June 28, 2009


Sanity in the Main Stream Media

FROM-Boston Herald

Green job fallacies

Can governments create “green” jobs by spending big wads of money? Sure - but at the cost of destroying other jobs.

The benefits, environmental or otherwise, might offset the costs. But three prominent recent reports advocating the creation of “green” jobs make no attempt to calculate real benefits and real costs. The economic illiteracy revealed is breathtaking.

The Beacon Hill Institute has analyzed these proposals. We noted similar analyses last month from the Property and Environment Research Center in Bozeman, Mont. Columnist George Will highlighted the subject last Thursday.

Will reported on a Spanish researcher’s finding that Spain has destroyed or not created 2.2 jobs for each one created with the help of subsidies of $752,000 to $800,000 in alternative energy.

The Beacon Hill Institute examined reports from the Worldwatch Institute done with support from several international agencies, from the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst for the Center for American Progress and from Global Insight, a consulting firm, for the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

All count jobs as benefits - as the Beacon Hill Institute puts it, they are “mistakenly arguing that a cost is actually a benefit.” None calculates jobs destroyed or not created.

For example, Worldwatch argues for “nonmotorized transport,” such as the pedicabs used in Uganda and Kenya to transport large numbers of people. Pedicabs - amusing as they may be for a ride to Fenway - would just impoverish America.

The Center for American Progress claims new credit and investment in construction could “rapidly provide job opportunities that are badly needed.”

How odd. For recovery, capital and labor need to flow out of construction.

“The work that the job entails is a cost we must endure in order to receive the benefit the work provides,” the Institute wrote. This lesson needs to be more widely learned.


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