Obama: Let's spend $2 billion to create 5100 jobs

And I thought Barack Obama’s response to the jobs numbers yesterday was clueless.  Obama proposed spending $800 million to create 5,000 jobs, which would install broadband technology where it hasn’t already expanded because of demand, which will cost $160,000 per job.  Today, Obama has refined his approach in his weekly address, proposing to spend even more money to create jobs that will mainly disappear:

That’s one of the reasons why we’re accelerating the transition to a clean energy economy and doubling our use of renewable energy sources like wind and solar power – steps that have the potential to create whole new industries and hundreds of thousands of new jobs in America.

In fact, today, I’m announcing that the Department of Energy is awarding nearly $2 billion in conditional commitments to two solar companies.

The first is Abengoa Solar, a company that has agreed to build one of the largest solar plants in the world right here in the United States. After years of watching companies build things and create jobs overseas, it’s good news that we’ve attracted a company to our shores to build a plant and create jobs right here in America.  In the short term, construction will create approximately 1,600 jobs in Arizona. What’s more, over 70 percent of the components and products used in construction will be manufactured in the USA, boosting jobs and communities in states up and down the supply chain. Once completed, this plant will be the first large-scale solar plant in the U.S. to actually store the energy it generates for later use – even at night.  And it will generate enough clean, renewable energy to power 70,000 homes.

The second company is Abound Solar Manufacturing, which will manufacture advanced solar panels at two new plants, creating more than 2,000 construction jobs and 1,500 permanent jobs.  A Colorado plant is already underway, and an Indiana plant will be built in what’s now an empty Chrysler factory.  When fully operational, these plants will produce millions of state-of-the-art solar panels each year.

If this is an example of how Obama will sell the green-jobs economy, he’d better hope that the public schools get a lot worse than they already are at teaching math.  Obama proposes spending $2 billion to create a total of 5,100 jobs.  That will cost $392,156.87 per job.  That kind of money, in the private sector at least, should fund several jobs.  Heck, even a government bureaucrat costs less than that; even at the Department of Transportation, that would cover two and have enough left over for a secretary.

But that’s not the only folly in this proposal.  Of the 5,100 jobs Obama promises, only 1,500 of them are permanent jobs.  The others are construction jobs, which will only last as long as the money flows to the project.  That means we will spend over $1.3 million per “permanent” job in building this “green economy,” which looks more like a red-ink economy with even a cursory check of the numbers.

And let’s say that these 1500 jobs are all great-paying, tax-generating jobs that earn an average of $100,000 per year, and that these folks all pay an effective tax rate of 25%, which is an incredibly generous calculation.  How long will it take to pay back that investment from the permanent jobs created by this effort?  Why, only 53 years and 4 months! And that’s only if one doesn’t calculate the cost of money over that period of time and ignore the impact of inflation.

We know that the motto of this administration is “never let a good crisis go to waste,” but it turns out that the real crisis is mathematical illiteracy — and Obama hopes it afflicts enough people to get away with this.