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Without ‘bold’ funding strategies, Green New Deal likely to fade

Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey released an outline defining their Green New Deal on Thursday.

Elizabeth Sanders

Elizabeth Sanders

Professor of Government

Elizabeth Sanders, professor of government at Cornell University who studies American political development, says a Green New Deal could succeed, but will likely dissipate without risk-takers and creative funding solutions.

Sanders says:

"Several prominent Democrats are speaking unabashedly about raising taxes to fund a Green New Deal, but the billionaire class of Democratic donors who backed Obama and Clinton will resist that. One way around their opposition, of course, is to return to the public funding system abandoned by Barack Obama when he decided to turn instead to Wall Street for his 2008-12 campaigns, a decision continued by Hillary Clinton in 2016. The Democrats could also work hard to repeal the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision as a part of reinvigorating small donations.

"Many 2018 Democratic progressives would support these moves. But one must go farther to fund expensive new health, education, and infrastructure projects when the U.S. debt level is already quite high.

"Logical places to look for additional funds would be in the Defense Budget, which is huge. But military cuts might be hard for Democrats intent on opposing all of Donald Trump’s foreign policy, including withdrawal from Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. Cutting health care costs with new drug, fee-for service, and hospital pricing regimes will also raise hackles from powerful interests, but in his State of the Union speech, the president endorsed lower drug prices and other, unspecified measures to cut health care costs.

"The central purpose of the Green New Deal is to create an agenda that can build a working class-middle class coalition based on real economic and environmental benefits, avoiding a divisive program centered on identity issues like immigration and abortion rights. But without bold fundraising initiatives, and taking on risks with well-healed former allies, chances for a new New Deal will probably fade."

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