Michael Shellenberger on Bernie Sanders’ $16 trillion Green New Deal: "Rather than being progressive, in the sense of redistributing wealth, or labor-saving, and growth-encouraging, the proposal is regressive. It would disproportionately hurt the poor by making them pay more for basic goods like food and energy. And it would slow economic growth by reducing labor-productivity.
Sanders may deny that his Green New Deal would increase energy prices, but in boasting that it will create 20 million more jobs, he is pointing to the reason why energy prices would rise. Making anything more labor-intensive makes it more expensive.
And making energy, the master resource of the economy, more expensive, Sanders’ plan would slow growth, which would in turn reduce wage growth, and reduce the societal wealth needed for Sanders’ social programs, home-building, and more liberal social attitudes toward minorities, women, and children."
Environmentalists were “self-righteous, elitist, neo-Malthusians who call for slow growth or no growth,” complained civil rights legend, Bayard Rustin, to Time Magazine in 1979. The Malthusians, he said, “would condemn the black underclass, the slum proletariat, and rural blacks, to permanent poverty.” The Malthusians knew they needed a way to rationalize their agenda as moral. They did so by adopting the progressive language of wealth redistribution. The unholy alliance between Marxists and Malthusians was partly inspired by an argument between Ehrlich and the ostensibly socialist New Yorker writer, Barry Commoner, over the issue of population control and poverty. Commoner blamed poverty for food crises, where Ehrlich blamed overpopulation.
In the early 2000s, my colleagues and I dusted off the Green New Deal created by Commoner and called it a “New Apollo Project.” All of the basic elements were the same: massive taxpayer investments in renewables, organics, efficiency, mass transit, and much else in the progressive agenda that can be justified as somehow reducing emissions. Twenty-five billion was wasted on biofuels. Tens of billions more were wasted on energy efficiency programs that cost more than they were worth. Well-connected venture capitalists got rich. Wealth was distributed upwards. And the renewables it subsidized contributed to rising electricity costs.