The Clinton Renewables Plan would Create “Green Jobs” – But would also Destroy Real Jobs

climate-cash

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

When is job creation a bad thing? The answer of course is when the new jobs make something more expensive. Economic growth occurs when efficiency improves – when a good or service becomes available at a reduced price. But this simple economic reality seems beyond the grasp of journalists who promote the “Green Job” narrative.

Clinton says the ‘clean energy economy’ will create millions of jobs. Can it?

Job growth is a prime topic in the U.S. presidential race, but Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have very different takes on the role clean energy could play in creating employment.

Democratic hopeful Hillary Clinton says the U.S. can be the world’s “clean energy superpower.” Her plan, spelled out in detail online, would create millions of jobs and spur billions of dollars in public and private investment, while making infrastructure more resilient and lowering emissions.

Republican candidate Donald Trump says he’s a “great believer in all forms of energy” but that the country’s energy policies are a “disaster.” In a 2015 interview with CNN, Trump said policies to support clean energy and reduce carbon emissions would “imperil jobs” and “the middle class and lower classes.”

Like many critics of the federal government’s efforts to promote clean energy, he points to the failure of Solyndra as a waste of taxpayer money. Solyndra, you may recall, was a solar company that received a partial loan guarantee from the U.S. government but went bankrupt in 2011, defaulting on a US$535 million loan.

Read more: https://theconversation.com/clinton-says-the-clean-energy-economy-will-create-millions-of-jobs-can-it-66111

According to an energy.gov report, around 3.64 million Americans work in “traditional” energy industries, while around 600,000 Americans work in low carbon energy.

With the combination of EEI survey data and existing BLS surveys, the USEER finds that Electric Power Generation and Fuel technologies directly employ 1.6 million workers, almost double the 935,000 covered in the BLS direct industry classifications. Within this traditional energy sector, nearly 63% of employees work with fossil fuel technologies. This approach also identifies an additional 280,000 workers across Transmission, Wholesale Trade and Distribution, and Storage technologies, for a total of more than one million jobs. Retail sales and distribution in this sector—primarily gasoline stations— employ another 990,000 individuals. In total, approximately 3.64 million Americans work in our traditional energy industries, when including the 990,000 working in retail sales and distribution.

Today, 600,000 workers are employed within the Electric Power Generation and Fuels sector in low carbon emission generation technologies, including renewables, nuclear, and advanced/low emission natural gas. Just under 300,000 individuals work, in whole or in part, for solar firms, with over 200,000 of those employees spending the majority of their time on solar. There are an additional 77,000 workers employed at wind firms across the nation.

Read more (page 8): http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2016/03/f30/U.S.%20Energy%20and%20Employment%20Report.pdf

Transforming the US energy system to 100% renewables (assuming this is possible) would create a tremendous number of jobs, to build the infrastructure, followed by an unknown number of jobs to maintain the infrastructure. Probably significantly more jobs than the number of people currently employed in the energy industry, due if nothing else to the need to build and maintain more transmission cables to remote wind farm sites.

But these jobs wouldn’t deliver any value in the short term. Existing infrastructure already supplies all the energy we need – all those new jobs would be replacing infrastructure which doesn’t require replacement. The switchover to renewable infrastructure would not improve anyone’s life – electricity is electricity, regardless of its source. Even if you believe we are on the brink of a climate emergency, the full force of the predicted disasters won’t strike for decades. So in terms of the value those jobs are providing to the economy, at least in the short term, all those extra workers might as well be digging ditches and filling them in again. Or breaking windows and replacing them. Activity without benefit to the people paying for that activity.

The broken window fallacy, as originally described by Frédéric Bastiat in 1850;

Have you ever witnessed the anger of the good shopkeeper, James Goodfellow, when his careless son has happened to break a pane of glass? If you have been present at such a scene, you will most assuredly bear witness to the fact that every one of the spectators, were there even thirty of them, by common consent apparently, offered the unfortunate owner this invariable consolation – “It is an ill wind that blows nobody good. Everybody must live, and what would become of the glaziers if panes of glass were never broken?”

Now, this form of condolence contains an entire theory, which it will be well to show up in this simple case, seeing that it is precisely the same as that which, unhappily, regulates the greater part of our economical institutions.

Suppose it cost six francs to repair the damage, and you say that the accident brings six francs to the glazier’s trade – that it encourages that trade to the amount of six francs – I grant it; I have not a word to say against it; you reason justly. The glazier comes, performs his task, receives his six francs, rubs his hands, and, in his heart, blesses the careless child. All this is that which is seen.

But if, on the other hand, you come to the conclusion, as is too often the case, that it is a good thing to break windows, that it causes money to circulate, and that the encouragement of industry in general will be the result of it, you will oblige me to call out, “Stop there! Your theory is confined to that which is seen; it takes no account of that which is not seen.”

It is not seen that as our shopkeeper has spent six francs upon one thing, he cannot spend them upon another. It is not seen that if he had not had a window to replace, he would, perhaps, have replaced his old shoes, or added another book to his library. In short, he would have employed his six francs in some way, which this accident has prevented.

Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parable_of_the_broken_window

As Bastiat explains, there is no benefit from stimulating an activity which does not product a good or service which people want. There would be no short term benefit to the economy from creating green jobs. Everyone would suffer the loss of money spent to pay the salaries of those green workers, cash which could have been spent on stuff which would have improved the lives of the people who earned that money.

If a future climate disaster is averted, then there is a future benefit to investing in green infrastructure. But there is no near term stimulus benefit to the economy from the creation of green jobs.

Of course a future Clinton administration might intend to pay for the plan with borrowed money, to push most of the cost of creating more green jobs into the future. This might force the people who would allegedly benefit from green infrastructure to pay the price of building that infrastructure. But previous wastrel Federal US administrations have already sipped deeply from that poisoned chalice. If US public debt rises much higher, America will shortly begin to experience the very real problems which occur when governments run out of money.

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165 thoughts on “The Clinton Renewables Plan would Create “Green Jobs” – But would also Destroy Real Jobs

  1. If energy costs go up in the USA, won’t there be more economic pressure to move manufacturing to places with cheaper energy like Mexico ?

    Won’t this then it only take jobs away from the USA and also increase net c02 worldwide ?

    There is a feedback mechanism in play when an input to the economy is changed. We often end up with unintended consequences.

    • Correct. And I have a better jobs plan than Hillary’s: Employ people to move stones. One person moves a stone, another moves it back. Because my plan doesn’t put existing energy workers out of a job, I don’t have to employ as many as in Hillary’s plan. So my plan has three siginifcant advantages over Hillary’s – it doesn’t put existing energy workers out of a job, it doesn’t push up the cost of electricity for the rest of the economy, and it costs less. So the economy will go better under my plan than it would under Hillary’s. Now that I have established that my plan is better, the next thing to do is to optimise it. It would take an economist with a sophisticated economic computer model to work out the optimum number of people to be employed in stone-moving, but I think that the optimum result would be about zero. So I now have a better plan than Hillary’s, it costs nothing, and it is really easy to implement – just don’t employ anyone to move stones, and voila! we have an economic plan that is not just better than Hillary’s but actually a whole lot better.

      • Even better than moving stones, is digging holes in the ground and filling them up again. Why is it better? Because those jobs are, of course…shovel-ready.

      • Roy Spencer October 24, 2016 at 5:17 am

        “Even better than moving stones, is digging holes in the ground and filling them up again. ”

        I actually did this for quite a while as exercise. I would dig holes on one side of my back yard putting the sand into buckets which I would take to the other side and fill in the holes I dug there. Back and forth I would go, it was great exercise and got me outside in the fresh air. My neighbors, though, thought I was nuts.

      • When I was in the Royal Air Force (a long time ago!) it was a ‘well known fact’ that part of the punishment dished out in the ‘Glasshouse’ (detention centre) was for the prisoners to move a pile of coal from one position to another, whitewash the area where the coal had stood, and then move it back again. Repeat from whitewash. Now there’s a ‘glasshouse effect’ I’d like to see visited on a few ‘scientists’ and economists. It could set a stern example to man.

      • The lesson from Ontario also applies to the USA.

        Clinton ‘s green energy plan will be a disaster, like it is in Ontario, because green energy is not green and produces little useful energy..

        https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/10/09/u-s-sees-lower-energy-costs-while-australia-and-europes-renewable-energy-mania-creates-energy-price-spikes-and-supply-disruptions/comment-page-1/#comment-2316214

        A lesson for Alberta in the National Post – article by Terry Corcoran.

        This cover article in the National Post provides a lesson for Alberta, and especially for the NDP. Their green energy plan to replace coal-fired power in Alberta with wind and solar energy will be a debacle, just like it is in Ontario.

        My co-authors and I predicted this green energy disaster in a debate with the Pembina Institute, sponsored by the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA), published in 2002. We wrote:
        “The ultimate agenda of pro-Kyoto advocates is to eliminate fossil fuels, but this would result in a catastrophic shortfall in global energy supply – the wasteful, inefficient energy solutions pro-posed by Kyoto advocates simply cannot replace fossil fuels.”
        Available until recently on the APEGA website, our debate is now published at:
        http://www.friendsofscience.org/assets/documents/KyotoAPEGA2002REV1.pdf

        Increasing energy costs will cause enormous harm to Albertans as it has to Ontario – job losses and destruction of the economy are only the beginning.

