The so-called “Green New Deal” that’s currently being pushed by far-left congresswoman, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, is being billed as the 21st-Century equivalent of the original New Deal of the 1930s. It’s not being met with the same enthusiasm as FDR’s version, though.
The New Deal was set up to help the economy recover from the Great Depression, provide work for ordinary Americans and improve the country’s infrastructure. It was a classic left-wing economic project, of the sort organized labor usually loves. Strangely, they’re not so happy about the Ocasio-Cortez version.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wants her Green New Deal to make the US carbon-neutral inside a decade. That would mean huge reforms for our economy, and some massive changes in how we work, live and travel. Critics — and there are many — say it’s unrealistically fast, far too expensive or just not possible. Some also say it’s textbook socialism of the sort that has never worked anywhere.
- A key feature of the Ocasio-Cortez plan is replacing traditional energy jobs — coal, oil and gas — with an expanded renewable energy industry. She says the plan will actually create more jobs, but many in the energy industry have serious doubts about this.
- For a start, it’s hard to see new jobs replacing the old ones one for one. Compared to fossil fuels, renewable energy needs a lot of government subsidies — but it doesn’t need that many people.
- It’s also unlikely that miners and oil industry workers who lose their jobs will get any of the new ones Ocasio-Cortez plans to create. The jobs that do appear in renewables are probably going to go to young idealists with tech degrees, not middle-aged pipeline technicians or experienced miners.
- Unions aren’t happy about this. The president of the North American Building Trades Union pointed out last week that union members in the fossil fuel industry “can make a middle-class living, whereas renewable energy firms have been less generous.”
- Few union executives care if an unemployed gas rig worker is replaced by a wind turbine technician. Their concern is for their members, who’re likely to end up jobless as their industries are phased out.
- Even many senior Democrats are openly laughing at the Green New Deal. Ocasio-Cortez wants to replace air travel with high-speed trains; Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) pointed out “That would be pretty hard for Hawaii.”