Disclaimer: Neither Oregon State University nor the OSU Sustainability Office endorse any proposed policies or political views mentioned below; the following is only intended to inform the reader on the facts surrounding the Green New Deal.
The Green New Deal has garnered a huge amount of media attention in the last couple months, but what is the Green New Deal? The Green New Deal seeks to combine social and economic reforms, similar to those of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, with climate change policy based on renewable energy and resource efficiency. Like the New Deal, which helped the United States economy recover from the great depression, the Green New Deal refers to large investments in jobs and infrastructure. This time around, the investment would be focused on jobs and infrastructure related to the renewable energy industry. The over-arching goal of the Green New Deal is to de-carbonize the economy and increase social/economic equity and inclusion.
The Green New Deal is not a new idea, but only recently has it attained considerable support by citizens, lawmakers, non-profit organizations, and others. On December 14, over 300 local elected officials from 40 states signed a letter in support of a Green New Deal. Forty members of congress back the the creation of a Select Committee for the Green New Deal as of December 19th. Although the Green New Deal has picked up plenty of support, it also has numerous opponents. Opponents raise concerns about cost, sovereignty over, and potential economic side-effects.
There is not yet any official proposed policy under the name “Green New Deal.” Lawmakers and think tanks are beginning to work on policy proposals, but for now the Green New Deal is essentially manifested as a list of interconnected goals set forth by its proponents.
Summary of the Green New Deal
*This summary of the Green New Deal is courtesy of www.gp.org*
I – THE ECONOMIC BILL OF RIGHTS
1. Local communities will use a process of broad stakeholder input and democratic decision making to fairly implement these programs. Pay-to-play prohibitions will ensure that campaign contributions or lobbying favors do not impact decision-making. We will end unemployment in America once and for all by guaranteeing a job at a living wage for every American willing and able to work.
2. Worker’s rights including the right to a living wage, to a safe workplace, to fair trade, and to organize a union at work without fear of firing or reprisal.
3. The right to quality health care which will be achieved through a single-payer Medicare-for-All program.
4. The right to a tuition-free, quality, federally funded, local controlled public education system from pre-school through college. We will also forgive student loan debt from the current era of unaffordable college education.
5. The right to decent affordable housing, including an immediate halt to all foreclosures and evictions.
6. The right to accessible and affordable utilities – heat, electricity, phone, internet, and public transportation – through democratically run, publicly owned utilities that operate at cost, not for profit.
7. The right to fair taxation that’s distributed in proportion to ability to pay. In addition, corporate tax subsidies will be made transparent by detailing them in public budgets where they can be scrutinized, not hidden as tax breaks.
II – A GREEN TRANSITION
1. Invest in green business by providing grants and low-interest loans to grow green businesses and cooperatives, with an emphasis on small, locally-based companies that keep the wealth created by local labor circulating in the community rather than being drained off to enrich absentee investors.
2. Prioritize green research by redirecting research funds from fossil fuels and other dead-end industries toward research in wind, solar and geothermal. We will invest in research in sustainable, nontoxic materials, closed-loop cycles that eliminate waste and pollution, as well as organic agriculture, permaculture, and sustainable forestry.
3. Provide green jobs by enacting the Full Employment Program which will directly provide 16 million jobs in sustainable energy and energy efficiency retrofitting, mass transit and “complete streets” that promote safe bike and pedestrian traffic, regional food systems based on sustainable organic agriculture, and clean manufacturing.
III – REAL FINANCIAL REFORM
1. Relieve the debt overhang holding back the economy by reducing homeowner and student debt burdens.
2. Democratize monetary policy to bring about public control of the money supply and credit creation. This means we’ll nationalize the private bank-dominated Federal Reserve Banks and place them under a Monetary Authority within the Treasury Department.
3. Break up the oversized banks that are “too big to fail.”
4. End taxpayer-funded bailouts for banks, insurers, and other financial companies. We’ll use the FDIC resolution process for failed banks to reopen them as public banks where possible after failed loans and underlying assets are auctioned off.
5. Regulate all financial derivatives and require them to be traded on open exchanges.
6. Restore the Glass-Steagall separation of depository commercial banks from speculative investment banks.
7. Establish a 90% tax on bonuses for bailed out bankers.
8. Support the formation of federal, state, and municipal public-owned banks that function as non-profit utilities. Under the Green New Deal we will start building a financial system that is open, honest, stable, and serves the real economy rather than the phony economy of high finance.
IV – A FUNCTIONING DEMOCRACY
1. Revoke corporate personhood by amending our Constitution to make clear that corporations are not persons and money is not speech. Those rights belong to living, breathing human beings – not to business entities controlled by the wealthy.
2. Protect our right to vote by supporting Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr.’s proposed “Right to Vote Amendment,” to clarify to the Supreme Court that yes, we do have a constitutional right to vote.
3. Enact the Voter Bill of Rights that will:
guarantee us a voter-marked paper ballot for all voting;
require that all votes are counted before election results are released;
replace partisan oversight of elections with non-partisan election commissions;
celebrate our democratic aspirations by making Election Day a national holiday;
bring simplified, safe same-day voter registration to the nation so that no qualified voter is barred from the polls;
do away with so-called “winner take all” elections in which the “winner” does not have the support of most of the voters, and replace that system with instant runoff voting and proportional representation, systems most advanced countries now use to good effect;
replace big money control of election campaigns with full public financing and free and equal access to the airwaves;
guarantee equal access to the ballot and to the debates to all qualified candidates;
abolish the Electoral College and implement direct election of the President;
restore the vote to ex-offenders who’ve paid their debt to society; and,
enact Statehood for the District of Columbia so that those Americans have representation in Congress and full rights to self rule like the rest of us.
4. Protect local democracy and democratic rights by commissioning a thorough review of federal preemption law and its impact on the practice of local democracy in the United States. This review will put at its center the “democracy question” – that is, what level of government is most open to democratic participation and most suited to protecting democratic rights.
5. Create a Corporation for Economic Democracy, a new federal corporation (like the Corporation for Public Broadcasting) to provide publicity, training, education, and direct financing for cooperative development and for democratic reforms to make government agencies, private associations, and business enterprises more participatory.
6. Strengthen media democracy by expanding federal support for locally-owned broadcast media and local print media.
7. Protect our personal liberty and freedoms by:
repealing the Patriot Act and those parts of the National Defense Authorization Act that violate our civil liberties;
prohibiting the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI from conspiring with local police forces to suppress our freedoms of assembly and of speech; and,
ending the war on immigrants – including the cruel, so-called “secure communities” program.
8. Rein in the military-industrial complex by:
reducing military spending by 50% and closing U.S. military bases around the world;
restoring the National Guard as the centerpiece of our system of national defense; and,
creating a new round of nuclear disarmament initiatives.
“Green New Deal.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 22 Dec. 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_New_Deal.
“Green New Deal.” Www.gp.org, www.gp.org/green_new_deal.
Roberts, David. “The Green New Deal, Explained.” Vox.com, Vox Media, 26 Dec. 2018, www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2018/12/21/18144138/green-new-deal-alexandria-ocasio-cortez.