NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


March 15, 2010

President Obama has made the creation of green jobs a centerpiece of his economic agenda.  Becoming the "'world leader in developing the clean energy technologies that will lead to the industries and jobs of tomorrow"' is described by the Administration as "'critical to the future of our country."'  They are investing billions in pursuit of this goal, says Carrie Lukas, vice president for policy and economics at the Independent Women's Forum. 

The 2009 stimulus bill made a massive investment in "'green"' enterprises, including: 

  • $6 billion for a guaranteed loan program targeted for green industry.
  • $5 billion for weatherization assistance, and $11 billion for "'smart grid"' technology and modernized high-tech transmission lines
  • $500 million to help train workers for green-related careers.  

The new budget doubles down with similar "'green"' investments: 

  • Hundreds of millions for the research and development of new energy technologies.
  • Billions of tax breaks for companies investing in clean energy projects.
  • And $74 million for initiatives to "'inspire tens of thousands of young Americans to pursue a career in clean energy."'  

Taxpayers should be warned that creating a "'green job"' can be expensive, says Lukas: 

  • One report examining state and local efforts to encourage the creation of "'green jobs"' found that the subsidies sometimes exceed $100,000 per job created.
  • Other analysts have pointed out that much of money targeted for "'green job"' creation is being sent overseas.
  • ABC News reported that nearly 80 percent of the close to $2 billion in the stimulus bill dedicated to wind power went to foreign manufacturers of wind turbines.  

Even more worrisome, policymakers know that direct government spending alone won't usher in a new "'clean"' economy, so they are also pursuing a more surefire path to "'green"' job creation -- driving up the costs of traditional energy sources either through regulation or a costly cap-and-trade system that acts as a carbon tax.  Average American families will find that these policies cost them thousands of dollars as the price of everything from food to fuel rise.  And while it may create additional "'green"' jobs, it will strangle many more traditional jobs, as businesses have to invest more on their energy costs and have less to spend on expansion and job creation, explains Lukas. 

Source: Carrie Lukas, "'Green Jobs Obsession Distracts from Real Economy Recovery,"', February 23, 2010. 

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