        As in Europe, where “heat or eat” has become a common phrase, energy poverty causes increased Winter Mortality that especially targets the elderly and the poor. Veteran meteorologist Joseph d’Aleo and I wrote this article in 2015:
        COLD WEATHER KILLS 20 TIMES AS MANY PEOPLE AS HOT WEATHER
        By Joseph D’Aleo and Allan MacRae, June 13, 2015
        https://friendsofsciencecalgary.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/cold-weather-kills-macrae-daleo-4sept2015-final.pdf

        Regards, Allan
        Allan MacRae, P.Eng.
        ___________________________________________

        HOW ONTARIO’S PURSUIT OF RENEWABLE ENERGY BROKE THE PROVINCE’S ELECTRICITY SYSTEM.

        PROVINCE HAS CREATED AN INCOHERENT ELECTRICITY SYSTEM.
        EVERYTHING COSTS MORE.
        8 Oct 2016 – National Post – Terence Corcoran
        http://business.financialpost.com/fp-comment/boondoggle-how-ontarios-pursuit-of-renewable-energy-broke-the-provinces-electricity-system?__lsa=4533-1199

      • This discussion reminded me of the “reeks and wrecks” from Kurt Vonnegut’s book Player Piano.

      • If I am not mistaken (I have been known to be), there is a very famous Franz Kafka story about these two villages separated by a river. They are smallish villages, so not a lot of jobs, but each village has one major factory that employs most of villagers productively.
        Village A on one side of the river has a molding factory with the finest clay molding machinery in the world.

        The buy a finely divided powdered clay material from a supplier, and they mold it into these beautiful clay marbles about one cm in diameter. Virtually perfect spheres they are a delight to behold, and they ship tonnes of them from the factory.

        On the other side of the river in Village B, most of the villagers work gainfully at their one major factory.

        Factory B has some of the world’s finest crushing and grinding machinery the world has ever seen, and they buy raw clay marbles from their supplier, and they crush and grind them to the purest and most uniform finely powdered clay on the market.

        Such serendipity is seldom encountered.

        G

      • “Even better than moving stones, is digging holes in the ground and filling them up again.”

        And even better than that is to stick a tree in the newly dug hole prior to filling it in.

      • IWTs provide about 1 job/10 IWTs after construction.

        In some places sheep can be used to keep vegetation under control in solar farms.

        Keeping solar panels clean requires plenty of water.

        Jobs?

    • If you are making jobs, but NOT making MORE available reliable energy, then you are by definition lowering the efficiency, and any time you lower the “energy efficiency” of any enterprise, you are warming the planet.

      I don’t want to hear about anybody creating more jobs, that don’t create MORE available energy than we already have.

      G

      • Good points George.
        Best, Allan

        https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/07/06/climate-tensions-still-running-hot-within-the-democrat-party/comment-page-1/#comment-2253292

        Sallie Baliunas, Tim Patterson and I debated the Pembina Institute in 2002 in the PEGG. Our debate is now available at:
        http://www.friendsofscience.org/assets/documents/KyotoAPEGA2002REV1.pdf

        Our eight-point Rebuttal includes predictions that have all materialized in those countries in Western Europe that have adopted the full measure of global warming mania. My country, Canada, was foolish enough to sign the Kyoto Protocol, but then wise enough to ignore it.
        [2002 article in “quotation marks”, followed by current commentary.]

        On Green Energy:

        8. “The ultimate agenda of pro-Kyoto advocates is to eliminate fossil fuels, but this would result in a catastrophic shortfall in global energy supply – the wasteful, inefficient energy solutions proposed by Kyoto advocates simply cannot replace fossil fuels.”

        Governments that adopted “green energy” schemes such as wind and solar power are finding these schemes are not green and produce little useful energy. Their energy costs are soaring and these governments are in retreat, dropping their green energy subsidies as fast as they politically can.
        _______________

        SO WE TOLD YOU SO – 14 YEARS AGO.

        Regardless of the serious unresolved questions of the global warming scientific debate, wind and solar power do NOT contribute reliable, economic electric power to the grid.

        This is a simple and proven hypothesis, yet trillions of dollars have been wasted globally on this green energy nonsense.

        Wind power is a mature technology so it is unlikely to ever become economic.

        Solar power is more costly than wind power now, but major technological improvements are still possible.

        We tried to explain the fatal flaws of wind and solar power to the public and our politicians without success. I concluded a simpler message was required, so that our politicians and their green minions could understand.

        Years ago, I wrote the following about grid-connected wind and solar power:

        WIND POWER – IT DOESN’T JUST BLOW – IT SUCKS!

        SOLAR POWER – STICK IT WHERE THE SUN DON’T SHINE!

        Apparently this is still too complicated for our politicians and the radical greens.

        Regards to all, Allan :-)

      • The sheep thing is not working out at the solar farm down the street. They don’t always mow where you need it.

    • It’s too late for Hillary. Germany tried it in 2000 and it failed. Now, other countries followed and are stuck with the hot potato: Denmark, Spain, UK, US and it still a big fail. Inefficient, intermittent and too costly.

  2. Much of the “benefits” of green energy is in the semi-mythical social cost of carbon. As a good argument can be made that the “cost” is a net benefit, one is doubling down on a loss.

    • And of course the not-the-least-mythical POLITIAL benefit as quantified in the form of taxpayer dollars as derived from those semi-mythical social costs of carbon. Convoluted as heck but that is one non-linear chaotic system that Liberals CAN grasp :-)!

  3. The parable of the broken window was introduced by Frédéric Bastiat in his 1850 essay, That Which Is Seen and That Which Is Not Seen, to illustrate why destruction, and the money spent to recover from destruction, is not actually a net benefit to society. The parable, also known as the broken window fallacy or glazier’s fallacy, seeks to show how opportunity costs, as well as the law of unintended consequences, affect economic activity in ways that are “unseen” or ignored.

    — From Wikipedia, Parable of the broken window
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parable_of_the_broken_window

    • Bastiat had a similar critique of the fear of “unbalanced trade” in which he observed that a maximum “positive trade balance” is achieved if ships loaded with exports are set sail and sunk in mid-ocean. This prevents the terrible consequence of having to admit imports. His works are actually fun to read.

    • This is more than a “broken window.” We have coal power plants on which we have recently spent billions (with a “b”) retrofitting scrubbers, SCRs and baghouses. Those expenditures will become stranded assets if the plant are forced to close due to the CPP. So this is taking an unbroken window and replacing it with a new pane at more expense.

      • If you establish a value of a window expressed in energy required to produce it, it becomes even more obvious.
        The ability of a window monger :) to buy some extra coal for his family from the extra margins on top of the energy value, or in fact any other salesman, needs also to be factored in.
        It also goes for “green energy” that costs way over the top – in cruel fact you are buying coal that was required for making it be green, and for the witty owners of such precious energy “sources”.
        Basically it all turns into coal – this way or another.

    • Absolutely. a net gain for society is when more goods and services for people are produced with less energy or less people

      Oddly enough the greatest prosperity would be to have robots do everything since they dont need paying and they are probably more energy efficient and no ope virtue signals when they get killed in an industrial accident…

      The problem then is ‘who gets that wealth?’

      Wealth and labour are no longer correlated.

      • “The problem then is ‘who gets that wealth?’”

        When everyone has a robot that can make anything they want, why would you care?

        You’re stuck in an Industrial-Era mindset of huge, centralized production facilities. The future is the workers owning the means of production, which is what the left have claimed to want for decades, and why they’re so scared; no-one’s going to listen to their claptrap if they can make anything they want in their basement.

  4. It is impossible to introduce into society a greater change and a greater evil than this: the conversion of the law into an instrument of plunder.

    What are the consequences of such a perversion? It would require volumes to describe them all. Thus we must content ourselves with pointing out the most striking.

    In the first place, it erases from everyone’s conscience the distinction between justice and injustice.

    No society can exist unless the laws are respected to a certain degree. The safest way to make laws respected is to make them respectable. When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law.

    — Frédéric Bastiat from his pamphlet, The Law

    • An example is in the Halloween decorations at my local library: there are 3 huge bats, lets recognize them as a giant vampire bat, and I have named them: civil forfeiture, adverse possession, and eminent domain. These are legal variants of illegality which our society recognizes and even promotes covertly to the detriment of the one aspect of our society that supercedes all, property ownership.

  5. Environmentalists have now gone full circle. In my youth I recall traveling though areas of the country where abandoned strip mines had left horribly ugly scars on the earth, because they did not have the morality to remediate their mining. That was one of the things that gave rise to public support for environmental laws.

    Now, as an advisor to economic development and early-stage companies, I interact with, among others, the executive teams of alternative energy companies. NOT A SINGLE “sustainable” energy project that I have seen has set aside a single penny to remediate their wind turbines when they can no longer be used, nor to remove their acres of solar panels when they are no longer economical. For that matter, 34% of all our corn crop is consumed by the ethanol mandate. What happens to farmers, farm land and the farm economy when government gets exhausted of the subsidy and costs?

    Environmentalists are so blinded by the coming Secular Utopia that their “sustainable” power will help to make possible, that they never consider what happens when that Utopia does not arrive, but when economic reality arrives instead.

