The “Green Jobs” Scam Unmasked

By Howard Rich
Americans for Limited Government

A year after it was passed, it has become painfully obvious to anyone with open eyes that the massive federal “stimulus” – along with several other trillion-dollar government interventions in the free market – has utterly failed to turn around America’s economy. In fact, all this massive infusion of taxpayer cash has done is deprive our consumer-driven private sector of much-needed oxygen, while sending our annual deficits and national debt soaring to previously unthinkable heights.

It’s the classic Washington approach to the economy. When times are good, politicians in both parties spend excessively. When times are bad? They spend uncontrollably.

As a result, at a time when families and small businesses were – and are still – forced to go without, government continues to grow by obscene levels, using every excuse in the book to justify its largesse.

Among those excuses?

“Green Jobs.”

I wrote on this issue just last month, making the fundamental point that investing billions in “Green Jobs” had failed to stimulate the economy (or create jobs), and that Barack Obama’s pledge to invest billions more in “Green Jobs” was the wrong answer moving forward.

This month, we’re discovering in detail why that is true.

According to a series of new reports, billions of dollars in “stimulus” money that was supposed to go toward creating “Green Jobs” here in America instead went to foreign-owned companies – who “created or saved” the vast majority of their jobs overseas. Obviously there is nothing wrong with America investing in foreign businesses, as protectionism is a recipe for disaster.

According to an ABC News report, though, almost $2 billion in “stimulus” funding has been spent so far on wind power, and yet 80% of that money has gone to foreign-owned companies.

“Most of the jobs are going overseas,” researcher Russ Choma told ABC. “According to our estimates, about 6,000 jobs have been created overseas, and maybe a couple hundred have been created in the U.S.”

In fact, despite receiving this windfall of “stimulus” cash, the U.S. wind manufacturing sector actually lost jobs in 2009, according to a year-end report by its professional association. Also, most of the jobs “created or saved” in America have been temporary construction positions, or “management” hires.

The real job creation (or job salvation, to use Obama’s disingenuous math) has taken place beyond our borders.

Consider these examples, courtesy of a recent report from The Watchdog Institute:

Eurus Energy America, a subsidiary of a Japanese-owned firm, received $91 million in “stimulus” funds and created only 300 to 400 temporary construction jobs. Permanent jobs created? Less than a dozen.

EnXco, a French-owned firm, received $69.5 million in “stimulus” funds and yet produced only 200 construction jobs and “about a dozen” permanent positions.

A-Power, a Chinese-owned firm, is in line to receive nearly $450 million in “stimulus” funds – for a project that will create thousands of Chinese jobs but only a few dozen American positions.
Cannon Power Group, an American-owned firm, received $19 million in “stimulus” funds but spend most of that on German-made turbines. So far they have created fewer than 300 construction jobs and “20 to 30” permanent positions. Cannon is in line to receive another $150 million in “stimulus” funds, by the way.

In case the trend isn’t clear, America’s massive investment in “Green Jobs” has been a colossal, costly failure – unless you’re looking for work overseas. For all the promises of the Obama administration, here at home these taxpayers billions have amounted to little more than a few thousand temporary construction positions and a few hundred management jobs.

In fact, there’s a good chance that the government employees hired to promote “Green Jobs” outnumber the actual permanent “Green Jobs” created. However you do the math, these positions are obviously a mere drop in the bucket compared to U.S. job losses in the wind manufacturing segment of the energy economy alone, to say nothing of the millions of lost jobs nationwide.

Worse still, the lunacy isn’t stopping. We are continuing to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into this failed framework, which uses American sweat to create permanent positions (and profit) for foreign companies.

Frankly, it’s time for Obama to come clean on the “Green Jobs” scam – and to explain why his so-called “transparent and accountable” administration didn’t catch it sooner.

Howard Rich, the chairman of Americans for Limited Government, is a Liberty Features Syndicated writer.

2 Responses to “The “Green Jobs” Scam Unmasked”

  1. This article has some truth to it, but the author has a fundamental misunderstanding of the wind energy business.

    The only permanent jobs in a complete wind farm are operations and maintenance and that does not take an army of people. What the article does not say is that those jobs will be there for 20-30 years and the jobs number will increase with the age of the wind farm.

    As far as the dollars going overseas, that is true but not because of the foreign ownership of the developers. The fact is most foreign owners fund operatations in the US, and do not take much in profits back.

    Rather, the biggest costs in a wind farm are the turbines and towers. Most of the major manufactures of those are overseas so the dollars naturally flow there. Wind farms that use GE turbines leave that money in the US.

    Another big misconception is that the stimulus dollars are leaving the US when paid. As only about 25% of the cost of a wind farm is getting stimulus money, that money will likely be put into another wind project in the US (creating more construction and permanent wind farm jobs).

    So IMHO the stimulus money is driving the development of new wind farms in the US and that is creating jobs even if some are just construction jobs.

    Maybe if the government made manufacturing more attractive in the US, more money would stay here. But hey, look at Detroit. That's just not likely to happen.