Socialism is in fashion right now among Americans who are too young to remember how terrible it actually is. However, up to now it’s not an ideology that’s made much progress in our actual political system. Even the Democratic Party is center or even center-Right by most of the world’s standards, and they don’t have much appetite for far-Left ideas. That might be changing though, as radicals work their way deeper into the party’s structures. One example of the growing problem is the so-called “Green New Deal” recently introduced by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). AOC is definitely a socialist — so is her flagship bill an attempt to force socialism on the US economy?
- The name — “Green New Deal” — has obviously been chosen to make this sound like an environmental law. Protecting the environment has a lot more support among American workers than the imposition of failed, far-Left economic ideas, so this is sensible marketing.
- It’s not totally honest, though. Yes, the Green New Deal is stuffed with ideas that would protect the environment — in theory, at least — but its real implications are political.
- Many of the Deal’s components are pretty standard center or Left-wing ideas, like providing universal health care. That isn’t necessarily socialism, of course — there are different ways of doing it. The UK’s state-owned National Health Service is pretty socialist, but Health Canada uses privately owned clinics and hospitals — the government just pays everyone’s bills. In countries like Germany, the government does even less; mostly it just makes it the law to have health insurance.
- The green ideas in the plan are way past ambitious, and they’re where we really start to see socialism creeping in. AOC is calling for the entire US power generation industry to switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy in the space of just 10 years. There’s no way market forces, or even subsidies, are going to achieve that.
- The only realistic way to make it happen in even twice that time is for the government to take over the whole industry. Socialism is when the government owns the means of production — and it’s hard to think of a more important means of production than the energy industry.
- Finally, there’s the pledge to guarantee everyone living in the US — and it’s significant that this applies to everyone because you can bet AOC has illegals in mind — a job. How can the government guarantee jobs unless it’s going to be the employer?
- The Green New Deal poses as an environmental law, but its core is pure socialism. That’s a worrying development in American politics, so let’s hope its support in Congress — even from mainstream Democrats — stays as lackluster as it’s been so far.