WRITTEN TESTIMONY OF CHRISTOPHER HORNER, SENIORFELLOW AT THE COMPETITIVE ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE, ON"TRADE AND GREEN JOBS", SENATE COMMITTEE ONENVIRONMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS, FEBRUARY 15, 2011
The Committee today is considering the idea that the United States might become a worldleading exporter of politically selected technologies and that this path might be blazed bymandating or otherwise expanding government (taxpayer) support schemes for those goods.As I explain, experience shows that this is highly unlikely, if very likely to cause great harm.‘Green jobs’ generally refers to a series of support schemes ensuring more man-hours per unit of energy produced. That is, ensuring more expensive, less efficient energy. This has obviouseconomic impacts, none of them positive. That makes the recently coined argument that theseschemes are actually, somehow, the way out of the economic downturn more curious.Congress should view ‘green jobs’ as the new ‘shovel-ready jobs’. It simply is not as advertised.Even strong supporters of these programs nonetheless say things like Harvard economist EdwardL. Glaeser recently wrote in the
New York Times
, that "it always was a mistake to think thatclean energy was going to be a jobs bonanza," and "We shouldn't pretend that cheaper solarenergy will end up employing millions of our less-skilled citizens."
Then there is “Michael Eckhart, president of the American Council on Renewable Energy [whosaid China has] ‘won manufacturing… Game over, exit the stadium’”.
But do not worry. “[H]e said there are U.S. jobs in installing and maintaining solar panels in theUnited States.” That acknowledges that the U.S. will not somehow become a world leadingexporter of renewables by mandating their use here, and indeed it belies the public sales pitch formassive 'green jobs' schemes. It does, however, reaffirm what scrutiny of even those studiesclaiming net job gain from green jobs schemes reveals: not only will they not replace lost jobs inAmerica, they won’t replace the additional jobs their support schemes cause to be lost.
About China, it seems that “The White House calculates that there is enough public anxietyabout the U.S. slipping in competition with China, India and other emerging nations that voterscould rally behind calls for investing in future growth.”