Editorial: “Green job” push cause for concern

Rather than stimulating the economy, government efforts to create “green jobs” probably have the opposite effect, judging from experiences where the tactic is employed, and numerous studies:

Massive taxpayer subsidies are required, higher energy prices result, and existing jobs are lost, according to a new study by the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Green Jobs and the New Economy, which drew on reports “overwhelmingly” authored by “green-jobs advocates and supporters.”

Moreover, the committee found, many newly created jobs are low-paying, prompting legislative bodies to consider “climate change” taxes “to generate revenue to pay for green jobs.”

This wisdom isn’t unique to the Senate. House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, previously estimated one green-job bill “would spend a whopping $275,000 in taxpayer dollars for every new job it aims to create,” effectively taxing each U.S. household $6,700.

“Green jobs are not so much created as they are bought with massive taxpayer subsidies,” said Sen. Kit Bond, R-Mo., who released the Senate report.

The Senate study concluded that rather than government spend $600 billion a year, such as proposed in just two programs, and $6.7 trillion in fees from federal programs proposed last year and lose 4 million jobs by 2030, based on last year’s unsuccessful proposed climate legislation, it should proceed cautiously.

We agree with the Senate study’s conclusion that whatever is done it shouldn’t eliminate existing jobs or require subsidies.

They may agree in Spain, too. Every green job created in eight years by the Spanish government came at the expense of 2.2 regular jobs lost, according to economics professor Gabriel Calzada at Madrid’s Juan Carlos University. He found only one in 10 new jobs became permanent. Calzada also concluded the U.S. would lose nine existing jobs for every four green jobs created, even without considering regular jobs that could have been created had the money not been diverted.

Green-job creation is at the heart of President Barack Obama’s environmental-economic policies. The president even promises government stimulating renewable energy development will result in “new green-energy economies that can create countless well-paying jobs.”

But a separate Institute for Energy Research report examining alleged government green-job benefits concluded that optimistic claims are based on incomplete economic analysis and overstated outcomes. Rosy predictions ignore “job destruction” and production losses from government involvement.

Government green-job creation is likely to be costly to taxpayers and consumers, and counterproductive. It would, however, extend government control over the economy, picking winners and losers by doling out or holding back subsidies.

“(D)istortionary impacts of government intrusion into energy markets could prematurely force business to abandon current production technologies for more expensive ones,” wrote IER researchers. “(T)here would likely be negative economic consequences from forcing higher-cost alternative energy sources upon the economy. These factors would likely increase consumer energy costs and the costs of a wide array of energy intensive goods, slow GDP growth and, ironically, may yield no net job gains. More likely, they would result in net job losses.”