Bernie Sanders has taken a bit of a tumble in recent polling, coming in third behind Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren. His campaign is clearly looking to regain momentum because on Thursday Sanders will release the details of his own “Green New Deal” which he claims will only cost $16.3 trillion.
That’s trillion with a ‘T’, not billion.
Mr. Sanders was an early supporter of the Green New Deal, an ambitious but nonbinding congressional plan for tackling global warming and economic inequality. He is bestowing that same name upon his new plan, which calls for the United States to eliminate fossil fuel use by 2050.
It declares climate change a national emergency; envisions building new solar, wind and geothermal power sources across the country; and commits $200 billion to help poor nations cope with climate change.
Sanders’ plan is significantly more costly than the plans proposed by his opponents. “Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. has called for spending $1.7 trillion over 10 years. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has a $2 trillion green manufacturing plan.” Still, it’s very likely that Sanders is underestimating the cost of his plan. Some studies put the cost of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal as high as $93 trillion over ten years.
It’s safe to say that Bernie is greatly underestimating the cost of his plan. Even if we assume his estimate is accurate, it’s a hefty price tag. Like everything else, Bernie Sanders wants us to believe that his plan will “pay for itself” over 15 years and create 20 million new jobs. That’s quite the prediction considering that according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2018 there were only 6.7 million job openings and only 6.4 million workers available to fill those jobs.
Sanders is proposing funding his plan with new fees and taxes on the fossil fuel industry. What Sanders doesn’t seem to understand is that this will drive up the cost of gas, which will increase the price of goods. No serious person can argue that this would be good for the economy. Barack Obama tried to make green energy more attractive by restricting drilling and investing in a green energy firm that donated to his campaign. That got us more than three years where the average cost of a gallon of gas was near $4 and a stagnant economy.
Does Bernie Sanders actually believe that his plan will succeed where others before him have failed, or is he just trying to win the support of the radical environmentalist wing of the Democratic Party to gain a few points in the polls?
Matt Margolis is the author of Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis