Global warming is an existential threat, and we need to fight it. How? Easy! Mobilize and industrialize the entire economy, like we did the last time we faced an existential threat – World War II.
If you believe that, you might just be a millennial democratic socialist from New York. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who miraculously ousted incumbent Representative Joe Crowley to win the Democratic primary for New York’s 14th congressional district, wants us to be entirely reliant upon renewable energy by 2035. For those wondering how exactly we would accomplish such a feat, don’t worry, she has a plan – based almost entirely on a complete misunderstanding of both history and economics.
During a campaign event, our new favorite socialist claimed not only that global warming is an existential threat, but that the last one we faced was during World War II, as we fought against the Nazis.
It’s interesting how she just ignores the subsequent Soviet threat during the Cold War, never mind the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, when the planet very nearly felt the heat of war between two nuclear superpowers. Talk about man-made climate change! Let us also not forget that a group of people who consider it their religious duty to destroy the United States murdered almost 3,000 civilians on September 11, 2001 – in her home state – about a month before she turned 12.
So these aren’t examples of existential threats, but climate change is? Of course, it’s hardly politically expedient to point out the dangers of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics when you’re running on a socialist platform. And that a progressive is willing to blatantly ignore the many ongoing atrocities from the most pious followers of the “religion of peace” is old news by now.
It’s difficult to pin down exactly which remedial classes Ms. Ocasio-Cortez should have taken first, but it must be immediately clear to anyone who hears her speak that her knowledge on economics and international relations is simply insufficient to justify the bachelor’s degree that Boston University awarded her. And apparently, she’s not doing any better in history.
By her own admission, she’s no geopolitical expert – despite having “international relations” in the name of her degree. She’s hardly an economic genius either, but we’ll leave that roasting in the perfectly capable hands of Liberty Nation’s Andrew Moran. Instead, let’s give Ms. Ocasio-Cortez a much-needed lesson in history.
The New, New, New Deal
For starters, the United States didn’t enter World War II because the Nazis declared us their enemies. Despite President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s desire to get involved, there was a nationwide reluctance to – once again – engage in a massive war half way around the world. It wasn’t until Japan launched a sneak attack on our fleet at Pearl Harbor that we entered the war – and even that might have been the president’s fault.
She’s hardly an economic genius either.
Each time Japan took aggressive bites out of Asia or the Pacific, Roosevelt had the U.S. take some sort of action against it. In the summer of 1941, Japan invaded southern Indochina, and the Roosevelt administration froze all Japanese assets in the U.S. Then, in December of that year, Japan tried to destroy our Navy.
On the European front, Roosevelt chipped away at the Neutrality Acts that kept us out of the war, winning more opportunities to give military aid to Britain and France. By 1941, Britain had the use of U.S. destroyers, could buy weapons from us, and had naval escorts of American ships that could fire on German subs on sight. We were at war with Germany in all but name. It should have surprised no one that Germany and Italy officially declared war against us just three days after we declared it on Japan.
That’s not to say that the Axis powers attempting to swallow up the world were the good guys in this story – only that the U.S. didn’t enter the war, as Ocasio-Cortez proposes, because the Nazis named us as their enemies.
Ms. Ocasio-Cortez calls her economic plan – in short, raise taxes and force businesses to work on renewable energy solutions – The Green New Deal. She compared it to FDR’s New Deal in an interview with The Young Turks, and seems to believe that the New Deal policies “mobilized the economy around war.”
Astounding as it may be that a socialist student of economics and politics running for Congress could possibly be unfamiliar with Franklin D. Roosevelt, she somehow missed the fact that the New Deal was his attempt to fix the Depression. The mobilization of the economy, as she put it, to prepare the United States for a world war came later, and actually rendered some of FDR’s previous policies moot.
Even if she got everything else right, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is terribly mistaken about the nature of the beast she calls a mobilized economy. She seems to think that if we all could just focus on renewable energy, the world would be a better place. But let’s not forget the damage done by the economic mobilization for war.
The federal budget grew from $8.9 billion in 1939 to more than $95 billion in 1945. The entire war cost around $300 billion. To pay for it, in addition to the roughly $186 billion in war bonds people bought, we had the “Victory Tax” in 1942: A sharp increase in income tax and the beginning of such taxes being withheld directly from the paycheck.
Manufacturers across the nation focused almost exclusively on war preparation, and the people suffered for it. The automobile industry ceased production of civilian vehicles to churn out military equipment. Americans found themselves short on even basic items, like meat, coffee, sugar, gasoline, shoes, etc. In 1942, all of those items were officially rationed by the government. To save on material for uniforms and such, skirts and dresses got shorter, and men’s suits lost the vests, pockets, and cuffs they once featured.
FDR and his administration deserve some credit for winning the war, of course, but they also gave us government rationing, the draft, Japanese Americans in internment camps, and a much higher income tax – which was and is still withheld from our paychecks. That doesn’t account for the over 400,000 Americans who lost their lives fighting, or the untold millions more who grieved that loss.
Such willful ignorance is bad enough coming from a random person on the streets, but this is worse. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is a college graduate running for Congress. Let us pray the “future of the Democratic Party” isn’t the future of our nation.