It turns out that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Green New Deal (GND) isn't so popular after all. In a Senate resolution vote this week, not one senator-- not even the Senate bill’s chief sponsor Ed Markey, D-Mass. -- voted in favor of it. Aside from a couple of centrists who voted no, most Democrats demonstrated they don't have the courage of their convictions by dodging the issue and merely voting "present" when their names were called.
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The same Democrats tried to justify their lack of affirmative votes by making excuses about the process being rushed, and lacking customary hearings and procedures.
"By rushing a vote on the #GreenNewDeal resolution, Republicans want to avoid a true national debate & kill our efforts to organize,” Markey tweeted in February. Markey called the vote "sabotage." Right, because being asked to advance your own legislative proposal is sabotage.
Of course, the real reason why Democrats didn't back the resolution is because it would force them to go on record supporting a proposal to fundamentally transform the U.S. into a socialist economy. The GND not only calls for 100 percent renewable energy and government retrofitting of every building, but also government-provided health care, college, housing, jobs and "affordable" food. No wonder Democrats, who were fine speaking in the abstract about supporting GND-type legislation,couldn’t support it on the record with a “Yes” vote.
While moderate voters will appreciate that their senators didn't sign on to this radical policy, they should also be turned off by their hypocrisy. One position for the public and another inside the Capitol is not a good look.
One group of voters who is likely angered by the lack of affirmative votes is the leftists who are blowing wind in the sails of the declared Democratic presidential contenders. Will they feel betrayed that Sens. Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, Kirsten Gillibrand, Cory Booker and Bernie Sanders, who all cosponsored the resolution, didn't vote in favor of it after trumpeting their support to help drum up donations?
Yet all Americans, no matter what their political persuasion, should rejoice at the results of Tuesday's vote. The GND would blow up the booming economy. It would suck trillions of dollars out of the productive private sector, which is creating the fastest wage growth in a decade, the fastest economic growth since 2005 and some of the lowest unemployment rates in a half century, and redirected it to the sclerotic government sector.
While job, housing, college and health care guarantees may sound nice in theory, in practice they are hallmarks of socialist revolutions that have failed miserably every time they've been tried. Opponents have called the GND a "fantasy," but a nightmare is a better way to describe it.
The American Action Forum estimates the GND would cost as much as $93 trillion over the next decade. This would quadruple the size of the national debt. And this doesn't even account for the inevitable implementation boondoggles, which would make the recent $10 billion California train to nowhere and $2,000 LED lightbulb installations in New York look like table ante.
Tuesday's vote is also another blow to Ocasio-Cortez who spearheaded this Green New Deal monster. Her congressional colleagues are going to have to continually try to balance cozying up to her to bask in some residual popularity with not getting burnt by her bad ideas. Voting "present" on her initiatives won't cut it for long.
Alfredo Ortiz is president and CEO of the Job Creators Network.