Inhofe-Bond Issue Warning on Green Jobs
April 27, 2009

Contact: Matt Dempsey matt_dempsey@epw.senate.gov (202) 224-9797

 

Inhofe-Bond Issue Warning on Green Jobs

 

Inhofe Joins Bond to Release Report, “Yellow Light on Green Jobs”

 

Link to Green Jobs One-Pager 

 

Link to Green Jobs Full Report

 

WASHINGTON, DC - Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, joined Senator Kit Bond (R-MO), Ranking Member on the Green Jobs and New Economy Subcommittee, to announce a report highlighting the poor performance of taxpayer-funded green jobs programs. The report details a number of misconceptions and exaggerations propagated by green job advocates. In fact, many so-called green jobs pay lower wages, require expensive taxpayer subsidies, and often are created at the expensive of well-paying manufacturing jobs.                                        

 

“Senator Bond’s timely report shows that massive new government spending on green jobs programs is leading to mixed results,” Sen. Inhofe said.  “Now, cap-and-trade supporters want to tax Americans to pay for government-created green jobs, which won’t work.   Instead, Congress should focus on creating jobs through a technology-based energy policy that encourages innovation and greater domestic supplies of all forms of energy.” 

 

As Ranking Member of the new subcommittee, Senator Bond reviewed green-jobs programs, proposals and reports.  The overwhelming sources of materials are derived from green-jobs advocates, progressive-policy groups, environmental groups and labor organizations.  The findings revealed that many green jobs pay low wages, require expensive taxpayer subsidies, and kill existing jobs to pay for new green jobs.

 

“This report signals a yellow light urging caution with green jobs,” said Senator Bond.  “We must avoid green jobs proposals that result in killing millions of existing jobs to pay for new green jobs, require expensive taxpayer subsidies, or pay low wages.”

 

A major example of this dilemma occurred in Newton, Iowa, where President Obama visited on Earth Day to tout green jobs at a new wind turbine plant. During the visit, the President noted that new green jobs replaced manufacturing jobs where a Maytag plant closed. However, he did not mention that only 700 jobs paying $13 per hour replaced the 1,800 jobs paying $20 an hour plus health care. Bond expressed concern that passing climate-change legislation to pay for new green jobs will result in a similar situation where good-paying manufacturing jobs are driven away by the burden of high energy taxes and replaced with fewer, lower-paying green jobs.

 

Bond’s Yellow Light on Green Jobs report reveals how President Obama and many others are using the prospect of green jobs to push their own agendas, which include more government spending and climate-change legislation that will raise energy prices and kill existing jobs. The report specifically highlights programs such as the New Apollo Program, founded by a coalition of labor and environmental groups, which will cost $500 billion over 10 years.  The report also highlights Green Recovery from the progressive policy group Center for American Progress, which will cost $100 billion over 2 years. Ultimately, the report serves as yellow light of caution regarding new climate-change legislation that threatens millions of U.S. jobs, especially in the manufacturing dependent Midwest.

   

Some of the report highlights are listed below:

 

This report clearly shows that green jobs are expensive, a fact that even environmental and labor groups agree with:

  • “Green jobs creation programs proposed by advocates would cost billions of dollars. The New Apollo Program would cost $500 billion over ten years. Green Recovery [by the Center for American Progress] would cost $100 billion over two years.” 
  • “A coalition of environmental and labor organizations found that State and local taxpayer subsidies of tens of millions of dollars often times produced only a few hundred jobs. (Pg 17)

 All Americans will be paying for these jobs with a new energy tax from cap-and-trade, and the poor will be hit the hardest: 

  • To pay for expensive green jobs programs, advocates propose an energy tax through cap-and-trade.
  • Last year, we defeated the Lieberman-Warner bill, which would have raised $.67 trillion in new taxes.
Green jobs will mean lower pay: 

 

  • Obama’s green jobs don’t pay well.  As the report says: “Even with tens of millions of dollars in State and local taxpayer subsidies and the prospect of hundreds of billions of dollars in further federal taxpayer subsidy, worker advocates are finding that their assumption that green jobs will be good, middle class jobs is not always valid.” p. 21
  • Consider this: Jobs in recycling processing pay as low as $8.25 an hour and jobs in renewable energy manufacturing facilities pay as little as $11 an hour. But according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hourly earnings of a manufacturing worker is $18.00 per hour.

 

Green jobs kill existing jobs

 

  • Proposals to create green jobs will kill millions of existing jobs.  I would note that over the last decade, according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, we’ve lost nearly 4 million manufacturing jobs, a period that coincides with the rise of global warming alarmism. 
  • Government mandates and heavy government spending necessary to provide the incentives and taxpayer subsidies necessary to spur green job creation will raise costs for employers, force layoffs, and shift production (and emissions) overseas to lower cost nations.” (p. 25)

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