Think we could use 5 million new jobs right about now?
That’s what President Obama promised he’d create by “investing” taxpayer money in so-called green jobs. And not just any jobs, he said on the campaign trail in 2008, but ones that “pay well, and can never be outsourced.”
Jump ahead three years, and the only “green” you find is the billions being poured into the coffers of renewable-energy companies lucky to even stay in business, let alone create a high number of jobs.
Don’t assume what happened to the solar-panel company Solyndra is unique. Its high-profile bankruptcy is basically the green-jobs fallacy writ large.
Consider how these subsidized companies are funded. Are anxious investors ready to shower dollars on wind and solar power because there’s great potential to make more money in this promising field? That’s how companies get off the ground -- and stay there: They attract entrepreneurs who see the chance to make money and are glad to invest.
Companies such as Solyndra, by contrast, apparently can’t get by without money confiscated from you and me. (For that matter, they can’t even get by with it.) That should tell you something about how viable their product is.
There’s a reason that I put quotation marks around the word “invested” above. It’s a misnomer. The president and other green-jobs proponents use it because it implies we’ll see a return on our money -- a return that has so far proved to be an illusion.
Green jobs are few in number, and they’re costly. “The president’s own Council of Economic Advisors admitted recently that only 225,000 clean energy jobs were either created or saved and cost the tax payer $355,000 per job,” Thomas Pyle, president of the Institute for Energy Research, writes in U.S. News & World Report.
The green lobby also claims that energy regulations can reduce unemployment. More people have to be hired to help companies comply with the regs, right? But they’re overlooking the way the added costs wind up being passed onto consumers in the form of higher prices. And not just from the energy companies themselves, but from other industries as well. Almost every product we use, after all, is made using some form of energy.
Remember, too, that government spending has to come from somewhere. Money that likely would have been put to a more productive use has been funneled to a politically favored industry. As energy expert Nicolas Loris notes, “When the government gives money to build a windmill, those resources cannot simultaneously be used to build other products.”