The Mirage of Green Jobs

For those who look at this objectively, the dead end of green jobs stimulus is unsurprising:

Noticeably absent from President Obama‘s latest economic-stimulus package are any further attempts to create jobs through “green” energy projects, reflecting a year in which the administration’s original, loudly trumpeted efforts proved largely unfruitful.

The long delays typical with environmentally friendly projects – combined with reports of green stimulus funds being used to create jobs in China and other countries, rather than in the U.S. – appear to have killed the administration’s appetite for pushing green projects as an economic cure.

After months of hype about the potential for green energy to stimulate job growth and lead the economy out of a recession, the results turned out to be disappointing, if not dismal. About $92 billion – more than 11 percent – of Mr. Obama‘s original $814 billion of stimulus funds were targeted for renewable energy projects when the measure was pushed through Congress in early 2009.

First: any infrastructure improvement of any kind is a long term payback kind of thing.

Beyond that, out there somewhere on the left is the concept that “green jobs” will reinvigorate our economy while at the same time restoring our environment.  The facts for transforming our energy consumption habits are simple if not very inspiring to Americans:

  • The transformation from a fossil fuel economy to one where non-fossil fuel sources predominate is going to take time.
  • That transformation is going to be expensive, both in the development (or advancement) of new energy sources and in the conversion of the various “installed bases” in our economy.
  • That transformation will also involve a decrease in our standard of living, especially in regard to the density of our population.
  • No weaning our economy from fossil fuels will work without extensive development of nuclear power, which is anathema to many environmentalists.
  • It will be necessary to develop our own fossil fuel resources in the short-term, which is why cutting off offshore oil drilling and production is foolish.  The BP disaster was avoidable with currently existing technology.
  • The simplest way to encourage this transformation is to raise the taxes on fossil fuels, with emphasis on additional taxation of imported petroleum.  After that let the entrepreneurship of Americans develop the new sources and uses for non-fossil fuel energy.  Unfortunately the current administration wants all of this technology to be developed by the government, which will have the Soviet result: great laboratory and development product, mediocre implementation in production.

The reason why some or all of this agenda has not been implemented is simply because it’s unpopular with the American people.  But an administration which cares as little about real public opinion as this one would have done the country a greater service by spending political capital on this rather than health care and the other things it has wasted the last two years on.

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