The Green Jobs Boondoggle

Fresh off attempting to tell us that the employment situation for blacks and Hispanics is getting so much better — when it isn’t — Uncle Sam’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has compiled its first estimate of how many “green jobs” there are in the economy. The spirit of 9/11 truther Van Jones, who also said we deserved the September 11 attacks two days after they occurred, and was also the White House’s green jobs czar for a time during 2009, apparently lives on.


The BLS couldn’t even get through the first paragraph of its new report without slinging the BS. It claimed that in 2010, “3.1 million jobs in the United States were associated with the production of green goods and services (GGS),” specifically those which “are found in businesses that produce goods and provide services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources.”

Businesses? Far from entirely: “The private sector had 2.3 million GGS jobs and the public sector had 860,300.” The 2.3 million represents about 2.1% of all private-sector employment. Assuming BLS’s figures are right (if anything, they’re high), the Obama administration and the Democratic Congress which enabled it have been staggeringly irresponsible in throwing so much money at that portion of the economy. In fact, 7.7 million seasonally adjusted private-sector jobs were lost from January 2008 until June 2009, the official end of the recession; overall job stagnation continued for twenty months after that. Even if Team Obama thought they could increase GGS employment by 50%, and bravely assuming they could manage such an enterprise (it has been since shown beyond doubt that they didn’t know what they were doing), it still would have only replaced 15% of the jobs lost.

Thursday, President Obama, in bashing “subsidies” to oil companies which mostly represent legitimate deductions for money actually spent, insisted that the nation should “double-down on investments in clean energy technologies that have never been more promising.” They’ve learned nothing.


Government employees, who, last time I checked, do not work for “businesses,” held over 27% of GGS jobs in 2010 and made up almost 4% of the public workforce. No wonder governments at all levels latch onto every environmental initiative they can, as “being green” has significantly contributed to out-of-control public workforce bloat and public unions’ political power.

Quite a few public-sector “GGS” jobs not only produce nothing and provide no meaningful service; they also generate ream after ream of useless paper pronouncements while consuming ginormous amounts of energy-hogging bandwidth. BLS says that the public administration sector at state governments alone had 141,700 green jobs in 2010, which included “the enforcement of environmental regulations and the administration of environmental programs.” It really is a wonder that the private sector produces anything at all.

One thing at which the “green” portion of the public sector has become particularly adept is burning through taxpayer money. The Environmental Protection Agency now spends about $11 billion per year, up from an already ridiculous $8 billion three years ago. The EPA has nearly completed what it will consider the signature accomplishment of its 41-year existence if successful — the implementation of “a proposed rule for greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants … (which) experts believe ‘effectively bans new coal plants‘ in the United States.” In 2008, candidate Obama said he wanted to bankrupt companies if they tried to build new coal-burning plants. Since Congress wouldn’t create that situation by passing ruinous cap and trade legislation, Mr. “We Can’t Wait” is having the EPA do it for him.


When it comes to direct waste tied to GGS jobs, the Department of Energy (DOE), which produces no energy, knows no peer.

In early September 2011, the Washington Post reported that the 2009 stimulus plan’s $38.6 billion loan-guarantee program targeting green energy companies “has directly created 3,545 new, permanent jobs after giving out almost half the allocated amount.” Let’s see; $18.8 billion (the actual amount disbursed at the time) divided by 3,545 works out to $5.3 million per job. We’d have been much better off paying each new worker a couple hundred grand a year just to stay home.

Oh, but this is all supposedly okay, because these are only “loan guarantees.” Most of the money will get paid back, and the government won’t lose all that much, right? Wrong. Think Solyndra, Beacon Power, Ener1, and at least a half-dozen others. And they’re not done: The Wall Street Journal reported on March 23 that DOE “has placed nearly one-third of its clean-energy loan portfolio (10 of 32) on an internal ‘watch list’ for possible violations of terms or other concerns.” I suspect that there’s little reason to feel good about the other 22.

Subsequent events have shown that the administration’s green jobs obsession has been a monstrous waste of time and money on two levels. First, experience in the real world outside of rigged computer models based on missing raw data has shown that the link between atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and alleged global warming is weak at best. CO2 has been increasing, but there’s been no net warming since 1998.


Second, fossil-fuel resource discoveries and recent advances in extraction technology have been so dramatic that, according to a recent report by Citigroup analysts, it is not unreasonable to believe that “North America’s production of oil and natural gas liquids (can) almost double to 26.6m barrels a day by 2020.”

That won’t happen if Obama and his bunch remain in charge after January 20, 2013 — which is yet another reason why the nation’s voters can’t allow it to happen.

(Thumbnail on PJM homepage based on a modified image.)


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