Comment on Green Jobs, Economy

Don’t Count on Green Jobs to Bail out the Economy
Government Spending on the Environment Not a Path to Prosperity

Washington, D.C., March 31, 2009—This morning members of the House Education and Labor Committee will meet to hear testimony on so-called “green jobs” and their role in economic recovery. Witnesses will likely testify in support of the idea of environmentally targeted job programs, but members of the committee should not be deceived – subsidized infrastructure projects that promote inefficient alternative fuels are not a path to sustainable economic growth.

“While the Congress and Administration talk about rebuilding the economy with green jobs and green energy, giving billions of dollars of taxpayer money to special interests to subsidize uncompetitive energy sources is going to hurt rather than help the economy,” said Competitive Enterprise Institute Director of Energy Policy Myron Ebell. “The federal government can create green jobs only by destroying many more real jobs in the productive economy.”

Current academic literature also takes a rather skeptical view of the proposition that green jobs will be a net benefit to the economy. In a recent study published by the Institute for Energy Research, economists Robert Michaels and Robert P. Murphy found that “…the distortionary impacts of government intrusion into energy markets could prematurely force business to abandon current production technologies for more expensive ones…These factors would likely increase consumer energy costs and the costs of a wide array of energy-intensive goods, slow GDP growth and ironically may yield no net job gains. More likely, they would result in net job losses.”

“When America is in recession, the last thing we can afford to do is destroy more jobs than we create in the name of stimulus,” said CEI Senior Fellow Iain Murray. “The American people deserve to hear the truth about green jobs. Unfortunately, as long as Al Gore and his allies continue to have the loudest bullhorns, they won’t.”