Baumann: Bernie’s Green New Deal will create 20 million good-paying jobs

In the 1930s America suffered a nationwide banking disaster. Tens of millions were unemployed, hungry, homeless or without health care. Elderly people lived in poverty, with no hope for a dignified old age. People felt hopeless. They lost faith in a system that had cruelly abandoned them.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected in those desperate times. FDR's radical vision was for people to live Free from Want, and Free from Fear.

FDR enacted the New Deal, a program founded in the ideals of democratic socialism – good-paying jobs for all, good education for all, banking reforms and regulations to prevent another disaster brought on by unfettered greed, Social Security so our elderly could live their golden years in dignity, public works programs to build dams, bridges, roads and other infrastructure … the list goes on and on.

He was attacked, of course, by the elites. His response? "I welcome the bankers' hatred."

Far from bankrupting the country as the elites forewarned, his programs restored the economy and started us on a path of unparalleled prosperity that created a large, thriving middle class and made homeownership a dream-come-true for most Americans.

This story is personal for me. My parents were born and raised in poverty. Both dropped out of high school so they could help their struggling families survive. Both got their first jobs with the WPA, FDR's Works Progress Administration, established by Executive Order on May 6, 1935. The WPA employed 8.5 million people between 1935 and 1943. Those good-paying jobs and the educational opportunities offered by New Deal programs helped my family out of poverty and into the middle class. I grew up on stories of my dad laboring on construction projects as a teenager, and my mom, at age 16, working for a government project to bring telephone lines to rural households.

Today, we are once again struggling after a banking disaster. And once again, we have a champion ready to lead us to a better future.

Bernie Sanders’ Green New Deal, or GND, will build on what FDR started (and regain ground lost to the wealthy elites over the past 50 years). Sadly, our nation's infrastructure is in terrible disrepair due to many decades of neglect. Bernie's GND will improve roads and bridges, but it will also upgrade our energy grid to green, renewable energy. His works program will create 20 million jobs, lifting people out of poverty while also addressing the climate crisis.

His GND has detailed plans for transitioning workers and communities, including fossil fuel workers, who won't just be re-trained but also immediately EMPLOYED, perfecting their new skills on the job.

Bernie's GND will save American families money with investments in home improvement via weatherization and solar energy, public transportation, modern infrastructure and high-speed broadband.

Bernie's GND is committed to reducing emissions throughout the world, rejoining the Paris Agreement, and reasserting the United States' leadership in the global fight against climate change.

Bernie's GND invests in conservation and public lands to heal our soils, forests, and prairie lands.

And, like FDR's programs, Bernie's GND will pay for itself, within 15 years. It will be a rising tide that lifts all boats. All will benefit.

You can read details of his plan on his website at

As Bernie Sanders says: "The climate crisis is not only the single greatest challenge facing our country; it is also our single greatest opportunity to build a more just and equitable future, but we must act immediately."

Deb Baumann lives in Upper Lake, California.