    • Yes, it is more tinkering. Another example is the push to have hens ‘cage free’ rather than in a wire box their exact size.
      Now consider that the farms that have gone ‘cage free’ under pressure have shown that what they claimed all along is true: that the hens are more damaging to each other than caged. Well, as usual, this is only part of the truth. Cage free hens need a specialized size area that they can walk thru and not be in open competition. This current ‘cage free’ area in no way achieves this so the hens compete and damage one another. The solution was to eliminate the completion completely with the wire box.
      Have you noticed that this is ALWAYS the result when our laws are passed? It is hidden under the ‘nobody gets everything they want’ rule so what you wind up with is an ‘adjustment’ the compromises the desired outcome. Hence hens that need x amount of space get 1/2 or less without any attention to the result.
      Same thing for the wind farms: they now are known to produce infrasound that has its own specialized set of health defects. AND when you use the wind it no longer is available downstream which will of course turn out to have its own set of deficits.

    • In contrast to the wind companies mentioned, the oil and gas company I worked for set aside funds for each project to pay for eventual facilities removal and return of the site to close to previous condition. The amount is small (typically 1 to 5%) but ensures the ability to be responsible. My company also maintains a rather large internal group responsible for studying, planning, engineering and executing removal of surplus facilities, such as offshore platforms.

  6. Eric—“all those extra workers might as well be digging ditches and filling them in again.”
    JK–“I argue that green energy is worse: Once your holes are filled the waste ends. With green energy, the waste goes on for decades, after the initial waste on the plant, on continued subsidies.

  7. Why can’t those who want unreliable, expensive, green energy have their homes solely attached to it, while the sentient who want cheap, reliable, ‘old fashioned’ energy have a totally different electricity distribution system?

    I don’t want to ‘save the planet’, especially when it does not need to be saved. If a bunch of gullible ecoloons and greenie politicians want to live with expensive, unreliable green energy, let them do it, but do not try and force me to support something which is so blatantly stupid and unnecessarily expensive, while also being so obviously doomed to failure.

    • ..I agree, all these rich liberal elite Hollywood stars we constantly hear whining about “Evil” fossil fuels, should be forced to live 100% off the grid and 100% fossil fuel free lives (no more private jet rides around the world, unless they are solar powered) !! LOL

    • As I mentioned on another thread, Florida has an amendment to the State Constitution on the ballot this year that would acknowledge the right of any property owner to produce electricity for their own use but does not give them the right to sell it back to the power company nor does the power company have the obligation to purchase that electricity. It also will make the property owner who does produce their own electricity bear the cost of staying connected to the grid and prohibits the use of subsidies for that purpose.

      • I believe if you look closely at that Amendment One, Tom, you’ll find that it quite deceptive. .

        I appears that the language of the amendment would ultimately make generating electricity from rooftop panels cost prohibitive for most Floridians.

        I’ve been in Florida for just over 20 years and most of the Florida Constitutional Amendments brought to ballot have been misleading and deceptive. Last year’s “medical marijuana” one, for example, was widely misrepresented.

      • Sorry, Stephen, I didn’t see your comment.

        They vote “for” it because it is being represented as benefiting the average property owner when, as pointed out by Tom and I, it does nothing of the sort.

      • JohnWho, rooftop generation has always been cost prohibitive. Greenies have gotten away with it by forcing others to pay most of the cost for their toys.

      • Stephen Greene and JohnWho,

        The benefit to home owners who are not producing their own electricity is that we will no longer have to subsidize the cost of keeping those who pay no electric bill attached to the grid. If enough people actually did produce electricity for their own use, revenue to the electric company would fall but the cost of maintaining the grid to those homes would not. So everyone else will see an increase in their rates to make up that shortfall of revenue.

        No doubt the power companies pushed this in an effort to not be required to buy back excess power from those producing it for themselves so they threw the rest of us a bone by not allowing subsidization of those paying no electric bill. That’s perfectly OK with me.

      • Stephen,
        The benefit is that you would not have to pay for someone else’s solar panels (through higher electric bills/taxes).

        JohnWho,
        If PV solar panels are not economically viable after literally decades and billions of dollars of subsidies, then they never will be.

      • @ Tom in Florida

        Not OK with me since it is a Constitutional Amendment rather than more easily changed/corrected when necessary legislature.

      • JohnWho October 24, 2016 at 1:04 pm

        “@ Tom in Florida
        Not OK with me since it is a Constitutional Amendment rather than more easily changed/corrected when necessary legislature.”

        As you know, in Florida, there are way too many laws that become part of the State Constitution that should have remained with the powers of the Legislature (remember the confinement of pregnant pigs amendment). But this amendment speaks to rights of citizens, their right to generate their own electricity and the rights of one group of citizens not to be forced into subsidizing another. So I believe this one correctly needs to be in the form of a Constitutional Amendment.

    • “Peter Miller October 24, 2016 at 4:29 am

      I don’t want to ‘save the planet’, especially when it does not need to be saved.”

      People need to realize the planet cannot be saved and that humans will probably go extinct before it is consumed by our sun.

  8. Great post as always Eric…

    One little typo..”As Bastiat explains, there is no benefit from stimulating an activity which does not product a good or service which people want. ” Should that be “produce”

  9. “Transforming the US energy system to 100% renewables (assuming this is possible)”

    That’s where most of the discussion of eco nonsense should stop because current science and math prove it can’t be done.

  10. Replace backhoes with legions of shovel-wielding laborers… Same principle as green energy jobs.

    The following table is calibrated in “millions of tonnes of oil equivalent” (MTOE).

    It takes 39,402 solar industry workers to generate as much energy as 166 oil & gas industry employees. The typical solar industry worker is less than 1% as productive as the typical oil & gas employee.

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/05/26/clean-energy-jobs-surpass-oil-drilling-for-first-time-in-u-s-so-what/

    • …Hillary kinda, sorta forgot to mention that in order to have 500,000 million new solar panels in 4 years, they will have to be made in China ! As Trump was saying….”China is stealing American jobs” !!

  11. “According to an energy.gov report, around 3.64 million Americans work in “traditional” energy industries, while around 600,000 Americans work in low carbon energy.”
    This is a completely bogus distinction, fabricated to make the “low-carbon energy” sector look good. Nuclear energy is traditional energy, in that it has been around since the 50s. Its appeal was always that it was low-cost. I have no idea what “advanced/low emission natural gas” is. Last I checked, though, natural gas was a fossil fuel. I suspect that its cost is significantly higher, which I suppose does meet one of the requirements for “green” energy.

  12. From a practical standpoint Hill-o-beans plan is not much different from Obummer’s. It would require both legislation and appropriations, and so it’s probably DOA. Second big problem is that “green jobs” are actually pretty dirty. That’s the irony of it, when a greeny finds out that you need to mine ore, smelt iron, truck equipment and materials, and bring in earth movers for site-preparation for wind turbines they pretty much freak out. Subsequently it always becomes a “not in my backyard” situation.

  13. HRC:

    while making infrastructure more resilient

    Bwahaha. Try asking the residents of South Australia how they feel about that, Mrs Clinton.

  14. “The Rule of Law”, ….. as originally intended, ….. no longer exists anywhere within the US of A’s Judicial System, …… simply because, ….. over the past 100+ years it has morphed into what is better described as being …… “The Rule of Lawyers and activist/biased Judges”.

    And the aforesaid is a “truism” simply because there is not a Federal or State Statute or Law that currently exists on-the-books that is safe from re-interpretation by the aforesaid Lawyers and activist/biased Judges. And factual evidence of that “truism” will be painfully obvious to millions of US citizens if Hillary Clinton is elected POTUS and appoints highly Democrat partisan “lefty liberal” Judges to vacant positions on the SCOTUS.

    As of right now, there is like 10X more Laws on the Books than is necessary. And 15 years from now there will likely be 13X more Laws on the Books than is necessary. And the reason for that is, …..the only real job that the Members of the US Congress and/or Members of all State Legislatures are committed to doing, …. is to make NEW Laws and/or additions to OLD Laws.

    • Of course they make new laws – they are all lawyers. What else are they going to do after they leave the public sector except litigate the laws they just wrote? Congress is now a jobs program for lawyers.

      • I’ve said for years that the primary purpose for the legal system was to keep lawyers employed.
        Any justice that comes from it is just an unintended side effect.

      • Yup, and the “criminal court” Judges who were once Lawyers looking for work, …… keep “ordering” the same criminal set “free” on the streets again, and again, and again to insure that the Lawyers have a steady “supply” of clients.

    • According to Newsweek a few years ago, there were 3 times as many layers in the U.S. than the rest of the globe has had. Not just equal to the rest, 3 times more. And we are the richest. A mystery: more lawyers = better standard of living?

  15. Free enterprise versus a government-controlled economy.

    Politicians are not smart enough to control the economy. We should concentrate on allowing the free market to make the future energy decisions, not politicians with ulterior motives, unrelated to the economics of the situation.

  16. It takes a total economic illiterate to believe that by taking money from one group of people and giving it to another, that you can create wealth.

    • “It takes a total economic illiterate to believe that by taking money from one group of people and giving it to another, that you can create wealth.”

      Yes MarkW!!! And yet here in Canada (and likely everywhere else,) a majority of voters, politicians and journalists all seem to be burdened with this most obvious fallacy much to the consternation of the rest of us. It’s a total failure of our school systems to graduate kids with such nonsense in their heads. We will never see better government until we graduate high school students with even a modicum of economic literacy.

