David Brooks is back in the Picayune today with the same old head-up-his-rear-end view of things. This time he is using solar power and green tech public investment as a model to discourage the thought that government should step in and create jobs when the economic situation cries out for it. Hmm, picking on relatively new, and to most people exotic, technological undertakings to tar and discard an essential and historically proven method for rescuing a moribound economy from the collaspe occasioned by the excessive greed of the class Brooks worships, is feeding on low hanging fruit. And to screw up even that engenders a case of intellectual indigestion no amount of education could ever quiet.
But here goes. He quotes former World Bank economist Gordon Hughes: "There are no sound economic arguments to support an assertion that green energy policies will increase the total level of employment in the medium or longer term when we hold macroeconomic conditions constant." My italics. And, of course, that is also my point, as well as the point.
If public investment, as it should be, is targeted to producers of jobs in the home market, then jobs here will be created. If, conversely, money is thown at scoundrels who deal in cheap or virtually enslaved labor abroad, as Brooks and his politial crowd always insist should be permitted, then we all get screwed. What a revelation.
Moreover, green tech, as noted above is not an easy sell at this point to a consumer base so accustomed to more traditional energy sources and set-ups. Hence, a greater premium for start-up and conversion on a mass scale comes as no surprise to anyone. And it says absolutely nothing to contradict the undeniable fact that jobs, good jobs, and wide spread benefits are to be had from far more modest premiums, invested in infrastructure and similar social needs, i.e. roads, bridges, schools, libraries, hospitals, drainage and sewer systems, flood protection, water systems, ... well, I could go on and on, but I'm getting late for work, and you get the point. People with these new jobs could then go out and pump up the economy at large and perhaps even explore and experiment with the use of new energy sources.