If you have assets, income, or both, then you are responsible for every bad thing that has happened in the U.S. But don’t worry! The Green New Deal, co-sponsored by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey, will give you a chance to fix it.

All you have to do is sign over, well, everything to the central government, which will then use its wisdom to determine how we should live for the foreseeable future so that all outcomes are equalized and no one is left behind.

Good-paying jobs? Check.

Universal healthcare? Of course.

Free education? For everybody!

Pollution? Zero (after 2050).

Respect all indigenous people? You know it.

Consider every single environmental impact for every action ever undertaken? Duh.

After all, it’s your duty…

As you read the Green New Deal proposal, you’ll find that it says it’s not just a good thing to do this, it is the duty of the United States to go down this path.

The document would be laughable except for one thing. Few people are laughing.

More than 600 organizations signed in support of it, and so have dozens of individuals, including many Democratic Presidential hopefuls.

It’s hard to say any of them think this proposal, which is more of a college freshman’s dream or a description of Cuba or Venezuela from the good old days, is realistic, but that’s not the point.

As AOC, as she’s called, explained in her Instagram chat while chopping vegetables, the goal is to move the boundaries of the conversation far enough with the extreme Green New Deal proposals that a carbon tax would look like the moderate option.

America, you just got played…

The Overton Window

AOC and Markey used a tactic that recalls the Overton Window, a reference to a range of scenarios within two extremes that are considered possible.

The goal of the policy conversation isn’t to land on one particular thing, it’s to expand the window one direction so as to put more options on the table.

To be fair, the Overton Window was first described by political scientist Joseph Overton of the conservative Mackinac Center for Public Policy. This sort of gambit has been used by people of all political persuasions, and even parents when dealing with their kids.

The key to the conversation – don’t discuss the alternatives at the other end of the spectrum.

The entire Green New Deal has been priced out at $50 trillion to $90 trillion, but that includes stuff about healthcare, job guarantees, education, etc. Let’s focus on just climate change.

Beyond getting rid of airplanes and cows, the deal to reduce emissions by 40% to 60% by 2030 and completely by 2050 would require spending about $14 trillion, according to numbers from the American Action Forum (give or take a few trillion). That’s about three times the current spending plan of the U.S. government for all of 2019 (I didn’t call it a budget because there’s no balance).

And it won’t work.

It All Means More Taxes

The most generous estimates of how to limit climate change to 1.5 degrees Celsius (beyond which it doesn’t matter because the bad changes will happen anyway) all require nations around the world to participate – here’s looking at you, China and India – and some way to extract carbon from the air on a large scale.

The first one, participation, isn’t happening, and the second, carbon extraction, isn’t technically feasible today.

But forget that. As long as AOC and Senator Markey can make you feel good about reaching a “compromise” position that calls for widespread carbon taxes instead of these extreme measures, then hey, they’ve succeeded.

The carbon tax is just the tip of the melting iceberg. If that gets through, you can bet we’ll hear demands for all sort of other taxes to pay for all the “free” stuff. It’s amazing how things called “free” by the government end up being so expensive for taxpayers.

And of course, if the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is correct on our changing planet, a carbon tax won’t do a thing to keep temperatures below 1.5 degrees Celsius. The changes brought about by such a tax would be a drop in the proverbial bucket. But they will take more assets from us and put them in the hands of the central government, which is clearly staffed by people who are smarter than us and know more than we do.

Notice something interesting…

Notice that Miami doesn’t show up in the national conversation. The residents of Miami aren’t waiting for some proposal on high. They passed an infrastructure funding plan and have begun to work on shoring up their town (pun intended) against the potential of rising sea levels.

But we can’t discuss mitigating the effects of climate change instead of fighting to eliminate rising temperatures in the first place, because that would be opening Overton’s Window the other direction and ruin the current narrative and take money away from the central government.

I can’t imagine a single national politician signing on to such a plan.

What do you think about the Green New Deal? Good? Bad? Otherwise? Email me at economyandmarkets@dentresearch.com.

Rodney

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Rodney Johnson
Rodney works closely with Harry to study the purchasing power of people as they move through predictable stages of life, how that purchasing power drives our economy and how readers can use this information to invest successfully in the markets. Each month Rodney Johnson works with Harry Dent to uncover the next profitable investment based on demographic and cyclical trends in their flagship newsletter Boom & Bust. Rodney began his career in financial services on Wall Street in the 1980s with Thomson McKinnon and then Prudential Securities. He started working on projects with Harry in the mid-1990s. Along with Boom & Bust, Rodney is also the executive editor of our new service, Fortune Hunter and our Dent Cornerstone Portfolio.