Let’s face it America, we’re in a bit of a bind. Between lousy economic recoveries, increasing household debts, and with wider political divides than ever before, you might say that we’re stuck in a social rut. Add to it the surmounting fear of climate change, and it could turn out to be quite a disaster. By now I’m sure you’ve heard about the Green New Deal (GND), introduced by the newest progressive Congresswoman, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Like its predecessor, it too is modeled to be an all-inclusive saving grace in a time of uncertainty; only instead of just capitalizing off the financial uncertainty of the Great Depression, the GND hopes to use climate change to enact economic changes on a level that would’ve made FDR blush. You would think given the current circumstances, people would be reluctant to add more debt and political clout to the already-bloated mess we’re dealing with, but support for the GND seems to be growing. One can only hope this is due more to a lack of options than genuine enthusiasm, because what America needs now isn’t just a Green New Deal, it needs a Lean New Deal.
Yes, the US has spent the past century thoughtlessly engorging itself, heading down a path that certainly cannot continue much longer. Not because of a shortage in food or supplies (like some who say we’re in a “post capitalist” society claim), but rather because of a swollen and dilated government. We’ve overfed our political apparatus to the point it’s now bursting at the seams; and in that regard, the GND is just more of the same. That’s not to say the planet isn’t facing environmental challenges, because it is (quite possibly in the very near future, too). What it means though is that any deal that hopes to be effective while going green must put its focus on going lean in the public sector.
Currently, the US government is not only the largest spending entity on Earth, but also its largest polluter too. It would seem strange then to allow them to be in charge of saving the rest of us from pollution, right? I mean, how could you take people that spend $4.6 million on crab and lobster dinner in one month seriously when they lecture you on waste? It should come as no shock then that this group took their lack of self-awareness even further with the GND. So far, in fact, that even co-founders of longtime environmental groups like Greenpeace called it out as a plan that would bring about “mass death.”
So, if the progressives’ plan will bring about the destruction of the economy, what’s the alternative? Can we still combat climate change without annihilating our standard of living, and perhaps even improve them as progressives promised? As it turns out, yes; but it’s going to have to come from behavior that government isn’t actually used to: green, lean, and most of all, unseen. If we even want to think about tackling climate change, Uncle Sam will need to go on a diet. Because like many things it touches, government would do better by simply staying out of the way. Luckily, there’s an endless array of places we can choose to trim the fat that will help mother nature in the process.
What might this Lean New Deal look like? Here are a few ideas the team at BeingLibertarian is working on getting implemented:
- Cut subsidies to corporations in the energy sector, including coal, oil and natural gas, as well as wind and solar; moving a small portion into hydroelectric and nuclear research (such as molten salt reactors and Thorium fuel that can reuse waste from current light-water reactors, making it 100% renewable).
- Privatize air travel as opposed to ending it (similar to what Europe has done and benefited from for years).
- Cut funding to frivolous government programs (like studying the sexual tendencies of quails on cocaine for $350,000+), and instead funding research into oceanic phytoplankton (which are already responsible for converting half the world’s CO2 into oxygen).
- End government barriers into new industry, including industrial hemp and food production (specifically “substantial equivalency” requirements on GMO’s).
- Reduce regulations and sin taxes on vaping (cigarette butts are the number one source of pollution in the ocean).
- Cut the military budget and end our foreign entanglements, which not only cost the lives of millions of potential future researchers and inventors that could help save mankind, but the US military is currently the largest cause of pollution on Earth.
- Remove the labyrinth of commercial red tape, including requirements on paperwork for government documents and allow companies to go completely digital (specifically in the healthcare industry, but this would also include privatizing the post office to cut down on junk mail); cutting regulations on low-altitude air travel for drone package and mail delivery; reducing building code stringency, thus allowing smaller efficiency homes to develop.
- Sell off and privatize portions of public land and waterways to better handle the pollution generated from the “tragedy of the commons” (such as trash dumped in lakes and rivers, and soil destruction from overgrazing publicly-owned pastures).
All of these ideas would drastically help cut down on emissions and pollution while also allowing new businesses and markets to spring up and compete to help give consumers what they want: a focus on environmental friendliness while simultaneously raising our standard of living. This comes with the added bonus of doing away with the empty political platitudes, which seem to accompany every bill that wishes to increase government largesse in hopes of reaching a pie-in-the-sky solution narrowed down to the politically-feasible timeline of “eventually.”
The GND is no different in that regard, with claims that are so vague, one can hardly wonder how it’s taken seriously as a solution to anything at all.
Sure, those on different sides of the political aisle may disagree with the Lean New Deal on what to do afterward; some may want to use the freed up money to invest in things like public education, while some will wish to cut spending and tax rates so that people keep more of their own money. Regardless of where your feelings lie, however, one thing we can all agree on is that when it comes to climate change, America needs a solution that provides detailed, realistic and achievable goals, ones that only come from a Lean New Deal.
Thomas J. Eckert
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- America Needs to Focus on a Lean New Deal – The Lowdown on Liberty - March 9, 2019
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- The Green New Deal Kills the Forest for the Trees – The Lowdown on Liberty - February 9, 2019