In a rush to legitimate green jobs and to promote the president’s pet alternative-energy firms, the administration has not only wasted the opportunity to create blue-collar jobs but also wasted a lot of money. As was recently noted by the Cato Institute’s Jerry Taylor, “the ‘green jobs’ argument most commonly marshaled is thus looking thinner by the day. Data recently released by the U.S. Department of Energy reveal that the $38.6 billion of federally guaranteed loans to green-energy projects have thus far produced only 3,545 new, permanent jobs ($5 million per job), far short of the 65,000 jobs promised by the administration.”
Even more troubling was a report by the Investigative Reporting Workshop at the American University’s School of Communication recently, which noted, “[d]espite all the talk of green jobs, the overwhelming majority of stimulus money spent on wind power has gone to foreign companies. Seventy-nine percent of all green-jobs funding went to companies based overseas.”
While it is true a few of these green companies are still around and a few more are actually producing, many have suffered layoffs, plant shutdowns and bankruptcies.
The broader and more important point is the American people are exhausted by the government’s continual effort to spend money in places and on things we cannot afford. We just don’t have an appetite for budgets that do not reflect the nation’s priorities.
What we spend our money on says a great deal about our priorities, and what the president spends our tax dollars on speaks volumes about his. To bring this point into focus, in his latest budget President Obama has chosen to cut funding for the successful opportunity scholarships for poor and minority students in the District of Columbia, and at the same time he subsidizes electric cars at a cost of $10,000 per car. Enough said.
Michael Steele is the former chairman of the Republican National Committee and served as lieutenant governor of Maryland from 2003 to 2007. He is currently a political analyst for MSNBC.