Opinion Why AOC's crazy plan for a ‘Civilian Climate Corps’ could soon become reality
Civilian Climate Corps can help stem rural-urban divide
President Biden’s Infrastructure Plan includes a $10 billion proposal to create a Civilian Climate Corps.The new corps could take many forms, including work crews for national forests and parks, planning assistance for cities and counties, electric vehicle charger installers, and the like. It could - and should - also help bridge some of the urban-rural divide that currently runs through much of the country and virtually every state and defines a good deal of our politics and climate debate. In California, at the University of California, Berkeley, we run an AmeriCorps program called GrizzlyCorps that could provide a transformative model.
The liberal darling and self-described socialist, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, proposes too many hair-brained big government schemes for most of us to keep up with.
However, her latest hobby horse, a "Civilian Climate Corps," could soon become reality. For that reason, we need to understand just how absurd it really is.
Alongside liberal Sen. Ed Markey, the congresswoman isthat the federal government hire 1.5 million people to "reduce carbon emissions, enable a transition to renewable energy, build healthier and more resilient communities, implement conservation projects with proven climate benefits, and help communities recover from climate disasters." It would spend $10 billion in taxpayer money on these jobs, which would last up to 5 years, pay $15 an hour, and come with healthcare benefits. So, too, the initiative would reserve large portions of the funding for "environmental justice."
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Syringa trees rise out of the Kalahari sand in the wild expanse of Kavango East, as the humid heat warns of afternoon showers. It's easy to imagine this place has looked the same for a hundred years. © CNN Tom Alweendo, Namibia's Minister of Mining and Energy. Except, that is, for the road. Recently widened, graded and ramrod straight, new roads like this mean change is coming.Carved out of the trees and surrounded by a chain-link fence, that change comes as a shock: a giant oil rig towers above these flat lands, dwarfing the trees.
And it’s not just a pipe dream. President Joe Biden. The craziness has White House support. This makes its implementation much more feasible than if it was just wish-casting from a few liberal legislators. That should alarm taxpayers.
The goals of a "Civilian Climate Corps" are three-fold: Use government spending to create well-paid jobs, grow the economy, and improve the condition of the environment. In reality, the Corps would most result in a wasteful reallocation of resources to unproductive government make-work schemes.
The entire premise of the plan is based on shoddy economic thinking. The idea that government spending can "create" jobs is itself misleading.
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"Jobs created by government spending are what is seen," Brian Summersfor the Foundation for Economic Education. (Where I work). "However, they are only one side of the coin. The other side is the jobs that would have been created by private spending and investment if taxes weren’t so high. These jobs that government spending destroyed are what is not seen."
Because the government cannot create resources out of thin air, the 1.5 million jobs "created" will ultimately mean jobs never come into existence elsewhere. What differentiates the two kinds of jobs?
Well, the private jobs created would have been created through market investment. Those prospective jobs would have ended up in whatever industries and sectors were most in-demand because those sectors would offer the highest potential profit. In that way, these jobs would efficiently meet society’s collective needs.
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As other nations rise to the challenge and intend to meet ambitious targets set by President Joe Biden for 2030, Australia's prime minister missed his opportunity to show the world that Australia is serious when it comes to combating climate change. If only Australians voted leaders in on their policies beyond the next election. Next year may be our chance to elect someone who is serious about addressing climate change. Cat Woods is a freelance writer based in Australia. She writes on art, culture and travel for international publications, and regularly writes on music for both U.S. and Australian publications.
However, with Ocasio-Cortez's make-work scheme, workers are assigned based on politics and whim, not concrete demand or economic incentives. Thus, there’s no reason to think that they’ll end up doing anything useful — or doing it in an efficient manner. The Soviet Union should have taught us this lesson.
Moreover, there’s no value in just creating jobs for creating jobs sake. If that were true, we could simply build roads with shovels instead of construction equipment.
But even if the program wouldn’t actually benefit the economy, it would at least help the environment, right? Not necessarily.
Sometimes, the results of government "green" investment are so bad that they don’t even accomplish their environmental ends. For a, consider the $515 million loan guarantee that the Obama administration gave to Solyndra, a solar energy start-up that quickly went bankrupt.
Moreover, economic growth is ultimately what leads to. It's that past a certain point, societies value the environment more as they get richer. Why?
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Well, environmentalism is a luxury that starving citizens of third-world countries, frankly, don’t have time to care about. To a lesser extent, the same holds true for poorer citizens in first-world countries who live paycheck-to-paycheck. But in wealthy nations, the better off the citizens become, the more they prioritize environmental concerns and conservation efforts, and the more willing they become to make personal sacrifices to improve the environment.
So, by distorting and slowing economic growth, Ocasio-Cortez’s hair-brained scheme for a "Civilian Climate Corps" would likely do more harm than good on all counts. And surely we can find a better use for $10 billion in taxpayer money than indulging liberal "Green New Deal" fantasies.
Brad Polumbo () is a Washington Examiner contributor and host of the
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Reporter who saw Marjorie Taylor Greene chase AOC through Congress said she was definitely screaming, which Greene tried to deny .
Greene claimed she was just "talking" to Ocasio-Cortez, a suggestion knocked back by Jacqueline Alemany of The Washington Post, who was there.Greene has denied that she was screaming during an ugly encounter outside the House Chamber, during which per The Washington Post's reporting she pursued Ocasio-Cortez while yelling.