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End the duopoly

Balancing the Books on Climate Change

In the early spring of 2019 , when the economy was strong and people mainly wore masks to rob banks, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took to the Senate floor to decry the Green New Deal.

The resolutions New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Massachusetts Democrat Sen. Ed Markey had introduced in their respective legislative bodies hadn’t detailed specific policy remedies. But McConnell claimed to know enough about it to price it: $93 trillion over 10 years.

“Just how much of other people’s money are Democrats proposing to burn,” he asked, “in this effort to turn the country into a far-left fiction novel?”

McConnell’s number came from Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former Congressional Budget Office Director under President George W. Bush, and now president of the American Action Forum, a conservative think tank.

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It’s a high estimate, factoring in $44 trillion over the decade for guaranteed jobs and $36 trillion for universal health care, both of which are stated ideals of the proposal but not directly climate-related.

Holtz-Eakin’s analysis also overlooks the parts that would save people money: He wants to know, for instance, why energy-efficiency retrofits of buildings matter in a wind-and-solar powered world, neglecting the obvious point that efficiency reduces demand, which […]

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