Few of President Obama’s speeches are complete without some mention of the need for further government “investment” in green energy (and yes, I will always and forever put quotation marks around the word “investment” whenever President Obama erroneously uses the term to indicate that the federal government is going to spend our money, for us). The federal government, we’re so often reminded, has the wisdom and foresight to know that “green jobs” are most definitely and without a doubt the way of the future, and it’s up to our trusty bureaucrats to force us to get started on integrating said jobs into our economy.
Nevermind that the feds have an extremely and conveniently loose definition of what qualifies as a “green job,” and that jobs in everybody’s favorite clean energy ventures (i.e., wind and solar) can cost taxpayers practically $10 million dollars a pop — it’s all for the cause, right?
The Obama administration distributed $9 billion in economic “stimulus” funds to solar and wind projects in 2009-11 that created, as the end result, 910 “direct” jobs — annual operation and maintenance positions — meaning that it cost about $9.8 million to establish each of those long-term jobs.
The report, from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (part of the DOE), goes on to posit that those “direct” jobs, created by a grant program initiated through the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, in turn created almost 5,000 “indirect” jobs — so really, each job cost just under $2 million each.
First of all, I am always loathe to take the government’s jobs numbers without a grain of salt, especially seeing as how so many of President Obama’s special green projects have been boosted up with taxpayer money only to fail spectacularly and add to the unemployment rolls.
Secondly, even ‘just’ $2 million/green job is still too much money — because the federal government should not be spending our money to create jobs at all. Instead, maybe they should consider just getting out of the way of productive private-sector job creation, which doesn’t cost taxpayers a darn thing.