The growing movement for the federal government to take the lead in effecting policies that will negate the effects of both economic inequality and climate change has been incorporated into what is being referred to as the Green New Deal.
Our U.S. Sen., Edward J. Markey, is among those who is spearheading the legislation, along with newly elected Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York.
The key features of the Green New Deal are both economic and environmental.
Health insurance for all Americans, job creation, and the expansion of the safety net are among the highlights of the economic aspect of the proposal.
On the environmental front, the goal is for the United States to become carbon-neutral within 10 years.
Both aspects of the proposal will face opposition in Congress from Republicans. The economic aspects will require raising taxes on the wealthy, which essentially would repeal the tax cuts approved by the GOP Congress last year.
The environmental goals will face a fierce fight from the energy industry and other business groups.
The Green New Deal seeks to address what we believe are the two great existential threats both to the American way of life and America itself :
First, that we are becoming a plutocracy — a government of the rich, for the rich, and by the rich.
Second, that climate change will wreak environmental and economic havoc on our nation with catastrophic consequences unless we take immediate steps to reverse its effects before they reach a tipping point from which we cannot escape.
Some may call the Green New Deal a pie-in-the-sky idea. But the reality is that unless we do something — and soon — about the growing concentration of wealth in the hands of a few and the imminent threat of climate change, the future of America (and the world) is grim.