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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Green job losses: Waxman-Markey's costs

The Union Leader calculates the cost of the Waxman-Markey bill, which proports to reduce American carbon emissions, but won't deliver significant reductions in atmospheric carbon dioxide.
Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf told the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Wednesday that the bill would reduce U.S. gross domestic product by as much as .75 percent by 2020 and between 1 and 3.5 percent by 2050. Those are significant economic reductions, which would represent big job losses.

Elmendorf hinted that reducing global warming could have positive economic effects. But of course, the question is and always has been whether the costs of this bill outweigh the benefits. That appears to be the case. The bill would put a noticeable drain on the economy while producing no noticeable benefits.

Government regulation does not; can not; create green jobs. It can redirect scarce resources from one part of the economy to another. It can stifle innovation and economic growth. Occassionally, it can even provide public benefits outweighing its economic costs. But it always has costs.

1 comment:

  1. Unfortunately, the Union Leader editorial makes no mention of the benefits of clean energy and climate legislation, nor the many real costs associated with the status quo. A number of studies have shown that investment in clean energy will create millions of new green jobs.

    Our reliance on fossil fuels comes at a great cost to our economy. If you doubt that, just look at the impact that skyrocketing gas prices had on the U.S. and world economy not so long ago. Fossil fuels are also a major source of air pollution that impact the health of every American, but especially children, the sick, and the elderly. Volatile gas prices and skyrocketing healthcare costs pose a real and immediate threat to the U.S. economy.

    Since the 1990's, the official U.S. government approach on climate change has been to give polluters the opportunity to voluntarily reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The free market has failed to deliver on this issue.

    Did you know that the federal government is the largest employer in the U.S.? It employees more that 1.8 million Americans - and figure that does not include the Postal Service. Seems like government spending creates jobs after all!