Newspaper column: Green New Deal would cost a lot of ‘green’

If you liked FDR’s New Deal — which imposed federal regulations, restrictions and spending in virtually ever aspect of American endeavor — you’ll love the Democrats’ Green New Deal.

Some elements of the vague and nebulous proposition were finally revealed in a draft resolution this past week. All except the price tag.

The “green” part of the proposal is audacious, to say the least: To replace all existing power sources in the country with 100 percent renewable power in the next 10 years, thus eliminating all greenhouse gas emissions in the country.

Oh, but not just this country. The resolutions calls for “funding massive investment in the drawdown of greenhouse gases; making ‘green’ technology, industry, expertise, products and services a major export of the United States, with the aim of becoming the undisputed international leader in helping other countries transition to completely greenhouse gas neutral economies and bringing about a global Green New Deal.” Pie in the sky.

The plan also calls for “upgrading every residential and industrial building for state-of-the-art energy efficiency, comfort and safety …”

How much “green” will that cost?

California’s Energy Commission recently mandated such efficiency measures for every new home being built in the state starting next year. The commission estimated the cost to be $9,500 per home.

Since there are more than 130 million residential housing units in the U.S., that alone would cost more than $1.2 trillion. There are at least 5.6 million commercial buildings in the country, most much larger than residences and therefore more expensive to remodel to “state-of-the-art energy efficiency” levels, much less comfort and safety.

But the Green New Deal does much, much more than clear the air. It also would “include additional measures such as basic income programs, universal health care programs and any others as the select committee may deem appropriate to promote economic security, labor market flexibility and entrepreneurism …”

Medicare for All, being pushed by socialist Bernie Sanders and others on the left, is estimated to cost $32 trillion over the next 10 years. Who knows what a “basic income program” would cost.

How to pay for it all? you ask. In the frequently asked questions section of the resolution there is a solution: Print money.

Actually it says, “The answer is: in the same ways that we paid for the 2008 bank bailout and extended quantitative easing programs, the same ways we paid for World War II and many other wars. The Federal Reserve can extend credit to power these projects and investments, new public banks can be created (as in WWII) to extend credit and a combination of various taxation tools (including taxes on carbon and other emissions and progressive wealth taxes) can be employed.” Read: Print money.

Recently on “60 Minutes” one of the chief proponents of the Green New Deal floated the idea of imposing a 70 percent income tax on the “wealthy.” Unrepentant socialist and New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said that, as in the 1960s, tax rates for those with incomes up to $75,000 could be as low as 10 or 15 percent, but much higher for those earning millions.

“But once you get to the tippie tops, on your ten millionth, sometimes you see tax rates as high as 60 percent or 70 percent,” she added. “That doesn’t mean all $10 million are taxed at an extremely high rate. But it means that as you climb up this ladder, you should be contributing more.”

She fails to realize that there were enough deductions and loopholes that no one ever actually paid a 70 percent income tax rate.

Since the plan would eliminate a lot of jobs related to the fossil fuel industry, everything from gasoline stations to car manufacturers to power plant operators, it also benignly promises to “provide all members of our society, across all regions and all communities, the opportunity, training and education to be a full and equal participant in the transition, including through a job guarantee program to assure a living wage job to every person who wants one …”

It just comes so easy when you assign an army of federal bureaucrats to fix the problem. You know, the ones who run the Veterans Administration, the Post Office, the Internal Revenue Service, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Bureau of Land Management, the National Endowment for the Arts, Congress, etc., etc.

This poppycock reportedly is backed by 40 duly elected House Democrats.

A version of this column appeared this week in many of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel and the Lincoln County Record — and the Elko Daily Free Press.

Democrats now leaderless?

Looks like most Democrats will be voting for none of the above.

According to Rasmussen, 73 percent of Democrats want a “fresh face” in 2020 and not anyone who has already run for president, such as Hillary, Biden of Bernie.

“Should Democrats look for a fresh face to run for president in 2020 or should Democrats promote a candidate who has already run in the past?” was the telephone question.

Just who that fresh face might be was not asked.

As for H. Clinton, among Democrats 33 percent think she’s been good for their party, while 39 percent say she’s been bad for it, and 72 percent of Republicans and 63 percent no affiliated with either major party say she has been bad for Democrats.

Not exactly a bumper sticker moment. You remember the non-partisan bumper sticker, right. The one that said: “Run, Hillary, run.” Democrats put in on the back bumper and Republicans on the front.

 

Trump wants to make it easier to sue for libel when the media hurts his feelings

The GOP in Houston (Zuma photo via WSJ)

Donald Trump can dish it out but he can’t take.

In Fort Worth Friday he called for shredding the First Amendment and making it easier for thin-skinned politicians like himself to sue newspapers and others who criticize him by telling the truth.

Apparently with a stroke of his presidential pen or a call on the phone — but not an iPhone because he is boycotting Apple — he plans to “open up libel laws” to make it easier and more profitable to sue the media.

