On April 18, 2019, Ice Cream company Ben & Jerry’s endorsed the Green New Deal.
The renowned food company made a statement declaring that the world is “facing an unprecedented crisis.” Inspiring a sense of urgency, the company said society has “to act now” to rescue capitalism by supporting the Green New Deal.
Rolled out by the popular freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Green New Deal effectively calls for the decarbonization of the America economy. To achieve this goal, carbon taxes, infrastructure investments, and subsidies that encourage the use of alternative energy sources are all a part of the program.
All of this is done to not only protect the environment but also ensure the creation of “millions of good, high-wage jobs.” There is nothing wrong with the end goal per se. However, the key question we must ask is how do we achieve this? In the Green New Deal’s case, this involves government. For those of us who want continuous prosperity, this is frankly a non-starter.
The government cannot magically conjure up higher wages through laws and regulations. Wealth creation is facilitated through the accumulation of capital. When people are free to save, invest, and build businesses in a peaceful manner, economic productivity and the standard of living rises.
However, taxes, subsidies, and regulation distort and shackle the economy, thus keeping it from reaching the goal of increased prosperity. Additionally, environmental protection and economic development are not mutually exclusive. The most economically prosperous societies are often the cleanest societies.
In fact, forest areas in the United Kingdom have tripled since 1919. Economic growth allows for more people to finance conservation projects and keep the environment pristine for future generations to come.
But why do companies like Ben & Jerry’s insist on embracing big government? Often times, it’s not the most rabid socialist intellectuals nor the journalists that are the biggest threats to capitalism, but rather the rich capitalists themselves. Established companies like Ben & Jerry’s have the luxury of advocating for economically detrimental policies like the Green New Deal.
The story of crony capitalism is one of the big corporations using cumbersome regulations to hamstring their competition. Even if companies like Ben & Jerry’s lose out on some profits, they are still able to keep their piece of the pie thanks well-established market position.
But for the countless small and medium-sized companies out there, embracing policies like the Green New Deal is suicidal. They simply cannot shoulder the costs of regulatory compliance. Wishful political thinking can never outrun the everyday realities of running a business. For many humble business owners, more regulation will assure their business’s demise.
Capitalism does not need to be rescued, rather it needs to be restored. In the eternal words of President Calvin Coolidge, people need to think less about what the government should be doing, and instead, “give their time and attention more undividedly about the conduct of the private business of the country.”
When push comes to shove, the Green New Deal only guarantees economic stagnation and further cements government control over our lives just like its 20th-century predecessor.