16 trillion. If you’re a candidate for the 2020 Democratic nomination for president—and who isn’t—that’s the amount, in dollars, that the green energy program you propose should cost. Ballpark. Base figure. Give or take a trillion or so. This will put you squarely in line with your peers. It may seem like a lot of money to some folks, but you know the figure is low. Hell, we’re already 20-something trillion in debt, so what’s roughly doubling that figure going to do? And, you also know it doesn’t matter, no one seems to care anymore, anyway.
This is why Bernie Sanders recently released details of his version of a “Green New Deal,” which he claims will cost us a mere $16.3 trillion. Sanders’ plan declares climate change a national emergency, calls for the U.S. to eliminate fossil fuel use by 2050 in favor of solar, wind and geothermal power, and commits his country to fork over $200 billion to help poorer nations deal with climate change.
Sure, misers like Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren have plans overtly calling for spending only $1.7 trillion or $2 trillion over a period of years to combat climate change, but others, such as Alexandria Occasional-Cortex’s own—and original-- Green New Deal, may cost upwards of $93 trillion over a ten year period. Therefore, to be considered a moderate like Sanders, say your plan will cost around $16 trillion. (Even though you know it will cost double or triple that amount).
Bernie claims his plan will “pay for itself” over the course of just 15 years. Famous last words. He also avers that it will somehow create 20 million new jobs, an amazing assertion given that, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were just 6.7 million job openings and 6.4 million workers available to fill those openings in 2018. Sanders’ “plan” would in reality saddle the fossil fuel industry with onerous new fees and taxes, driving up the cost of energy, dramatically increasing the price of almost everything, and crashing the economy, resulting in millions of lost jobs as companies went under and people were forced to spend less. It is an impossibility for his plan to pay for itself. In truth, the fewer remaining job holders/income-tax payers would be forced to pay for Sanders’ plan, and all those in the fossil fuel industry who were necessarily displaced, and the entitlement benefits of everyone else who was rendered unemployed by the economic collapse.
But they could only pay for a portion of the plan. A new Heritage Foundation study found that, even if those with annual incomes above $200,000 were taxed at a rate of 100% and all corporate profits were summarily seized, the revenue generated in this way would still be $13.2 trillion shy of the amount required to fund the lowest estimate for Medicare for All and the Green New deal.
David Burton, Heritage’s senior fellow in economic policy, recently wrote of the study results: “It is arithmetically impossible to pay for progressive promises by ‘taxing the rich.’ Progressive promises are too expensive—and the amount of income earned by the rich is too small. Even using lower cost estimates, confiscating every dollar earned by every taxpayer with incomes of $200,000 or more would only pay for about half of the progressive agenda.” But, of course, if every dollar of those making $200,000 a year or more were taken away from them, and if every dollar of profit was confiscated from businesses, no “wealthy” people would work…and there would be no businesses. So, there would be no wealthy from whom to take money, nor businesses whose profits government could confiscate. And those who’d formerly held lucrative jobs-- and run successful businesses-- would now be eligible to collect benefits themselves. The result of these plans would be an apocalyptic economic disaster, one that would throw the entire planet into chaos, depression and despair.