The leftist candidates in the field for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination love to talk about how their ultra-expensive plans would result in the creation of “green jobs.”
For example, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts is leading the charge with a $2 trillion plan to create 1.2 million jobs in 10 years. Billionaire Tom Steyer believes it would cost $2.3 trillion to create 1 million jobs, and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont is shooting for the stars, vowing to spend $16.3 trillion and create 20 million jobs.
Other candidates, such as former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas and Sen. Kamala Harris of California, have pledged to spend large sums of taxpayer dollars while only promising vague job numbers.
Fortunately for economic projections, these plans aren’t all new. In fact, very similar versions have been instituted in the leftist utopia of California, according to Politico.
The state already sets a high target for electric vehicle charging stations, requires solar panels on new homes and spends around $250 million per year on grants and incentives for clean energy.
It also has a law requiring public projects to use low-emission materials, which matches Democratic plans to institute “buy clean” requirements for the federal government.
California’s leftist leaders also shot for the creation of what they called “green jobs” — but that hasn’t exactly materialized.
First, they found that there is no solid definition of what a “green job” is. When the public thinks of “green jobs,” it generally pictures something like a technician working on a solar panel, but even that can be misleading.
For example, it’s not likely that this man’s only responsibility is to work on solar panels, so is his job not “green” when he fixes something else?
What about the garbage man who also picks up your recyclables? Is his job “green”?
Nobody knows the answer, which is why California stopped reporting the total number of “green jobs” created after only two years.
Second, candidates like to be misleading so they can gin up support, which should come at no surprise.
These candidates like to stretch out their proposals over a decade because it masks the true impact their plans have on the job market.
Warren, for example, likes to tout her figure of 1.2 million jobs over a 10-year period, which comes out to 120,000 jobs per year. That sounds a lot less impressive than simply creating 1.2 million jobs.
Economists have caught on to that. “A million additional jobs over 10 years, that’s not a very large number,” University of Maryland environmental economist Rob Williams said, according to Politico. “The natural amount of jobs created and destroyed every year are just enormously larger than that.”
Similarly, the term “creating jobs” is another prong of the misleading campaign strategy. Often, the creation of a job comes with the loss of another, meaning there is no net gain.
“In many cases, what our modeling suggests is these are causing job shifts rather than net job creation,” Williams said. “You create clean energy jobs, and you lose jobs in older industries.”
This was true in California, which saw some increases in “green jobs” along with losses in the oil and gas sector.
So what does all this mean for the economy? Well, not that much.
Thankfully, the largest state economy in the union didn’t tank, but there isn’t any evidence that its new clean energy initiative helped it grow, which is a problem.
Candidates like to convince supporters and moderates alike that their proposals act as a “stimulus” to spur economic growth. Instead, these policies just end up being a dumping ground for taxpayer money.
Jon Erickson, the University of Vermont economist who did the analysis for Sanders’ plan, wrapped it all together.
“Certainly many of those jobs, you can be thinking of them as transition jobs that would replace losses that are already happening in other industries,” he said, according to Politico. “Rather than just let this naturally happen by market forces, the Green New Deal actually helps pay for the economic transition from a fossil fueled economy to a renewable energy fueled economy.”
What this means is that these obscenely large public investments are ultimately pointless from an economic standpoint. The free market eventually would sort this out, and we would be able to save trillions in taxpayer dollars.
Maybe the 2020 Democratic candidates could learn a thing or two from California.
Author: Cade Almond
Source: Western Journal: As Dems Unveil Trillion-Dollar Plans, California’s ‘Green New Deal’ Experiment Looks Like a Bust