Why am I not surprised that Chuck Wemstrom would be excited about the Green New Deal? (Feb. 27-28 MD/TJ). As he notes, it incorporates every bad idea Democrats have had for years. The overreach of this conglomeration of bad ideas and worse economics is so stunning that only the neo-Marxists of the Democrat party could find it compelling.
His letter envisions buses and trains replacing automobiles in Carroll and Jo Daviess counties, an improbability I have discussed before that is doomed to failure by the low population density of Northwest Illinois.
He genuflects to the need for agricultural production while simultaneously advising farmers in another paper to "move away from corn and beans and meat and dairy," raising questions about what he expects farmers to produce.
As he notes, the Green New Deal is "an environmental plan and an economic plan": like Certs, it's two plans in one! While calling for removing greenhouse gas emissions from power generation, manufacturing, and transportation, it also would guarantee "a job with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations, and retirement security to all people of the United States."
The unworkability of this goofy plan is revealed by a realistic look at any of its individual points.
For example, the plan to replace all U.S. electrical generation with solar, wind and biomass was estimated to cost $2.9 trillion, while upgrading every building in the U.S. to "maximum energy efficiency" was a relative bargain at more than $400 billion. As Everett Dirksen might have noted, "a trillion here and a trillion there and soon you are talking real money." Given the nature of cost estimates for government programs, this is surely low.
An example of how this plan is likely to be implemented was detailed in the Feb. 16 issue of the Wall Street Journal. The New York City Housing Authority decided to replace its lighting with LEDs to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. Paying union hourly rates of $81 base pay, $54 in fringe benefits and overtime at time and a half jacked the cost to $1,973 per apartment.
Some tenants noted that the money might have been better spent "to getting rid of vermin, mold and lead paint…" and one wag suggested that it might have been more cost-effective to simply give the LED bulbs to tenants and hope they ended up in light fixtures.
At least Chuck didn't repeat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez' recent tweet: "If you don't like the #GreenNewDeal, then come up with your own ambitious, on-scale proposal to address the global climate crisis. Until then, we're in charge — and you're just shouting from the cheap seats." Nuclear power plants, anyone?
David E. Hanson