The Green Jobs Scam

Conservative Campus

A regular look at what Vermont’s conservative college students are saying, thinking and doing today

By Katie Earle, Middlebury College

It does not bode well for Obama’s reelection in 2012 that the percentage of unemployment in America, and not his poll numbers, remains persistently high. The advent of the Tea Party and the Occupy Wall Street movements, which respectively reject politics and capitalism as usual, reveal an absence of the hope and change that Obama promised in his presidential campaign. In an attempt to recapture the “Yes We Can” mentality, Obama has administered a hefty dose of liberal ideology into his economic projects, to the detriment of America’s road to recovery.

The clean-energy agenda has proven to be as unsuccessful of a job creator as his stimulus package, which failed to produce the shovel-ready jobs that dominated Obama’s rhetoric at the beginning of his term. Obama continues to waste taxpayer money in order to fulfill his grand ambition to create five million green jobs in 10 years. The most glaring example of his administration’s mismanagement of taxpayer money is the ongoing Solyndra scandal. Obama’s Recovery Act included a $535 million loan guarantee to the solar panel producer. Just over a year after the loan was approved, Solyndra filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and laid off more than 1000 employees. Despite concerns for the fiscal solvency of the company, the Obama administration hurried the analysis of the company’s financials in order to provide a photo op for Obama’s green agenda last year. Solyndra, touted as an example of America’s future competitive advantage in clean energy, has fanned the flames of Republican criticism that Obama’s liberal agenda only jeopardizes America’s economic recovery.

In a free-market economy, private investors should be able to choose the winners and losers. However, the Department of Energy and the Obama Administration have attempted, and failed, to take on the role of venture capitalists. The bankruptcy of Solyndra is just one example of numerous green projects that have failed, despite hefty government handouts. For instance, Evergreen Solar Inc. has also filed for bankruptcy and moved production to China after receiving $5.3 million of stimulus funds. This pattern of big government’s inability to choose profitable companies indicates that green jobs will not be the answer for the millions of unemployed Americans.

During his visit to Solyndra, Obama boasted that the future was here and that America was poised to transform the way people power their homes, cars and businesses. However, Obama’s attempt to innovate the American economy and create jobs by promoting clean energy has exposed that a government-led effort to create green jobs only results in a red economy. Need another example? The Spanish administration admitted that its effort to create green jobs substantially increased electricity prices and exacerbated the country’s debt because of the additional cost of solar and wind energy. A further study concluded that every green job created in Spain was followed by the loss of 2.2 private sector jobs. Similarly in the United States, Obama’s clean energy agenda has miserably failed in creating job growth. A staggering statistic by the Energy Department exposed that each permanent green job created at the now-bankrupt Solyndra cost the American taxpayers $5.5 million. In comparison, the average American earns less than $50,000 a year. But as the 2012 election approaches, Obama will most likely proceed with his green job manifesto in order to appease his liberal base, despite its utter lack of success.