A Different Look at the Green New Deal
By Ryan Iglesias
While I agree that the current Green Deal proposal in its current is absolutely ludicrous, the proposal in the previous article does overlook some issues, and can definitely be improved in order to be more feasible in this modern political climate. It is almost universally agreed upon that we should reduce the United States military budget, save for the oil-hungry warhawks that sparked the Gulf War for the sake of unsustainable assets, but I digress. Nonetheless, we can still take more than a meager 10 percent of the yearly military expenditure, especially considering just how much of it is squandered towards the end of the fiscal year. For example, the US army spent $35,000 on arcade machines, $6,600 on fidget spinners, and $62,000 on paddle boards in 2018, which resulted in a net loss of over $100,000 — only a fraction of the 50 billion dollars misused by the US government each year. If we simply eliminated these expenses along with our investment into the overproduction of armaments and use of obsolete military bases, a more moderate environmental protection plan would be much less of a burden on both the economy and the taxpayers’ pockets.
Besides the proposed 10 percent slash to the military budget, the suggestion to reduce the national healthcare budget would be nearly impossible to execute, not only because the legislative branch would immediately reject such a motion, but because the fact that more people than ever before rely on some form of federally funded healthcare, be it Medicare, Medicaid, or Obamacare. It would be a moral wrong to disenfranchise the American populace’s access to adequate healthcare for the sake of the environment, especially considering that the main motivation of the environmental movement is to improve public health amidst the air and water pollution crises. The truth is, we must first repair the 21 trillion dollar debt debacle of America before we start passing such economically impactful policies, and the proposal in the article simply does not suffice.
Conversely, the suggestion that I posit encourages a 15 to 18 percent reduction in military spending, along with a 5 percent increase in healthcare expenditures. Currently, our healthcare system is hemorrhaging tax dollars due to fraud, causing a net loss of $68 billion annually. With an increase in the budget, a more effective system can be put in place to help combat healthcare fraud, which contributes to 3% of the national debt. Besides these two changes, we would also repeal the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act and the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act, as these outdated Bush-Era policies excacerbated the national debt by over 30 percent. This would result in a gradual reduction of the baseline debt, thus making the current debt much more manageable. With these changes, a well-balanced and well-funded Green Deal would be possible.
As for the modifications of the Green Deal itself, there would be significant alterations to the clauses as proposed by Ms. Cortez. Rather than potentially tarnish the economy with sweeping bans on air travel, the government would focus on the core contributors to environmental degradation: the agricultural sector. Methane gas emissions from over 94.4 million cattle represents 26% of all greenhouse gas emissions from the U.S. alone, farmland runoff contributes to algae blooms, and monoculture plantations result in soil desertification and pest epidemics. Instead of providing industrial farms with subsidies, we should be investing in traditional farms that grow a variety of crops, avoid harmful pesticides, and feed their livestock more balanced diets. These farms tend to use less gasoline for machinery as well, which would help combat the fossil fuel crisis that many environmentalists have been warning us about. If this new deal were acted in the place of AOC’s plan, more agricultural companies would switch to sustainable methods, possibly causing the first dip in the carbon footprint in decades.