Never mind that the Supreme Court in N.Y. Times v. Sullivan held: “A State cannot, under the First and Fourteenth Amendments, award damages to a public official for defamatory falsehood relating to his official conduct unless he proves “actual malice” — that the statement was made with knowledge of its falsity or with reckless disregard of whether it was true or false.” But Trump never lets case law or the Constitution get in the way of one of his rants.

Here is a bit of what Trump had to say as reported by Real Clear Politics:

I’ll tell you what, I think the media is among the most dishonest groups of people I’ve ever met. They’re terrible. The New York Times, which is losing a fortune, which is a failing newspaper, which probably won’t be around that much longer, but probably somebody will buy it as a trophy, keep it going for a little longer. But I think The New York Times is one of the most dishonest media outlets I’ve ever seen in my life. The worst, the worst. The absolute worst. They have an agenda that you wouldn’t believe. And they’re run by incompetent people. They are totally incompetently run. Washington Post, I have to tell you, I have respect for Jeff Bezos, but he bought The Washington Post to have political influence and I got to tell you, we have a different country than we used to have. We have a different — He owns Amazon. He wants political influence so that Amazon will benefit from it. That’s not right. And believe me, if I become president, oh, do they have problems. They’re going to have such problems.

And one of the things I’m going to do, and this is only going to make it tougher for me, and I’ve never said this before, but one of the things I’m going to do if I win — and I hope I do and we’re certainly leading — is I’m going to open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money. We’re going to open up those libel laws. So that when The New York Times writes a hit piece, which is a total disgrace, or when the Washington Post, which is there for other reasons, writes a hit piece, we can sue them and win money instead of having no chance of winning because they’re totally protected. You see, with me, they’re not protected because I’m not like other people but I’m not taking money. I’m not taking their money. So we’re going to open up those libel laws folks and we’re going to have people sue you like you never got sued before. We have many things to do. We have many, many things to do.

Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal, who Trump has threatened to sue for pointing out his utter ignorance on various topics, said in an editorial today: “Ripping the press is old political hat, but it’s not every day that a potential President promises to use government power to punish critics. This follows his attack earlier this week on the Ricketts family of Chicago for donating to a Super Pac that has criticized him. ‘They better be careful, they have a lot to hide!’ he tweeted. Does he plan to sic the IRS on them?”

Trump is little more than a bully who can’t take the insults he is so frequently and vilely dishing out.

Now Trump has been caught in still another lie. He claims he can’t release his “beautiful” tax returns because he is being audited. NPR, among others, checked with various authorities and found there is nothing stopping him from releaseing his IRS form, whether he is being audited or not. Perhaps, he fears the embarrassment of the voters learning he is not such a fabulous and successful businessman after all.

Marco Rubio also caught Trump in being two-faced on immigration. As that WSJ editorial points out, despite his railing about illegal immigrants taking American jobs, he is one of those hiring those illegals.

“According to a New York Times report, some 300 Americans have applied or were referred to work at Mar-a-lago, his private club in Palm Beach, Florida, but 94% were turned down,” the editorial notes. “The resort filled the slots with foreign guest workers. Mr. Trump explained there aren’t enough ‘qualified’ Americans to go around, especially in season, and that without these foreign workers ‘you hurt your business.’ Wait a minute. That’s our argument for immigration reform and more legal immigration. Mr. Trump fails his own immigration test.”

Rubio also challenged Trump on hiring illegal Polish workers for a demolition project in New York and paid a settlement for doing so, but it is under seal. He uses the courts to hide his misdeeds. On stage he just stammered, denied and called everybody in sight liars.

George Will writing in Investor’s Business Daily notes that born-again conservative Trump is really running to the left of Bernie Sanders by promising, without any substance or details, to take care of everybody.

“Donald Trump, unencumbered by any ballast of convictions, would court Bernie Sanders’ disaffected voters with promises to enrich rather than reform the welfare state’s entitlement menu — Trump already says, ‘I am going to take care of everybody’ — and to make America great again by having it cower behind trade barriers,” Will writes.

Train wreck.

 

Poll shows the Democratic presidential race in Nevada is a tie

Bernie and Hillary (AP photo)

Previous polls of likely Nevada Democratic caucus goers showed Hillary Clinton beating out Bernie Sanders by margins of 11.5 and 23 percentage points, but the latest poll by Washington Free Beacon has them tied at 45 points each.

Perhaps the most telling question in the poll is one that asks which candidate is more trustworthy. On this, Sanders bests Clinton 53 to 29 points, with the rest rating them as equal.

Asked if they were concerned that Clinton might be indicted over her use of an unsecure email server, 58 percent said they were not concerned at all.

poll

Who, oh who will the UAW back for president?

The Daily Caller reports that the United Auto Workers union is surveying membership as to which Democratic presidential candidate to endorse, but there reportedly is considerable indecision.

