Study: Green New Deal Would Cost Up to $94 Trillion

Sen. Barrasso: 'Green New Deal would bankrupt the nation'

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez / Getty Images
February 25, 2019

The "Green New Deal" would cost up to $94.4 trillion, or over $600,000 per household in the United States, according to a new study.

The American Action Forum study offers a conservative estimate of the costs of providing every resident in the country a federal job with benefits, "adequate" housing, "healthy food," and health care.

Though Democratic socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's (D., N.Y.) plan is vague on specifics, it calls for the "economic transformation" of the United States, a complete overhaul of transportation systems, and retrofitting every single building. A supplemental document explaining the plan, since deleted from her website after it was widely mocked on social media, called for economic security for everyone, even those "unwilling to work," the elimination of air travel, and "farting cows."

However, the American Action Forum was able to calculate estimates for several items the plan does propose, including guaranteed green housing, universal health care, and food security. Estimates of specific goals identified in the Green New Deal would cost each household in America between $36,100 and $65,300 every year.

"The American Action Forum's analysis shows that the Green New Deal would bankrupt the nation," said Sen. John Barrasso (R., Wyo.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

"On the upper end, every American household would have to pay $65,000 per year to foot the bill," he said. "The total price tag would be $93 trillion over 10 years. That is roughly four times the value of all Fortune 500 companies combined. That's no deal."

Barrasso said the focus should be on innovation, rather than costly federal programs.

"Instead, we should promote innovation to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Promising new technologies like advanced nuclear power, carbon capture, and carbon utilization hold the key to significant emissions reductions," he said. "We can lower our emissions without crashing our economy."

The United States is already leading the world in carbon emissions reduction. The first year of the Trump administration emissions were reduced by 2.7 percent.

The American Action Forum calculated guaranteed green housing would cost between $1.6 trillion and $4.2 trillion; a federal jobs guarantee between $6.8 trillion and $44.6 trillion; a net zero emissions transportation system between $1.3 trillion and $2.7 trillion; a low-carbon electricity grid for $5.4 trillion; and "food security" for $1.5 billion.

Enough high-speed rail "to make air travel unnecessary," would cost roughly $1.1 to $2.5 trillion. Universal Health Care, or a Medicare-for-all type plan, would cost $36 trillion over 10 years, totaling $260,000 per household in the United States.

Many of the figures are conservative estimates. For instance, researchers assumed obtaining a low-carbon electricity grid would require no new construction of transmission assets, when in actuality, such a grid would require new infrastructure.

"The Green New Deal is clearly very expensive," the American Action Forum said. "Its further expansion of the federal government's role in some of the most basic decisions of daily life, however, would likely have a more lasting and damaging impact than its enormous price tag."

In all, the plan would cost between $52.6 trillion and $94.4 trillion, over 10 years. The burden to the taxpayer would amount to between $361,010 and $653,010 for each household over 10 years.

Electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket under such a plan. Barrasso's office previously calculated the Green New Deal would increase electric bills by up to $3,800 per year.

Taking the lead of Ocasio-Cortez, who recently suggested people should stop reproducing because climate change will end the world in 12 years, Democratic 2020 hopefuls have lined up to endorse the Green New Deal.

Sen. Cory Booker (D., N.J.) has said the planet "simply can't sustain" people eating meat, and compared the Green New Deal to landing on the moon and fighting World War II.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) called the Green New Deal "practical," during an interview Sunday, adding "of course we can afford" the plan because climate change is "an existential threat to us."

"It's not about a cost," Harris said. "It's about an investment."