Opinion: Where the Green New Deal goes wrong

Green New Deal protest

TOM MORAN / STAR-LEDGER – In the name of fighting climate change, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wants to give every American a good job, health insurance, paid vacations, and affordable housing.

And if you think that’s a smart strategy, ask yourself this: Why are Republicans overjoyed? Why is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellso eager to post the resolution for a vote?

The reason is that Republicans know this resolution will scare the hell out of centrist voters who may be worried about climate change, but don’t want that entire menu of add-ons. It gives Republicans an escape hatch, a way to divert the discussion just as polls show concern over climate is surging, especially among millennials …

Tom Moran is editorial page editor at The Star-Ledger.

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  1. There’s something backwards about the author’s admission that the Green New Deal is “absolutely” “needed,” but that its “tactics,” being not being “straightforward,” are “bizarre.” Turning it around, maybe it is conventional political wisdom–in not addressing this monster problem for now decades–that needs to be re-thought.
    While I’m not sure the provisions of the Green New Deal actually are so objectionable to centrist voters (e.g. a guaranteed job if they can’t get one, etc.), what is missing is that if centrist Democratic Congresspersons don’t like aspects of the Resolution, they can get in there and negotiate with A-OC to improve it. I’ve contacted mine four times to ask this very thing and am awaiting an answer (and when that happens, a non-wishy-washy one would be preferred).
    There are many ways to build upon the current outline. Moran mentions a carbon tax. Forms of that could work. I’ve written about aspects of a green economy not currently present in the New Green Deal that could also help protect it against mindless charges of “socialism.” (see https://njenvironmentnews.com/2018/07/23/opinion-we-can-grow-a-robust-green-economy/#comment-1181.) I was just as another meeting of the NJDEP’s Sustainable Business Initiative and they continue to miss the possibilities of, and vision to, make sustainable business just the way we do business in NJ.
    Addressing climate change is going to take a lot of very unconventional thinking, including but going way beyond the New Green Deal and its integration of usually separate issues. (Regarding the latter, it just may be that these issues really are interdependent and we need to re-think our approaches accordingly. For instance, if we want more risk-taking green and social entrepreneurs, it would help if they had portable health insurance.) I have a six-part (currently) series on this. See Part 4 here, http://greeneconomynj.org/2019/01/03/new-jersey-now-gets-climate-change-what-we-are-still-missing-why-were-not-talking-about-what-were-not-talking-about-part-4/ about the many mindset barriers getting in the way.


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