The Green New Deal is Wonderful! Is it Worth the Cost?

As you might have heard, the Green New Deal (GND), proposed on February 7, 2019, is the talk of the town.  I haven’t commented on it yet because it’s so big and so confusing.  GND’s proponents say it will save the world (in less than 11 years), while its opponents say it will do nothing (every year). 

GND’s proponents also allege that it will cost nothing because it will pay for itself.  It is an investment, they say.  Not so fast say the GND’s opponents.  Not only won’t the GND return an income stream in the future, it will cost an arm and a leg (and a kidney, a hyoid bone and some submucosa) right away.    

Both the GND’s proponents and its opponents say they are right and we can trust them.  Who is right?  And can we trust them?   

Earth to reader, neither and no.  They are politicians and truth and honesty are foreign to them. 

Fortunately, I, the most truthful and honest person east of the Mississippi, have spent the last five years analyzing the GND and can now reveal my findings!

Here are some (but not all) of the great things the GND will do for us:  

  • Bring carbon emissions in the United States (which emissions produce 78% of U.S. energy) to 0 by 2030.  (i.e. in 11 years). 
  • Provide money for everyone adversely affected by the GND (i.e. that would be everyone, period). 
  • Provide money for the new renewable power resources (i.e. the ones that will replace the 78% of energy production that will be rendered “obsolete” by the GND). 
  •  Upgrade all existing buildings so they achieve maximum (the word “maximum” is undefined) energy efficiency (i.e. that would be every building in the United States).   
  • Restore all ecosystems through land preservation, afforestation, and science-based projects (i.e. Huh, what does this mean?)
  • Clean up all hazardous waste and abandoned sites (Wow, how wonderful).
  • Identify unknown sources of pollution and emissions (I heard it is difficult to identify the unknown!)
  • Decarbonize manufacturing and agricultural industries. (Would that mean eliminating graphite in pencils and diamonds in rings, both of which are carbon?  Also, since the human body is 18.5% carbon, will we be eliminating 18.5% of all people?  If so, I have a few recommendations.)
  • Provide all white males over 25 with a new sports car every three years.  (This clause was necessary to obtain the evil  reactionary white male vote)
  • Bring peace, joy and harmony to the entire Alpha Quadrant (i.e. the quarter of the Milky Way Galaxy that contains Earth).

All of this without any cost!  The GND will eliminate pollution; bad weather (which is due to global warming caused by carbon emissions); bad hair days (which are caused by the humidity resulting from global warming); and make everyone happy.  For free! Who could argue with that?

Well, maybe me.  Since I am half Scottish, I tend to be cheap, er, thrifty.  And, since I am from New York, I always ask, “What the hell is this going to cost me?”. I priced the GND to find out its true cost, er, investment.  Here is what I found:   

1.   About 1.1 million people work in the “Fossil Fuel” industry.  Their average salary is $80,000 per year.  To support them until they are re-educated, er, re-trained would cost $88,000,000,000 annually.

2.   (a) There are about 325 million people in the United States.  Since every one of them will be adversely affected by the GND (via higher utility bills; longer lines at auto charging stations; the higher cost of electric cars; having to take the bus instead of an airline; the cost of junking all charcoal barbecues, kerosene lamps, cigarette lighters, matches and fireworks; and the cost of purchasing a solar, nuclear, or steam powered computer), the cost of making everyone in America whole would be at least $5,000 per person per year.    This would set us back $1,750,000,000,000 every year.

      (b) There are about 27,000,000 million small businesses in the U.S. that would also be adversely affected by the GND.  The cost of making them whole after the GND is enacted would be at least $10,000 per business.  (Author’s Note: There are also about three million non-small (read big) businesses in the country, but they should not receive any assistance because most of them are run by (and pilfered by) rich white males)  

3.   In 2017, there were 3,303 fossil fuel plants in the United States. The average cost of building a fossil fuel power plant is $2,780,264,125, so it would cost $9,183,212,404,875 to reimburse the plant’s owners for surrendering their plants.   Fortunately, this would only be a one-time cost!

4.   (a) There are 96,100,000 million buildings in the United States.  Assuming that it would cost $50,000 to upgrade each commercial and apartment building to “maximum” energy efficiency and $10,000 to do the same for each private home, the cost for the commercial/apartment upgrades would be $305,000,000,000, while the cost for the home upgrades would be 900,000,000,000, totaling $1,205,000,000,000.  This too is will only be a one-time cost!      

