Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke claims to believe that “climate change is the greatest threat we face.” So why is he proposing such a paltry response to this supposedly existential threat?
Freshman democratic-socialist Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) claims that “the world is going to end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change.” Beto clearly shares her hyperbolic sense of urgency, but he one-upped her on the estimate, saying we only have 10 years left to avert catastrophe.
I’m just grateful I’m still alive, because when I was a college student in the early 70’s, we only had 10 years left. That was 46 years ago. It must really mess up their day to find out not only am I still here, but I’ve lived long enough to see them reset the 10 year clock.
“We have one last chance to unleash the ingenuity and political will of hundreds of millions of Americans to meet this moment before it’s too late,” O’Rourke said in a statement accompanying the release of his $5 trillion plan for fighting climate change.
Okay, but if this really is our “one last chance” to stop climate change, then isn’t $5 trillion over the next 10 years a bit … miserly? AOC’s “Green New Deal,” in comparison, calls for the federal government to spend a whopping $93 trillion over the same timespan.
Beto is obviously trying to split the climate change baby by suggesting a plan with a less mind-boggling — albeit still enormous — price tag. It’s possible that he has finally found the issue that can unite our country’s warring political tribes, but certainly not in the way he hopes.
Just about everybody can find something to hate in Beto’s climate plan.
Opponents of government intervention, of course, will hardly be mollified by the fact that Beto’s plan “only” costs $5 trillion, especially once they dig into the details. In addition to direct federal spending, Beto’s plan envisions a slew of job-killing regulations that will undoubtedly place a severe economic burden on the country.
To finance his scheme, for instance, Beto wants to hike taxes on “corporations and the wealthiest among us.” As we’ve seen with the “wealth tax” proposed by Senator Elizabeth Warren, who is among Beto’s many competitors for the Democratic presidential nomination, taxing the rich — even at punitive rates — doesn’t generate nearly enough revenue to pay for the expensive policies liberals are proposing. Even adding together all the tax hikes that various Democrats are demanding would only yield about 80 percent of the money Beto needs to fund his plan, and that’s without even accounting for the lost economic productivity that results from confiscatory tax rates.
Other elements of Beto’s plan are just plain laughable, such as his assertion that he can reduce the frequency of car crashes through nebulously-defined “transportation grants,” or that setting stricter efficiency standards for vehicles, buildings, and appliances will somehow “save consumers money” despite the costs of upgrading to new technologies.
It’s not just conservatives who will recoil from Beto’s plan, though. Climate activists are already saying they’re unimpressed with such a paltry spending commitment, especially from someone who purports to share their belief that climate change threatens the very survival of our species.
The “Sunrise Movement,” which came to prominence when AOC attended the climate group’s sit-in at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office earlier this year, blasted Beto for the proposal, particularly its goal of achieving “net-zero” carbon emissions by 2050 rather than 2030, which is the goal of the Green New Deal. Having just heard Beto say in a rally that we only have 10 years left, I’m perplexed why he would be calling for a plan that doesn’t get to “net-zero” carbon until 20 years after we’ve all become avocado toast.
“Unfortunately, Beto gets the science wrong and walks back his commitments from earlier this month in Iowa to move to net-zero emissions by 2030,” the Sunrise Movement said in a statement. “Beto claims to support the Green New Deal, but his plan is out of line with the timeline it lays out and the scale of action that scientists say is necessary to take here in the United States to give our generation a livable future.”
If Beto really believes in the apocalyptic rhetoric of climate radicals such as AOC and the Sunrise Movement, then his $5 trillion climate plan suggests that he only cares about future generations about 1/20th as much as AOC.
Robert Francis O’Rourke had better determine which side he’s on before it’s too late. Does he side with the fringe, or with the fringe’s fringe? As with most politicians, Beto is already trying to have it both ways.
Mike Huckabee was the 44th governor of Arkansas and a 2016 Republican candidate for president. He is currently host of “Huckabee” on TBN. He wrote this op-ed exclusively for Florid Daily.