Thursday, June 21, 2012

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

From The False Promise of Green Energy

Green jobs advocates make assertions that fly in the face of fundamental economic theory and evidence. ... Claims about job creation should be separated from environmental goals. If one wishes to argue that CO2 emission must be limited, or that some other policy is believed to be desirable on environmental grounds, that is fine. Make the case. However, to assert that we can have our cake and eat it, too - and get wealthier by doing so - is not credible.
p138.

I do agree. This is one of the main points of the book - that a lot of people advocating for "green" initiatives in politics do so with silly rhetoric about how it will create jobs, save money, etc, etc. Maybe they will, but the book pokes a lot of holes in their arguments. I'm not a policy wonk or an economist. So, fortunately, I argue purely on environmental grounds, damn the economy if we have to. It'd be nice if this could be done in a way that creates jobs and saves us money, but it won't. Because it won't, it will probably require government intervention.

The authors, of course, when going beyond the specific policy recommendations of "green jobs" advocates, display their Cato Institute credentials. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing remains for you to decide. At least they're quite up front about it. They spend quite a bit of time discussing their opinion of the Obama stimulus plan (they didn't like it and thought it was a failure) and Cash for Clunkers (they didn't like it and thought it was a failure - I agree). They also make quite a bit of use of the argument that national debt is paying for stuff by borrowing from future generations - which I think is not wholly accurate (but I'm not an economist or a policy wonk). Anyway, I'm more of a Krugman fan, so I'm not going to be wholly convinced by anything they're on about, but you can certainly disagree and I won't think any less of you. I simply don't believe in libertarianism.

As an aside, national debt and such isn't borrowing from future generations. Pensions, especially currently unfunded pensions, are. Government (local, state, and federal) pensions are a big accounting scam. We are all going to get screwed. This other stuff is peanuts. Government debt in general isn't mortgaging our future or pushing expenses onto our kids, especially if you do it by running a deficit during a recession and a surplus during growth, at least, according to some theories. But pensions are going to destroy us all.