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The Greening of the New Deal

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/10/18/greening-new-deal

This is a dynamite article - the best I have seen on The Green New Deal, and more, a cogent and deadly accurate summary of where we are, exemplified by its closing remark:

"At some point they will perhaps conclude that “yes we can"and the con-man theatrics of a billionaire populist were just two versions of fake news and search for a way out of the lockbox of the neoliberal order."

There is another article in the November edition of the Canadian magazine The Walrus, "We’re Doomed, now What ? by Chris Turner.

In short, he proposes that what we need is more akin to The Marshall Plan following World War Two.

But this article here is so good, I am going to have to re-read it and ponder.

What we do have in this Green New Deal is supporters, such as Cortez and company, and that is no small thing.

I would like to hear the considered opinion of Greta, and I can hardly believe I just said that, but I did, and I would.

I suppose we must all consider whatever we call this a work in progress in The Anthropocene.

We will have to remain flexible - the situation is fluid.

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The “New Deals”, past one or the green one proposed now have many similarities, with the same type of people pushing back against them. If we are lucky enough to put Sanders in office to implement the GND, the history of what FDR experienced during his time in office will become very relevant. Most here know the story of my favorite General of all time, but others don’t, or don’t know the whole story because this history has been scrubbed from the records. Expect the same class of capitalists, in some cases, children of the exact same capitalists, to try something just as radical to maintain their power over the economy as was tried back then. Sadly, I don’t know of a present day Gen. Butler to save us, we must all become him. The story is a little long, but even if you know about it, you might learn something new. And a note, even though they still managed to keep his name out of the story, Prescott Bush (Father and Grandfather to our 2 presidents) was neck deep in this attempt to overthrow our government as anybody


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Totally familiar with Smedley Butler - there is another Marine now - would be interested to know your take on Jim Mattis, and if you have read his book “Callsign CHAOS”, which is very good, but leaves enormous amounts out, hopefully due to the better part of discretion - for example, he does not ever mention General Butler, another Marine.

But Jim Mattis appears to be breaking his period of silence:

PS: And Admiral McRaven has broken his silence too, and has roundly condemned Trump and in fact the White House Administration.

Yes I remember you and I discussing Gen. Butler in the past.
IMO neither of these men are anywhere near the level of Butler, he was what most of us here would describe as a true progressive today, who believed in in this country and the democracy it was supposed to foster. I would hope the two you bring up would follow Butlers lead in the same situation, but when you look at some of the recent actions by them, I’m not so sure. I’m not saying their evil, just don’t think their integrity level is as high.
McRaven, who had said good things as reported in the link you provided, like the US being “The protectors of the less fortunate”. But then later in the piece, we get the old trotted out dog whistle “American Values”, that has too often been used to maintain the status quo. And let’s not forget McRaven was in charge during the so-called Osama Bin Laden raid, that I believe was fabricated. OBL was known to have kidney disease before 9/11, and needed dialysis treatments. In Dec. 2001 it was reported in a back section of the NYT and a paper in Pakistan that he had died from complications to this disease.
Mattis is a real enigma, seems to be enlightened at times, then does or says something to wipe out that enlightenment. A situation that was brought up in his conformation hearing for Sec. of Defense, a situation where he refused to send helo’s to pick-up wounded SF troops in his sector of Iraq, forcing others from another base to medivac them, some saying this delay caused more deaths among the wounded. Then there’s his “Hell of a lot of fun to shoot them” quote in Afghanistan, something you might expect out of a wired out Private, but certainly not a General. The flip side is, he was engaging with the men under his command, and many of them loved him.
I have not read his book, and it should be remembered that most of the situations I bring up above were done in a war setting, not an excuse, just context. As military officers, a distinction they hold for life, I would hope they would uphold their oath to the Constitution, but like in FDR’s day, had they approached Gen MacArthur with the same plan, would we still be a Republic? I’m not so sure.

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Something has to give. The question is how and when. Waiting for a depression or the global collapse of human society is too little too late.

Thanks for your response - much appreciated. Just trying to get a better feel of things, and this helps.

Mattis goes over both those situations you refer to. I was mildly surprised at the ‘fun to shoot them’ quote, which he details in his book, but there is that flip side - and he is nothing if not straightforward and blunt, which has got him into hot water. But this doesn’t bother me, I rather appreciate it, and no one is perfect.

I don’t think it is a coincidence that both Mattis and McRaven are coming out now. I can only hope the Pentagon can restrain themselves.

