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Bond sees many 'green jobs' as an economic step back

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 27, 2009 - U.S. Sen. Christopher "Kit" Bond, R-Mo., is unveiling today what he calls a "Yellow Light on Green Jobs" report that "highlights areas where environmental and labor advocates admit green jobs mean massive taxpayer subsidies, lower wages and killing existing jobs..."

Bond says the report is in reaction to President Barack Obama's "Earth Day economic promises and a slew of congressional hearings held by Democrats on the potential of new green jobs."

Bond often has been at odds with environmental groups, in part because they've never been fans of his.

But this report goes a bit further, by laying out various pieces of evidence -- including some comments by environmentalists and labor officials -- that Bond says show that "green jobs'' may not be the Great Economic Hope as portrayed by some of their proponents. The report implies that the American public is being misled.

Among the excerpts that his staff provides from the report:

Green Jobs Creation Can Be Expensive

“Green jobs creation programs proposed by advocates would cost billions of dollars.  The New Apollo Program [by the Apollo Alliance] would cost $500 billion over ten years.  Green Recovery [by the Center for American Progress] would cost $100 billion over two years.”  p. 15

“A coalition of environmental and labor organizations including the Sierra Club, International Brotherhood of Teamsters and Service Employees International Union found that State and local taxpayer subsidies of tens of millions of dollars often times produced only a few hundred jobs.” p. 17

Green Jobs Can Mean Low Pay

“Even with tens of millions of dollars in State and local taxpayer subsidies and the prospect of hundreds of billions of dollars in further federal taxpayer subsidy, worker advocates are finding that their assumption that green jobs will be good, middle class jobs is not always valid.” p. 21

“Nearly all of the surveyed green job production workers earned hourly wages below the level needed in their location to match the median family wage ($22.26), and some were just above the federal poverty wage for a family of four ($10.19).”  p. 24

Green Jobs Creation Can Kill Existing Jobs

“Proposals to create green jobs will create millions of existing jobs. Government mandates and heavy government spending necessary to provide the incentives and taxpayer subsidies necessary to spur green job creation will raise costs for employers, force layoffs and shift production (and emissions) overseas to lower cost nations.”  p. 25

“The United States has already lost 6 million manufacturing jobs over the last 30 years. Funding for green jobs creation should not justify killing millions of existing jobs, this time consciously by policymakers and legislators.” p. 30

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.

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