We must reduce all the emissions that are destroying the planet. However, that requires a change in lifestyle, a change in the economic model: We must go from capitalism to socialism. —Hugo Chavez

In February 2019, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez introduced a bill known as the “Green New Deal” (GND), which proposes many sweeping legislative changes, including:

  • “Providing all people of the United States with high-quality health care; affordable, safe, and adequate housing; economic security; and access to clean water, clean air, healthy and affordable food, and nature.”
  • “Spurring massive growth in clean manufacturing in the United States and removing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from manufacturing and industry as much as is technologically feasible, including by expanding renewable energy manufacturing and investing in existing manufacturing and industry.”
  • “Guaranteeing a job with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations, and retirement security to all people of the United States.”
  • “Providing resources, training, and high-quality education, including higher education, to all people of the United States, with a focus on frontline and vulnerable communities, so those communities may be full and equal participants in the Green New Deal mobilization.”

If your boss came to you and said he was giving everyone at your company a Mercedes and an extra eight weeks of paid vacation, the momentary elation would likely be followed by questions such as, “How can the company afford that?” and “Will I still have a job in six months?” After all, your boss isn’t Santa Claus, and you can’t exactly pick luxury sedans off trees. So where will all of that value come from? Who’s going to pay for it?

High on the notion of “free stuff,” many have forgotten to ask this question about the GND, yet its potential consequences are far scarier than the bankruptcy of a single company. If the bill is passed, those consequences will reverberate throughout the U.S. economy, impacting the careers, aspirations, and even psychological health of every American. That’s because the answer to the question “Who will pay for all of this?” is: We, the people. We’ll pay with increased taxes and exponentially ballooning debt. But even as staggering as the financial cost would be, it should be the least of our concerns. More important, we’ll pay with fewer choices, more difficult lives, and far less freedom. . . .


1. Hadley Heath Manning, “Think the Cuban Healthcare System is Ideal? No Cigar. Not Even Close,” Washington Examiner, November 29, 2016, https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/think-the-cuban-healthcare-system-is-ideal-no-cigar-not-even-close.

2. Paul Gallagher, “NHS: UK Now Has One of the Worst Healthcare Systems in the Developed World, According to OECD Report,” Independent, November 4, 2015, https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/nhs-uk-now-has-one-of-the-worst-healthcare-systems-in-the-developed-world-according-to-oecd-report-a6721401.html.

3. Sally C. Pipes, “Socialized Medicine a Global Failure,” Pacific Research Institute, January 4, 2016, https://www.pacificresearch.org/socialized-medicine-a-global-failure/.

4. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, “Emergency Medical Treatment & Labor Act (EMTALA),” https://www.cms.gov/regulations-and-guidance/legislation/emtala/.

5. Jon Hersey, “Why a ‘Right’ to Health Care is a Moral Travesty,” The Objective Standard 14, no. 1 (Spring 2019), https://www.theobjectivestandard.com/2018/12/why-a-right-to-health-care-is-a-moral-travesty/.

6. Craig Biddle, “Alex Epstein on How Fossil Fuels Make the Environment Cleaner and Safer,” The Objective Standard, April 21, 2016, https://www.theobjectivestandard.com/2016/04/alex-epstein-fossil-fuels-make-environment-cleaner-safer/.

7. Bjorn Lomborg, “Saving Lives with Fossil Fuels,” Forbes, August 22, 2014, https://www.forbes.com/sites/bjornlomborg/2014/08/22/saving-lives-with-fossil-fuels/#43bfa08e3105.

8. Michael Shellenberger, “Why Renewables Can’t Save the Planet,” Quillette, February 27, 2019, https://quillette.com/2019/02/27/why-renewables-cant-save-the-planet/.

9. Brian Murray Jr. and Sally Kaplan, “75 Amazing Products That Are Made in America,” April 24, 2019, https://www.bestproducts.com/lifestyle/g2841/products-made-in-the-usa/.

10. Exact data on the manufacturing locations of electronic components is difficult to compile, but it’s worth noting that Qualcomm and Intel—the biggest chip designer and second-biggest chip manufacturer, respectively—are both American companies. They outsource some portion of their design and manufacturing work overseas but also do a lot of both here in America.

11. David Edwin Harrell et al., Unto a Good Land: A History of the American People, vol. 1 (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishing, 2005), 902; Elizabeth Warren, “A Plan for Economic Patriotism,” Medium, June 4, 2019, https://medium.com/@teamwarren/a-plan-for-economic-patriotism-13b879f4cfc7.

12. Edwin A. Locke, “The Educational, Psychological, and Philosophical Assault on Self-Esteem,” The Objective Standard 1, no. 4 (Winter 2006), https://www.theobjectivestandard.com/issues/2006-winter/assault-on-self-esteem/.

13. Andrew Bernstein, “Heroes and Villains in American Education,” The Objective Standard 13, no. 3 (Fall 2018), https://www.theobjectivestandard.com/2018/08/heroes-and-villains-in-american-education/.

