Trained Green, But No Jobs: Why “Stupid Government Planning” Is Redundant

The government, especially the Leftward wing of the ruling class, has decided that the future belongs to “green energy.” Most people would agree with them. I would even agree with them if it turns out that the “peak oil” story is true. (I’m pretty sure it isn’t; but not a hundred percent certain). But even if you can predict something will happen in the future, that doesn’t mean it can or should happen tomorrow. If we waste resources developing alternative energy sources, when it costs less to use conventional sources, then we will be making ourselves poorer for it. The future can wait. In the markets, people win or lose, not just on whether or not they correctly predict the future, but on whether they time the future right. You can lose as much by being early as you can by being late.

But government doesn’t wait; it is convinced it can “make things happen” now. Thus, Fox News reports:

“A federal audit shows that nearly a half-billion dollars [?] in government funds was spent on training workers for so-called ‘green jobs.’ The only problem is that not enough positions in the growing industry exist. The findings – released in a June report by the Government Accountability Office – showed that only 55 percent of those trained were able to place in a new job, many of which were not technically green jobs. The $501 million in funding came from the 2009 stimulus law. The report also uncovered that the Department of Labor created a framework that led grantees to broadly interpret the program’s definition to include any job ‘that could be linked, directly or indirectly, to a beneficial outcome’ which led to the gap between training programs and available green industry jobs.”

I added the question mark above because, by my counting, $501 million is about or slightly over “a half-billion dollars,” rather than nearly that amount.

Frankly, I’m thankful for their sakes that some of the people who wasted their time training for non-existent jobs at least found employment in some other field. It may not be good for the country, but at least they are now earning a living in a real field rather than wasting all that time and effort to be now unemployed.

When an entrepreneur mis-times the market, he loses his own money or the money that was voluntarily entrusted to him by others who understood, or should have understood, the risk involved. But not the government. Obama is already trying to redo the “stimulus.”He hasn’t personally lost a cent on this half-billion-dollar “investment” in training for unwanted and unneeded jobs. He has no aversion to repeating his failure.

Does the White House even see the program as a failure? I doubt it. It got to spend money. For politicians, that spending is an end in itself, regardless of results.