The Green New Deal: Any way to pay for it?

In my last column, I wrote about the Green New Deal after I attended a speaker hosted by Westshore FaCT. I attended the next speaker in the series on Jan. 7 about how to pay for it. The speaker was Raul Carrillo, a research fellow at the Global Institute for Sustainable Prosperity and is a graduate of Harvard College and Columbia Law School.

As I had not yet researched funding for the Green New Deal, I went into the session with a completely open mind other than knowing the Green New Deal is a radical plan that requires billions of dollars. What I learned during the speech was completely new information to me.

Before you read on, I want to remind you that I am not an economist, and I never pretend to be one! I also want you to know that my hope is that this column will inspire you to research this issue on your own. I do not want to influence anyone’s opinion about this issue; I would like to simply introduce you to this idea as it is worth your time to understand it better.

When you Google “how to pay for the Green New Deal,” a lot of articles pop up, and as you scan them you will find that many are from reliable sources including Forbes and NPR. I urge you to read those first.

As you read through the articles, you will note a common phrase, the MMT or Modern Monetary Theory. MMT is what is being proposed as a way that the Green New Deal can be paid for. Essentially, the theory states that Congress will authorize the spending necessary for the GND, and the program will eventually pay for itself through the economic growth it inspires. Millions of jobs in renewable energy will be created, which will generate income and tax revenues back to the government that will essentially enable it to pay for itself.  

Please keep in mind that my explanation is extremely over-simplified. After reading about it and watching a couple videos, that was the best I could do to explain it in my column. MMT is a lot more complicated than that, and I do not feel qualified to try to explain it further unless I just went ahead and plagiarized articles. I’m not inclined to do that as I’m assuming you all have access to the internet and therefore all of the information you could possibly want to learn about the MMT!

Is MMT a departure from traditional macroeconomics? Yep. Is it worth your time to research MMT and read differing opinions about it? You bet. This theory will most likely gain more and more attention as the climate crisis deepens and radical actions may be required.

It is also my opinion that the more people familiarize and educate themselves with the Green New Deal and other ideas about how to pay for it, the more likely it will be for the country to make the required changes regarding carbon emissions.  

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Volume 12, Issue 2, Posted 9:49 AM, 01.21.2020