      • “It’s a total failure of our school systems to graduate kids with such nonsense in their heads. ”

        Uh, no. The school system is DESIGNED to graduate kids with nonsense in their heads.

    • Not so. Taking money from a group of drunkard and giving it to a group of producers can create a lot of wealth. Indeed that’s even the way economics work : you have to pay for booze, whereas you get paid for working, so that money flows from going the easy (consumerist) way to going the hard (wealth creating) one.
      Trouble is, government usually does the exact opposite : taking money from producing people to ‘tards of all kinds (including “green” con-artists) that are not only useless, but quite a nuisance.

    • T’was many, many, many years ago that I reasoned the fact that iffen one collected all of the “money” into one (1) big heap …. and then re-distributed it equally among the populace …… that within twenty (20) years thereafter, ….. all of that “money” would pretty much be back in the same “hands” it was taken from.

  17. a simple ban on all heavy construction equipment would generate millions of jobs :) and sell alot of shovels :)

  18. Don’t forget that if you want a fun night in for all the family – then you can do no better than to stoke up the hearth and cozy around this epic documentation of the last decade of green corruption, misallocation of resources, waste and downright fr@ud pure and simple.
    http://greencorruption.blogspot.co.uk/

  19. https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/09/23/lewandowsky-and-cook-deniers-cannot-provide-a-coherent-alternate-worldview/comment-page-1/#comment-2306424

    Canada and the USA have stood together in war and peace for the past several hundred years – except for some unpleasantries during the War of 1812, when you burned Toronto and we burned the White House. Nobody here likes Toronto, so we still think we got the better of that deal. :-)

    A USA election is imminent. For most countries, I suggest that the question of a Hillary vs a Donald would come down to “who gets energy right (Donald), and who gets it utterly wrong (Hillary).”

    Cheap, reliable abundant energy is the lifeblood of society, and our very cheap fossil fuel energy should provide our two countries with an overwhelming economic advantage, IF the greens would stop sabotaging our economies to advance their far-left political objectives.

    Since the USA is a global power, there are more issues than just the domestic economy – I don’t think you need any more foreign wars for a long while, except to exterminate terrorist gangs. So you might ask yourself who is more likely to start a needless foreign war that will further bankrupt your treasury.

    The USA should stick to token “weekender” invasions like Grenada. You might consider Quebec – they’re nearby, they’ve been acting up for quite a while, and you’ve already done Toronto. :-)

    Best regards, Allan

    • Allan, good chuckles. What you say about energy is correct, but energy is far from the most important issue in this election. The real issue is liberty and freedom, the rule of law and the syrvival of the Constitution. Hillary has plans and they are not conducive to any of those things.

      • Hi John MacDonald,

        My serious comments in the above post were these, and they were very serious:

        “A USA election is imminent. For most countries, I suggest that the question of a Hillary vs a Donald would come down to “who gets energy right (Donald), and who gets it utterly wrong (Hillary).”

        Cheap, reliable abundant energy is the lifeblood of society, and our very cheap fossil fuel energy should provide our two countries with an overwhelming economic advantage, IF the greens would stop sabotaging our economies to advance their far-left political objectives.

        Since the USA is a global power, there are more issues than just the domestic economy.”

        I tend to agree with your comments John, regarding the risks to “liberty and freedom, the rule of law and the survival of the Constitution”. However, as a Canadian I do not think I should comment on these matters. The American people have a critically important choice to make, and you should understand these issues far better than I do.

        I hope your voters do not get dragged down by the mud-slinging that is going on, and focus on the facts that matter. For the Clintons to focus on Trump’s alleged sexual misconduct, given Bill’s sordid history, is a remarkably bold attempt to influence the stupidest voters in America.

        I have never liked campaigns to “get out the vote”. I would be much happier if there was a campaign to urge really stupid voters to stay home – something like a skill-testing question on a billboard, with the caption:
        “If you are too stupid to answer this question, STAY HOME – you’re way too stupid to vote!” :-)

        Regards, Allan

    • In defense of history. The war of 1812 was between the US and Britain, and Canada at the time was still part of Britain.

      • Technically correct Mark.

        But many of the battles were fought with our Canadian militia and our native allies complimenting the British regulars. This included The Battle of Queenston Heights, The Battle of the Chateauguay, and The Battle of Crysler’s Farm.

        At the decisive Battle of Crysler’s Farm in 1813, the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Militias, the Glengarry Light Infantry Fencibles, the Canadian Voltigeurs and the Tyendinaga Mohawks played a significant role.

        If you are interested in history, Glengarry County is of particular importance in Canada. The explorers David Thompson, Simon Fraser and Alexander Mackenzie all lived at times in Glengarry, the oldest County in Upper Canada (now Ontario). Major rivers in western and northern Canada are named after these three intrepid gentlemen.

        Lewis and Clark had copies of Thompson’s maps of their destination on the West Coast.

  20. What is not mentioned is what is included in “Green Jobs”. Garbage men are often included, construction workers using “green” methods, even city bus drivers. Any job can be classified as green, including those that use fossil fuels, if it is trending toward not using the fossil fuels. The job count most probably does not refer to just those putting up and maintaining wind and solar. The “green” designation is an accounting trick, to increase the number of jobs that qualify and one can claim more jobs created are part of the “green jobs” count.

    • You are correct, but that corruption and lying (counting Garbage collection as a green job) only happens when there is a complicit media, which we currently have, and ultimately leads to downfall of a Democratic Republic. It is a big mistake to vote for any candidate that has unquestioning support from the media, Republican or Democrat. That’s why our forefathers set up a free press to make sure the media is independent and keeps government honest.

  21. Eric Worrall wrote above:
    “If US public debt rises much higher, America will shortly begin to experience the very real problems which occur when governments run out of money.”

    The USA has financed its government and bailed out its failing banks not just by borrowing, but by printing money. The runaway printing of US$ is a fact, with the US Monetary Base ~quadrupling since 2008.
    See https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/BASE

    These are very big numbers. The last time I analysed the magnitudes, I concluded that IF Canada printed a proportion (~10%) amount of our currency, we could have paid off HALF our National Debt.

    This cannot end well. The only question is when this bubble will burst, which will occur when an alternative currency replaces the greenback and becomes the world reserve currency.

    • Our national debt after WWI was 119% of our GDP. It was so high, that the government took drastic actions to cut costs and raise taxes. By the most popular economic theories (from Keynes to Friedman) this should have driven us right back into a major depression. The government laid off 4 million employees and raised incremental taxes on wealthy businessmen and corporations to 90%.

      Instead of depression, this lead to the greatest peacetime expansion in our nation’s history.

      The explanation for this success ring hollow with very little analysis. For instance, most people credit exports for the economic growth. But exports only rose by a scant 2% of our GDP after WWII. Cutbacks after WWII would have needed 10-15% growth just to break even.

      The reason for this discrepancy is that most economic theory is wrong. Supplyside economics (Friedman) does not work. In fact, high deficits and tax breaks for the wealthy provide a substantial drag on the economy. The “broken glass analogy of economics” presented by Bastiat is exactly right. You cannot spend yourself into prosperity. Paying down the deficit and “demandside” economics are much more effective because they encourage true economic growth rather than financial manipulation by the wealthy.

      Our current deficit is 116% of our GDP. We have risen to the same critical juncture as the post-WWII budget with only minor wars to distract us. This is why the recovery has been so sluggish and why income disparity is rising.

      • I don’t think tax breaks for the wealthy help the economy much. How do they provide a significant drag on the economy? Otherwise those taxes will be spent by government. Tax cuts for the wealthy are demand side.

      • You seem to be suggesting that increased taxes to shore up the deficit would result in goodness without mentioning the cutting. Isn’t this essentially contradicting your claim that you can’t spend your way into prosperity?

        Tax cuts to the wealthy are demand side by the way. And i am not sure Friedman ever was what you claimed he is.

        I don’t think tax breaks for the wealthy are a way to improve the economy however your claim that they are a drag on the economy doesn’t make sense as that money is then spent by the government.

      • Also i don’t understand the fascination with 90% marginal rates. Sure they are part of the equation but if no one is paying those rates (effective is what matters in the end) then how can you use those evidence that it would create prosperity.

        If demand side economics was so effective….how does that explain the sluggish recoveries of the 1930s, the 1970s and currently.

        When you say financial manipulation by the wealthy…what does this mean exactly? Not having 90% rates is not financial manipulation

      • How would paying down the deficit help the economy as this would mean more taxation? But not a cut in spending seeing how you said you can’t spend your way to prosperity. All you are doing is shifting who is doing the spending and the government has shown over and over again that they are more inefficient at it.

      • First, I have no fascination with 90% marginal rates. It is merely to point out that when we had 90% marginal rates, the economy grew at its greatest pace. The rate should be what it needs to be. The problem is the deficit spending which is creating the drag on the economy.

        It is not strictly the tax breaks for the wealthy that provide a drag on the economy — it is the massive government deficits which create a drag on the economy in the same way that high credit card debt creates a drag on your personal spending. (In addition, high government debt also has monetary effects.) Higher incremental taxes on the wealthy are the most efficient way to retire this debt while not adding to the drag.

