News Story

Green Jobs Training

Governor Jennifer Granholm recently announced the state has been awarded a nearly $6 million federal grant to train more than 1,000 Michigan people for "green jobs" and then place them into those jobs.

The money comes from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, or better known as the federal stimulus.

The Mackinac Center For Public Policy experts sound off about it:

Jack McHugh, senior legislative analyst for the Mackinac Center:

Energy is a necessary and burdensome expense for households and businesses, not something that people consume for its own sake. The goal should be getting more of it with fewer resources.

The 'green jobs' political fad is about doing just the opposite - getting less energy with more resources. The effect is the same as a tax hike - the words 'green energy' should be read as 'tax hike.'

Ken Braun, managing editor of Michigan Capitol Confidential:

Government experts know the secret to making "green energy" AND creating jobs? And the formula is just adding more tax dollars?

The worst part of this fantastic fable is that it isn't even original.

Decades ago, the magic green bullet was ethanol. The formula for ethanol, as the Wall Street Journal's Paul Gigot famously quipped, is "corn plus your tax dollars."

Today, outside of those who profit from the subsidies given for making ethanol, and politicians who profit from ethanol lobbyists, most workers and consumers are worse off because we are turning food into fuel. When even New York Times hyper-lefty Paul Krugman throws in the towel, you know that your green energy scam has outrun its political coverage.

Or so you'd think. Like the monster under the bed and not swimming for a half hour after eating lunch, some childish tall tales are hard to kill. A bi-partisan coalition of lawmakers at the state and federal level still have it in their brains that somebody once told them that ethanol would bring "green energy" and jobs.

Astute observers of Michigan's economic and physical landscapes will note that we have an abundance of cornfields, but not many jobs.

And so, the waste of resources continues. One expert profiled in a previous MichCapCon article noted that making a gallon of ethanol requires energy inputs equal to 40 percent of the energy that is contained in the ethanol that is eventually produced. And those inputs are often the same fossil fuels that ethanol is supposed to be replacing.

That is literally taking three steps forward and two steps back. Fred Flintstone's town of Bedrock had a more efficient means of powering their cars. And yet, this is where we are after letting politicians try for DECADES to make this ethanol-energy magic trick work.

Fairy tales are for kindergartners. Jobs and energy won't be coming to Michigan until some adult thinking gets government planners out of the way.

Russ Harding, director of the Mackinac Center's Property Rights Network:

Unemployed workers might want to think twice before signing up for green job training funded by federal stimulus dollars. This latest grant comes on top of an earlier Department of Energy grant of a whopping $1.36 billion to create and Advanced Battery Skills Alliance in S.E. Michigan.

While the U.S. economy is still reeling from the bursting of the housing bubble created in large part by federal government policies that were not sustainable, the activist Obama administration along with friends in Congress are busy creating the "green energy bubble." Training workers for green energy jobs fueled by large government subsidies is analogous to training workers for construction jobs during the height of the housing bubble - attractive in the short term but disastrous for long term job security. When the federal government stimulus dollars run out the bubble will burst along with the promise of a green revolution leaving newly trained workers wondering what went wrong.   

For those that do not believe a green energy bubble is in the making they may want to check out an ALT Energy Stocks post that opines: "Something is out of kilter when the electric vehicle complex has 6% of the sales and 77% of the stockholders equity of the lead-acid battery complex but trades at twice the price."

Is seems incomprehensible that Governor Granholm is anxious to tout the benefits of tax payer funded job training for jobs that may or may not develop, while at the same time  denying the creation of sustainable high paying jobs by vetoing the building of new power plants that utilize cleaner technology. Central planning of the economy by politicians did not work in Eastern Europe and it will not work here.


Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.