Clean Energy Jobs Act: Take the Money and Run

Taxes were raised on the promise that the Clean Energy Jobs Act would create jobs. Didn’t happen. No one in government cares.

While crime is almost always an application of laziness, people who commit crimes for their primary or secondary income do often learn to work. They try not to get caught. They know it is possible that they might get caught. They have every incentive to be careful and cautious. People who work scams will try to avoid running into their earlier victims. They will move from town to town to avoid being detected.

But not so our public criminals. They make promises, get money, and don’t expect anyone to ever question them, let alone charge them with fraud.

If you need yet another example of this phenomenon, consider the Clean Energy Jobs Act. On its face, the Clean Energy Jobs Act was a scam at the conceptual level. When people get jobs providing needs for willing customers, they are producing real goods and services. But taking money from tax payers (or going into debt using taxpayers as collateral) in order to pay people to do things for which customers are not willing to pay is wasteful, not productive. If there was a need for green jobs people would already have green jobs.

That’s why we are soon going to be plundered for a solar panel industry bailout. That Federal level disaster should give you an idea of what kind of disaster California’s Clean Energy Jobs Act would lead to.

But in this case, the story is worse than bad economics and big government. The Associated Press reports, “California measure fails to create green jobs.”

Voters in 2012 approved the Clean Energy Jobs Act by a large margin, closing a tax loophole for multistate corporations. The Legislature decided to send half the money to fund clean energy projects in schools, promising to generate more than 11,000 jobs each year.

Instead, only 1,700 jobs have been created in three years, raising concerns about whether the money is accomplishing what voters were promised.

If it were up to the government, you would never know about this.

[T]he state has no comprehensive list to show how much work has been done or how much energy has been saved.

Money is trickling in at a slower-than-anticipated rate, and more than half of the $297 million given to schools so far has gone to consultants and energy auditors. The board created to oversee the project and submit annual progress reports to the Legislature has never met, according to a review by The Associated Press.

Despite the jobs that never appeared as promised, the program has defenders. They seem to think the Associated Press is expecting too much too soon (despite the broken promise that was used to sell the law).

sowell understand politics

Then, in the middle of the article we get this single sentence.

Leftover money would return to the general fund for unrestricted projects of lawmakers’ choosing.

How convenient is that? The powers that be get a law passed based on a specific purpose. Then that purpose mysteriously never materializes and the powers that be get to keep the money to use for any purpose they choose.

If you want to be a criminal, go into politics. The pay is much better.