H. Sterling Burnett: ‘Green New Deal’ Is Old Socialist Despotism

Wind Farm on Hill

Many Democrats are becoming more open about their socialist inclinations, although they still tell fairy tales about socialism’s ability to make the world a better place.

Socialism kills. From the former Soviet Union to Cuba, from North Korea to Venezuela, everywhere socialism has been tried it has robbed people of freedom and their property, produced economic stagnation and misallocation of resources, and resulted in millions of deaths, caused either directly or indirectly.

Blithely ignoring these realities, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told New York Magazine he pines for government control over everyone’s property, saying, “I think there’s a socialistic impulse. … [I]f I had my druthers, the city government would determine every single plot of land, how development would proceed.” Of course—because that’s brought happiness, prosperity, and better living conditions to the people of Cuba, North Korea, and Venezuela.

Then we come to the energy socialism being pushed by self-described socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, newly elected Democratic representative from New York, among others. Despite a salary topping $174,000 a year, Ocasio-Cortez complained (with a straight face) after being elected it will be hard for her to find a place she can afford to rent in Washington, DC—a city, by the way, almost perfectly satisfying de Blasio’s desire for all the property in the city being owned by or its uses directed or sharply delimited by various levels of government. I’ve got a news flash for Ocasio-Cortez, most people, even those in DC, live on much less that she now makes.

Despite her struggle to find affordable housing on a princess’s salary, Ocasio-Cortez has the hubris to claim Congress and federal bureaucracies in DC have the wisdom to control and direct people’s energy choices across the nation.

Ocasio-Cortez led protests outside longtime Democratic congressional leader Nancy Pelosi’s office last week, demanding the frontrunner for Speaker of the House push for greater government control over the nation’s energy system in the next Congress.

Ocasio-Cortez has proposed what she calls a “Green New Deal,” requiring “the investment of trillions of dollars,” to transition the United States to a 100 percent renewable energy system by 2035.

Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal is just warmed-over socialism on steroids, applied to energy.

Ocasio-Cortez is not alone in her uninformed view of economics and history. Energy socialism has captured many Democrats’ imaginations. Hundreds of Democratic candidates for local, state, and federal offices in the 2018 midterm elections signed a pledge to push for the 100 percent renewable energy makeover. I haven’t had time to check how many of those candidates won, but undoubtedly many did and now have the power to restrict people’s use of inexpensive, reliable fossil fuels and impose costly renewable energy mandates on us.

After the gains so-called progressive Democrats made in the 2018 midterm elections, the number of Democrat lawmakers who support the radical Off Fossil Fuels for a Better Future Act (Off Act) undoubtedly have grown. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) introduced the OFF Act with relatively little public notice in September 2017. The bill would require “100 percent renewable energy by 2035 (and 80 percent by 2027), places a moratorium on new fossil fuel projects, bans the export of oil and gas, and also moves our automobile and rail systems to 100 percent renewable energy.”

These policies, supported fully by environmental extremists, would destroy millions of jobs and put the United States at a huge disadvantage when competing against other countries, especially China, India, Russia, and other nations whose environmental laws are much less stringent than ours.

Energy is the lifeblood of the economy, powering everything we do. Giving government even more control over energy development and use than it already has, including directing or limiting people’s fundamental choices over how to move about the country, what kind of electronics they use and how and when they can be charged, how to light, heat, cook in, and exercise climate control in their homes, what types of energy investments they want in their retirement portfolios, and what types of energy sources companies can develop, supply, and use, would result in chaos and misery.

Wind, solar, and other forms of renewable energy are more expensive and less reliable than traditional energy sources such as natural gas and coal, which explains why states that require or subsidize renewable energy sources or impose high taxes on fossil fuels have higher electric power and gasoline prices than those with lower gas taxes and that don’t mandate the use of renewables.

The U.S. economy is the envy of the world, built on a power system reliant primarily on relatively inexpensive, reliable fossil fuels. Adopting the energy socialism being pushed by Democrats threatens to impoverish families, cause greater unemployment, and bring the power grid and the economy crashing down.

Energy socialism can’t fix our problems, but it sure can make things a lot worse.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published by The Heartland Institute. Reposted here with permission of the author and the organization.

PHOTO: Burra, South Australia, Australia. Photo by Flickr user Chris Fithall. Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D. is a Heartland senior fellow on environmental policy and the managing editor of Environment & Climate News.