Sen. John Thune
By now you’ve probably heard about the Democrats’ “Green New Deal,” a left-wing smorgasbord of government-knows-best policies that, if enacted, would have a massive effect on the U.S. economy and hit family budgets in states across the country. For American families, it would essentially mean higher taxes, higher energy costs, and less control over their own choices.
What is the Democrats’ desired outcome with the Green New Deal, you might ask? Great question. Among their goals is to eliminate all fossil fuels – not just from your car, but your home, the trucks that deliver food to your local grocery store, and the airplanes that get you to and from your vacation destination. All in just ten years, at that.
The Green New Deal mandates “upgrading all existing buildings in the United States and building new buildings to achieve maximum energy efficiency, water efficiency, safety, affordability, comfort, and durability, including through electrification.” I’d note that “all existing buildings” would include your house, your kids’ school, your place of worship, and your office or place of business.
Some of their proposals will sound familiar. South Dakotans might remember reading headlines like these in their local paper a decade ago: “Farmers, ranchers worry EPA has cow, pig ‘sin tax’ in store,” “Livestock emissions may cost ranchers,” or “Thune looking to defeat ‘cow tax,’” among others. That’s right, the principles of this once-defeated and highly illogical idea that would penalize farmers and ranchers who own flatulent cows (yes, really) are back again.
South Dakotans are smart people, so they know there’s no such thing as a free lunch. So when Democrats talk about socialist fantasies like the Green New Deal, they know someone has to pay for them. In this case, the Democrats’ suggestion that you rid yourself of gasoline vehicles and retrofit your home with solar panels is an expense that would fall not to the government officials who’ve come up with these ideas, but to you the taxpayer.
The Green New Deal isn’t cheap either. The price tag for implementing it is estimated to cost – you might want to sit down for this – as much as $93 trillion over just 10 years. To put that into perspective, $93 trillion is more money than the federal government has ever spent. And I don’t mean more than it’s spent in one year or 10 years or even 100 years, I mean in the history of the United States.
As an example of just how absurd that is, if the government took every family that makes more than $200,000 and taxed them at 100 percent for 10 years – taking every penny they earned – Democrats still wouldn’t have enough money to pay for their green dream, which is actually more like a green nightmare. That means the enormous burden of covering the cost of this plan would fall on nearly every single American.
Confronted with some of these realities, plus political blowback, Democrats are starting to back away from their Green New Deal. Some are even trying to claim that voting on it – their own proposal – which is something Republicans, who would oppose it, are willing to accommodate, would be nothing more than a political show vote. I know, how is voting on something you support a show vote? I don’t know either.
At the end of the day, count me as someone who believes human activity has some degree of an effect on the planet, but I also believe we need to be smart about how we address it. Clean air and clean water are the lifeblood of South Dakota’s agricultural, hunting, and tourism sectors, and our state is a leader in clean energy, with hydroelectric and wind creating 75 percent of our energy. I’m always willing to work together on common-sense, cost-effective ideas, but the $93 trillion Green New Deal is not one of them.