        The worst sort of taxes are those which are directly tied to hiring — to me, it makes very little sense to have such high direct and indirect taxes on hiring new employees. Payroll taxes and healthcare insurance are the greatest two of those and payroll taxes has been the biggest shift in taxation over the last fifty years (from ~ 10% of Federal Revenue to ~35%).

        There is evidence that the taxation and government policies create an environment for quick-fix financial profits over more important national growth resulting from investment for long-term gains. For instance, accelerated depreciation schedules has led to higher corporate buyouts rather than improved capacity or productivity.

        The sluggish economic growth of the 1930s is the same as now — high government deficits. In that case, it was the development of make work projects to resolve the Great Depression. The 1970s were unique in that massive hikes in gasoline prices led to high inflation. The response to inflation was a substantial hike in interest rates which creates the same sort of drag on the economy as high debt levels.

        Bear in mind that economic “crashes” such as the Great Depression are caused by one of two things — 1) Commodity price shocks (precious metals in the 19th century & oil in the 1970s) and/or 2) Financial crashes from high leverage, risky investments in bubble markets using other people’s money (railroads in the 19th century, stocks in 1930s, financial derivatives in 2007.) The 1970s recession was due to the commodity price shock which is different from the 1930s or 2007.

        However, the slow recovery from the Great Depression and the Financial Crisis of 2007 are the same. The Government deficit tripled between 1929 and 1935.

      • Comparing cuts in spending to increases in taxes are two opposite sides of the same coin. The problem is that in economic down times, we need the government spending to buoy the lower the economic levels. As a result, government spending naturally rises through a recession.

        Federal government spending has very little fat to cut. Over half of the expenses is in Welfare, Social Security, and Health Care spending. Most of what remains is defense. Welfare and Social Security spending are needed to prevent the mass starvation and homelessness we used to see during economic downturns prior to the Depression Era. The best way to reduce these costs is to improve the economy.

        The Defense budget has plenty available to cut, but nobody wants to do that. All that being said, cutting the defense spending will not close the deficit, let alone pay back the increased debt.

      • @lorcanbonda

        …Higher incremental taxes on the wealthy are the most efficient way to retire this debt while not adding to the drag.

        You are joking, right? As of 2013 or so, the TOTAL income for all households making over $200,000 was $600 billion dollars. Only in the last two years could confiscating every penny of income for this group yield an actual reduction in the deficit. Previous to that, there is no way you could even dream of reducing the debt given Obummer’s budgets. If Shrillary is elected, as currently seems likely, expect a significant upward trend in the annual deficit and the loss of any hope of reduction.

      • Dino, obviously, tax breaks for the wealthy hurt the economy because only government is capable of spending your money well. Therefore we should give all of our money to government, let government run everything and utopia will be at hand.

        There are so many lies in lorca’s depiction, that it’s hard to know where to begin.
        First off, while the marginal rate may have been 90%, the threshold was set so high that only a dozen people or so ever hit it.
        Beyond that, the total growth in exports was way more than 2%, if you measure progress over several years.
        The only financial manipulation going on, was by government.

      • As someone pointed out…the deficit can not be reduced by taxes on the wealthy. It isn’t possible. it would have to be across the board. Getting rid of the deficit does not necessarily mean a reduction in government spending. How is it the deficit is a drag on the economy but yet the government spending which helps dictate the deficit isn’t?

        What i am getting at is how would reducing the deficit to 0 without cutting spending (this would mean a huge tax increase across the board) be good for the economy?

      • Dino, some people are always looking for an excuse to increase taxes on others so that more can be spent on them.

      • You guys are all dancing around my comments without addressing them.

        1) It’s almost as though you miss that the biggest problem is CORPORATE INCOME taxes, not PERSONAL INCOME taxes. Most of these gains go to the wealthy through higher wealth which is also tax deferred.
        2) There is an issue relative to personal income taxes — but mostly with respect to tax breaks on unearned income.
        3) You seem intent on statements like, “You are joking, right? As of 2013 or so, the TOTAL income for all households making over $200,000 was $600 billion dollars. Only in the last two years could confiscating every penny of income for this group yield an actual reduction in the deficit.” — however, if we were to increase spending by $50 billion to pay for wind farms, you would be pretty upset about that, right? This is a thirty year problem — we’re not going to fix it in one year.

        It is just as obvious that you ignore the impact of spending cuts. It is easy to say, “cut 20%”, but where? It’s like claiming that you can cut your household budget, but when you are asked to cut your mortgage — “well I can’t do that?”; electricity — “maybe $10 per month if we turn off the AC”; phone — “I have to have a phone”: transportation — “well, if I can’t drive to work, what’s the point?”

        You get the picture. There is very little to cut.

      • Reducing the deficit by $50B each year doesn’t get rid of the deficit…it is just $50B less deficit. You are fairy tale thinking.

        What should the corporate taxes be? And as i told you below employees pay corporate taxes for the most part as they compete on price and have margin targets.

      • Lorcanbonda we have addressed your points but now you are just engaging in pure make believe. You want a deficit of 600B+ that is only going to increase gone…but you say there is no spending to cut. And you don’t like middle class taxes because they create demand.

        Where in the hell are you going to get this $600B then?????????

        Answer the question. You are just throwing crap against the wall

      • You can absolutely cut your mortgage, phone and electricity down. Get a smaller house or less valuable house…just get talk and text with no data.

        You are assuming that everything they spend money in the federal government is a necessity in the first place…it isn’t.

      • @ lorcanbonda – October 24, 2016 at 1:46 pm

        It is just as obvious that you ignore the impact of (government) spending cuts.

        You get the picture. There is very little to cut.

        GOOD GRIEF, ….. lorcanbonda, …… simply by “cutting” the absolutely WASTEFUL government spending on “green energy” research and product development would immediately mean damn near a trillion dollars a year in savings. And that is just for “starters” in/of all the “cuts” in government spending that I can think of.

        Cut the “Head Start Program”, another half trillion in savings.
        Cut the “Appalachian Program”, another half trillion in savings.
        Cut the “War on Drugs Program”, another half trillion in savings.
        Cut the “Department of Energy” by 70%, another half trillion in savings.
        Cut the “Environmental Protection Agency” by 70%, another half trillion in savings.
        Cut the “US Department of Agriculture” by 50%, another half trillion in savings.
        Abolish the “Bureau of Indian Affairs”, another billion in savings.
        Abolish the “US Department of Education”, another half trillion in savings.
        And so on and so on .

        Lorcanbonda, …… by your claiming of “very little to cut” …. are you sure that you are just not trying to “protect” your high paying, …. terrific entitlements, …. do nothing, …… no responsibility, …… government job?

      • I’m not saying we don’t cut spending — I’m saying we won’t make much progress with that.

        How much do we spend on “green energy projects?” I’m all for cutting the vast majority of it. There is no $1 trillion per year in savings”. That is a fantasy. In fact, it is such a joke figure that I can’t believe someone is claiming. And, there are clearly some “green energy projects” worth doing — for instance, I have no problems with changing incandescant lights in public lighting with low energy LED lighting.

        We have ~$100 billion to cut in defense spending (but only if you get defense contractors out of the decision making process) and maybe $50 billion in the rest of the federal budget.

        We should cut that spending — but, as many people pointed out, that is not enough to get the budget deficit under control.

        We are still at a federal deficit of 116% of our GDP. This needs to be addressed. As near as I can figure, your proposal is to shrug and hope. Or we could go with the Donald’s plan to increase the deficit by $1 trillion per year. We’ll just keep partying until the lights go out.

      • How much do we spend on “green energy projects?” I’m all for cutting the vast majority of it. There is no $1 trillion per year in savings”. That is a fantasy. In fact, it is such a joke figure that I can’t believe someone is claiming.

        Lorcanbonda, …… then it is you that is “the joke” …. due mostly to your reading comprehension problem.

        And you are right about your claimed “fantasy” …. because the spending on “green energy projects” is only about one-half (1/2) a trillion ……. but when you include the government spending on “green energy” research, which I stipulated in my comment, the total spending is close to one (1) trillion dollars.

        Lorcanbonda, …… do you even have a clue how much NASA spends each year? How bout NOAA, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, etc., etc.?

        Lorcanbonda, …… the National Debt has increased by $10 TRILLION dollars in less than eight (8) years, ….. you tell me what it was spent on. And don’t be forgetting, that was $10 TRILLION dollars above and beyond the paying of “normal” yearly expenses.

      • Conger — please show a source for that “green energy spending” of $1/2 trillion and another $1/2 trillion in green energy research. Those numbers are so far-fetched as to be unbelievable. Outside of Social Security/medicare/welfare and interest payments on the debt, the total federal budget is $1.1 trillion. You think they spend 90% of that on green energy — I doubt it.

      • Lorocunbunda, …… I have a better idea. You explain in detail what Obama spent $9 TRILLION dollars of that new debt on …… and then I will explain to you what Obama spent the remaining $1 TRILLION dollars.

        And you said: “the total federal budget is $1.1 trillion.

        Lorocunbunda, …… apparently you a totally ignorant of the fact that …… the difference between the “federal budget” and ”federal expenditures” is akin to the difference between “day” and ”night”, …….. or the difference between thinking about engaging in physical “sex” and actually getting ”screwed”.

    • “This cannot end well. The only question is when this bubble will burst,”

      That’s right. You can’t spend more than you take in forever.

