For years, neoliberals have scoffed at “radical” proposals like Universal Healthcare, a Universal Basic Income, and a green energy transition with a retort that reveals their prioritizing of profit over people: “How are you gonna pay for that?” With the passage of the CARES Act in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve seen the United States government belch up two TRILLION dollars ($2,000,000,000,000) in aid to nearly every sector of the economy. Suddenly, the Green New Deal — the original, Green Party-authored Green New Deal — isn’t such a radical, spendy pipe dream.
Return to Form: The ORIGINAL Green New Deal
Before I get into it, I must stress that this is NOT about the current Green New Deal introduced by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and cosigned by my opponent, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR). Their bill shares similarity to ours in name only, and we knew they were going to do this in 2018.
This is based on the original Green New Deal that was at the center of Jill Stein’s Presidential bids in 2012 and 2016.
The Green New Deal has five main goals:
1.) Transition to 100% green energy by 2030
2.) Revitalize the economy through localization and infrastructure projects
3.) Reduce the military budget by 50%
4.) Create a Universal Basic Income program
5.) Establish a Universal Healthcare program
The Renewable Energy Administration (REA)
The Green New Deal would establish the Renewable Energy Administration (REA). The REA would put an immediate stop to the United States’ investments in fossil fuels, nuclear power, natural gas, and their respective infrastructures, with a transition to 100% renewables by 2030. Following the Jacobsen model, the REA would implement renewable energies including onshore and offshore wind, tidal, photovoltaic (PV) solar, concentrated solar (CSP), hydroelectric, and geothermal. America’s geographic landscape is vast and diverse, and the installation of these varied renewable energy infrastructures would reflect the parameters of regional biospheres. (We don’t need solar farms in regions with significant cloud cover throughout the year, for example.) Related jobs for the creation, retrofitting, and maintenance of these industries would create over 5 million jobs, roughly 2 million jobs more than they would displace from the current nonrenewable energy industry.
The Commission for Economic Democracy (CED)
The Green New Deal would establish the Commission for Economic Democracy (CED). The CED would create a participatory economic environment for the public. Government agencies, private entities, and nonprofits would be held accountable, made accessible, and kept transparent through CED oversight. The CED would incentivize the creation of worker-owned co-operatives. The CED would revitalize agriculture by promoting organic farming, banning harmful pesticides and fertilizers, and breaking up big agribusiness entities. In response to proposed military budget cuts, widespread troop withdrawals and the closures of over 800 military bases overseas, the CED would work with the Department of Veterans Affairs to aid returning servicemen and servicewomen with housing, job placement, and proper medical care, including mental health treatment.
The Full Employment Program (FEP)
Administered by the CED would be the Full Employment Program (FEP). The CED would strive for localizing state, county, and municipal economies by replacing unemployment offices with employment offices. These employment offices would focus on recruiting both skilled and unskilled labor for projects based on the needs of the community. Coast to coast, the United States has various needs, advantages, shortcomings, and resources. The most universal of these needs is related to transportation and infrastructure. Investing in America’s infrastructure is paramount to revitalizing the economy. This extends beyond repairing America’s interstate highway network and into the creation of regional mass transit, municipal pedestrian and bicycle pathways, and even the realm of information infrastructure with the creation of nationwide broadband Internet, offered as a public utility. In the spirit of the original New Deal’s Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and other work programs, the FEP would provide living-wage jobs for over 20 million Americans in the creation of renewable energy programs, retrofitting outdated power systems, logistics, agriculture, manufacturing, public services, education, and construction.
Cut the Military Budget by 50%
This one is short and sweet. The United States has a bloated military budget, surpassing the combined total military budgets of the next ten countries: China, India, Russia, Saudi Arabia, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Japan, South Korea, and Brazil. We could cut its military budget in half and still be well ahead of our “competitors.” Our military engagements in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, and Niger are illegal, immoral, and wrong. Our 800 overseas military bases should close. This does not overlook the fact that there are malevolent regimes. However, global relations should be driven by a desire for collaboration and cooperation over competition. By cutting our military budget in half, the United States would be offering an olive branch to the global community, marking the end of an America insistent on empire-building and the beginning of a new era marked by diplomacy and peace.
Universal Basic Income (UBI)
The CED would disperse monthly Universal Basic Income (UBI) payments of $3000 a month for individuals and $1500 for dependents. As stated earlier, what was once thought “radical” is in fact feasible. UBI was first considered in 1970 by the Republican Nixon administration and was a central campaign platform of former 2020 Democratic Presidential candidate Andrew Yang. The CARES Act included stimulus checks totaling $1200 for individual adults, while Congress is presently working on a second stimulus check for Americans. UBI guarantees stability for working families, providing a financial cushion to help parents meet their families’ needs instead of living on the paycheck-to-paycheck brink. Individuals making more than $75,000 a year would have incentives to opt out of receiving UBI through tax credits.
Medicare For All (M4A)
The United States is the only developed nation in the world to not offer healthcare to all of its citizens. We needed Medicare For All in the 1990’s. America implementing it two decades into the 21st Century wouldn’t be a progressive act, it would simply be America catching up with a majority of the rest of the world. Removing the “public option,” of free, publicly funded healthcare from the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was shameful. The ACA has proven to be a bailout for the insurance and pharmaceutical industries. Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) cynically proposed a healthcare plan consisting of “Don’t get sick, but if you do get sick, die quickly,” which has become a twisted prophecy for the present state of America’s healthcare system, ten years later. Insurance premiums remain high while the cost of prescription drugs have risen, creating situations of despair for too many Americans forced to choose between healthcare or groceries. The tragic outcome of this grim reality has left us with an unknown number of preventable deaths, a silent massacre of the working class.
We’ve Got This!
These seemingly “radical” ideas, adopted in many other countries to great success, are not only realistic, but feasible. We have the technology to implement a green energy transition. We have the manpower to radically transform our energy economy, infrastructure, and our communities. We certainly have the money to fund every cent of the Green New Deal. What we don’t have is the willpower of our current political leadership to enact these changes. This is why voters need to look beyond the clash of personality cults in the Presidential race. Donald Trump and Joe Biden are egomaniacs. Real change comes from the legislature. We need progressives, radicals, and outside-the-box thinking in Congress.
Vote for me, and I will propose this Green New Deal to Congress on Day One.