14. Valerie Strauss, “No Child Left Behind: What Standardized Test Scores Reveal About its Legacy,” Washington Post, March 10, 2015, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2015/03/10/no-child-left-behind-what-standardized-test-scores-reveal-about-its-legacy/?utm_term=.a1f966f66c9d.

15. Neal McCluskey, “Show Me the (Education) Money!,” Cato Institute, April 20, 2018, https://www.cato.org/blog/show-me-education-money; Sarah Butrymowicz, “Most Colleges Enroll Many Students Who Aren’t Prepared for Higher Education,” Hechinger Report, January 30, 2017, https://hechingerreport.org/colleges-enroll-students-arent-prepared-higher-education/.

16. Bloomberg, “America’s Student Loan Debt Crisis is About to Get Much Worse,” Fortune, October 17, 2018, http://fortune.com/2018/10/17/student-loan-debt-crisis/; Paul Fain, “Second Thoughts About Higher Education Decisions,” Inside Higher Ed, June 1, 2017, https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2017/06/01/survey-finds-regrets-among-most-former-college-students-belief-quality-their; “What Country Spends the Most on Education?,” Investopedia, August 17, 2018, https://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/020915/what-country-spends-most-education.asp.

17. C. Bradley Thompson, “The New Abolitionism: Why Education Emancipation is the Moral Imperative of Our Time,” The Objective Standard 7, no. 4 (Winter 2012), https://www.theobjectivestandard.com/issues/2012-winter/new-abolition/#_ednbt8.

18. John Stossel and Maxim Lott, “Stossel: Saving Kids from Government Schools,” Reason, January 23, 2018, https://reason.com/video/stossel-saving-kids-from-government-scho.

19. C. Bradley Thompson, “Education in a Free Society,” The Objective Standard 8, no. 4 (Winter 2013), https://www.theobjectivestandard.com/issues/2013-winter/education-in-a-free-society/#what_a_free_market_in_education_would_look_like.

20. Jeremy Bloom, “Here’s the Full Text of Congress’ Green New Deal Resolution, introduced by Rep. Alexandra Ocasio Cortez,” Clean Technica, February 8, 2019, https://cleantechnica.com/2019/02/08/heres-the-full-text-of-congress-green-new-deal-resolution-introduced-by-rep-alexandra-ocasio-cortez/.

21. Eric Daniels, “Antitrust with a Vengeance: The Obama Administration’s Anti-Business Cudgel,” The Objective Standard 4, no. 4 (Winter 2009), https://www.theobjectivestandard.com/issues/2009-winter/obama-antitrust/.

22. C. Bradley Thompson, “Why Marxism—Evil Laid Bare,” The Objective Standard 7, no. 2 (Summer 2012), https://www.theobjectivestandard.com/issues/2012-summer/why-marxism/; Alex Epstein, “Vindicating Capitalism: The Real History of the Standard Oil Company,” The Objective Standard 3, no. 2 (Summer 2008), https://www.theobjectivestandard.com/issues/2008-summer/standard-oil-company/; Michael Dahlen, “The British Industrial Revolution: A Tribute to Freedom and Human Potential,” The Objective Standard 5, no. 3 (Fall 2010), https://www.theobjectivestandard.com/issues/2010-fall/british-industrial-revolution/.

23. Craig Biddle, “How Would Government Be Funded in a Free Society,” The Objective Standard 7, no. 2 (Summer 2012), https://www.theobjectivestandard.com/issues/2012-summer/how-would-govt/#the-nature-need-and-proper-functions-of-government.

24. Jon Hersey, “RooseveltCare: How Social Security is Sabotaging the Land of Self-Reliance by Don Watkins,” The Objective Standard, January 24, 2018, https://www.theobjectivestandard.com/2018/01/rooseveltcare-social-security-sabotaging-land-self-reliance-don-watkins/.

25. Craig Biddle, “The Poor, Disabled, and Helpless Under Capitalism,” The Objective Standard, April 26, 2017, https://www.theobjectivestandard.com/2017/04/the-poor-disabled-and-helpless-under-capitalism/.

26. Thomas J. Eiden, “Nuclear Energy: The Safe, Clean, Cost-Effective Alternative,” The Objective Standard 8, no. 3 (Fall 2013), https://www.theobjectivestandard.com/issues/2013-fall/nuclear-energy-safe-clean-cost-effective/.

27. Craig Biddle, “Capitalism and the Moral High Ground,” The Objective Standard 3, no. 4 (Winter 2008), https://www.theobjectivestandard.com/issues/2008-winter/capitalism-moral-high-ground/.

28. Andrew Bernstein, “The Socialist Holocaust and its American Deniers,” The Objective Standard 11, no. 3 (Fall 2016), https://www.theobjectivestandard.com/issues/2016-fall/the-socialist-holocaust-and-its-american-deniers/.

29. Craig Biddle, “Ayn Rand’s Theory of Rights: The Moral Foundation of a Free Society,” The Objective Standard 6, no. 3 (Fall 2011), https://www.theobjectivestandard.com/issues/2011-fall/ayn-rand-theory-rights/.

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