    • MarkW absolutely. Trying to suggest the high tax rates of the 1950s were the reason for prosperity when effectively they were meaningless due to being at such a high threshold and you could deduct pretty much anything is dishonest.

      • Nope — my point with 1950 was to show how we resolved the deficit in the past with a resulting positive economy. I wasn’t advocating that specific approach — however, that approach shows that the most basic economic understanding fails miserably. (Note: the high deduction levels did not increase until the 1960s or 1970s.)

        You haven’t actually discussed any of that. I tried to answer your questions as best I could. As near as I can figure, you are happy with a huge budget deficit and anemic economic growth. Beyond that, you haven’t said much worth considering. I get it — snark is easier than thought.

      • But those 1950s 90% rates did not really do much at all…so trying to say they are the reason for the reduced deficit is not really correct. You are taking a correlation and applying a cause

      • You haven’t said how you would get rid of a $600B dollar deficit currently. How do you plan to do this? Massive tax increases? Come out and say it

      • The 1950 top federal tax rate on regular income was 84.36% while the rate on capital gains was 25%. The rate on regular income was higher than its historical average while the capital gains rate was at its average.

        The 1950s had a top tax rate for capital gains around where it is today 23.8%.

      • Dino — paying down the national debt is what improved the economy.

        Again, based on most simple-minded economics, we should have been driven right back into another Great Depression. Massive layoffs by the government along with significant tax increases. Not only did we not create a new depression, but we don’t call it the “post WWII industrial expansion” for nothing.

        Now, what we have is the “post-20th century financial manipulation for short term profits”. (FWIW — there are reasons why higher taxes on the wealthy actually do improve the economy, but these are complex explanations — in part it has to do with the ways to achieve wealth through new products rather than financial manipulation.)

        All of this other nonsense is dross. We need to close the deficit. We need to do so by closing loopholes and returning our tax policies to something competitive.

        Tax loopholes cost more than the entire discretionary budget of the United States. ($1.2 trillion vs. $1.1 trillion.)

        Ignoring Conger’s made up numbers, defense spending is more than half of that discretionary budget. You can’t save half a trillion from head start when it costs $8.5 billion per year.

      • If those had been effective tax rates, the economy would have collapsed from people taking the preference of free time as a good relative to working and giving it away. Lorcanbonda look up backwards bending supply curve please.

      • lorcanbonda – October 25, 2016 at 12:45 pm

        We need to close the deficit. We need to do so by closing loopholes and returning our tax policies to something competitive.

        In actuality, what we need to do is totally ignore all the silly “dumbarse” claims and comments of all the “wannabe” expert economists and accountants whose miseducated “nurturing” has brainwashed them into believing that they are absolutely correct about everything their mentors told them they were correct in believing.

        “DUH”, …. “closing loopholes” will simply drive the economy deeper into the “cesspool” of a depression. “Closing loopholes” simply takes money out of the “hands” of producers ….. and puts it into the “hands” of the non-producers and that’s when n ‘ where the “buck actually stops” producing anything of value.

        And Federal tax policies within the US of A are not competitive in any way, shape or form and it is utterly asinine to infer they are. State tax policies are competitive between the States and that is why some State economies are “booming” and others are “busted n’ broke”.

        And to claim that US of A Federal “corporate” tax policies are in competition with the “corporate” tax policies of foreign counties is also stupid, asinine and utterly silly because no such “competition” exists.

        US corporations are “closing” their doors here in the US primarily because of the ever increasing local, county, State and Federal taxes, including Corporation taxes, ……. that they are forced to pay in order to support and/or care for the ever increasing numbers of the aforesaid government employees and their ever increasing “entitlements” and “retirements” benefits, …… as well as paying for the ever increasing “entitlements” of the government’s “troughfeeding” couch squatters. ………. thus the only “choices” the aforesaid Corporations have it to “close their doors and fire all of their employees, …… including Managers and Corporate Officers” ………. or ……. “close their doors and fire all of their employees except the Managers and Corporate Officers and then relocate their Corporate Office ‘off-shore’ or ‘across-the-border’ and hire new employees to perform the work.

    • correction:
      These are very big numbers. The last time I analysed the magnitudes, I concluded that IF Canada printed a proportionAL (~10%) amount of our currency, we could have paid off HALF our National Debt.

    • I can take care bit of the debt. I have a $20 Billion Dollar bill that I’m willing to give to stop the madness.
      Of course, It was minted by the Bank of Zimbabwe in 2008. In 2009 I’d have to have another 1,500 of them to exchange for $0.01 US dollars. (I think they came out with a $100 Trillion Dollar bill later that year.)

      What would you rather have today, the buying power of a $20 bill US or the buying power of an ounce of gold?
      There was a time when a $20 bill was worth an ounce of gold. We even had a $20 gold coin that was in circulation. Wages were a lot lower but the dollars would buy more. Prices and wages were based on something solid, not sunshine and the wind in the windmills.

    • Dino — you want a smaller house? Then you have to sell the house you are in. That will cost you a lot. Then you have to pay the costs to move your household and pay the realtor & transfer fees for the next home.

      You’ll be in that home for ten years before you get a return on the money. Those are some Al Gore level strategies there.

  22. I know of a case where the incentives to install rooftop solar were later overcome by a comparable increase in property taxes (solar panels said to increase value). The taxes may well outlast the panels. This happened in a liberal city, be careful what you wish for!

  23. The remodeling of our 200 year old housing stock is always an election favorite for creating jobs. Reinsulate, reroof, new hi-eff furnace, thermopane windows, new plumbing of sewer lines, the list is endless but the result is only a patch work that in no way compares to a new build.
    My husband and I built an 1800 sq foot basement garage home with 2 bathrooms upstairs and one downstairs, all copper water lines, thermopane windows, gas furnace with wood furnace supplement into same ductwork. After the drywall by others and insulation I did myself, we halted and did without interior doors and put in used kitchen cabinets. In no way were we unhappy and enjoyed our first winter using wood only completely comfortable. Our 50,000 bank loan was $300 a month but somehow we got crosswise with the community and found ourselves in a UHaul heading south. I miss the house and the husband who died doing body work in a highway removal to support us.
    After 20 years, I now have a house purchased with Rural Development money only because I lived like Cesar’s wife. The house is almost 70 like me, has been tinkered with so has a mix of galvanized, copper and plastic water lines. It has a hi eff gas furnace that replaced the wood sheet metal furnace still sitting there. No consideration was given to the air requirements so the input/output for the furnace thru the basement wall so occasionally the exhaust air fails to clear and enough oxygenated air fails to be acquired as the area for this is basically a confined bowl, producing a furnace shut down or carbon monoxide inside the house. I plan this year on LOW ALERT CO alarms available ONLY thru hvac people or Canadian firms as our US gov refuses to sell ‘nuisance’ alarms to the public.
    The nice one story ranch 1,000 sq ft is cute even tho it was built on a landfill. I discovered this about the same time I discovered the neighbor’s sewer line easement under my basement window. My deed says “any and all.” I spent two years removing high areas and bolstering low areas especially the drip line to allow a slight grade away. I have a completed rock-line drain for the storm water since the city failed to install one on my hill. The list is also endless.
    The house I believe was built to be a summer house to accommodate the ventilation needed for a wood furnace. Any breeze over 5 mph draws heat from the house resulting in a furnace fan running constantly. The gas is cheap but the electricity is not. The 200 to 300 elect bill are in spite of my constant efforts to reduce this by not washing clothes at home, turning off electric appliances at night, etc.
    So, how could you possibly remodel this? reconnect the wood furnace? Who would fill the basement with a winter’s supply of firewood? I am not 50 anymore. The ventilated upstairs? Tear off the vinyl and the foam back to the wood sheating? Well, it was originally aluminum and previous efforts to eliminate the draft resulted in the foam/vinyl sheating. so that didn’t work.
    So the ‘little problems’ are not little nor repairable so I suspect most of US 100 year old homes are the same.
    The banks should discount 100 year old homes 50% or more. Or allow a complete tear down as only the land is valuable. Big businesses practice this tear down for even 20 year old buildings but the public has to continue to patch and spend for a property only valuable for a tear-down project. And most of the old homes are on city lots of 60 feet wide which also severely detracts from the benefits of a tear down. Where is the answer here?

    • With housing, as with most things, the rule-of-thumb is that you get what you pay for. Older homes most certainly would tend to be less energy-efficient, but might have other qualities making it more desirable (charm, location, etc.). A definite fixer-upper (like ours was) should have a lower price to reflect that, as would a tear-down. That is all market-driven, and in no way should banks or the government be involved.

    • Some cases are easier than others. We bought a concrete block house which was pretty ugly. We added four inches of styrofoam on the outside and stuccoed over that. We blew eighteen inches of cellulose into the attic. We were able to live in the house with little disruption. Win Win Win.

      On the other hand, for a beautiful old brick or stone house, you can’t insulate on the outside. If the interior is plaster with beautiful wood trim, you don’t want to insulate inside either. Whatever you do is going to be expensive and disruptive.

      If the exterior of the house isn’t really nice, I would recommend removing the siding, insulating on the outside and re-siding over that. One complication we had was that we had to extend the eaves. That had the benefit of better shade during cooling season.

