Paying for the Green New Deal

Interviewer: You support the Green New Deal. How are you going to pay for it?

Politician: Why is it you never ask that of Republicans and conservatives? You never ask them how they will pay for a trillion-dollar tax cut. And if you do, you give their BS explanation of economic growth a pass. You never ask about how to pay for more trillions in unneeded and unwanted defense spending. It’s only when Democrats want to do something that you put on this prosecutorial face and challenge us to pay for something that’s really fundamentally needed.

Interviewer: You support the Green New Deal. How are you going to pay for it?

Politician: In case you haven’t noticed, we’re already paying for it. Think of the money spent to combat a year-round fire season out West and the damage to towns and cities. Think of the money spent to clean up from the floods in the Midwest. Think of the damage from hurricanes that are becoming more frequent and more deadly. Hurricane Harvey set a record for rainfall. Towns are getting 500-year and 1000-year floods twice in five years. The tab has already started, in case you haven’t noticed. NOAA estimates damage from incidents in 2017 alone amounted to $300 billion. It’s only going to go up.

Interviewer: You support the Green New Deal. How are you going to pay for it?

Politician: Pay for what? The Green New Deal is an outline, an aspirational document to get us thinking about the harms of climate change and how to figure out remedies. Any price tags you have heard so far mean nothing because they are based on nonsense speculation. Look at this way: Suppose I say, we should go to Chicago from D.C. You might ask, how are you going to pay for it? The answer is, depends how we get there. It would cost so much to fly, so much to take a train, so much to drive, so much to take a ride-sharing service, so much to walk. Until we figure out how we are going to get there, we can’t figure out the costs. What we have determined, however, is that we are going to Chicago and everyone agrees on that. Don’t overlook the setting of consensus.

Interviewer: You support the Green New Deal. How are you going to pay for it?

Politician: You make it sound like we’re buying a car. We’re not buying a car. We’re trying to save human civilization. NASA has just found that the pace of climate change is much faster than we thought. The effects are so widespread and so subtle in some cases that they don’t register. Look at the dramatic retreat of glaciers around the world. Here’s one example. Ecosystems are changing drastically, with plants and animals suffering as a result. Climate change is causing more people to migrate as their crops can’t cope with changes. The examples are everywhere. It’s almost too big to grasp. So when you ask, how are you going to pay for it, the real question is: How can you not?

Interviewer: OK, let’s move on. How is it you’re not likeable?

Politician: OMG.