Yesterday Vice President Biden announced a new multi-billion dollar push for high-speed rail. Before that he proudly gave a $118.5 million dollar grant to a battery company to spur the development of electric cars. The central planners claim this corporate welfare will do wonderful things for the environment, but it is also done in the name of job creation.
“These are real live jobs that pay real good money,” [Biden] said.
Reason’s Ronald Bailey compares our green jobs policy to the old story about:
…the American economist visiting Mao’s China taken on a tour of a construction site where 100 workers were using shovels to build an earthen dam. "Why don't you just use one man and a bulldozer to build the dam?” asked the economist. The guide responded, "If we did that, then we'd have 99 men out of work." To which the economist replied, "Oh, I thought you were building a dam. If your goal is to make jobs, why don't you take their shovels away and replace them with spoons?"
That is what our government wants to do. Our shovels were gasoline and coal – now they would have us switch to spoons: ethanol, wind, solar and biomass, as well as “high speed” rail and subsidized electric cars. All these subsidies kill more Americans jobs than they create. Bailey points out:
subsidies to the electric power sector divert money that would otherwise be invested in higher value wealth and job-creating activities.
By some estimates:
investing in solar power destroys seven jobs, wind eight jobs, biomass eight jobs, coal six jobs, and natural gas eight jobs, each compared to the 10 jobs generally created per million dollars of investment.
What a waste. Government has no place in the energy business. If we stop subsidizing all forms of energy, then a spontaneous order will emerge that will allow the best form of energy to out-compete the rest. If green energy truly works, people will invest in it, and jobs will be created. That is the free market at work. We don’t need the central planners to pick winners. In the end, that just makes us all losers.