A few weeks ago on February 7 and 8, I had a couple of posts (here and here) commenting on the so-called Green New Deal, which had just been dropped on Congress by the team of Socialist it-girl Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and long-time Massachusetts Congressman and now Senator Edward Markey. In those posts, I did not attempt to put any “cost” figures on these proposals, but rather offered this general reaction:
In short, in the aggregate, this would be the total takeover of all economic activity in the United States.
According to the FAQ released along with the GND resolution, at least the following Democratic candidates for President support the GND: Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Jeff Merkeley, Julian Castro, Kirsten Gillibrand, Bernie Sanders, Tulsi Gabbard, and Jay Inslee.
In the interim, a few intrepid souls have gone where I had not, and have put some fairly specific cost estimates on the socialists’ proposals. Most notably, there is something called the American Action Forum, headed by Douglas Holtz-Eakin. On February 25, AAF came out with a Research Report titled “The Green New Deal: Scope, Scale, and Implications,” with Holtz-Eakin as the lead author. Holtz-Eakin is not nobody in this game, having headed the CBO for about three years (2003-05) during the George W. Bush administration. If there’s anybody who ought to be able to put credible cost figures on proposals for new government programs, it would be a former head of CBO. The fact that CBO is a non-partisan operation would also seem to give an added level of credibility to the conclusions of its former leaders.
After introducing their Report with a series of qualifiers (e.g., many of the changes “are impossible to quantify at this point”), the AAF guys nonetheless forge ahead with the exercise to at least put some broad ranges on the potential costs. In the aggregate the sums of the lows and highs of their ranges come to about $51 trillion to $93 trillion over the course of the 10 year span of the GND. The $93 trillion figure is the one most frequently attributed to the Report in subsequent press accounts.
$93 trillion compares to total U.S. GDP currently running at about $20 trillion per year. In other words, if you think that Holtz-Eakin and AAF are right, or even close to right, then they are saying that the GND will “cost” close to half of the entire U.S. GDP over the next decade or so. . . .Read More