    • The answer, katesisko? Don’t buy derelict housing. Don’t get “crosswise with the community.” Quit whining.

  24. Heh, start by putting the entire Federal and State governments on 100% renewable energy. Then move on to the largest cities, going down the line by size. I think that would cure this insanity fast. It’s easy to virtue signal, when the costs are born by third parties.

  25. well, as a politician, 1 job i can boast is worthy, all other are not.
    Moreover, the job i can boast is all the more worthy when jobs are destroyed everywhere else, so the more jobs i destroy, the better.
    Let’s break this window (Bastiat). And wreck havoc in economy. I don’t know otherwise anyway.

  26. Why doesn’t Hillary buy everyone an exercise bicycle (built in China of course). Then we can work all day peddling to produce enough electricity to power a light bulb.

  27. Does anyone understand what lorcanbonda is trying to say above? It seems like an argument the government needs more money to spend as a way to improve the economy.

    And i am not sure Friedman was a “supply sider” like the democrats try to straw man. No one that i know of advocated trickle down economics with respect to as the democrats have explained it.

    Also i don’t get this either you be supply side or demand side. From where i am sitting both are important. You can’t have one without the other….they go hand in hand.

    • No — that is not my argument (not even close.)

      My argument is that tax breaks for the wealthy is an inefficient at job creation whereas tax breaks on the middle class are much more effective. Over the past several decades we have reduced taxes on big businesses and increased payroll taxes. This shift is not a minor shift. Corporations used to pay for 40% of government revenue. Now they pay for 8%. Payroll taxes (which are almost exclusively a middle class tax) used to pay 10% of government revenue; now it is 35-40%. (Note: personal income taxes have been ~50-55% through this period, although they have also shifted.)

      Supply side economic theory is that cutting taxes will encourage businesses to make more investment in production. Except, this is like pushing on a string. Businesses don’t make more investment due to cash on hand; they make more investment to meet higher demand. The high payroll taxes (and high health care costs) have the effect of driving down demand. These payroll taxes also have the effect of “paying” companies to move jobs overseas.

      Friedman was not strictly a supply-sider, but the government used his works to justify supply-side economics.

      I have said little about the spending side of the equation. There is very little to be accomplished there without cutting defense (which nobody wants to talk about.) The only way to cut social spending is to create more and better jobs.

      • So what exactly are you proposing?

        I agree with your first point that tax breaks for wealthy are not good for job creation. But they aren’t bad either. This is demand side by the way…reducing individual income taxes is demand whether it be low, middle or high earners. But this statement is not consistent with tax breaks are a drag on the economy…how so? Are you assuming the government spending of this money as that would be more efficient?…yea i don’t think so since they have really no incentive to do so.

        And your point about corporate taxes which suggests you want them raised…well these are largely paid by employees from top to bottom in the form of lower compensation. By wanting

        Since you mentioned middle class tax cuts are more effective….did you support the bush tax cuts?

        “Businesses don’t make more investment due to cash on hand; they make more investment to meet higher demand.”

        This isn’t really true. Innovative products are borne by those who think the market would like them. Businesses can’t necessarily sit back and wait til someone comes calling. If businesses only make stuff to meet demand, then why do some fail? That makes no sense.

        “The only way to cut social spending is to create more and better jobs.”

        This sounds nice but how does it work in reality? How would you go about creating these jobs and who does it?

        I feel like you are trying to beat around the bush and think the key to success is tax and spend creating government make work programs. Why not just come out and say this if so? You are simply adhering to the broken window fallacy which above you appear to be against.

      • It helps to understand your opponents position before disputing it.
        Businesses make investments because they expect to make a profit.
        If you would actually spend some time in business, you would know that all companies always have a backlog of investments that they would like to make. Some they don’t make because they don’t have the resources at present. Others they don’t make because they won’t make money under the current tax/regulation environment.
        Lower taxes, decrease regulations, you give companies the money they have been looking for.

      • First — yes, I’ve spent my whole life in business. I’m well aware of how it works. Business owners want tax breaks (obviously), but they don’t generally increase jobs as a result. This is why Immelt is a terrible job czar. He knows how to make money which is not the same thing as growing the economy. Yes, of course companies have a backlog in projects — but they will only spend any legitimate money in response to demand. You can give Ford a billion dollars in tax breaks — and they may make a short term hiring binge. But it will not last unless they sell more cars. Without stimulating demand, this is another make-work project.

        As far as this article is concerned — make-work spending does not work. Increasing the deficit by increasing spending or by cutting taxes is not the best way for the system to work. We have to pay for our spending and the best source to do so is through taxes on the higher income brackets.

        My comment was all in response to Allen M.R. MacRae’s comment “If US public debt rises much higher, America will shortly begin to experience the very real problems which occur when governments run out of money.” (I am agreeing with him except to point out that we already have a very real drag on the economy due to this debt.)

        Dinosaur1 writes — “This isn’t really true. Innovative products are borne by those who think the market would like them. Businesses can’t necessarily sit back and wait til someone comes calling. If businesses only make stuff to meet demand, then why do some fail? That makes no sense.” Yes, this is true. True growth is new products, new markets, or productivity improvements. However, tax breaks for corporations don’t drive this type of spending — businesses will make these sorts of investments if there is a financial incentive to do so (which is how the free market is supposed to work).

        “And your point about corporate taxes which suggests you want them raised…well these are largely paid by employees from top to bottom in the form of lower compensation.” No, Corporate Income taxes do not affect the employees. They affect the owners. Payroll taxes do affect the employees as they are directly related to their payroll. As far as the Bush tax cuts — bear in mind that the first priority is to reduce the deficit. My preference is to see a reduction in payroll taxes, not income taxes — you shouldn’t tax payroll at higher levels than passive income. I certainly did not support the cut on taxes on dividends and other passive income.

        “This sounds nice but how does it work in reality? How would you go about creating these jobs and who does it?” — the only way to create jobs is by increasing demand (hence “demand-side” economics.) This is the only effective way to drive job growth in a free-market system (otherwise, the government is choosing the winners). Demand comes predominantly from the middle class.

        “I feel like you are trying to beat around the bush and think the key to success is tax and spend creating government make work programs.” — again, absolutely not. Tax & spend is wrong. I have not referred to spending except to say that the taxes have to cover it. The best way to create demand is the opposite of what we have been doing. We have reduced taxes on corporations (mostly through loopholes) and increased taxes on the middle class (mostly through payroll taxes). In addition, we have balanced this drag by subsidizing short-term growth at the expense of the long-term economic growth through massive government deficits. This is wrong.

      • lorca, your comment about taxes makes me very doubtful regarding your claim to be in business.
        Of course all business taxes hurt employees. That’s the only variable source available to businesses. They can’t dictate what they pay their suppliers, and the market dictates how much they can get from their customers.
        PS: It’s a complete lie that we have increased taxes on the middle class.
        The top 10% of income tax earners pay about 50% of all income taxes.
        The top 30% pay almost 90% of all taxes.
        The bottom 50% pay about 0.1% of taxes.

      • Correlation coefficient for price increases relative to the business tax rate was what back then? Last time I looked it was .82. That’s been a few years back. Consumer paid like 32% of your 40% in all likelihood.

    • Corporate taxes are paid for by employees indirectly. Companies compete on price and they target a certain after tax margin thus they can’t pass taxes onto consumers for the most part . This means expenses must be lowered and a way to do that is labor costs.

      How are you giving the middle class more demand? Can you elaborate on how this would be achieved? You talk about middle class demand but yet don’t appear to like the bush tax cuts which significantly reduced taxes on the middle class. I as a middle class person do not care what bucket a cut came out of if it means more money to me.

    • I appreciate you clarifying your position it is still confusing. Anyway:

      “and increased taxes on the middle class (mostly through payroll taxes).”

      How have payroll taxes and other taxes on the middle class been increased? With respect to what? If anything lower to middle is paying drastically lower effective rates then even in the 1980s

  28. Just for the record on solar PV, the industry leaders are working hard on significant labor savings in the construction of large, utility-scale arrays. This follows major savings on the panels themselves. That Balance of System cost component can be cut with multiple panels pre-mounted on tracks at the factory and then installed on site either with far fewer construction workers or with robot loaders on the ends of the long mounting guide tracks in the field. This labor cost savings and headcount reduction will be accomplished over the next two years as part of best practices from the low cost leaders. That means the construction jobs for utility scale will be declining at about the same time that policy pledges would even get started, or better yet forgotten after the coronation of power. Only massive infusion of pubic funds in inefficient rooftop applications will generate unsustainable job increases. Hopefully utility scale and mid-sized community solar can move fast enough to obviate the political science arm wavers with other people’s money.

    • Resourceguy: Where is there successful Grid Scale/Community Scale PV? I see lots of proposals and history but it seems like most of it has been problematic. Including Spain and Germany. (I am not against PV, I have many around the farm – suitable for small demands.)

      Here is one of the issues from a recent and ongoing attempt at Grid/Community Scale PV:

      https://www.technologyreview.com/s/534266/hawaiis-solar-push-strains-the-grid/

      The prospect of cheaper, petroleum-free power has lured the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) to quintuple utility-scale solar capacity over the past year, building two 12-megawatt photovoltaic arrays. These facilities are the biggest and a significant contributor to the island’s 78-megawatt peak power supply. When the second plant comes online this summer, peak solar output on Kauai will approach 80 percent of power generation on some days, according to Brad Rockwell, the utility’s power supply manager.
      Shipping containers full of lithium batteries will stabilize Kauai’s grid when passing clouds interrupt power flows from the island’s newest solar farm.

