From guest columnist, The Hippie Conservative:
The year is 1993. The Soviet Empire has collapsed and the former country of Yugoslavia is now on the verge of war as the “Croatian Spring” has devolved into a state of starvation and chaos. The leaves have been stripped from every tree for food, the wood burned for heat and no animals can be found anywhere. A country which once hosted the 1984 Olympics in Sarajevo, the crown jewel of the Soviet Empire, is now reduced to an environmental disaster.
Conclusion: Without a sound economy, ecology and environmentalism has no meaning.
The Obama administration is under the belief that a sound economy and a sound ecology are not mutually exclusive. On that, I agree. Regulations to preserve our resources are necessary to keep the corporate machines from exploiting every corner of this county for profit. Without protection, federal and state lands would be sold off to lower taxes and fix budgets. States would compete for jobs by lowering pollution standards. Clean-ups would be ironically socialized. With a sound and rational regulating system, coupled with economic freedom and healthy profit margins, it’s entirely possible to use the tax money created by a healthy economy to preserve and protect our environment.
The problem is; the Obama Administration is under the mistaken belief that a sound economy can be created by using green energy as its jobs creator.
Here in Michigan, we had a Governor who also believed that green energy, coupled with subsidizing infrastructure projects could create jobs. So many jobs, she promised, that we would be “blown away” by the results. She pumped 100’s of millions of taxpayer dollars into her ideas. She increased road construction to the tune of an extra $100 million a year. She supported and subsidized high tech battery plants, the construction of solar panel manufacturers and the use of windmills. In the end, Michigan, while leading the nation in programs supporting green energy, also led the nation in unemployment 4 of her 8 years. 20,000 “green jobs” were created in a period where 1 million jobs were lost.
Progressives have a mantra when it comes to their failures and Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm stuck to it like glue, “It would have worked if it were done broader, if we threw more money at it, or if it had no opposition.” She also blamed everyone under the sun but herself and her ideas. She blamed the automobile industry for leaving her state faster than other states while refusing to believe that her policies caused it. She even blamed the past administration for the better part of 6 years. Is this what the Obama administration is going to try to sell us? Blame instead of progress?
The truth is; it didn’t work because the technology is not ready, pure and simple.
To demonstrate; General Motors (owned in part, by the U.S. government) recently announced construction of a new, all solar powered manufacturing plant. The solar array cost $7.5 million and will create 310 jobs. It was heralded as the future here in Michigan, but that comes to $24,200.00 per job. If all 4.7 million jobs in Michigan were subsidized this way, it would cost Michigan $113.74 trillion to have a labor force. A bargain I’ll admit, compared to some of the other Obama administration ventures. I myself looked into a windmill for my cabin up north. The windmill I was interested in cost approx. $5000.00 and would supply 1500 watts at peak production. The U.S. government would then subsidize, through tax breaks, $1,500 of that cost. The problem is; it takes 4000 watts to run a house with all the electronics we have today. Add to that the fact that not every day produces peak production and my estimates were that it would take 20+ years to make a sound return on my investment even with the Government subsides. That doesn’t even include replacing the bearings every 3 to 5 years and the fact that the windmill power unit was only expected to last 10 years.
I decided to pass.
Despite the obvious failings of the green energy industry, the Obama administration has pumped billions into this idea. The most recent example is the solar panel company, Solyndra. This green company, once heralded as a prime example for the green jobs market by President Obama himself, has now collapsed after $535,000,00.00 of Federal investment. In the end, Solyndra created 1000 jobs at $535,000.00 per job! Imagine what all those people could have done with over a half million dollars each. I could retire, reinvest in another house and perhaps even start a business that would create real jobs. Even if this technology were to advance to a more logical level, what’s stopping China or anyone else from producing it for cheaper??
Add to that the failed green companies Evergreen, Schott, a branch of General Electric and too many others to list. All of these companies got huge subsidizes under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the average cost per job was just short of a half million dollars each. At the same time, proven industry breakthroughs like gas and oil fracking were ignored and obstructed.
Before you reach the wrong conclusion, let me just say that I’m a huge supporter of green energy and energy independence. I just don’t believe that it’s ready for prime time and I don’t believe that it will produce the number of jobs needed to stimulate our economy that’s being claimed. I’m also not a big supporter of subsidizing industry. Research, done by the traditional methods including universities, is the way to go. If the product is ready, the market will take care of it without the government picking winners and losers based on campaign contributions. The trick is to make sure that the new boat (to use a metaphor) is finished and floating before we leave the one we’re on. The Obama administration is down-right hostile to any fossil fuels even to the point of promoting pure electric vehicles over hybrids that have a better chance of success. If we’re to reach the point of energy independence and less pollution, we need to explore all possibilities and that includes using fossil fuels. Global Climate Change is a serious issue and should not be ignored, but until the climatologists can accurately predict next year, my faith in their long term predictions is lacking. In the short term, we need to fix our economy so that we can have the luxury of caring about our environment.
The Hippie Conservative blogs at http://thehippieconservative.blogspot.com/