This opinion originally appeared in the Detroit News on February 13, 2019.
Right before Election Day a Gallup poll ranked voters’ top concerns: number one was healthcare (a major issue for 80 percent), followed by the economy and immigration (both at 78 percent). The rest of the list trickled down through sexism, guns, taxes, foreign policy, trade, Brett Kavanaugh, etc. Way down in 11th place out of 12 spots there was “climate change.”
The new Congress was elected by Americans whose biggest concerns (healthcare, economy, taxes) revolved around goosing a growing economy to thrive even more. But a radical agenda to rip up that economy and start over is guiding 73 members of Congress – including Michigan’s Andy Levin (D-Bloomfield Twp.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) – who co-sponsored the so-called “Green New Deal.”
Who got them thinking this way? Talking points released by the proposal’s sponsor declare its goals for just the next ten years to be upgrading or replacing “every building” in the United States, replacing “every combustion-engine vehicle,” and even beginning the process of eliminating air travel and “farting cows.”
The sticker price for what is described as a “massive transformation of the economy” is not provided, but there is an admission that to “pour all the resources” of “every billionaire and company” into this agenda still won’t pay for it.
It has more in common with Mao Zedong’s ruinous Great Leap Forward than FDR’s New Deal.
It is impossible to know what this “Green Leap Forward” will cost to accomplish the impossible, but we can we affix a price to what was paid to get an otherwise practical nation discussing a Maoist fantasy. The estimate starts at around $100 million—in campaign cash. And, we also know who paid the big bucks to turn this into a priority for Michigan.
Four left-wing political action committees plunked down a combined total of $99 million to get their candidates elected to Congress last year. For example, the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) is a supporter of the Green New Deal. Michigan’s Levin and Tlaib are two of the 56 brand-new U.S. Representatives the LCV describes as its “environmental champions.” The Center for Responsive Politics reports the LCV Victory Fund spent $28.9 million on the 2018 midterm election. Those 56 freshmen are a potentially influential caucus promoting the Green New Deal in a chamber Democrats control by fewer than 20 seats.
NextGen Climate Action and the Sierra Club also support the Green New Deal. NextGen Climate Action Committee, run by leftist billionaire Tom Steyer, spent $63.8 million on federal politics last year, aimed at the same priorities LCV was promoting. Similarly, the Sierra Club’s political committee ponied up $1.5 million.
The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) says the Green New Deal is an “important step forward.” EDF’s Environmental Defense Action Fund chipped in $4.8 million to win eleven House and two Senate seats for Democrats.
And this is just the political spending. EDF is also an educational non-profit that spends more than $100 million per year advocating for the same policies as the candidates explicitly boosted by its political action committee.
Similarly, the Sierra Club Foundation spends more than $50 million annually, the League of Conservation Voters Education Fund $10 million per year, and Tom Steyer’s NextGen Climate America adds another $3 million annually. All together that’s likely another $300 million or more spent over the last two years.
A month into the new Congress they’re well on the way to getting what their $400 million-plus investment paid for.
But is this what Michigan voted for?