Most of us are quite familiar with the term, and the significance, of what was known as the New Deal in this country. But in recent days we have been hearing about the Green New Deal, a relatively new idea that deserves serious thought and positive action.
The Proposal for a Green New Deal
On February 7, Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14) introduced a Green New Deal resolution in both the Senate and House of Representatives. That 13-page resolution can be found here.
Markey (b. 1946) was a U.S. House member from 1976 to 2013 and has been in the Senate since then. Ocasio-Cortez (b. 1989), as you probably know, is the outspoken new House member who is often just called AOC.
When presented, Markey’s resolution was co-sponsored by ten other Senators—mostly names you know quite well, such as Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Amy Klobuchar, Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren.
While it is a long way from something being presented as a resolution and it actually being legislated, this is surely a significant start for serious consideration of a vital issue.
The Purpose of the Proposal
The title of the 2/7 resolution is “Recognizing the duty of the Federal Government to create a Green New Deal.” Its purpose is to elevate awareness of the fearful realities of global warming along with other environmental issues and to set forth goals for Congress to consider over the next ten years.
Rather than being a proposal for detailed legislation, the Green New Deal (GND) resolution is a statement of what will most likely be necessary to meet the challenge of ever-worsening climate change. It presents the need for massive infrastructure programs and many other imperative actions for the creation of a sustainable future for our society and the world.
Thus, the GND resolution is a challenge to bold, creative, and long-term thinking about the most crucial issue of the present-day.
So, What About It?
One of my favorite op-ed writers is Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post. His February 7 article was titled, “A ‘Green New Deal’ sounds like pie in the sky. But we need it.”
I fully agree with Robinson when he writes that “climate change is the biggest, most important story of our time. Our grandchildren and great-grandchildren will judge us by how well we meet the challenge, and so far we are failing. Miserably.”
Of course, there are those who staunchly oppose the proposal for a Green New Deal. The main criticism is that it smacks of socialism.
DJT no doubt had the GND in mind when he said in his SOTU message that “we are alarmed by new calls to adopt socialism in our country.” He then went on to assert, “Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country.”
It must be recalled, though, that the New Deal proposed by President Roosevelt and enacted by Congress in the 1930s was also castigated for being socialist legislation.
Even among those who inveigh against socialism today, however, there are not many who are willing to give up their Social Security, which was one of the most important parts of the New Deal.
Just as the New Deal helped solved some of the most serious problems in American society many decades ago, the Green New Deal is a proposal for solving even potentially greater problems for the U.S., and the world, in the coming decades.
In the view from this Seat, the sooner the Green New Deal proposals are enacted, the better!