Incoming New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez brings with her a massive online following, influence she says she’ll deploy only in support of candidates and politicians who support her plan for a “Green New Deal.”
“The Green New Deal” is something Ocasio-Cortez invokes frequently in media appearances and rallies.
So what’s actually in it?
Her office recently released the text of a proposed House rules change outlining the plan.
The proposed rule change for the upcoming 116th Congress would require the creation of a “Select Committee for a Green Deal” that would be responsible for creating the plan by January 1, 2020, with corresponding draft legislation soon after. The text of the rule change lays out the committee’s jurisdiction and required areas of action.
Its scope and mandate for legislative authority amounts to a radical grant of power to Washington over Americans’ lives, homes, businesses, travel, banking, and more.
Early on, under “Jurisdiction,” the document makes clear its grandiose philosophical vision: “The select committee shall have authority to develop a detailed national, industrial, economic mobilization plan for the transition of the United States economy to become greenhouse gas emissions neutral and to significantly draw down greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and oceans and to promote economic and environmental justice and equality.”
In addition to achieving its goal of “meeting 100% of national power demand through renewable sources,” the document also repeatedly states the Green New Deal will advance non-environmental projects, such as, “social, economic, racial, regional and gender-based justice.”
Ocasio-Cortez’s plan further claims it will (virtually) eliminate poverty: “The Plan for a Green New Deal (and the draft legislation) shall recognize that a national, industrial, economic mobilization of this scope and scale is a historic opportunity to virtually eliminate poverty in the United States and to make prosperity, wealth and economic security available to everyone participating in the transformation.”
More specifically, Ocasio-Cortez’s plan calls for, within 10 years, a series of lofty overhauls of American life [emphasis added]:
- The installation of a “national, energy-efficient, “smart grid.”
- “Upgrading every residential and industrial building for state-of-the-art energy efficiency, comfort and safety”
- “Eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from the manufacturing, agricultural and other industries” as well as from America’s transportation and infrastructure network
- Funding “massive investment” in reducing existing greenhouse gasses
Between its calls for “upgrading” homes and overhauling travel, public infrastructure, and even the way Americans consume electricity, the plan leaves virtually no facet of everyday life untouched. Think of how often you don’t use electricity to imagine how much of your average day the plan wouldn’t impact.
The proposed committee would also have seemingly total oversight of American industry, with a mandate for pushing union membership. Under “Scope of the Plan,” a section on labor states the committee’s final plan shall: “Require strong enforcement of labor, workplace safety, and wage standards that recognize the rights of workers to organize and unionize free of coercion, intimidation, and harassment, and creation of meaningful, quality, career employment.”
Later in the document, Ocasio Cortez’s plan imagines creating a national jobs force to help people participate in this “transition.” The Green New Deal, it says, shall “provide all members of our society, across all regions and all communities, the opportunity, training and education to be a full and equal participant in the transition, including through a job guarantee program to assure a living wage job to every person who wants one.”
The plan also imagines creating governmental support for “transitioning” minority communities. The deal shall: “ensure a ‘just transition’ for all workers, low-income communities, communities of color, indigenous communities, rural and urban communities and the front-line communities most affected by climate change, pollution and other environmental harm including by ensuring that local implementation of the transition is led from the community level.”
More, Ocasio-Cortez sees this plan is being a vehicle through which social equality might finally realized through the use of reparations to right historical injustices. The final Green New Deal will “mitigate deeply entrenched racial, regional and gender-based inequalities in income and wealth (including, without limitation, ensuring that federal and other investment will be equitably distributed to historically impoverished, low income, deindustrialized or other marginalized communities in such a way that builds wealth and ownership at the community level).”
And if that weren’t enough to ensure that Democratic Socialism could be fully realized in America, the plan includes failsafe in the form of universal income and Medicare for All: The plan, it says, shall “include additional measures such as basic income programs, universal health care programs and any others as the select committee may deem appropriate to promote economic security, labor market flexibility and entrepreneurism.”
Ocasio-Cortez clarifies that this plan would not only need to be financed by taxpayers, but also the Federal Reserve and other institutions the government can create. The end of the document contains a Q&A, one of which deals with the plan’s funding: “The Federal Reserve can extend credit to power these projects and investments, new public banks can be created (as in WWII) to extend credit and a combination of various taxation tools (including taxes on carbon and other emissions and progressive wealth taxes) can be employed.”
Ocasio-Cortez may not be in Congress yet, but she already has a plan to remake the way Americans drive, commute, live, work, and even use the financial system. Let there be little doubt how she aspires to wield power in Washington.