Create jobs, don’t go green

April 6, 2010

As usual, Joel Kotkin nicely encapsulates the problem at hand:

Now the question is whether the president can refocus on jobs. This will take, among other things, backing off the economically ruinous climate change agenda. Even the most gullible economic development officials are beginning to realize that “green jobs” are no panacea. In fact, as evident in Spain, Germany and even Denmark, over-tough green legislation can destroy the productive capacity of the most enlightened industries. Similarly in green strongholds like California and Oregon, the mounting climate change jihad could slow and even explode the incipient recovery by imposing ever more draconian regulation on businesses that can choose to migrate to less onerous locales.

There are some hopeful signs of Obama’s repositioning. His recent moves embracing nuclear power and off-shore oil drilling, however inadequate, show that he’s at least trying to triangulate between the green purists and the unreconstructed despoilers. Some sort of moderated energy legislation–there’s no way to get the more radical House version through the Senate–would reassure businesses and the public that the president has jobs as his No. 1 priority.


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I’d like some support to the claim about Spain, Germany, and Denmark’s green government’s effect on their industries. For a time, Spain’s support of solar cells led to an industry boom. It’s puttered out since, but that’s mostly due to poor planning on part of the production side, not the government.

Posted by drewbie | Report as abusive

Like the administration’s “pivot” to jobs, the process Joel describes is technocratic. They are trying to impose restrictions on us but in an enlightened, managerial way.

300+ million people cannot be managed by a central planner. We need decentralization, which is done through the free association of states, corporations, and other voluntary organizations.

Posted by Liberty Lover | Report as abusive

I agree with Liberty Lover with one caveat. Private industry necessarily makes it’s decisions with some weight on long term considerations and most weight on what will sustain their enterprise in the short term.

Fossil Fuels are a finite energy source with geographical and political aspects that can be ignored only at our peril.

Like it or not, a country’s local, state, and federal governments collectively make many decisions every day. Those decisions should place more weight on long term factors than private enterprise is able to do.

Posted by breezinthru | Report as abusive