Washington State Governor Jay Inslee wants to be President of the United States. If elected, he wants to increase spending by $9 trillion (that’s “t”) by 2030 to fight climate change.

Gov. Inslee’s not exactly a household name, and it shows. The second-term governor is among two dozen declared Democrats who are running for president and he does not register in this crowded field – meaning he’s polling nationally somewhere between zero and 0.8 percent. Even Andrew Yang, another obscurity running for the job, polls better.

Presumably in an effort to break out of the tenths-of-a-percent digits in polling, Gov. Inslee last week unveiled his $9 trillion “Evergreen Economy” plan to transform the country to achieve a promised “net-zero climate pollution before 2045.” This plan follows his initial proposal for “100% clean standards for electricity, new vehicles and new buildings” by 2030, and phasing out coal power by 2035.

According to the plan, there is no need to worry about any economic dislocation, such as the fossil fuel industry being put out of business and the millions of American households standing to lose their employment. Gov. Inslee promises “a comprehensive suite of 28 policy initiatives” that would “put Americans to work in every community” with 8 million new jobs in ten years. These jobs will be created in “clean manufacturing,” “climate-smart infrastructure” and scientific research that will pay “family supporting wages & benefits.”

Gov. Inslee’s plan prints out to 35 pages that outline his 28 initiatives. Within those pages are more bullet points than ornaments on the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center in New York City.

Let’s give Gov. Inslee some credit: while climate change has become dogma for every Democratic candidate running for president, his plan provides more information than the typical vapid media release of promises from politicians. Rather, his plan is a whole booklet of mostly vapid promises, with some program details like expanding and updating the Weatherization Assistance Program and the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

There are two major problems with Gov. Inslee’s “Climate Mission.” First, $9 trillion in additional federal and private sector dollars has to come from somewhere, and there are not enough millionaires and billionaires to come close to paying for this, even if the government confiscated their wealth.

To paraphrase the late Illinois Senator Everett Dirksen, a trillion here, a trillion there – pretty soon it adds up to real money. (Sen. Dirksen actually said “billion” back in the 1960s). With the current federal debt at $22 trillion and growing with existing spending and entitlements, it’s hard to know how much longer this spending-and-debt spree can be sustained. All but a handful of politicians from both parties no longer pretend to care about the national debt, so why should Jay Inslee? However, there is a hard reality to the mathematics of financing debt, which is not unlimited.

Gov. Inslee’s plan also would induce or mandate the private sector to spend money, but that is even more impractical since the private economy can’t print money like the federal government does. American industries also have to compete globally with energy producing countries that will continue to use plentiful, lower-cost fossil fuels.  Since Russia and the Middle East do not share Gov. Inslee’s climate change obsession, they will be more than happy to watch him or some other president pursue it.

There is an even bigger, more alarming problem with Gov. Inslee’s climate plan; that is, what if we spent $9 trillion for something completely unnecessary and impractical?

Throughout the Evergreen Plan, Gov. Inslee assumes its necessity and soundness. “We need a president guided by science,” he said, but he offers none in his plan to justify $9 trillion to attempt to turn the nation’s energy sector and infrastructure inside out. For all his stated commitment to “clean” energy, there also is no mention of nuclear, the cleanest energy in use throughout the world today.

Believing in man-made climate change apparently means never having to prove it. The debate is over, the science is settled, we are constantly told. Gov. Inslee all by himself has started a “Climate Movement” where he claims, “[w]e are the first generation to feel the sting of climate change, and we are the last generation that can do something about it. The science is clear – we have a short period of time to act.” But, nowhere does he reference actual science or explain why there is a “short time” remaining. Instead, we are supposed to believe a politician’s 35 pages of promises to painlessly transform and better our lives for another $9 trillion based on a truism.

An honest look at the science of the climate would throw a lot of cold water on a government takeover of the economy to solve something that may not need fixing – or can’t be fixed. Time and again claims by politicians, activists and government-funded scientists about climate change have been either proven wrong or been worthy of serious skepticism.

Examples that demolish climate myths continue to manifest, mostly recently including the now expanding glaciers in Iceland and Greenland, the real cause of wildfires in California, or how the “greenhouse effect” actually works to impact the earth. The list goes on.

The point is, before we commit to trillions of dollars to any endeavor, especially one proposed by an ambitious politician, a lot more debate and scrutiny is warranted.

Author

  • Peter Murphy, a CFACT analyst, has researched and advocated for a variety of policy issues, including education reform and fiscal policy. He previously wrote and edited The Chalkboard weblog for the New York Charter Schools Association, and has been published in numerous media outlets, including The Hill, New York Post and the Wall Street Journal.