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Green Jobs, Red Ink, Pink Slips

A Commentary By Howard Rich

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The “New Socialism” – as columnist Charles Krauthammer adroitly calls the global governmental power grab and wealth redistribution schemes lurking beneath the “green economy” – has kicked into high gear in Washington, D.C. already this year.

Struggling to respond to a surprisingly bad December jobs report – and struggling to explain the clear failure of President Barack Obama’s massive bureaucratic bailout to stimulate the economy – U.S. government officials are turning to a familiar refrain, “green jobs.”

Of course, this familiar song and dance ignores the fact that a huge chunk of the failed “stimulus” went to fund these jobs in the first place.

Undeterred by this lack of stimulation – as well as the ongoing unraveling of the climate change myth – Obama’s “solution” to this crisis is apparently to continue doing what hasn’t worked.

In fact, the red ink had yet to dry on the Department of Labor’s latest disappointing employment data before Obama was in front of a Teleprompter announcing that the U.S. government was going to spend another $2.3 billion on tax credits for “green jobs.”

He also challenged the U.S. Congress to approve $5 billion worth of additional “green manufacturing” tax credits.

Obama is clearly seeking to move beyond picking winners and losers in the marketplace (another proven non-starter), as these sorts of policies represent government manipulation of the marketplace at a very macroeconomic level. In the case of “green jobs,” government is mandating (and subsidizing) the creation of inefficient, unreliable and in some cases totally nonexistent sources of energy – all of which in turn creates a net cost to the economy that isn’t being recouped.

Exacerbating the problem would be the Obama administration’s proposed “cap and trade” energy tax hike and a series of sweeping new EPA carbon regulations. Not surprisingly, these new EPA mandates are likely to become even more sweeping in the event Congress doesn’t give Obama the carbon tax revenue he desperately needs to continue funding his unprecedented government expansionism.

In spite of all this, Obama maintains that “cap and trade” is all about creating jobs, even as it would dramatically increase energy costs on families and small businesses across the country while putting dozens – if not hundreds – of larger companies out of business.

Take the example of Spain, which Obama has repeatedly cited as a blueprint for America’s “green jobs” effort.

According to a recent study from Juan Carlos University in Madrid, the only “green jobs” in the Spanish economy are vanishing ones – specifically the 2.2 jobs that the country has lost for each “green job” that has been created.

“Spain’s experience (cited by President Obama as a model) reveals with high confidence, by two different methods, that the U.S. should expect a loss of at least 2.2 jobs on average, or about 9 jobs lost for every 4 created, to which we have to add those jobs that non-subsidized investments with the same resources would have created,” the study’s author Dr. Gabriel Calzada concluded. 1

In other words, “green jobs” are adding to the pile of pink slips in more ways than one.

Not surprisingly, Obama is pushing these positions as another form of payback to the union bosses who supported his 2008 presidential campaign.

For example in Maryland this month, a $4.6 million “stimulus” grant was presented to a Service Employees International Union (SEIU) partnership to fund “new and emerging green jobs in the healthcare industry.” That same week, the Department of Labor doled out $100 million in grants to “support green job training programs to help dislocated workers and others, including veterans, women, African Americans and Latinos, find jobs in expanding green industries and related occupations.”

Among the recipients of this money? Unions like SEIU, UAW, United Steelworkers and Communications Workers of America, just to name a few.

So while “green jobs” may be replenishing union bank accounts, they’re only drowning this country deeper in red ink while showering pink slips on workers who simply want government to get out of the way so they can get back to doing their jobs.

Only in Washington, D.C. is that called that a “stimulus.”

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