Velshi Dismisses Cost of Green New Deal: It's Kind of Ridiculous When We're Wrecking the Earth

March 13, 2019

MSNBC host Ali Velshi on Wednesday came to the defense of the Green New Deal and pushed back against critics who believe that it would cost tens of trillions of dollars.

Velshi brought on New Consensus Policy Director Rhiana Gunn-Wright, who helped develop the resolution to combat climate change, to discuss some of the concerns that critics have about the environmental plan. He began by asking her to address the the people who don't know how much the Green New Deal will cost or believe it will cost too much money.

The Green New Deal is a 14-page economic stimulus resolution that was released last month by self-described democratic socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D., Mass.) that aims to fight income inequality and climate change. The American Action Forum study offered an estimate last month of  the Green New Deal costing up to $94.4 trillion, or over $600,000 per household in the United States.

"Well, my answer to that is that we are really early in the process. The resolution itself says that the Green New Deal has to be developed by Democratic and participatory processes, so my answer to that is just hold on," Gunn-Wright said. "There will be policy and policy details coming that can be scored and we can have this conversation later. Right now the focus really needs to be on what are the policies that are gonna allow us to decarbonize and also reduce iniquity and inequality in our economy."

Velshi followed up by asking whether she was concerned about people putting price tags on the Green New Deal before all the policy proposals were released, which appeared to be an attempt to sow doubt about reports estimating the cost of the Green New Deal. One of the reports he cited was a Bloomberg op-ed that estimated it would cost roughly $6.6 trillion per year.

"I hate estimates that don't have anything on the benefits side of the equation including the fact that maybe we'll save Planet Earth for our children or grandchildren and as Mastercard would say, that's 'priceless.'" Velshi said.

One of Gunn-Wright's responses revolved around how much money she believes the Green New Deal would save, which she says would include market mechanisms. She claims that the  United States would save $5 trillion and the economy would grow 2.5 times.

"But we live in a world where people do that math, right? So what do we do? Because I want to be able to-- people tell me this all the time 'This is ridiculous. it's going to cost us so much money' and I say, 'It's kind of ridiculous that we're wrecking the Earth,' but they want the math," Velshi said.

Gun-Wright said the math will come once the Green New Deal policy is "ready" and that they plan on releasing their policy proposal by early 2020.

"As smaller things roll out, which New Consensus does plan to do, we can cost that when there are policy details are on the table, so I tell people right now to wait and if they don't want to wait, look at information that is calculating right now how much decarbonization will save," Gunn-Wright said.