportunity for conservatives here. Thanks to the corporate tax cuts and deregulation efforts, the economy is booming, and those at the lowest ends of the economic ladder are finding unprecedented opportunity. Conservatives must speak to the moral narrative of these successes.
But when it comes to ideas such as the "Green New Deal," we must also demand attention to the realities of math and economic theory. Because the abundant evidence suggests that the "Green New Deal" would send America into a black hole of unproductive government spending, unaffordable and inefficient government programs, extortionate taxes, and excess debt.
Ocasio-Cortez says her plan is America's new moonshot. Wrong. It's a recipe for economic Armageddon.