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While the author does refer to the recession which arose during the New Deal, I am a bit surprised that he does not indicate what actually did end the Great Depression and helped to create a sustained economic boom - a world war

“As if that weren’t bad enough, such an ambitious program focused on enlarging the government’s presence and power [was attacked by the right] of surely open[ing] a highway to communism.”

Walp…actually…at a moment when the Soviet Union did not undergo the worldwide economic depression…and the economic crisis, plus industrial worker organization seemed to support Marx’s predictions…and ‘rugged individualism’ seemed like a bankrupt creed…and, consequently, Communist Party membership spiked…the threat of communism seemed more credible - even though it was that same, fearsome imagination of revolution that made Roosevelt’s meliorist state capitalism more acceptable to some parts of the US ruling class…

…i.e. - during the Great Depression, the prospect of socialism/communism was actually a more plausible idea - whether hope or fear - than it is now…

The same people who consider the Green New Deal “fiscal suicide” have been quick to support 40 years of tax cuts for the rich, running the debt up to its present $22 trillion, from the $908 billion when Reagan took office and the hard right turn began.

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Quote from the article"
“To begin with, the scale of its public investments would dwarf those of the original, which allotted an estimated 13% of the country’s gross domestic product to its public works spending. Green New Deal projects, as now imagined, would probably at least double that.”

That makes no sense. With just normal GDP growth (and it would be much stronger with a GND) cumulative GDP would be about $270 trillion over the next 10 years. The most ambitious plan (Bernie’s) calls for spending $16 trillion over 10 years…that would be less than 6% of GDP.

“This is a dynamite article - the best I have seen on The Green New Deal”

Yes. Note that it’s from TomDispatch - a website with dependably solid, well-supported progressive analysis - typically, as here, by writers with the background to analyze issues in more ‘long-term,’ historical contexts - specializing in somewhat longer pieces than is usual, even in a lot of good progressive journalism.

As to the climate crisis - both green technology and politics - see Vox’s David Roberts - among the best ongoing coverage, imo.

Yes, it was a good article but limited in scope in that he didn’t say a word about the global out-growth from the New Deal, that being the Nordic Model. I have updated my FDR 2nd Bill of Rights page to a link to the “Hate is a disease” page where I discuss the Happiness Report. The Hate page ties in with the New Deal, Green New Deal and exposes what a dramatic shift there would be. It is my hope you that read the “Hate” page as well.

It wasn’t the war which relieved the Great Depression, it was the deficit spending made to finance the war effort that ended the Great Depression, and initiated the economic boom (along with continued deficit spending) that continued through the '50s and largely through to today (along with the periodic recessions that occurred every time “austerity” politics has been injected into economic decision making.
Deficit spending can stimulate inflation, but only when it is misused. So long as the majority of deficit spending is directed at producing concrete value (e.g. infrastructure, housing, healthcare, etc.) there generally isn’t any issue with inflation.

Weren’t WW2 war-time policies not very different from those employed in WW1?

All the innovations associated with the commandeered economy of the second world war, such as a money and credit inflation, price controls, labor controls, priorities, forced savings, rationing and so forth had been current in the first world war.

I would consider the term “commandeered” to be biased and prejudicial, and would consider “well managed” and “well reasoned” to be more accurate descriptions of the public administration of our nation’s economy during this time-frame.

That said:
Given the state of the nation and the relatively short length of time between WWl and WWll, I would have been extremely surprised if there weren’t a lot more similarities between the economic management methodologies of the US Government regarding both WWs than you mention. The primary differences being more a matter of scale and focus, rather than revolutionary or radical economic innovation. The war investment for the US for WWl was roughly 253 Billion dollars (Constant FY2008$) over a roughly 2 year period (126.5B/yr for 2 years), whereas the investment for the US for WWll (2-3 decades later) was in excess of 4.1 Trillion dollars (Constant FY2008) over a roughly 6 year period ($683.3B/yr for 6 years).
The average GNP for the US during WWl was roughly $67B/yr (not adjusted for inflation) so we were investing roughly half of our GNP (~32B in unadjusted ) in the first world war.
The average GNP for the US during WW2 was roughly $141B/yr (not adjusted for inflation) so we were again investing roughly half of a GNP that had more than doubled in the intervening decades.
The US economic actions of WWll were influenced not only by the experience and lessons learned from the economic lessons of WWl, but also greatly incorporated the economic thinking and mechanisms of the New Deal public policies.