The reintroduction of the Green New Deal resolution in Congress is significant — and it tells us exactly where the Biden administration and congressional Democrats want to take the country. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the creator of the Green New Deal, has acknowledged as much: “The framework,” she says, “I think has been adopted.” What was once dismissed as the “green dream” by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is now deeply serious and deeply threatening.
The Green New Deal masquerades as a solution to the putative apocalypse of climate change. Unless drastic, painful measures are taken immediately, say its proponents, our planet is at risk. Yet upon inspection, it is clear that climate change is only an excuse to push a radical socialist agenda, and transform America into a country unrecognizable to our Founders.
The authors of the Green New Deal resolution offer a lot of aspiration and little detail. Although it is difficult to estimate the costs of its aspirations, what we can discern is so costly as to be ruinous. A 2019 estimate from the American Action Forum projects the 10-year total cost of the main provisions at over 90 trillion dollars. To put that into perspective, the entire pre-pandemic U.S. economy, the world’s largest, was worth less than one-quarter that size.
What in the Green New Deal could possibly cost this much? This is where you find out what it’s really about: The stupendous price tag isn’t from any environmental provisions. The “green dream” racks up its 90 trillion dollar bill through progressive wish-list items like universal health care and a guaranteed-jobs scheme.
If you’re interested in transforming America beyond recognition, while spending the next several generations into penury, this is one way to do it. The Green New Deal will definitely achieve that. If, however, you’re interested in American prosperity and innovation, while preserving our liberties and way of life, there’s a better way. We know, because we demonstrated it when we worked for President Trump.
Step one in seeing Americans flourish is rejecting the Green New Deal.
During our time in the Trump administration, we set forth an energy-and-environment vision that put the prosperity and security of Americans first. We also embraced American innovation and entrepreneurship in full as the best pathways to environmental improvement. We understood what the Green New Deal proponents don’t — that affordable and reliable energy is a cornerstone of a prosperous America.
That’s why we aggressively supported the biggest energy innovation of this century by expanding access to America’s tremendous shale oil and gas resources through hydraulic fracturing. A 2019 report from the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) found that the shale revolution had reduced gasoline and residential electricity prices by enough to save the average family of four $2,500 per year, with these savings benefiting lower- and middle-income households the most.
While America was innovating and improving, we greatly improved the global environmental outlook. From 2005 to 2018, the United States reduced total carbon emissions by more than any country in the world. The 2019 CEA report also found that, once adjusted for the size of the economy, U.S. emissions fell more than the European Union’s in percentage terms. Importantly, it also found that shale-driven reductions in emissions exceeded by far the projected reductions that would result from some of the largest environmental regulations proposed and implemented by then-President Obama and then-Vice President Biden.
We know what works. We’ve seen it work. Why would the Green New Deal and its advocates throw all that away?
Well, we know why: because there’s a bigger — and very different — agenda to their program.
Our own agenda is simple: American prosperity. That prosperity manifests itself, not in rhetoric, but in real lives lived in our own communities. When a working parent can afford to support a family, or when a young person feels free to build big dreams — that’s the promise of American abundance, unleashed and unimpeded, showing through. In the place of a Green New Deal vision of a future marred by scarcity and loss, there is the American vision of a future marked by endless possibility.
That’s the future that we built in the Trump administration — and it’s the future we continue to build at the America First Policy Institute. The Green New Deal resolution may direct the course of the Democratic establishment in D.C., from the White House to Capitol Hill, and there’s nothing we can do about that. It does not, and cannot, direct the course of the American future.
Our promise, and our charge, is to keep that future bright — and free.
• Brooke Rollins is President and Chief Executive Officer at the America First Policy Institute and previously served as an Assistant to the President and Director of the Domestic Policy Council under the Trump administration. Rick Perry is the Chairman of AFPI’s Center for Energy Independence and served as the 14th Secretary of Energy during the Trump administration.