• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Green Jobs Cronyism and Cannibalism

    To rephrase President Obama’s State of the Union theme:  “This is our generation’s apparatchik moment.”

    Yes, he said “Sputnik” instead, but his actual agenda is about the apparatchik—government by party leaders, bureaucrats and the well-connected.

    His agenda is symbolized by his push for “green jobs” as the path to a better future.

    Simply put, the green jobs agenda spends billions of taxpayer dollars to destroy existing jobs and replace them with jobs in politically-favored businesses, raising the costs of energy along the way.

    The politically-connected win. Existing job-holders and companies lose. Home electric bills go up. Power also costs more for companies, making it more expensive to go into business or to stay in business.

    It’s cronyism that is building a political power structure based on false claims about clean green jobs. It’s cannibalism because creating the green jobs requires killing off existing jobs.

    As Bloomberg News reported, “Subsidizing renewable energy in the U.S. may destroy two jobs for every one created if Spain’s experience with windmills and solar farms is any guide.”

    One Heritage Foundation study showed that proposed mandates for using “renewable energy” to generate electricity would cost 1-million jobs.  Had last year’s cap-and-trade bill been passed, we might have lost almost 2-million jobs. That compares to claims by the renewal energy industry that 274,000 jobs would be created by their producst.  We would lose 3 to 7 jobs or more for every one that we gain.

    This is Obamamath. Obama wants us to pay for the privilege of destroying jobs. His State of the Union called for “incentives that will finally make clean energy the profitable kind of energy in America.”

    Guess what?  If it requires incentives, it isn’t profitable!

    “When the President and Congress talk about green jobs, they are talking about ones created via federal tax breaks, subsidies, or outright mandates,” noted The Heritage Foundation’s Ben Liebermann.

    The green jobs agenda is all about making a large group dependent on the politicians who provide them money and who in exchange receive campaign donations and other political support. It is the ultimate in Tammany Hall-style political bossism—the political earmark that dwarfs all others. The green jobs agenda is a political spoils and cronyism system operating in the open, justifying itself through political correctness and overblown claims that it is dictated by global warming.

    POLITICO reported that the alternative energy sector only spent $2.4-million on lobbying in 1998, but that grew to $30-million a year by 2009.  The story noted, “The speed of expansion is eye-popping,” and added, “Wind, solar, ethanol up and other alternative energy groups are also stepping up their political contributions to candidates – almost all of them Democrats.”  Yes, the fossil fuel lobby spends about five times more than the alternative energy lobby, but fossil fuel produces over 20 times as much power—about 70% of our national electricity compared to about 3%.

    How about claims that existing federal policies already advantage fossil fuels?  A report from the federal Department of Energy shows that each megawatt of power produced by wind or solar power receives subsidies almost 100 times higher than for oil and natural gas, and about 50 times higher than for coal.

    Even The New York Times reported that wind-generated power costs 50% more than power generated from fossil fuel, and power from solar energy costs 2-3 times more than wind power.

    Perhaps someday those who profit from subsidizing alternative energy will admit what they’ve done, just as Al Gore now admits his push for billions in ethanol subsidies was a mistake based on political gain—not even counting his monetary gain since leaving office.  As The Wall Street Journal said, “ethanol has become a purely political machine: It serves no purpose other than re-electing incumbents and transferring wealth to farm states and ethanol producers.”

    But don’t some business interests support the green agenda?  Sadly, yes.  They tend to be those who profit from these subsidies. Writing in Forbes, Jerry Bowyer noted, “What is the difference between crony capitalism and socialism? Not much.”

    We did not win the space race by putting extra costs and burdens on ourselves to benefit a team of politicians and businesses that scratch each others’ backs.  Obama’s call to action isn’t based on Sputnik; it’s based on apparatchik.  We don’t need that cronyism.  Or to cannibalize existing jobs so cronies can build more power for themselves.

    Posted in Energy [slideshow_deploy]

    8 Responses to Green Jobs Cronyism and Cannibalism

    1. LibertyAtStake, Alex says:

      "Subsidizing renewable energy in the U.S. may destroy two jobs for every one created …"

      The administration has a plan to cover that problem. The two jobs lost are replaced by constant patrols to bag and dispose of the dead birds that fly into the windmills. Progressives always learning from experience and adapting, you know.

      "Because the Only Good Progressive is a Failed Progressive"

      • patricia says:

        The only way this person can be stopped is by removal ……….ASAP………and don't forget the collective!!!

    2. Joe Elector says:

      Well said. Thank You

    3. Bobbie says:

      Stop the President’s “special interests” whether it be industrial or for his “special communities”. Stop the subsidies that the free market would control. Then stop all other “special interests.” It reveals the President to be extremely bias and dangerous as he forces an extremely costly interest that will cause crisis…

      It’s very funny how he’s forcing electric cars on America, yet he’s over regulating the coal industry’s.out of business. Another crisis…

    4. Gabriel says:

      what green jobs has the free market created?………exactly

    5. Pingback: ~THIS JUST IN… | Just Piper

    6. Pingback: Jobs, deficit: What should be the higher priority for Congress and President … – Wall Street Journal | The Wall Street Geek

    7. Sean, America says:

      "Guess what? If it requires incentives, it isn’t profitable!"

      Really? You are going to state this. Did you forget about the billions of subsidies and tax breaks the oil and gas industry receive? Or did you neglect to mention this in your article.

      You, I, and our fellow Americans have never paid the true cost of energy. The energy sector has been subsidized for decades. And you know what, I hate subsidies too. Lets get rid of all energy subsidies and tax breaks for oil and gas. You know what will happen? Renewables would take off and it would create more jobs

      The renewable energy market needs rebates and incentives because there is not a level playing in the energy sector due to unfair incentives for the oil and gas industry.

      The failure to see how contradictory your above statement is with consideration to oil and gas industry subsides and tax breaks is laughable.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.