UAW President Dennis Williams told the Detroit Free Press. “I think right now, people are conflicted. I think right now people are watching with interest what the candidates are saying,”

Should they back progressive Hillary are socialist Bernie?

Perhaps they should consider the guy who has been lambasting and boycotting the Oreos cookie maker for expanding its bakeries in Mexico — none other than Donald Trump.

Ford has decided to build a new assembly plant in Mexico, according to The Wall Street Journal today, increasing its Mexico production of vehicles and investing and additional $1 billion there.

It seems the decision comes hard on the heels of a new contract with the UAW that increases wages. The newspaper says salaries in Mexico are one-fifth of those in the U.S. UAW wages are expected to reach nearly $30 an hour in the next few, with wages for some newer employees increasing by $10 an hour.

Assembly line in Mexico (Bloomberg photo via WSJ)

 

 

Editorial: Where the presidential candidates stand on public land issues

Basin and Range National Monument (R-J photo)

With the Nevada presidential caucuses just weeks away we are offering readers a glimpse into the stances of the candidates on a key issue — federal public lands control.

For the Democrats there is not much choice.

Bernie Sanders has not taken a stance on letting states and counties have a greater say in public land use, but he has called for raising grazing fees and prohibiting logging and oil drilling on public land.

Hillary Clinton during a press conference in Las Vegas a couple of months ago said the country should preserve federal public lands and add even more.

“We certainly should not be giving in to this ideological argument from the right that we need to put more public lands into private hands,” she exclaimed. “I don’t agree with that.”

On the Republican side, most have called for some level of privatization of federal lands.

The exception is Donald Trump, who was asked at a gun show in Las Vegas recently about whether he would support relinquishing federal land control to states.

“I don’t like the idea because I want to keep the lands great, and you don’t know what the state is going to do,” he replied. “I mean, are they going to sell if they get into a little bit of trouble? And I don’t think it’s something that should be sold.”

While John Kasich has been silent on the topic all the other Republican candidates have expressed some degree of favor for transferring control to states and/or privatizing.

As a senator from Texas Ted Cruz voted in favor of an amendment to facilitate the transfer of public lands to the states. In 2014 he also offered an amendment to a bill that would have prohibited the federal government from owning more than 50 percent of the land in any state.

Rand Paul has also said federal lands should be transferred to the states. He has met with Bunkerville rancher Cliven Bundy and expressed sympathy for his plight.

“You run into problems now with the federal government being, you know, this bully — this big huge government bully,” Paul has said. As a Kentucky senator he introduced a bill to give states more power under the Endangered Species Act. It failed.

Like both Cruz and Paul, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio supported an amendment to facilitate the transfer and sale of public lands.

He also backed transferring control of federal energy resources to the states. “This common sense bill will empower states to develop our domestic energy resources responsibly and effectively,” Rubio said. “Ensuring states have more authority in our nation’s energy development will help keep energy costs low, create jobs and grow our economy.”

Businesswoman Carly Fiorina in a recent newspaper interview said, “The federal government does a lousy job of managing forests. The private sector does a much better job of managing forests. The federal government controls too much land in this country.”

Retired surgeon Ben Carson also has expressed the need to allow more local control of the lands. “We the people of the United States are the only ones capable of preventing uncontrolled government expansion and abuse,” Carson wrote in a column in the conservative National Review. “Like the ranchers in Nevada, Americans must find the courage and determination to maintain a free and vibrant nation.”

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, during a speech in Nevada, said he favored more development of oil and gas exploration on federal lands. “One of the real challenges in the western states is that energy in those areas is often not able to be explored,” he said.

Huckabee also said something is wrong when the federal government can put “a gun in a citizen’s face and threaten to shoot him” over a cow eating grass.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has called for moving the headquarters of the Interior Department to the West.

“I think these lands have to be managed in a true partnership,” Bush said during a speech in Reno in October, noting that public lands “should be viewed as something that creates economic activity, can create cultural values, create wins for citizens and residents of the West.”

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, while not addressing directly privatization of federal land, has been a strong advocate of privatizing public services such as parks in his state.

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum has supported transferring or privatizing public lands. “We need to get it back into the hands of the states and even to the private sector,” Santorum told an Idaho newspaper. “And we can make money doing it.”

A version of this editorial appeared this past week in many of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel,  Sparks Tribune and the Lincoln County Record. It ran as a column in the Elko Daily Free Press.

Oh great, an election where the choice is the lesser of five evils

Washington-Post-ABC News poll shows Americans have considerable trepidations about all the presidential frontrunners in both parties, but especially for Donald Trump. Fully 69 percent say the idea of a president Trump makes them anxious.

Of the other Republican candidates, 49 percent are anxious about Ted Cruz as president, while 48 percent say the same of Marco Rubio.

 Of the Democratic hopefuls, 51 percent are anxious about Hillary Clinton being president, compared to 43 percent for Bernie Sanders.
In fact, 51 percent are “very anxious” about a Trump presidency:
wapo poll
Can Trump win with those negatives?
Here is the full poll results.