      That puts Kauai on the leading edge of solar power penetration, and KIUC has bruises to show for it. Power fluctuations from a first large plant installed in 2012 have already largely burned out the big batteries installed to keep solar from destabilizing the island’s grid.

      Now KIUC is taking a second try with batteries and hoping energy storage technology has progressed sufficiently to keep the same problems from recurring. The new system, installed beside the solar farm nearing completion on Kauai’s northeast shore, is one of the first commercial installations of grid-scale lithium-ion batteries manufactured by the French battery giant SAFT.

      The intermittent nature of renewable energy sources like solar power presents a range of challenges to utilities, depending on their grid’s size and design. Kauai’s difficulty is most acute when clouds drift over a solar plant. That can slash a plant’s power output by 70 to 80 percent in less than a minute. If the plant is providing a substantial share of the grid’s power, that rapid power loss can cause the frequency of the grid’s alternating current to drop well below 60 hertz, damaging customer equipment or even causing a blackout.

      It looks like they may be getting close, but diesel generation was still required when clouds were drifting over the panels. New batteries were expected to help. But I wonder what the comparable cost of alternatives might be.

      Also looks like they have reloaded as their web site now says they are targeting 50% renewables from solar, biomass (wood burning) and hydro by 2023.

      http://website.kiuc.coop/

      33,000 customers. It may be possible but it is going to be awhile.

  29. Re-quote from the top here:
    “But this simple economic reality seems beyond the grasp of journalists who promote the “Green Job” narrative.”
    Most things are beyond the grasp of journalists … that’s why they’re journalists.

    • On the other hand, a number of trolls have tried to convince us that journalists are liberal because they are better educated than the rest of us.

      • Mostly they are better educated at communicating at a 6th (formerly 8th) grade level to their constituent audiences. Beyond that they usually have little knowledge of what they think they are communicating.

  30. As for jobs, there is actually a new market for infrared scans. Rural Development and local mortgage lenders should require an infrared scan of the house that is going to be financed for 30 years. Returning soldiers have the skills and knowledge of infrared applications. This is truly a new market, not just the ‘inspections’ which turned out to be just a way for the realtor to disassemble over the house problems. I believe it would be much more effective than the blower door test.
    Another new market is for hempcrete. It doesn’t absorb water but lets the house respire. Both have tremendous application for the housing market. I suspect the delay on hemp applications is specifically for the big corporates to get in on the ground floor. AND no CO2 problems as with concrete and the energy intensive production of cement.
    What are we waiting for?

  31. lorcanbonda says “Federal government spending has very little fat to cut. Over half of the expenses is in Welfare, Social Security, and Health Care spending. Most of what remains is defense. Welfare and Social Security spending are needed to prevent the mass starvation and homelessness we used to see during economic downturns prior to the Depression Era. The best way to reduce these costs is to improve the economy.”

    Can you cite the evidence that they prevent mass starvation and homelessness would occur if those benefits were cut in 2016? We have had great technological improvements which has resulted in a bountiful plenty of food. It isn’t the same now as prior to 1930.

    How do you propose improving the economy? And i don’t buy that an improved economy would mean a cut in social spending. In government these things very rarely if ever get cut.

    As you pointed out social security is paid by the lower and middle class while the key is lower taxes on middle class….how would an improved economy mean less of these taxes for the middle class? As social security is primarily given to old people who are retired and not working….they aren’t going to suddenly cut the taxes and give out less benefits to these old people who rely on them. They arent a part of the workforce.

    Your premise appears to be faulty

    • I have little doubt that a cut in govt spending would result in mass hunger.
      The vast majority of those on welfare have no marketable skills and even less desire to actually work.
      For generations we’ve been paying people not to work, and it has taken root.
      Beyond that, the idea that government is a charitable organization is so laughable that only someone completely gone to marxist thinking could think it.

  32. “However, the slow recovery from the Great Depression and the Financial Crisis of 2007 are the same. The Government deficit tripled between 1929 and 1935.”

    Yes the government deficit tripled in these areas. Tax rates were significantly increased acrossed the board in the 1930s so that suggests the problem was the spending.

    The wealthy simply do not make nearly enough money to have a significant impact on the deficit. If you don’t drastically cut spending…the only way to get rid of the deficit is to jack up taxes across the board.

    • The wealthy are already way over taxed. The top 10% pays about 50% of all income taxes paid. But those who are consumed by greed will never be satisfied, they will always demand that those who have more than they do, need to be taxed more.

      • lorcanbonda i seem to be getting your argument. You want reduced payroll taxes to help the middle class. Also you don’t like deficits which is currently at 600B+.

        The question is where/how would this cut in payroll taxes be off-set such that would also reduce the deficit to zero? You don’t seem to be in favor of cutting SS or welfare at the moment. Any payroll tax would increase the deficit would it not so you would have to offset that plus the 600B or so already. Where does this tax revenue increase come from?

      • Payroll tax cut would increase the deficit at least in short term*

        How do you cut payroll and get rid of the deficit at the same time is what i am asking?

      • Can’t say I agree with you. The last figures I actually got to see on the US IRS website was from 2010, I believe. According to the figures there, regarding income tax, those that had family incomes over $450,000 paid 33% of the total revenues received by IRS, while those with family incomes of less than $30,000 paid 32%. Those that made over $450,000 grossed a lot more than those that earned less than $30,000, and have a far larger share of total wealth. No, the rich are not taxed at 50%. In fact, the highest rate of taxation, I believe is on the order of 33%. It is one of the great “myths” that the wealthy support the government. Why should they? They own it.

      • Also tom that pew research shows top 2.7 % paid about 51.6% of the revenue. MarkW DID NOT say they were taxed at effective tax rates of 50%….but rather the top 10% contribute 50% OF THE REVENUES

        MarkW is correct…he actually low balled it

    • modest proposal:
      tax government! maybe it will discourage them.
      Bastiat- the rest of the story:
      he died. he ceased to be a vector of stupidity. people inherited his stuff. dead bastiats are good for the economy in every way.

      keynesian economics:
      because the cost of production of manufactured items decreases as initial costs are amortized and economies of scale are found, the state can devalue the currency by inflation to hide the decline.
      then the theft is invisible and the state can simultaneously claim they’ve brought price stability.
      nobel prize stuff, there.
      economists are witchdoctors whose job it is to provide the apologetic rationale for atilla’s plundering.

  33. I’ve contended for quite some time that “renewables” don’t make any sense since they all require the same rare earth elements to be created. I suppose it is possible that these metal are called “rare earth metals” but really are as plentiful as, say, copper or iron, but I don’t think that’s the case. I suspect that there is a finite amount of them that can be cost effectively mined and refined, and that long before the world can go “solar and wind,” there will be no more of them available this side of recycling. And I am quite sure that there won’t be anywhere enough to even put the “developed nations” into all renewables, much less the undeveloped. the only way that can work out is we dumped about 2/3rds of the population in the middle of the Pacific, and if any of them mad it to shore, dropped them in again.

  34. Clinton logic sees a bonanza – not only new jobs for renewables, but the old jobs working the existing power plants will not get laid off, since renewables can’t replace their plants. Electricity gets more expensive even if the renewables don’t cost anything – of course,solar panesl are made elsewhere, as are most windmills.

  35. Truth:

    1. The middle class pays for everything.
    2. Command economies fail.
    3. Progress depends on individual action.
    4. Charity works, governments don’t.
    5. You are not as smart as you think. [Nor as good-looking.]

    So sayeth Charlie Skeptic

  36. lorcanbonda….you want to raise corporate taxes…fine by how much? Employees pay corporate (business) taxes as where do you think all this extra revenue would come from. it comes from them receiving less compensation.

    Do you think taking 600B out of the economy would be a good idea?

  37. lorcanbonda…..can you explain to me how middle class taxes (mainly payroll) have been increased? If anything they have been decreased. Payroll is a seperate bucket for social security and SSDI….your benefits are based on your income earned at least for now. And wouldn’t middle class taxes raised if true mean a reduced deficit? For some reason you won’t address the elephant in the room that is spending….you want no deficit, refuse to say how to bridge it without substantially increasing social security while simultaneously wanting no spending cuts.

    Your premise doesnt make much sense

  38. Ah, France’s sole beauty!

    Really brilliant column, and I hope it results a new generation having the joy of discovering Bastiat.

  39. “Transforming the US energy system to 100% renewables (assuming this is possible) would create a tremendous number of jobs”

    Her: “We’ll create jobs”
    Him: “You’ll create jobs”

    Oh what the heck:
    “Fight of the Century”: Keynes vs. Hayek Rap Battle Round Two

  40. More like ‘we will create bird blender jobs subsidized by tax payers after we have displaced higher paying jobs not paid for at tax payers expense ‘ . Then we will increase the number of poor to be more dependent on food stamps and beholding to government . We will boost the number of $$billionaires by a few who have enjoyed dining on the tax payer dime and to ensure election campaign money keeps rolling in . CNN can even fill it’s day finding out what Toller Bill has been doing on his trap line . You know a real public service reality show .

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