As Bernie heads to South Carolina, the state’s former GOP governor says Bernie’s climate plan is too expensive — but it’s affordable, and will save the planet
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In advance of Bernie’s climate-change-focused trip to South Carolina today, former South Carolina Republican Gov. Nikki Haley attacked Bernie’s detailed proposal for a Green New Deal, suggesting it is too expensive.
Haley’s comments follow a Post & Courier report showing that her home state faces some of the biggest threats from climate change. Without dramatic investments to fight climate change, Charleston could experience flooding for over half the year. And the costs are going to be big either way: experts say that South Carolina needs $20 billion just to fund seawalls and billions of dollars of South Carolina property is at risk. And that’s just in one state.
Now it’s true: the price tag for Bernie’s Green New Deal is $16 trillion over 10 years. While Bernie has explained how that will be financed, some may look at that price tag and insist it is an unprecedented cost. But compared to other commitments of taxpayer cash that politicians and pundits never scoffed at, the price tag seems downright affordable. Consider a few examples that put the Green New Deal’s price tag in context:
- THE $69 TRILLION COST OF DOING NOTHING ON CLIMATE: Climate change could cost the global economy $69 trillion, according to a report from Moody’s Analytics.
- THE MULTITRILLION-DOLLAR HIT TO THE U.S. ECONOMY: According to a National Bureau of Economic Research paper, doing nothing to halt or reduce climate change could mean a 10.5 percent reduction in annual gross domestic product. GDP right now is about $20 trillion — so a 10.5 percent cut would mean a loss of about $2 trillion in annual national income. That’s in line with a separate study by Stanford University researchers which found that climate change could cost the global economy more than $100 trillion by 2099. For the United States, that could mean a $34.5 trillion reduction in economic activity.
- THE $29 TRILLION BAILOUT: The Government Accountability Officefound that the public committed more than $16 trillion to bailout the financial industry after Wall Street firms enriched themselves and destroyed the economy. CNBC reported that the number was likely an underestimate, and that new research found that there was “a Federal Reserve bailout commitment in excess of $29 trillion.”
- THE $50 TRILLION SUBSIDY FOR THE FOSSIL FUEL INDUSTRY: The world spends about $5 trillion a year on direct and indirect subsidies that support the fossil fuel industry. That would be roughly $50 trillion over the next decade.
- THE $12 TRILLION OF SPENDING ON DEFENSE: The United States is now spending about $1.2 trillion a year on defense, according to a new report from researchers at the Center for International Policy and the Project on Government Oversight. That’s about $12 trillion over the next decade.
- THE $7 TRILLION ON WAR: The cost of the war on terror is on track to top $7 trillion, according to a report from Brown University researchers. That’s on top of the regular annual Pentagon expenditures.
So, in context, $16 trillion to fight the existential threat of climate change suddenly doesn’t seem so outrageous or financially unprecedented. And here’s the added benefit: unlike those other costs and expenditures, the Green New Deal is actually designed to ward off a planetary disaster, protect a habitable environment and boost the economy for the long term.
Bern after reading,