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Marx and Lenin used to cheer for the “heightening of the contradictions” of capitalism. The socialists in northwest Washington, D.C., on Monday night stretched contradictions to the ceiling. But the contradictions were not those of the capitalist system but those of contemporary American socialism.
At the peak moment of the climactic rally for “The Road to the Green New Deal,” the first real standing ovation came in response to the demand by a fairly standard Democratic senator: “Give us some of that socialism.”
This line, from Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., was not out of place at a socialist rally. But the full context lays bare the inherent contradictions of the socialist push in the U.S. today.
Markey was pointing out, aptly, that Republicans who claim to reject socialism are fine with using big government to subsidize and protect industries they like. Nuclear, coal, natural gas, and oil have all enjoyed subsidies and protection by the U.S. government. Hardly free-market stuff, Markey was asserting.
Markey’s whole speech built up to this moment: “Here’s what I say for wind and solar and all electric vehicles and clean energy, give us some of that socialism that the oil and gas industry has had for a century! Green New Deal.”
The crowd went nuts. Subsequent speakers called back to that line. It was a big deal that Markey was willing to proudly say the S word.
On the surface, this could look like merely a call for “green” energy over “dirty” energy. But taken more literally, and more substantively, it’s pure corporatism. Markey was saying that just as Washington subsidizes oil and gas companies (and by the way, Markey supports the federal agencies that subsidize oil and gas), Washington should subsidize the companies that make and sell windmills, solar panels, and electric cars.
Markey is perhaps the most important policymaker on board with the Green New Deal. His money line endorsing the Green New Deal is the lobbying agenda of General Electric, Siemens, Tesla, and Ford Motor Company.
Markey was speaking at Howard University, in the Shaw neighborhood of D.C., but you could hear the echo down on K Street: Give us some of that socialism!
Give us some more of those production tax credits, the lobbyists for wind giants like GE, Vestas, and Siemens yell. Give us some more of those renewable mandates, the solar lobbyists say. Give us more of those tax credits to allow rich people to buy Teslas. Give us more handouts, bailouts, protective regulations, and mandates.
In short, Mr. Markey, give us more of what you tried to give us with your 2009 climate bill.
Markey, along with congressman-turned-lobbyist Henry Waxman, was one of two chief co-sponsors in 2009 of the American Clean Energy Security Act, also known as Waxman-Markey. Markey would brag during one committee hearing that his bill had the support of “the CEO of General Electric, of Alcoa, of Rio Tinto, of corporations across the country …”
One GE executive bragged in an internal email “we were able to work closely with key authors of the Waxman-Markey climate and energy bill, recently passed by the House of Representatives. If this bill is enacted into law, it would benefit many GE businesses.”
GE, a leading peddler of the sort of technologies that would benefit from Markey’s brand of socialism, has been loyal to Markey.
When it came time recently for GE to choose a location, GE chose Boston over Texas, specifically citing how friendly Massachusetts lawmakers had been to the company. You see, Markey and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., were outspoken champions of the Export-Import Bank, while less socialist lawmakers in Texas, such as Sen. Ted Cruz and then-Rep. Jeb Hensarling, opposed Ex-Im’s corporate welfare.
(Notably, the top recipient of Ex-Im aid historically has been Pemex, the state-owned oil company in Mexico.)
Little buds of Markey’s corporate socialism popped up throughout the Green New Deal rally Monday night, in the speeches by the more idealistic and less corrupted leaders. The young speakers alternated seamlessly between the Left’s concepts like “collective liberation,” and slightly tweaked K Street tropes of “renewable, clean, just energy and technology.”
The contradiction here is not between the massive increase in federal power and the jackpot for Big Business. That was standard Obamanomics.
The contradiction is between the pitchfork-waving populist plans of the Green New Deal’s champions and the clear corporatist trajectory of the idea.
The road to the Green New Deal, it turns out, is actually just K Street.
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