When Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez co-sponsored the Green New Deal in 2019, most people ridiculed the plan as the ravings of a misguided millennial. The measures seemed outlandish in the face of an economy built on fossil fuels, unlimited travel, and global abundance. Many dismissed her notions as political fantasy.
However, such outlandish proposals have a role in history. The celebrated Catholic thinker Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira notes that the left uses programs like the Green New Deal to advance its agendas. It promotes extreme radicals that often fail in their goals in the short term. However, he writes that “The explosion of these extremisms raise a standard and create a fixed target whose very radicalism fascinates the moderates, who slowly advance toward it.”
Thus, the American left has used its radicals to plant an eco-standard far ahead of where society is willing to go. The Green New Deal played this role by shocking the complacent and moderate sectors of public opinion. In the short term, the impact led many to reject its outlandish proposals immediately. The term Green New Deal became so toxic that even Democrats avoided its use. However, the mesmerized center has gradually moved toward this fixed standard of extremism and accepted many of its basic tenets.
“Moderate” Democrats like Joe Biden ran on a platform that denied support for the Green New Deal. He deemed it too radical and proposed lesser measures to attract voters. The left uses this strategy when it perceives its proposals are not popular. This ploy reveals the weakness of the left that must always hide its true intentions from the public.
However, now safely in office, President Biden has embraced the ideal in all but name. He still does not call it the Green New Deal, but he proposes plans almost identical in scope and content.
Indeed, The Wall Street Journal claims that the president’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan “contains enough spending and industrial planning that it amounts to the Green New Deal in disguise.” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez approved the bait and switch by saying of the plan that “ultimately, the framework I think has been adopted.”
The infrastructure plan is marketed as a shovel-ready federal investment that will upgrade roads, bridges, water pipes, and ports. However, only a tiny percentage of the budget will go for these improvements. More than half of the President’s plan will focus on reducing carbon footprints by eliminating fossil fuels, promoting green subsidies and tightening regulations.
It is all about government intervention into the economy and ecology. Features of the plan sync with the Green New Deal if not in letter, certainly in spirit.
There is $213 billion dedicated to building and retrofitting 2 million energy-efficient buildings. In addition, an Energy Efficiency and Clean Electricity Standard will force utilities to phase out fossil fuels like coal and natural gas that now supply half of all electricity production. In tandem with these rigid standards, the plan will extend non-rigid renewable investment and production tax credits for ten years to give renewables advantages over traditional energy generation. The goal is to make America carbon-free by 2035.
Government intervention, subsidies, and rebates will force the dominance of electric vehicles in the market. The Biden plan will spend $174 billion to increase such car sales. Government agencies will be encouraged to go all-electric. The project also calls for the building of 500,000 charging stations across the nation.
Mr. Biden realizes that this plan is not market-friendly since its subsidies will never result in a level playing field. Thus, he freely distributes tens of billions of dollars to favor eco-friendly research and development outside the market boxes. Some $52 billion will go to domestic manufacturing. The National Science Foundation will get $50 billion, and $35 billion is destined for special green project research.
There is something for everyone in the “infrastructure” bill as it will aid the medical system, senior care, and child care services. All this will be provided at taxpayer expense and higher corporate taxes.
No problem. The president claims the plan will create millions of good jobs. However, it will also destroy millions of other jobs by closing down fossil fuel and other carbon-using industries crucial to the nation’s industrial base. Biden implicitly recognizes the significant damage by including a $40 billion Dislocated Workers Program and other re-employment programs to minimize the damage.
The infrastructure bill has little to do with infrastructure. It has everything to do with building a socialist superstructure over America. This hellish framework will destroy free markets, stifle initiative, and bankrupt the nation.
The Green New Deal under any name is toxic. It must be exposed for what it is and rejected.
John Horvat II is a scholar, researcher, educator, international speaker, and author of the book "Return to Order: From a Frenzied Economy to an Organic Christian Society--Where We've Been, How We Got Here, and Where We Need to Go." He lives in Spring Grove, Pennsylvania, where he is the vice president of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property.