Remember the non-existent “death panels” politicians on the Right linked to the Affordable Care Act? Well, they’re doing it again.
Only, this time, they’re attacking the Green New Deal. It will ban planes. It will ban cars. It will ban cows, for crying out loud.
Of course, none of this is true. Here’s what you should know about the Green New Deal… and why it’s important. But first, let’s look at what it’s not.
There’s No Legislation Here
The Green New Deal (GND) is not a bill. It’s a resolution. A resolution is a non-binding statement that outlines a stance. It’s like Congress saying, “Here’s what we think America should do.”
In this case, the resolution outlines some lofty goals. But it doesn’t mandate anything. And it doesn’t even mention most of what Trump – and his allies on the Right – claim.
- It won’t outlaw cars… or fossil fuels.
- It doesn’t call for replacing planes with high-speed trains. (Your annual Thanksgiving pilgrimage is safe.)
- It doesn’t call for the elimination of the military.
- And it doesn’t ban cows. Or even “cow farts.”
So why the hysteria? Because the Right finds it easier to create a straw man and then pick it apart. You see, they’re completely out of touch on the issues.
A recent survey found almost 7 out of 10 Americans are either “somewhat” or “very” worried about climate change. And that’s the main issue the new resolution says we should face head on.
But it’s tough to agree on finding an alternative to fossil fuels when so much of your funding comes from these industries. So the Right has invented scary scenarios to attack.
Just as they did with the “death panels” that were never a part of the Affordable Care Act.
What the Green New Deal Actually Says
The GND is an outline. It sets goals its sponsors would like to achieve within the next ten years. Is it ambitious? Absolutely. Is it attainable? Possibly. If passed, is it mandatory? Not by a long shot.
Here are some of the GND’s goals…
- Universal health care and employment
- Access to higher education and decent housing for all Americans
- Clean air, clean water, and adequate food for every citizen
- Modernizing our power grid, repairing infrastructure, and making buildings safer and more efficient
- Working with farmers and industry to cut pollution and greenhouse gases “as much as technically feasible”
No wonder the Right has gone apoplectic over the GND. Decent housing? Clean water? An end to hunger and poverty? Does that really sound like socialist insanity?
It’s more like a great challenge. Kind of like some challenges we’ve faced before.
Echoing America’s Past Great Moments
The early days of World War II were dark ones for America. The Axis powers were sweeping across Europe, North Africa, Asia, and the Pacific. The attack on Pearl Harbor crippled our navy.
And then Americans buckled down. Millions of men volunteered for national service. Women traded housecoats for wrenches, and “Rosie the Riveters” filled the void. American industrial output soared.
From 1941 to 1945, the U.S. built 2,710 “Liberty Ships.” That’s an average of more than one ship a day for five years. Not to mention airplanes, munitions, uniforms, and all the other requirements of war.
Just a decade before, Roosevelt’s New Deal helped raise America out of the Great Depression.
In 1964, President Johnson declared the War on Poverty. The poverty rate in America plummeted from 26% in 1967 to just 16% in 2012.
In 1961, JFK called on America to put a man on the moon within the decade. On July 21, 1969, Neil Armstrong stepped out of the Eagle lander… and onto the surface of the moon. It was impossible, but we did it.
If we can do all that, why can’t we cut our dependence on fossil fuels? Or ensure that no child in America goes to bed hungry? Or modernize our power grid?
Why not? The answer lies in one word: Greed.
Greed Is in Charge
The Cadillac Escalade is a top-of-the-line SUV. It offers unparalleled luxury. Prices start at $75,195. But let’s say you’d like a nicer model, and round the price up to $100,000.
If you had one billion dollars, you could buy a new Escalade every day for more than 27 years.
A billion dollars is 1,000 million-dollar homes. Or five million-dollar homes in every country on Earth. (Plus a few spares.)
One billion dollars is enough to buy 17 Boeing 737-600 passenger jets. With more than $30 million left over for fuel.
The point is, nobody needs all that stuff. If you have a billion dollars, you have more money than you’ll ever need.
But the current administration is ruled by the moneyed class. Their greed is boundless. They want more, more, more. In fact, they want it all. Clean air and safe highways be damned.
That’s not what America is about. But the Green New Deal is. It’s a framework for making America great again… for all Americans.
Can we achieve its goals? Probably not all of them. Not in ten years, anyway. But if we really apply ourselves, we may just save ourselves from destruction.