Job Creation and the Green Economy

Craig Morris does great job burrowing into the issue of green jobs and the net-effect argument. It’s pretty clear that the net-effect argument, that green job programs don’t create jobs when you look at the net-effect of the policies, will be the issue holding back support for green jobs programs.

Which is unfortunate because Morris compelling lays out the case that the critics of green jobs have been pushing questionable research. Nonetheless proponents of green jobs still need to demonstrate the potential of green jobs and promotion of energy efficiency compared to other job programs and alternative policies generally. Lots of policies create jobs. Are green job programs an especially effective way to create jobs?

The clearly beneficial economic aspect of a green jobs approach is that these jobs that can’t be outsourced. Unions have clearly gotten behind green jobs for that reason. Where you’ll see problems:
1) Regional differences will create disparate green job opportunities and;
2) Raised expectations will be hard to meet.

Green projects, like the stimulus, are going to be placed according political and policy considerations. Both of these things could cause regional imbalances.

Most troubling is the problem of expectations. Green jobs are the centerpiece of many advocacy campaigns, but it’s hard to believe we’re going to see anything resembling FDR-like spending to achieve a green economy. ACES would start a slow transition of the American economy to a more sustainable footing, but we shouldn’t be expect to be a green new deal for American workers.

-Chris

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1 comment so far

  1. Bronwyn on

    ACES clearly won’t, and the stimulus doesn’t go far enough either. What we really need is a retrofitting green WPA that could suck up all (or most) of our out-of-work construction and electrical and other workers, retrain as needed through community colleges and federal job placement programs, and then set ’em loose on our cities (say every urban center with at least 100,000 people).

    Will that piss off the rural folks? It might. We could ask them what they would want in exchange for this program, or what might make it better for them. But the real issue isn’t the folks in the country, nor even their elected representatives: it’s that neither Congress nor the White House is really willing to spend the money. Fear about both the deficit and debt seem to be spiralling upward with every new article in the WP or WSJ, and with every CBO announcement.

    My feeling is, yeah, it kind of sucks that we’re in a position where we have to do such a lot of deficit spending, but I don’t see any viable economic alternative being presented to me. I’m just crossing my fingers and hoping that government spending, if done right, can stimulate the economy and get us out of a hole, b/c it’s all we have left. It’s especially all we have left since the large banking institutions took a bunch of public money and decided to sit on it rather than lend it out.

    On a political note, I have absolutely no patience with any Republican on the Hill who freaks out over the deficit or the debt, after the way they spent hand over fist for four years, giving the Bush administration every blank check it ever asked for. They dug us into this hole, they’ve got no plan for how to get us out of it, and now they’re blaming us for it–or trying to.


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