What it means to THINK THE VOTE

// The importance of civic discourse

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Q: Should there be a federal law requiring a candidate for president to release his or her tax returns?

yes

“The Federal Government should feel compelled to implement the Green New Deal, as climate change itself has been recognised as a key issue in past administrations, and continuing to promote the use of fossil fuels will ultimately be just as costly as investing in this program. Furthermore, the Green New Deal offers solutions to many of the nation’s problems beyond environmental impacts, as implementing the plan could result in: a reduction in pollution,a limiting on fossil fuel dependency, and, economically, the reduction of unemployment. Specifically, the Green New Deal could limit pollution, as it would severely limit the release of greenhouse gases from industrial plants, thus improving air quality in many urban areas. Likewise, the Green New Deal could also benefit the scientific community, as it would prompt breakthroughs in alternative energy and limit our nation’s dependency on finite fossil fuels, in turn, creating a more sustainable nation. Moreover, the Green New deal could curb unemployment for a diverse set of people, as it would guarantee high paying clean-energy jobs, and many supporting blue-collar jobs as well. However, in order to carry out such a plan, the Federal government would need to be the one to implement it, as no single corporation in America could initiate such change, as just as in the midst of the Great Depression it took more than a single corporation or body to carry out the New Deal, today we need more than just advocates to stimulate change.”

Cole from California

no

“Although global climate change is one of the greatest existential threats to date, the federal government should NOT implement the Green New Deal as a solution for three main contentions including: lack of substance and specialization, resulting ever-growing federal power, and completely unrealistic transformation goals in infrastructure and costs. Currently, anthropogenic climate change is a consistently growing problem, with widespread effects such as rising sea levels, deletion of water resources, prolonged droughts, climate changes, and pollutant outbreaks. With the exponential increase in carbon, sulfur, nitrogen, and other pollutants’ emissions, the globe is challenged with regulating profound environmental destruction, and altering the dynamic of our environment. Now, although this is a very serious issue, the Green New Deal (https://ocasio-cortez.house.gov/sites/ocasiocortez.house.gov/files/Resolution%20on%20a%20Green%20New%20Deal.pdf) is not a plausible or logical solution in combating the crisis. The nonbinding resolution, strives to transform 100% of energy needs towards renewable energy; creating a smart, decentralized grid; improving energy and water efficiency in appliance and buildings units; “overhauling transportation systems in the United States to eliminate pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector” (https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/14/politics/green-new-deal-proposal-breakdown/index.html) by investing in clean public transportation such as the high speed rail; and working collaboratively with farmers and ranchers to solve agricultural needs. These proposals and clauses contain very valid and bold points that must continue to be brought up in national dialogue, however the proposals suggested, in the time periods designated, are just simply not attainable right now. In addition, the bill vows to focus and solve issues surrounding climate change, but instead veers off course to lay out plans for numerous “socialist” policies. These include: Guaranteed job, leave, vacation and retirement; investment in trade unions, strengthen of trade deals with foreign nations, and guaranteed health care, housing, security, clean air and water, healthy food and nature. This document plainly has NO focus. It is a barrage of different ideas, with vague correlations, just to lay out a select few’s policy ambition. The opposition of the resolution is not in name of a conflicting principle or morality, but rather of specificity in language and policy. The resolution vows to meet the environmental and economic needs associated with climate change, with proposals that stand far too outlandish to date. It strives to “achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions through a fair and just transition for all communities and workers…”(H.Res.109- 116th Congress, Sec. 1B). At the current situation, there is no plausible way to meet the energy and economic needs of the American people with the destruction of the fossil fuel industry. The time frame set of ten years, referenced later in the resolution, is vastly unrealistic and requires a national shift that could take more than a century. Furthermore, it also states a goal in “providing all people of the United States with— high-quality health care” (H.Res.109- 116th Congress, Sec. 2Oi). There is no existing federal healthcare system in place currently, and this resolution to meet the environmental needs of a chaotic time, should not focus on an additional investment of this magnitude. It is estimated by Bloomberg, that a plan similar to Medicare for All, to guarantee “high quality health-care” would cost $32.6 trillion, on top of the already pricey proposals also mentioned in the document. There is a long list of completely unattainable clauses that may be plausible decades in the future, but are not realistic considering current infrastructure and funding statistics. In addition, with the implementation of such a resolution, the federal government will continue to grow in power, leaving the American people and individual states without much power. The text lays out an ultimate transformation of the energy, water, and economic system in low-income areas that will require compliance in federal taxes by the American people, and a frightening lack of accountability available at the highest of levels. If put into law, there would need to be a steady increase in taxes on the middle and low class, as well as a sharp increase for the upper class, a defiant attack against a capitalist system. There is simply too much power being put into the federal government’s hands, without any direct policy direction. Those who support the resolution further state that climate change is the biggest threat to mankind, and if no action is taken in a bold manner, the threat will only live on. “The Green New Deal has the power to reshape our energy system, our economy, and our democracy” (https://www2.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2019/04/15/green-new-deal-more-than-resolution-revolution/TDoZpaaNpceLZ16on967NP/story.html). The policy would allow the federal government to completely transform the indifference and lack of care currently present on a national level, in order to lead a climate initiative that will strengthen the world. However, even though these points are valid, the resolution itself cannot be legally passed in the first place; it is a non-binding resolution. Even with change in name code, and if passed by the two legislatures, there is a sharp lack in substance within it, and this open/loose interpretation will only be damaging in terms of federal power. Furthermore, supporters of the resolution also mention how “the goal of the Green New Deal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to avoid the worst consequences of climate change while also [subsequently fixing] societal problems like economic inequality and racial injustice.” Climate change will completely destroy low-income and unprivileged areas, as there is a lack of money and support with social programs present. The Green New Deal not only combats the environmental challenges present, but vows to implement solutions that may come about as a result of the effects of climate change. However, the negation of the resolution stands firm. In order for the federal government to truly have this much power in completely transforming environmental, social, and economic sectors, it is imperative that there is detailed policy present; without a clear stance on one point-the environment-no real progress can be made, and no accountability can be guaranteed in government. As climate change still stands as one of the most important issue of the current generation, national attention and action is needed for change to take place. The Green New Deal has sparked the national dialogue, debate, and conversation needed for individuals’ opinions to develop, but should not be implemented by the federal government. As we continue to look towards the detrimental effects of anthropogenic climate change, increased number of detailed and comprehensive policies must be proposed, in order for the American people to lead an initiative in transforming this global crisis. It must be taken boldly, but one step at a time, in an attainable and realistic fashion. That is the only way real change can be made.”

Hamid from California

Think the Vote helps you to understand controversial topics and current events. Thinking through your vote is more than showing up on Election Day and picking the person that you like the best—it’s showing an interest in the world and the issues that surround you every day.

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“Let both sides explore what problems unite us instead of belaboring those problems which divide us.”

– President John F. Kennedy, Inaugural Address, January 20, 1961