FNC's Carlson Fact-Checks Ocasio-Cortez Strategist on Green New Deal

February 9th, 2019 4:57 PM

During Friday’s edition of Tucker Carlson Tonight, the eponymous host discussed some of the provisions of the Green New Deal, including the eye-popping idea that the Federal government will pay anyone who is “unwilling to work.” Carlson then began a conversation with Cornell University Law Professor Robert Hockett, who advised Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the Green New Deal. Hockett disputed the aforementioned provision of the Green New Deal but Carlson effectively proved him wrong by reading directly from a fact sheet and FAQ list posted on her website at the time of the Green New Deal’s launch.

Hockett seemed absolutely flabbergasted when Carlson asked “why would we ever pay people who are ‘unwilling to work?’” Hockett responded: “We never would, right?” He asserted that “AOC has never said anything like that” before accusing Carlson of referring to some “doctored document that somebody other than us has been circulating.”

Carlson informed Hockett that he got the information from a backgrounder on the Green New Deal released from Ocasio-Cortez’s office. Hockett maintained that she never called for the government to pay people who are “unwilling to work” and Carlson proceeded to thank Hockett for correcting him. Carlson then asked Hockett to address “the idea that we’re going to build enough light rail to make airplanes unnecessary,” an idea that Hockett also dismissed; telling Carlson “I don’t know where you got that, either.”



Carlson read aloud a portion of a Frequently Asked Questions document from her office, which asserted that the Green New Deal would “totally overhaul transportation,” which would mean “building out high speed rail at a scale where air travel would become unnecessary.” While the Freshman Congresswoman deleted the document from her website, The Heartland Institute obtained a copy of it in its original form. For his part, Hockett went on to claim that that particular provision of the Green New Deal was being “misunderstood,” trying to sugarcoat the idea of “supplanting all fossil fuels within the next 12 years” by telling Carlson “that doesn’t mean prohibiting them. It means rendering them obsolete by doing something better.”

Eventually, Carlson interrupted Hockett and corrected him on a claim that he had made earlier in the program that the Green New Deal would not pay people “unwilling to work.” Carlson informed Hockett that the “unwilling to work thing was in her backgrounder,” telling him that it has been “absolutely confirmed.” Hockett still disputed the idea, telling Carlson he had found the “wrong document,” even after he pointed out that “NBC and lots of other news outlets are saying that was in the backgrounder.”



The conversation concluded with Carlson promising to “follow up on this next week” and restating his earlier point, “that unwilling to work line, which you are obviously embarrassed about and should be of course…that was in the document.” Hockett responded, “We are not embarrassed by what’s not ours.” It remains unclear why Hockett seemed so taken aback by the “unwilling to work line,” after all, he supposedly helped her craft the Green New Deal.

A transcript of the relevant portion of Friday’s edition of Tucker Carlson Tonight is below. Click “expand” to read more.


Tucker Carlson Tonight


08:23 PM


TUCKER CARLSON: All right. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says her Green New Deal will save the planet. In exchange, we just give up cars and airplanes and rebuild every structure in the United States. We’ll also, by the way, need to invent brand new forms of energy that science hasn’t conceived of yet. How much will this cost? That’s unclear. How will we pay for it? Unknown. Who will make this happen? Well, workers, obviously, though anyone who is “unwilling to work” will still get paid by the government. In other words, not all of the details have been ironed out as of tonight. And that’s why we’re grateful that Robert Hockett is here, he’s a law professor at Cornell, he is advising Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the Green New Deal and he joins us. Professor, thanks very much for coming on. 

ROBERT HOCKETT: Thanks, Tucker. 

CARLSON: So can I just ask the obvious question? Why would we ever pay people who are “unwilling to work?” 

HOCKETT: We never would, right? And AOC has never said anything like that, right? I think you are referring to some sort of document that some, I think some doctored document that somebody other than us has been circulating. 

CARLSON: Oh, I thought that came right from her…that was in the backgrounder from her office is my understanding. 

HOCKETT: No, no. She has actually tweeted it out to laugh at it if you look at her latest tweets. It seems that apparently some Republicans have put it out there. I don’t know the details.

CARLSON: Oh, well, good. Well, then, thank you for correcting me. I mean, because that was like, it seemed a little ridiculous; almost as ridiculous as the idea that we’re going to build enough light rail to make airplanes unnecessary, which I think actually is from. 

HOCKETT: I don’t…I don’t know where you got that either, Tucker. I actually believe that you are actually on our side about this. If you actually read the actual plan, right, there’s nothing about getting rid of anything. 

CARLSON: Well, I have.

HOCKETT: It’s about expanding many options. Right?  I mean, there are many, many things we want to be able to do now in addition to what we already do. So what’s…where’s the airplane disappearance coming from? I’m not really clear on where that originated. 

CARLSON: Well, I could actually get it for you. This is…

HOCKETT: That would be great because I keep hearing that. 

CARLSON: Frequently asked questions released by her office and I’m quoting from it. And maybe this, maybe this is fraudulent in which case I hope you will correct me. But it says that the Green New Deal would, and I’m quoting “totally overhaul transportation” and that would mean “building out high speed rail at a scale where air travel would stop becoming necessary.” 

HOCKETT: But that’s…

CARLSON: Hawaii Senator, Hawaii Senator Mazie Hirono responded to that by saying that would be hard for Hawaii. So I don’t think that’s made up; the Senator from Hawaii. 

