President Joe Biden’s amazingly out-sized infrastructure plan promises not only roads and bridges but also contemplates plenty of human infrastructures such as child care and free community college. Of course, no Democrat infrastructure plan could fail to include the promise of many green jobs. And the whole bonanza is only going to require that we borrow or print a few more trillion dollars.
As Andrew Stuttaford noted on August 17 in National Review, whether the Biden administration’s climate agenda will create permanent jobs that provide sustainable and cleaner energy is up for debate. What looks like more certainty is establishing plenty of new positions for government bureaucrats and regulators.
It is always interesting to see how politicians and their cheerleaders in the corporate media dress up the same old marketing buzzwords that have been used for many years to convince taxpayers that the radical climate plan is necessary. Without the economically regressive policies they propose to take over the world’s economy, we are warned of impending and unavoidable environmental catastrophe.
Last month, Biden said that when he hears climate, he thinks of good-paying union jobs. He added that his climate plans would thereby generate significant economic growth.
However, the marketing strategy may not be attractive to lawmakers. The long record of economic disasters and bankruptcies amassed by green energy companies is not always pleasing to politicians who fear having their names attached to pork-barrel boondoggles that do not deliver. As a result, much of the climate plan gets pushed forward through administrative, regulatory, and corporatist crony channels.
While jobs in the solar and wind energy industries pay above the national median wages, they pay less than fossil fuel industry jobs. These industries are also much less dependent on workers, with many solar farms operating without any workers on site.
Moreover, it is doubtful that climate economy projects will replace jobs lost through regulation. Stuttaford notes that the U.S. has lost approximately two million union jobs in the private sector in the last twenty years. Studies indicate that even the most significant planned investments in solar and wind will only add about a half-million jobs over the next decade. Most of those jobs would be in construction and manufacturing and not long-term energy production.
Considering the likely effects of other parts of the Biden administration’s climate plan on the overall economy, it seems unlikely that many realistic thinkers will find a way to be enthusiastic about the future of quality private-sector jobs under Democratic planning.