      (b) 1,800,000 residential buildings and 170,000 commercial buildings are constructed ever year in the Unites States.  In order to comply with the GND, construction costs will increase by at least $5,000 per residential building (Totaling $9,000,000,000) and at least $20,000 per commercial building (Totaling $3,400,000,000) GND.  The cost of all new construction in the Unites States would increase by $12,400,000,000 because of the GND. Unfortunately, this will be an annual, er, never-ending cost.

5.   I have no idea what it would cost to restore all (do they really mean “all”?) ecosystems through land preservation, afforestation, and science-based (Thank goodness neither Alchemy nor Astrology will be employed) projects, so let’s just say the cost will be $1,000,000,000 per year.

6.   It is estimated that there are 18,000 toxic waste sites in the U.S., covering 22 million acres.   It costs about 5.1 million dollars to clean up a toxic waste site.  This means that the cost of cleaning up all toxic waste sites in the Unites States would be $91,800,000,000.  Again, this is a one-time charge. (although its cost would probably be spread out over a few years). 

7.   I don’t even know what decarbonizing industry and agriculture means.  I suppose the costs would be between $1 and infinity.

Since the balance of the GND’s objectives I listed above are specious or fictitious (including, unfortunately, the one about the sports car) and can’t be totaled, let’s look at what we tallied so far. 

           Item Number                   One-Time Cost                     Annual Cost

                         1                                       0                             $88,000,000,000          

                       2 (a)                                    0                          1,750,000,000,000          

                      2 (b)                                    0                              270,000,000,000

                         3                          9,183,212,404,875                          0

                       4 (a)                       1,205,000,000,000                           0

                      4 (b)                                    0                               12,400,000,000

                         5                                       0                              1,000,000,000

                         6                               91,800,000,000                         0

                         7                                 Unknown                           Unknown

                   Totals               10,480,012,404,875        2,121,040,000,000                   

Well what do you know? The GND would only cost every American family $128,984.76 the first year and $ 26,105.11 annually thereafter.  We can all breath a lot easier now!

. . . . . . . . . .

P.S. There are a lot more things that the GND will attempt to do (and which will cost something), but I have disregarded them because they are impossible to quantify, either objectively or cost wise.   

The definition of investment (The Business Dictionary) is” Money committed . . . for future income”. I have to say, I have “invested” a lot with the Federal Government and have never received any income!  Oh, wait.  I just realized that the definition calls for future income and the future never comes.  No wonder I haven’t gotten anything!

Since the GND was only proposed seven months ago, the first four years and five months of my analysis were done in anticipation of a GND being proposed.  

To date, the only airplanes that have flown without fossil fuels (gliders don’t  count) are the Solar Impulse, which can only carry one person and only has a top speed of only 43 mph (slower than a bus)  and the nuclear powered B-36H, which made 89 nuclear powered flights between 1955 and 1957.  This plane cruised at 270 mph, but required 11 tons of lead shielding to protect the crew from radiation.  Regardless, I urge Congress to amend the GND to include funding for a lot of B-36 Hs.      

This number is composed of 359 coal plants, 1,080 petroleum plants, 1,820 natural gas plants, and 44 other gas plants.

22.633 billion kilowatt hours (kwh) are produced by fossil fuels annually in the United States.  It costs $3,500 per kwh to build a fossil fuel plant.  There are 3,303 fossil fuel plants in the U.S.

5.6 million commercial buildings, 500,000 apartment buildings, and about 90 million private homes.

Royal Dutch Shell Group spends $100,000,000 US per year reforesting and The Peoples Republic of China has already spent $100,000,000,000 US on reforestation. 

Excluding sites whose cleanup costs exceed 50 million dollars.  

Wow, great news, only about 60% of the entire U.S. economy!

Double wow, even better news, only about 13% of the entire U.S. economy!!

Assuming a family is four people.

Alan Bianco
Alan Bianco

I am a retired lawyer living south of the Mason Dixon line. I have always wanted to write on politics and now I do. I write with a twinkle in my eye and in my posts. I hope reading my commentaries makes you think. . . and laugh.