The Heritage Foundation, a once proud bastion of conservative thought, is now resorting to absurd historical revisionism and mentions of “Nazi Germany” to attack needed progressive policies. Heritage blogger Nick Loris responds to the United Nations Environmental Program’s Green Economy Initiative and the Center for American Progress’s Green Recovery program with this absurd rant:
The United Nations is proposing an environmental ‘New Deal’ that would “be similar to Franklin D Roosevelt’s New Deal which helped the US recover from the Great Depression of the 1930s.”
First, the reality is that FDR’s New Deal did not help the U.S. recover from the Great Depression but simply made things worse. Second, the only thing a green ‘New Deal’ will do is lead us down a Green Road to Serfdom. (Nobel Laureate Friedrich Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom is a telling portrayal of what collectivism in the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany can lead to: impoverishment and oppression of freedom.)
In fact, economists broadly agree stimulative government spending is necessary to prevent a further collapse of the global economic system — just as the New Deal and the deficit spending of World War II restored the health of the global economy in the last century.
Scientists are warning with increasing stridency that carbon emissions must be drastically curbed to prevent a collapse of the world’s climate system. Instead of recognizing the real threat of the climate crisis, Loris writes, “The threat of climate change legislation is very real and very scary.”
Loris’s charge of Nazi-Soviet “collectivism” is utterly bizarre. The U.N.’s Green Economic Initative is a mainstream capitalist effort, with research overseen by Pavan Sukdhev, a top investment banker and self-described “total capitalist.” Its press release celebrates venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins, public-private partnerships, and growth of international markets. CAP’s Green Recovery program primarily uses tax credits and federal loans to spur private investment, as well as investment in a 21st-century public infrastructure.
A cap and trade system to limit greenhouse pollution would correct what economist Sir Nicholas Stern called “the greatest market failure in history” — the failure to put a price on the pollution that is causing global warming. The fossil fuel industry is energy- and capital-intense, but creates few jobs. Despite Loris’s baseless claims that “taxing and spending does not create wealth,” moving to a green economy will in fact generate more jobs and greater economic growth, as California’s green economy has proven.
The Heritage Foundation is sliding into irrelevance. The last eight years of conservative misrule in Washington have demonstrated convincingly the failure of the right-wing policies it heralds. By all logic, preserving the planet from runaway global warming and restoring the health of the international free-market economy should be conservative ideals. Instead, they’re spending their time and money promoting puerile YouTube videos.