Americans Want Jobs, Not Projects

The American people rightly believe that President Barack Obama’s $787 billion stimulus package is a miserable failure. Vice President Joe Biden attempted to convince them other wise today announcing that the Obama administration met or exceeded all ten major projects that they claim defined the Recovery Act in its second 100 days. The New York Times reports:

Biden took on critics who call the stimulus a “grab bag” of too many programs. “It doesn’t reflect a lack of design,” Mr. Biden said in a speech at the Brookings Institution. “That was the design.” Mr. Biden said that the stimulus law was not a “single silver bullet” but rather “silver buckshot.”

The random violence of buckshot is a perfect analogy for Obama’s stimulus. The Vice-President insists on using the number of projects and grants fulfilled as metrics for success. Those measures are meaningless since they take no account of whether the projects are cost beneficial or what affect they have on the economy. The government has never had difficulty shooting tax dollars out the door. The question is how whether that money is wisely spent. Money spent on the stimulus projects is not available to be invested elsewhere in the economy.

So what are better metrics to measure the stimulus’ impact? Job creation. Which is most different than the “created or saved” rhetoric Biden again referenced today. The Vice-president claimed the stimulus has already “created or saved” between 500-750,000 jobs. This comes on a day when the Department of Labor announced that the number of people receiving unemployment insurance jumped by 92,000 last week to 6.2 million. Additionally, new Unemployment Insurance claims dropped less than expected, with 570,000 new workers filing for unemployment benefits.

And nobody outside of Obama’s hard core base believes jobs “saved” can be measured. But setting that fact aside, even Biden’s 750,000 number falls well below earlier administration projections for jobs saved and ignores the fact that the unemployment rate is almost 1/5th higher than the Administration claimed it would be if the stimulus passed.

The Vice President went on at length about how the President has a vision for America’s 21st Century economy and how the stimulus programs builds on that vision. He said nothing about the role of private entrepreneurs having a vision of their own. The Obama vision of recovery is one planned in Washington that leaves little room for the individual ingenuity, rule of law, and free enterprise that are the true pillars of our economic growth.

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Green Jobs and 9/11 Truthers: A Match Made in the Obama White House

This April President Barack Obama said he wanted to rebuild the entire United States economy based on a foundation of “five pillars that will grow our economy and make this new century another American century.” One of those pillars was government “investments” in renewable energy and technology that will create “green jobs” for millions of Americans. To oversee the planning for all these green jobs, President Obama tapped Van Jones, author of the 2008 New York Times best-seller The Green Collar Economy, to be his Special Advisor for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.

Of course green jobs are complete fiction. For starters, nobody, including the Obama administration, even has a definition for what a green job is. Furthermore, research both here in the U.S., and abroad, has repeatedly demonstrated that subsidizing high cost renewable energies destroys more jobs than it creates.

But that is what makes Jones such a perfect fit to be Obama’s green jobs czar. It turns out that Jones is no stranger to crazy. The Washington Times Amanda Carpenter reports that along with comedienne Janeane Garofalo, ex-Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA), Code Pink founder Medea Benjamin, and Howard Zinn, Jones has signed’s 9/11 Truth Statement which calls for an investigation by then-New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer into whether the Bush administration may have had foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks.

That’s right, Obama’s hand picked Green Jobs Czar doesn’t believe al Qaeda is responsible for 9/11, instead he accusses President George Bush. Crazy is as crazy does.

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Subsidized Green Jobs Destroy Jobs Elsewhere

Government expenditures are not free. Economists know this and most others recognize it when they take the time to think about it. Unfortunately, it seems not everybody takes that time.

In a story fit for satire in The Onion, a renewable energy research group, bankrolled by a $1.1 billion subsidy from the Department of Energy, concludes that huge government subsidies for renewable energy don’t reduce employment after all. However, their reasoning works only so long as the subsidies don’t come out of anybody’s pocket—a practical and theoretical impossibility.

Two environmentalists at the Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC (see ASE brag about the billion it gets from Uncle Sam, While there are multiple problems with the ASE critique of Calzada’s work, the flawed foundation of their critique is best illustrated by the following statement:

Furthermore, there is no justification given for the assumption that government spending (e.g., tax credits or subsidies) would force out private investment.”

That is, the environmentalists do not see government expenditure as having a cost. They employ the same free-lunch fallacy that underpins essentially all the analysis showing green-energy subsidies increase employment.

The first week of every principles of economics class goes over the problem with free-lunch assumptions. The labor and material used to make windmills or solar panels or to install insulation cannot simultaneously be used to make refrigerators and automobiles. When government spends more money, it necessarily diverts labor, capital and materials from the private sector.

Dr. Calzada simply calculated how many jobs, on average, would have been supported with these resources had they been left to the private market. The ASE critique doesn’t even recognize that the costs exist. Therefore, the ASE critique can hardly be used to undermine the credibility of the Spanish conclusion—subsidies for green technologies reduce overall employment.

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