“The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups.”
– Henry Hazlitt, “The Lesson,” Economics in One Lesson. (1946, et seq.)
Solyndra’s impending liquidation, replete with 1,100 layoffs and U.S. taxpayer liabilities in excess of a half billion dollars, has put so-called green jobs initiative of the Obama Administration in negative light.
But make no mistake: recent loan guarantees from the U.S. Department of Energy to new solar projects to beat a September 30th funding cutoff is business-as-usual as the foes of oil, gas, and coal desperately seek business traction for an uneconomic energy.
From Climate Alarmism to ‘Green’ Jobs
With unemployment on the rise and new jobs scarce, politicians are keen to create employment, at least the visible kind that they can sum up for the public.…
Even if there were a usable model to analyze job creation, we are left with the problem of identifying which jobs are actually “green.” A renewable project can result in the employment of technical personnel trained to specialize in operating or maintaining its technology (whom we presume are green), as well as additional bartenders who will help the workers to enjoy their evenings (harder to classify as green).
The matter is important because any type of governmental or private spending might open up slots for bartenders. Renewable technologies, however, have been viewed as the foundation for a massive increase in skilled workers whose human capital will provide them with higher lifelong earnings.
Two recent studies point up that the choice of definitions can affect estimates of the green workforce, and show that an extremely small fraction of jobs defined as green are in renewables.…
[Ed. note: The following is excerpted from Dr. Michaels’s recent testimony before the Subcommittee on Water and Power. Part II tomorrow will examine how green jobs are defined by their proponents.]
It is rapidly becoming apparent that renewable energy is failing to produce the promise of painless prosperity embodied in “green jobs” that will simultaneously decrease unemployment rates and reduce pollution. Begin with some principles:
1. The proper goal of energy policy is to support the efficient provision of energy.
The lower the cost of energy to the economy, all else equal, the higher will be job creation and economic growth outside of the energy sector. Raising energy costs by forcing the use of uneconomic technologies that create more job slots will have exactly the opposite effect. Put simply, more workers in energy reduce the production of non-energy goods and services.