The Wasatch Behind: Green energy, green jobs
"This economy really stinks," Uncle Spud said as he sat on a street corner holding a sign that said, "Will golf for food."
"I once had a job in a coal mine," he said, "but most of those jobs have gone away."
"Yes, I know," I told him. "The Obama administration says the unemployment rate is between nine and 10 percent, so when we factor in the 50 percent government fudge factor, we can safely conclude that unemployment is closer to 18 or 20 percent. That's almost as bad as the Great Depression."
"I thought President Obama said we'd have a gazillion green jobs by now," Spud scowled. "Wasn't that part of his hopey-changey agenda?"
"That's what he said," I agreed.
"He has kept part of his promise," I reminded the Spudster. "You'll remember he also said he'd have to necessarily bankrupt the coal industry to bring about his green agenda and stop global warming. He's done all he can to keep that promise. The coal, oil and gas industries are being taxed and regulated out of business. Thousands of jobs have been lost there."
"But green jobs were supposed to replace the energy jobs killed by regulation and higher taxes," Spud argued. "What happened to that? Since Obama took the wheel of the economy we've spent $80 billion in stimulus money to create green jobs and there aren't any. Where did the money go?"
"That $80 billion, over two and a half years, has increased our usage of wind and solar energy by a full percent," I argued. "Before Obama, America got about 2.5 percent of our energy from green technology. Now we get about 3.5 percent. That's a move in the right direction, but at that rate, to replace the other 97 percent of our energy needs with wind and sunshine will take 240 years and eight trillion dollars. That's about $200,000 for every man, woman, child and illegal alien in America, not factoring in the collateral damage of lost jobs, lost industries and lost tax revenues.
"I've worked green jobs before and they're not that great," Spud said.
"Sure, my first green job was shoveling horse manure. My second green job was hauling hay. All farm jobs are green jobs. There are getting to be a lot of those. Because of our liberal welfare and de-facto amnesty policies, tax-paying Americans are going to have to start doing the green jobs illegal aliens won't do anymore, like picking lettuce and selling marijuana."
"But Obama promised green energy jobs," I reminded him.
"Those too," Spud smiled. "We once had a lot of green energy jobs. There were waterwheel-powered sawmills and gristmills. There were windmill-powered water pumps and steam engines fueled by burning wood. Wood is a green, renewable fuel. All jobs in the lumber industry are green jobs, but I don't think the lumberjacks got any of that $80 billion in green stimulus money. That money went to stimulate green political projects, not jobs."
"And then, there's the president's green transportation agenda," Spud continued. "Green transportation is nothing new. Back in nineteen-ought-six we had an old horse who ate green hay and pulled a wagon to town and back. He was almost as fast and had better range than an electric car. But then, he probably wouldn't meet today's emissions standards."
"What about making our homes and offices green?" I asked.
"We did that with a bucket of paint," Spud offered. "It was a lot cheaper than solar panels, and a green screen door was the only air conditioning available back then."
"So, tell me, oh wise one, where are the green jobs?"
"So far, the greenest job in this administration is printing money," Spud said. "That's where that $80 billion in greenback stimulus came from. Congress just prints more money to cover their runaway spending, then they borrow 40 percent more each month from the communist Chinese. With each billion in debt they put an I.O.U. in the social security fund and postdate the bill to the next generation. By the time the green stuff hits the fan, those government fat cats expect to be living like Scrooge McDucks on a Caribbean Island somewhere, safely out of the way of the riots and civil unrest."
"Didn't the recent congressional debt deal fix all of this?" I asked.
"The same way painting a yellow line down the middle of 3000 south fixed the traffic congestion problem," Spud said.