MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes cited a potential $800 billion in proposed economic stimulus money as proof the United States could afford a Green New Deal that would cost tens of trillions of dollars.
"BREAKING: We can, of course, afford a Green New Deal. That's been true all along," Hayes tweeted, linking to a report that President Donald Trump will ask Congress for an $800 billion stimulus package to respond to the coronavirus.
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BREAKING: We can, of course, afford a Green New Deal. That’s been true all along. https://t.co/NRsOLF87H1
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) March 17, 2020
What would constitute a Green New Deal varies among Democratic politicians and pundits, but it generally refers to a proposed package of legislation for combating climate change. A version floated by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D., Mass.) last year carried one estimated price tag of $94 trillion and called for an "economic transformation," a complete overhaul of transportation systems, and retrofitting every building in the United States. In comparison, an $800 billion economic stimulus would account for 0.85 percent of the cost of Ocasio-Cortez and Markey's proposed legislation.
Various Democratic presidential candidates have proposed their own version of the Green New Deal. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) went on Hayes's show in August to discuss his Green New Deal, which calls for $16.3 trillion in spending to move the United States to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030 and completely decarbonize by 2050. Primary rival Joe Biden's plan would cost $1.7 trillion.
MSNBC was the home of another recent misadventure in math.
On March 5, the 11th Hour with Brian Williams aired a tweet claiming former Democratic candidate Michael Bloomberg's $500 million in campaign spending could have provided every American with $1 million apiece. In reality, he could have given them less than two dollars each, but anchor Brian Williams and New York Times editorial board member Mara Gay marveled at the false statistic.
"It's an incredible way of putting it," Gay said. "It's true. It's disturbing."