The Washington Post today has a lengthy, well-researched and fair piece on the consequences of the Obama Administration’s push to create a “clean-energy economy” and retrain people for “green jobs.” It’s a classic story of command and control, the failures and inefficiencies that result when government replaces the market in the allocation of resources.
The Post story is especially good because it reminds the reader of the human cost of this policy: Government sets up people for a fall. From “Retrained for green jobs, but still waiting on work“:
[Many] of the unemployed workers who have retrained for jobs in the green energy business are out of luck.
Carols Arandia, 59, has earned seven green jobs certificates since beginning classes this year, while renting a room from a friend to weather the hard times.
Often studying well into the night, Arandia is familiar with hard work. He ran a small manufacturing business in his native Venezuela before arriving in the United States in 1996. For years, he lugged around a dictionary and a notebook in which he religiously wrote down words and phrases until his English became passable. He worked seven years at Boston Chicken. Later, he sold cars. But now, after nearly two years of being out of work and a series of classes that have not led to a job, his optimism is dimming.
What is the point of giving somebody the tools to do something but to have nowhere to use them?” he asked. “I think it’s a great program, but I don’t see the connection with all the training and jobs. And I need a job.”
Manufacturers, local officials and educators all believe in the power of training. But the skills being taught have to match up with the demands of the marketplace.
Unfortunately, the lesson that too many will take from this green exercise is that the federal government needs to spend even more and impose even more regulations to drive this particular sector of the economy. Eventually, we will create a happy, prosperous, clean-energy society.
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