HOCKETT: But…no, no, no. But I mean, it’s, it’s…apparently is being misunderstood, right? We are really talking about expanding optionality here. We are not talking about getting rid of anything, right? We are talking about basically making it cost effective to move into more modern forms of technology and more modern forms of production, which would then enable people actually cost effectively to transition to that stuff. We’re not, we’re talking about requiring anything or prohibiting anything. That’s sort of 1980s style environmentalism. 

CARLSON: Okay but I don’t, wait, but hold on. I don’t want to you back away from what she herself has said and all of this with the caveat that, you know, a lot of this won’t happen maybe none of it but these are the ideas she is articulating. She did so on NBC this week.

HOCKETT: Well, I promise you, Tucker, I won’t back away from anything she said. 

CARLSON: Okay, then, then, she said…

HOCKETT: We are moving forward, right? 

CARLSON: That she said, well, yeah, at high speed. 

HOCKETT: Yeah, yeah, very high speed.

CARLSON: That we’re going to, that we’re going to supplant all fossil fuels in 12 years. 

HOCKETT: Yes, yes…



HOCKETT: …that doesn’t mean, that doesn’t mean stopping…that doesn’t mean prohibiting them. It means rendering them obsolete by doing something better. And we can do it. This is America. We can do anything. 

CARLSON: Okay, okay, then good, I’m glad. It’s…and it’s nice to have a smart person on the show to explain this. What about air travel which is critical to our economy, this is a continental country. 

HOCKETT: It stays the same. Right? 

CARLSON: Okay but, but no, because that requires fossil fuel. 

HOCKETT: That might, wait, we’re not talking about…we’re talking about carbon neutrality, remember? We’re talking about net zero emissions; that doesn’t mean that there’s never any burning of anything, right? I mean, until we come up with solar panel flying airplanes, of course, we’re not going to… 

CARLSON: I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry to interrupt you. I just want to correct you. I just had…because this seemed like we were making news on this show. The unwilling to work thing was in her backgrounder. That has been. 

HOCKETT: No, no. 

CARLSON: …absolutely confirmed. 

HOCKETT: No, no, no. Definitely not. Definitely not. 

CARLSON: Okay, so NBC and lots of other news outlets are saying that that was in the backgrounder and you’re saying it’s fraudulent.

HOCKETT: Yeah, that’s, that’s erroneous, right? Now, there might be new details now that you know about that I don’t because I have been doing media all day. But the story all day…

CARLSON: Yeah, I don’t…I think that was actually in the document. I read it as it came out.

HOCKETT: It’s the wrong, well, it’s the wrong document, it’s the wrong document, Tucker. 

CARLSON: Well, yeah, well, it’s definitely the wrong, it’s the definitely the wrong document. 

HOCKETT: That’s not us. No. We certainly don’t believe in anything like that, right? 

CARLSON: So what you’re saying is we’re not getting rid of fossil fuels, actually, even though you just said you were because…

HOCKETT: Yes, no, no, we’re rendering them obsolete for most purposes they’re used for now, right?

CARLSON: But air travel is a huge source, a huge source. 

HOCKETT: But that’s…hence the word most before, right? 

CARLSON: Oh, okay.

HOCKETT: We eliminate them for most purposes for what they are used now by rendering them obsolete. 

CARLSON: Okay so but that would include cars. So I have got two gasoline powered cars at home.

HOCKETT: Yes but imagine how much better it’s going to be when it’s cost effective to drive electric cars but that can’t be done simply by individuals, right? You have to coordinate. You have to have charging stations everywhere and, of course, individuals can’t do that right? So in that sense, the government is acting like a kind of orchestra conductor here. We are trying to coordinate…


HOCKETT: some of that stuff that could only be centrally coordinated…

CARLSON: Then, why, why…

HOCKETT: and enable everybody to act individually without, within that framework, right? 

CARLSON: Yeah, that doesn’t…I don’t fully understand what you are saying but let me just, I mean on the low end, this would be the most expensive thing that the United States has ever undertaken…

HOCKETT: It would easily be…

CARLSON: …including rural electrification and the second World War. And I’m just kind of wondering in a country that’s got more debt than, you know, has GDP, how would we pay for that? 

HOCKETT: Well, here’s the key, right? Remember that we wracked up enormous debt to finance the Second World War effort…

CARLSON: We did.

HOCKETT: …and the New Deal and of course, the interstate highway system in the 1950s. But here is the key point. Here is the takeaway. I want you to remember this, I hope everybody will remember this. Remember that inflation is a relation. Right? It’s the relation between the quantity of money and the quantity of goods. 


HOCKETT: Now if the money that you’re spending is resulting in the production of a great many more goods, you have no inflation problem. More production absorbs more expenditure. The problem with the $7 trillion that was spent during the Bush years and, of course, the last tax cut was that it wasn’t actually productive but note that even that didn’t bring about inflation. 

CARLSON: Okay, I, but we’re still not getting close to it and by the way I’m just getting all of this in my ear. We’re actually going to follow up on this next week.


CARLSON: That unwilling to work line, which you are obviously embarrassed about and you should be of course. 

HOCKETT: No, no, I’m not embarrassed. It’s just not us. 

CARLSON: That was in the document.

HOCKETT: That’s not embarrassing, no, Tucker. No, no, no, Tucker. No, no, no. We are not embarrassed by what’s not ours. No, Tucker, we are not embarrassed by what’s not ours. Okay? We’re going to clarify that it’s not ours. 

CARLSON: Okay, well we’re going to get to the bottom of that.

HOCKETT: Yes we are. 

CARLSON: We’re going to, we’re going to prove it one way or another and I hope you will come back.