Ocasio-Cortez’s ‘Green New Deal’ Would Cost 8,000 Times as Much as Trump's Border Wall Request

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democratic congressional candidate from New York, waves during a rally, Friday, July 20, 2018, in Wichita, Kan. (Jaime Green/The Wichita Eagle via AP)

According to an eye-popping PJ Media analysis based on a new report from Power the Future, the “Green New Deal” proposed by democratic socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) would cost more than 8,000 times as much as President Donald Trump’s border wall.


The “Green New Deal” will cost approximately $49.109 trillion in the first ten years, enough to fund Trump’s border wall 8,616 times over. The president is requesting $5.7 billion for the wall.

PJ Media calculated the cost of the “Green New Deal” by integrating each of the cost aspects involved in a Power the Future analysis and calculating their cost for the U.S. over about ten years — and in one case through 2050.

According to Ocasio-Cortez, the “Green New Deal” will force America to transition to an economy run from 100 percent renewable energy. Christopher Clark, a physicist who has studied rapid deployments of renewable energy, told The Hill that building this kind of generating capacity would cost “at least $2 trillion.”

Ocasio-Cortez has also called for a smart power grid to replace the U.S. power grid, an estimated cost of $338 billion on the low end ($476 billion on the high end), according to the Electric Power Research Institute. This kind of transition may be a good idea in general, but it drives up the cost of the “Green New Deal” nonetheless.

The proposal would also call for decarbonization of U.S. industries — a massive task. According to a June 2018 study from McKinsey and Company, the cost to decarbonize steel, cement, ethylene, and ammonia manufacturing worldwide is between $11 trillion and $21 trillion through 2050. It remains unclear exactly how long this would take for U.S. markets, but calculating the U.S. percentage of each industry and applying that industry’s percentage of the global $11 trillion cost should provide a ballpark figure.


The U.S. produces roughly 5 percent of the world’s steel, 1.8 percent of the world’s cement, 18.6 percent of the world’s ethylene, and 6.3 percent of the world’s ammonia. The McKinsey study did not explicitly break down the exact cost of decarbonizing each separate industry, but cement roughly contributed 60 percent of the cost, with steel contributing roughly 25 percent, ammonia roughly 5 percent, and ethylene roughly 10 percent. Applying these numbers to the U.S. production yields $496.3 billion.

The “Green New Deal” would also include a federal jobs guarantee program. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) has a bill proposing this kind of system, and it would cost $543 billion in the first year, The Week reported. The cost would decrease over time, but in the first ten years it would still add up to $2.475 trillion. (This estimate only covered a wage lower than $15 per hour and health care benefits. Booker’s program also only covered 15 areas, not the entire country.)

The “Green New Deal” also includes a universal basic income (UBI). The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimated that a UBI program that gave every American $10,000 per year would cost more than $3 trillion annually, so roughly $30 trillion over the first ten years.

As with any Ocasio-Cortez plan, Americans cannot forget the cost of universal single-payer healthcare. Power the Future took a conservative estimate on the cost of such a massive plan. A 2017 University of Massachusetts-Amherst study found that the plan coming from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) would cost $1.38 trillion per year during the first 10 years, the Tampa Bay Times reported. That yields a total cost of $13.8 trillion.


To demonstrate just how conservative this estimate is, compare it to the finding of Mercatus scholar Charles Blahous, who calculated that Sanders’ single-payer health care bill would add approximately $32.6 trillion to the federal budget during the first ten years.

This extensive analysis did not include cost offsets or savings or the cost to capture greenhouse gases. Offsets and savings would likely drive the overall price tag down, but attempts to capture greenhouse gases would increase the cost still further.

In each step to calculate the cost, PJ Media followed Power the Future’s lead in taking the more conservative estimate, meaning the true price tag for the “Green New Deal” for the first ten years is likely far higher than $49.109 trillion.

These price calculations are far more than a scare tactic. One of the major problems with big government programs involving socialism and communism is that they derail the extensive value creation that drives a free market system. Democratic socialists like Ocasio-Cortez seem utterly blind to just how rich America and the world have become in the last 200 years thanks to the free market system.

For most of human history, poverty of the kind modern Americans can barely comprehend prevailed. Imagine a world without running water, without electricity, without refrigerators, microwaves, and air conditioning — not to mention internet connectivity and cheap entertainment like movies and television. Imagine a world without accessible dentistry, where men and women in their 20s and 30s lost teeth and where disease was far less understood. Historically high rates of infant mortality — common to most generations — are almost a foreign concept to modern Americans.


Radical big government alterations like the “Green New Deal” wouldn’t just cost a great deal — they carry the potential to undermine and perhaps reverse the engine of this impressive wealth creation.

Yet this radical proposal has already found support from many potential 2020 presidential candidates, such as Cory Booker, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Bernie Sanders. Even established Democrats like former Vice President Al Gore have supported the proposal.

Many Americans believe the climate alarmist message behind this proposal, but climate change predictions prove false again and again. Fearful of climate change from greenhouse gas emissions, “experts” warned that the Maldives Islands would sink below rising sea levels by September 26, 2018 — but they didn’t. Climate alarmist celebrity Bill Nye has insisted that greenhouse gas emissions are causing worse hurricanes, but a meteorologist corrected him.

Democrats show no sign of letting up on their radical proposals, and the 2020 presidential cycle is still in its infancy. If presidential candidates champion the “Green New Deal,” they will have to explain the $49.109 trillion price tag — and no amount of 70 percent tax rates on the super-rich can foot that bill.

Correction: This article has been corrected in order to more accurately capture the cost of the “Green New Deal” over time. The original version reported that the “Green New Deal” would cost $18.26 trillion annually (the Power the Future report originally estimated $18.26 trillion overall). The previous version also misapplied the McKinsey study, using the $11 trillion global figure over 35 years as if it were a U.S. annual figure.


Perhaps ironically, the second accounting yielded a much higher price tag. The original version of the article also compared the “Green New Deal” cost to the annual GDP of various countries.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.


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