July 2, 2009

Green jobs - been tried in Spain, didn't work

From George Will writing at the Charlotte Observer:
Green jobs carry high price
The Spanish professor is puzzled. Why, Gabriel Calzada wonders, is the U.S. president recommending that America emulate the Spanish model for creating “green jobs” in “alternative energy” even though Spain's unemployment rate is 18.1 percent – more than double the European Union average – partly because of spending on such jobs?

Calzada, 36, an economics professor at Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, has produced a report which, if true, is inconvenient for the Obama administration's green agenda, and for some budget assumptions that are dependent upon it.

Calzada says Spain's torrential spending – no other nation has so aggressively supported production of electricity from renewable sources – on wind farms and other forms of alternative energy has indeed created jobs. But Calzada's report concludes that they often are temporary and have received $752,000 to $800,000 each in subsidies – wind industry jobs cost even more, $1.4 million each. And each new job entails the loss of 2.2 other jobs that are either lost or not created in other industries because of the political allocation – sub-optimum in terms of economic efficiency – of capital.
The idea is noble. The rhetoric is mellifluent. The models say great things. The only problem is that it flat does not work. The model is bogus and the numbers simply do not pencil out. It happened in Spain, it will happen here too. Nuclear power now. Posted by DaveH at July 2, 2009 8:50 PM | TrackBack
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