On Tuesday, the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) will run a powerful ad against the Green New Deal during the fourth Democratic debate. The ad asks Americans, “Can you afford the Green New Deal?”
“You have a choice,” the ad begins. “Common-sense energy policies. Under forty dollars to fill a car. Low gas prices, easy to visit family, run errands, grow a business.”
“The other option?” the narrator continues. “Alarmism. Doomsday predictions from politicians. A so-called Green New Deal. The truth is: Skyrocketing gas prices and electric bills; the economy, strangled; government in every part of life.”
As the narrator describes this situation, the screen flashes with images of gas sold at high prices and the American Action Forum’s estimate for the cost of the Green New Deal as proposed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.): a whopping $93 trillion.
“When you hear about the Green New Deal, ask yourself: Can you afford it?”
This is an excellent question, although if the ad were longer, CEI could have driven the point home a bit stronger.
Taxing the rich would not even come close to footing the bill for these programs, according to a Heritage Foundation study. Even assuming the economy would keep humming along and workers would still work with their wages confiscated, a 100 percent income tax on all incomes above $200,000 and a confiscation of all corporate profits would still fall $13.2 trillion short of paying for the low estimate of the Green New Deal and Medicare for All. That number is based on the $48 trillion (close to the PJ Media analysis of $49.109 trillion over ten years) low-end estimate. This fanciful number is still $57.8 trillion short of the American Action Forum estimate.
These costs seem abstract and many Americans’ eyes may glaze over when hearing about trillions of dollars and ballooning federal deficits. A CEI/Power the Future study made the cost more concrete: It found that the Green New Deal would cost the average American family $250,000 in the first five years.
It is impossible to predict everything that would change under a totalitarian alarmist policy like the Green New Deal. Such a policy would likely bring whole industries to an effective standstill, and even Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff admitted that the policy “wasn’t originally a climate thing at all.” Rather, the radicals see it as “a how-do-you-change-the-entire-economy thing.” Change would likely be an understatement.
Decades of false predictions should undermine climate alarmists’ credibility and Americans’ fears that U.S. cities will be beneath the waves any time soon. (The Maldives were supposed to sink beneath the waves just last year.)
Even if climate change is a real threat, free-market reforms and human ingenuity are a far better path to combat it than government intrusion. Nuclear energy should be central to any such plan, and many alarmist Democrats can be dismissed as unserious because they reject it.
The CEI debate ad’s brief description of skyrocketing gas prices, a struggling economy, and government intrusion into many different aspects of life makes these costs concrete in just a few seconds.
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.