President Obama’s recent State of the Union Address reprised the “green jobs” theme that he constantly touted in his 2008 campaign as the key to America’s economic future. Those stump speeches were regularly punctuated with references to the great job Spain was doing in this arena.
At least candidate Obama’s misguided economic assessment occurred before the release of a 2009 study by a research team from Madrid’s King Juan Carlos University that concluded Spain’s green energy programs destroyed twice as many private sector jobs as they created. A subsequent Danish study (“Wind Energy: The Case of Denmark”) reached similarly damning conclusions.
Candidate Jerry Brown could not plausibly claim ignorance of these studies when last year he employed the President’s eco-mantra in his successful gubernatorial race--promising 500,000 jobs based on various green incentives and subsidies.
Brown could, however, as Obamaphiles in the media have done, ignore or disparage the European studies. Indeed, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (the “renewables” branch of Obama's Energy Department) issued its own dismissive review of the Spanish study.
Not surprisingly, the czars, czarinas and “czardines” in the Energy Department don’t like the idea that they aren't indispensable to the welfare of the nation—and are quite likely economic liabilities.
Thus, the NREL analysis found fault with the Spanish study’s comparison of the how much it cost to create a government-subsidized green job with costs per worker in the private sector. It also saw nothing amiss with the fact that each government green job cost over $700,000.
As an Institute for Energy Research analysis sarcastically notes, NREL’s more “sophisticated” analysis assumes that money grows on trees rather than coming from private sector taxpayers.
NREL also envisions significant job growth in Spain based on their ability to export energy technologies to the rest of the world—an assumption that’s constantly applied by green politicians to California’s renewable future. Spain, in other words, will gain jobs, by becoming the “white elephant” supplier of inefficient energy technologies to gullible countries throughout the world.
One is free to pick among dueling studies, but the real proof is in the economic pudding. Spain, as of January of this year, had an unemployment rate of over 20% and rising—this after a decade of sponsoring the kind of programs about which Obama and Brown speak effusively. California, which has followed similar green policies for years, has an unemployment rate over 12%--well over the national average.
With all the green hot air blowing out of Sacramento, the Golden State may soon be replicating Spain’s even more abysmal economic performance.