NY Q&A: Is the Green New Deal Really Green?

By Stuart Liess, Epoch Times
February 18, 2019 Updated: February 22, 2019

The Green New Deal, an ambitious proposal by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), aims for the United States to be 100 percent greenhouse gas-neutral in 10 years, and also to completely change the way we live.

The proposal mentions plans to refurbish or replace all housing in the country, ban internal-combustion engine cars or cars altogether, limit or replace air travel with high-speed rail transportation, move away from nuclear energy, and rid the manufacturing and agriculture industry of affordable energy. On top of that, it promises to provide jobs, health care, and housing for all Americans, including handouts for those “unwilling to work.”

With an estimated cost of $13 trillion—three times more than the 2018 fiscal budget—it has received a mixed response among members of Congress.

The Epoch Times took to the streets of New York to ask people for their thoughts on the controversial new deal.

Michael Pospis in New York on Feb. 15, 2019. (Stuart Liess/The Epoch Times)

Michael Pospis, lawyer

It’s a lot of goals, a lot of objectives, which is a good thing, but not much substance in terms of how those goals are going to be achieved.

I read the resolution, but don’t know what the actual legislation would look like.

I’m not sure if they are talking about completely getting rid of air travel, but significantly reducing air travel would be difficult, especially in our current society.

Refurbishing or replacing buildings, that’s wildly optimistic. I don’t think that’s even in the realm of possibility or feasibility. I’m not even sure what that means. Look around you. In a stone’s throw, there’s probably 200-300 buildings.

Handouts for those unwilling to work—that’s absurd. When it comes down to it, nobody except movie stars really wants to work.

There’s a lot to unpack with all this, but the fact is that the price of living in a modern technological society is a dependence on fossil fuels, for better or for worse.

A lot of people talk about science, and science is important to address. But with this issue, you can’t really talk about it in terms of pure science because there are other factors. I have an engineering background, so I think it needs to be discussed in terms of applied science and engineering. Because when you talk about this, you’re necessarily talking about eliminating, modifying, or building infrastructure and you can’t talk about science in the abstract. You have to talk about its application—specifically, feasibility and cost.

You can’t talk about modifying existing infrastructure without addressing how it’s going to be paid for.

You can talk about building a solar power plant on the moon and transmitting it to earth. That sounds interesting, but if it’ll cost far beyond what the global economy can support, does it really make sense to keep talking about it?

I think a lot of the Green New Deal isn’t grounded in reality. I think they need to go back and look at the details.

Peter in New York on Feb. 15, 2019. (Stuart Liess/The Epoch Times)

Peter, 42, market seller

A lot of people’s taxes are higher already. They’re going to have more crime, more everything.

I think they have to come up with another plan. We can’t make ends meet already, then they’re gonna triple taxes.

The thing I can’t understand is, you’re telling people it’s OK not to work, and then the person who’s willing to work, you’re not paying them enough. That’s one way of looking at it.

Jason and Heather in New York on Feb. 15, 2019. (Stuart Liess/The Epoch Times)

Jason, business owner
Heather, health care

Heather: Absolutely no. I don’t think it’s achievable, it’ll never happen.

Jason: It aims to change the way of life for everyone as we know it. You have to weigh the pros with the cons, the world is what it is right now and we’ve evolved to that. We’ve made our bed and we have to lie in it.

Heather: It’s going to be very expensive to do, a lot of people can’t afford that. Those electrical cars are really nice but they don’t make them affordable.

Jason: People are too set in their ways.

You can go to college and take risks, people start businesses for risks. If they fail, it’s not the people that are getting benefits. We don’t get benefits if we fail at our business; we take a risk, and either reap the benefit or not.

If I want to donate my own money, then great, that’s my own prerogative, not the government’s.

Chips in New York on Feb. 15, 2019. (Stuart Liess/The Epoch Times)

Chips, 24, construction

It’s crazy. These are things we use throughout the day, and to just take them away? That’s kind of weird because, being used to the stuff I’m going through, I don’t want any new deal.

I don’t like that.

Where is the money going to come from?

Andrew Foley in New York on Feb. 15, 2019. (Stuart Liess/The Epoch Times)

Andrew Foley, 37, real estate

I haven’t gotten to the details yet but I’m excited about it. We need a big vision, so I support the thinking.

I hadn’t heard about the replacement of cars and planes, that’s interesting, I haven’t owned a car in almost 10 years; if there was a faster way of getting from Point A to Point B, then I’d be all for that, too.

I support it. I think there’s pretty good evidence that there would be a good return on investment on infrastructure. I assume you’d get that back in jobs and wages.

Drake and Trinity in New York on Feb. 15, 2019. (Stuart Liess/The Epoch Times)

Drake and Trinity, 19, students

I don’t think I like that. It doesn’t sound very logical.


All interviews edited for clarity and brevity.