To Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, everything oughta be free. Health care — free. College — free. Heck, the federal government oughta' give everybody a job, too, and a pile of free money to boot, according to the New York democratic socialist.
Ocasio-Cortez has put forward a draft proposal for a massive government program she calls the "Green New Deal" (yes, she's right up there with President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who created the "New Deal" during the Depression). And now we're finding out the price tag for the program: $7 trillion.
The 29-year-old former bartender, who has been a House member for one month, told fellow representatives in a letter that her plan calls for a "national, social, industrial and economic mobilization at a scale not seen since World War II," Fox News reports.
"Next week, we plan to release a resolution that outlines the scope and scale of the Green New Deal,” Ocasio-Cortez said in the letter, adding that the country's near-total economic transformation should take approximately ten years. ...
The Green New Deal proposal would lead to national net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, according to Ocasio-Cortez's letter, “through a fair and just transition for all communities and workers,” while also generating millions of “good, high-wage jobs." Details of the letter were first published by Bloomberg.
Through it all, the Green New Deal would additionally “promote justice and equity by preventing current and repairing historic oppression to frontline and vulnerable communities," according to Ocasio-Cortez.
Under the draft plan, Ocasio-Cortez proposes eliminating all fossil-fuel-powered electricity. That would shutter all coal and natural gas power plants across the United States, costing hundred of thousands of jobs. Oh, and she also wants to get rid of all gas-powered cars — in 10 years.
What's more, the plan calls for a guarantee for every American to have a job, pledging to "provide all members of our society, across all regions and all communities, the opportunity, training and education to be a full and equal participant in the transition, including through a job guarantee program to assure a living wage job to every person who wants one."
According to the draft plan of the Green New Deal, the program also plans to "mitigate deeply entrenched racial, regional and gender-based inequalities in income and wealth (including, without limitation, ensuring that federal and other investment will be equitably distributed to historically impoverished, low income, deindustrialized or other marginalized communities in such a way that builds wealth and ownership at the community level)." In other words, socialism.
The draft plan says paying for the massive program "shall be accomplished by the federal government, using a combination of the Federal Reserve, a new public bank or system of regional and specialized public banks, public venture funds and such other vehicles or structures that the select committee deems appropriate."
So far, some 70 Democratic lawmakers have endorsed the plan, including Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and California Sen. Kamala Harris, both of whom are running for president in 2020.
But some say the estimated $7 trillion projected cost is woefully low. PJ Media compiled its own estimate, which came in at nearly $50 trillion.
The "Green New Deal" would also include a federal jobs guarantee program. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) has a bill proposing this kind of system, and it would cost $543 billion in the first year, The Week reported. The cost would decrease over time, but in the first ten years it would still add up to $2.475 trillion. (This estimate only covered a wage lower than $15 per hour and health care benefits. Booker's program also only covered 15 areas, not the entire country.)
The "Green New Deal" also includes a universal basic income (UBI). The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimated that a UBI program that gave every American $10,000 per year would cost more than $3 trillion annually, so roughly $30 trillion over the first ten years.
As with any Ocasio-Cortez plan, Americans cannot forget the cost of universal single-payer healthcare. Power the Future took a conservative estimate on the cost of such a massive plan. A 2017 University of Massachusetts-Amherst study found that the plan coming from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) would cost $1.38 trillion per year during the first 10 years, the Tampa Bay Times reported. That yields a total cost of $13.8 trillion.
Boy, "free" is kind of pricey.