Bernie Sanders’ aggressive climate policy could bankrupt America’s middle class, according to a new study on the costs of the Green New Deal (GND).
The Competitive Enterprise Institute, Power the Future, and the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty analyzed implementation costs in 11 states and found that it would cost the average household more than $75,000 in the first year and more than $40,000 each year thereafter. In some states, like New Mexico, these costs would exceed the median household incomes.
“The Green New Deal would effectively destroy America’s energy industry, and with it, our entire economy,” said Daniel Turner, executive director of Power the Future.
The new study builds on one released by CEI and Power the Future last July analyzing electricity, vehicle, housing upgrade and shipping costs in five states: Alaska, Florida, New Hampshire New Mexico and Pennsylvania. The new study adds Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin to the analysis.
The study also looked at how forcing a change to all-organic farming methods would rupture Wisconsin’s economy.
The Green New Deal was introduced by U.S. Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass.) ostensibly to combat climate change. However, the proposal also includes progressive economic policy goals like guaranteeing a living wage and universal healthcare.
What the sponsors did not include was a price tag, and determining its true cost has proven elusive. Various organizations from across the political spectrum have attempted to determine the total cost of the GND by breaking down its components.
For example, expanding renewable energy to provide 100 percent of the country’s power grid would cost upwards of $200 billion a year for 10 years, according to physicist Christopher Clark. Upgrading every house and industrial building for energy efficiency would run about $10,000 per structure for a total of nearly $1.4 trillion, according to several estimates.
The Green New Deal for Public Housing Act introduced by Ocasio-Cortez and Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) — which would put organic groceries and onsite childcare into every public housing community — would cost between $119 billion and $172 billion over a decade.
That plan also calls for giving a free bicycle to every resident.
Electrifying the United States, though, is more complicated than halting investments and productions of fossil fuels and adding a few power lines. To eliminate carbon emissions, America would need to produce twice as much electricity as it does today, which would require the construction of additional — and expensive — infrastructure.
For example, a study for the Brattle Group found that while New England has been adding about 280 megawatts of energy from renewable sources per year, to eliminate carbon from energy production by 2050 that number would need to increase by 2,400 percent every year.
The CEI-led study found that the transition to the GND would cost households in its 11 target states $2.7 trillion. Although costs would decrease after the first year of implementation and then again after year five, households would still be on the hook for tens of thousands of dollars each year.
In Alaska, the year one costs are estimated at $84,544 and costs after year five would come to $51,740 annually. Other costs in the first year and annually after five years, per state, are: $74,287 and $40,450 (Colorado); $76,109 and $40,828 (Florida); $76,683 and $41,602 (Iowa); $74,470 and $40,602 (Michigan); $74,723 and $39,821 (New Hampshire); $74,432 and $40,970 (New Mexico); $74,609 and $40,697 (North Carolina); $75,807 and $40,663 (Ohio); $75,307 and $40,983 (Pennsylvania); and $70,252 and $40,906 (Wisconsin).
“The Green New Deal is a politically motivated policy that will saddle households with exorbitant costs and wreck our economy,” said CEI President Kent Lassman. “Our analysis shows that, if implemented, the Green New Deal would cost… American households at least tens of thousands of dollars annually on a permanent basis. Perhaps that’s why exactly zero Senate Democrats, including the resolution’s 12 co-sponsors, voted for the Green New Deal when they had the chance.”
An addendum to the report looked specifically at the cost of the GND to Wisconsin’s agricultural sector, which employs 11.8 percent of the state’s workers. The deal’s advocates are turning to all organic farming methods, which have shown to yield 11 percent less corn production.
According to the report, that kind of hit to Wisconsin’s corn production — which was responsible for 12.3 percent of agricultural receipts in 2016 — would impose $144.7 million in costs on the state’s economy. An 11 percent hit to soybean production would be a $97 million hit to the economy.
Author Will Flanders, research director at the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, noted that the GND’s “architects set a goal to get to net-zero, rather than zero emissions, in 10 years because we aren’t sure that we’ll be able to fully get rid of farting cows and airplanes that fast.”
Farmers would have to pay $2,000 per cow to offset the bovines’ carbon dioxide emissions, according to economist William Nordhaus. “This could lead to mass closures of small farms in an industry that is already struggling,” Flanders wrote.