Economics teaches, of course, that there are no free lunches. A key force driving such calculations is that alternative-energy production or energy conservation are fairly labor intensive relative to, say, the oil industry. But if the alternative-energy sector were really economically more efficient than other forms of energy, it would create all the wonderful jobs all by itself, without the assistance of Uncle Sam…

Heritage Foundation economist J.D. Foster recently wrote that the same logic would recommend an even better and greener plan: the federal government could require that we all move about in rickshaws.

The logic is sound, is it not? It will take many environmentally friendly rickshaws to replace the passenger miles currently devoted to travel in cars and buses. With unemployment so high, a rickshaw program could reap huge economic benefits…

Spain has, indeed, invested heavily in green jobs. And the results? A recent study by Spanish economist Gabriel Calzada Alvarez and colleagues at the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, found that the Spanish program spent 571,138 euros for every job it created. That’s about $833,000 per job.