One of the early debates among would-be Democratic presidential nominees will almost certainly center on climate change and the response thereto. And it’s never too early to hope the moderators and panelists come prepared to, er, drill down on the specifics of the Green New Deal. When Democrats introduced it last week, its key architect Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., shared an “overview,” a list of “frequently asked questions” and “requirements,” to explain the resolution. Her office later retracted the document, but not before some in the Democratic field of presidential candidates had endorsed the Green New Deal with such alacrity that they seemed to be adopting all of Ocasio-Cortez’s platform while it was still public and just beginning to attract derision.
So, here are some suggested questions based on many in the field’s endorsement of the original Green New Deal:
• As you know, the original Green New Deal appeared to call for the end of cows. How do you envision this taking place? How will cattle owners be compensated? What will happen to the dairy industry? What’s the impact on the GDP and unemployment rate of wiping out cows? Is there a technological response to the “cow fart” problem identified in the Green New Deal? Can you describe it?
• As you know, the Green New Deal called for an end to airplanes. Exactly how are people going to travel across oceans if planes are grounded? Wouldn’t this create a significant imbalance in military preparedness if the United States gives up its aviation sector? And how many people are employed by the aviation industry? What happens to them? And what about Davos?
• As you know, the Green New Deal said those unwilling to work will be taken care of with full medical benefits and other subsidies. What’s the cost of this provision? How do you incline the able-bodied-and-healthy-but-lazy to work when they can receive money and enjoy the same health benefits as someone who enjoys working?
• As you know, the Green New Deal included among its 15 “requirements”: “Obtain free, prior, and informed consent of Indigenous peoples.” What does that mean? When you endorsed the Green New Deal, did you have in mind written consent from the nearly 3 million Native Americans in the country? What would they be consenting to? Does each Native American have a veto over, say, the plan’s requirement to “upgrade or replace every building in the US for state-of-the-art energy efficiency?” Even if consent is obtained, what is that new, federal, supersized nationalized building code going to cost?
• As you know, the original Green New Deal also included among its 15 requirements: “Ensure an economic environment free of monopolies and unfair competition.” Doesn’t the Green New Deal presume a level of governmental control over all of the economy - “every building,” after all, is in its scope, not to mention the entire bovine population - that dwarfs that of monopolies of the past? How is the level of mandatory and centralized government command-and-control authority it requires different from a Soviet-style five-year plan or Mao’s Great Leap Forward? What will happen to people who say, “No thanks. My new building is up to code” or “I like my cows”?
• How would the Green New Deal oblige the United States to deal with countries devastated by socialism and fascism such as Venezuela, which the rebuilding of - indeed the feeding of the people of - requires sale of their vast petroleum reserves?
• Do you regret endorsing the Green New Deal? If so, what does it say about your judgment that you were for the Green New Deal before you were against it?
It will take courage on the part of debate moderators and panelists to press the would-be nominees assembled on the cow-unfriendly, airplane-ending, 100 percent rebuild-of-every-building exercise in “massive” government coercion (“massive” or “massively” being the single most used word in the Green New Deal manifesto), but that’s what the media exists to do, right? Not throw underhand softballs at the folks who endorsed this thousand-flowers-of-inanity-blooming spectacle of incoherence. We shall see if they are easily waved off because of AOC’s popularity and charisma and a deep-seated reflex to protect the Democrats from the consequences of their own policy choices.