As the U.S. recovers from a pandemic, with workers in services and manufacturing in short supply across the economy, here’s what no one sensible thinks America urgently needs: a huge new federal Civilian Climate Corps.
Yet that’s exactly what Democrats want to create as part of their plan to expand government into every corner of American life. It isn’t enough to lecture Americans about the supposed perils of climate change. Now they also want to tax you and other Americans to pay your children to spend years lecturing you.
President Joe Biden has requested $10 billion for the climate shock troops in his American Jobs Plan. Like so many other ideas in this Administration, the idea comes from the Democratic left, specifically the Sunrise Movement and Evergreen Action. Their idea was adopted by New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey, who have proposed a Climate Corps that employs 1.5 million Americans over five years.
The precedent is FDR’s Civilian Conservation Corps, which paid Americans to work when the jobless rate was more than 20% in the Depression. But Sunrise says that program had “deep flaws, including exclusionary racist and sexist practices of hiring almost solely white men and its nonconsensual development on stolen Native American land.” Evergreen Action says the Climate Corps would “confront the interlocking crises of climate change, environmental and racial injustice, and economic inequality.”
If that mission sounds grandiose, you’re understating things. “The climate crisis is impacting every aspect of our lives,” so “the only way we are going to fully combat it is if we fully transform every aspect of our society and economy as we know it,” says Ellen Sciales, a Sunrise spokesperson.
The White House says the Climate Corps would “put a new, diverse generation of Americans to work conserving our public lands and waters, bolstering community resilience, and advancing environmental justice.” Democrats envision a Corps that’s part green-jobs program, part behavioral hectoring squad, part social-justice brigade, and part union-recruitment effort.
According to Mr. Markey’s summary, Climate Corps troops can work on coastal restoration, repair national park trails, install rooftop solar panels, and help with climate disaster recovery, among other jobs. The Senator has also promoted an origami fortune-teller to help potential recruits decide a Climate Corps career path. He doesn’t say if a Patagonia fleece is included as a signing bonus.
Another Climate Corps option is to become a “clean energy educator.” Some recruits could design posters to encourage climate-friendly behavior, and Ms. Sciales says other jobs “could include things like caring for the elderly, community, and childhood education, building community structures to bring communities together, and in the process talk to people about limiting carbon emissions in their communities.” Brace yourself for teach-ins on the sins of meat eating and natural-gas stoves.
Under the AOC-Markey bill, Climate Corps enrollees would earn at least $15 an hour. They’d also get health coverage, “child care services, counseling services, and other supportive services when needed.” Oh, and education grants of $25,000 a year. Eighty House and Senate Democrats said in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer last week that the Climate Corps “must provide a pathway to good jobs, and especially union jobs.”
Mr. Schumer, who fears a primary challenge from AOC, is backing the Climate Corps, so it will make it into the reconciliation bill. If only we could get a climate change against progressive folly like this.