The expansive Green New Deal to address climate change proposed by political rising star Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., is getting the thumbs down from one of her own party’s presidential candidates.
“I'm excited that it's created a lot of energy, but I don't think it's the right way to go on climate,” former Maryland Congressman John Delaney told Gerry Baker on “WSJ at Large” on Friday.
“First of all, we shouldn't tie climate change to other issues,” he said. “Either climate change is a problem or it's not. If it is a problem we should have a singular focus on it, and the Green New Deal tries to link it to a whole bunch of other things. So, that I don't think is the right approach.”
Delaney, who was the first Democrat to declare his candidacy for 2020, has a different idea to address climate change.
“I kind of favor market-based approaches,” he said. “So, I introduced the only bipartisan carbon tax bill. It puts a price on carbon, raises a huge amount of revenues, and then it gives every penny back to the American people. It uses a market-based force to change behavior.”
Delaney, who co-founded two companies that once traded on the New York Stock Exchange (HealthCare Financial Partners and CapitalSource, both later acquired by other firms) wants to make it very clear that unlike some of his rivals, he’s not a fan of socialism.
“I’m a capitalist and I was good at it,” he notes. “And I think it’s an amazing kind of innovation and job creation machine. But I also believe in strong social programs.”
Delaney prefers to look at the positives of both capitalism and socialism, and says it’s unfair to suggest it’s a simple binary choice of economic systems.
“I don’t think socialism is the right answer to any question we could be asking ourselves. But making capitalism more just, which is what we’ve always done as country-- look, we used to let kids work in factories, right? That was capitalism back then, but we came together as a society and said, ‘That’s not right.’ We created laws. We created Medicare, Social Security. So I think to some extent it’s a false choice.”
Delaney feels his kind of middle of the road political philosophy makes him a top contender for the White House in a crowded Democratic field. But the polls suggest otherwise. For example, the latest Fox News survey of Democratic primary voters shows just 1% pick him as their favorite. Still, he is undaunted.
“I think what will appeal to the voters in the primary is the fact that I can win, right?” he asked. “At the end of the day I think that's going to be central question facing Democratic primary voters. Do we want to nominate someone who can capture the center, because the only way we'll win in 2020 is if we capture the center.”