An industrial job in the hand…

1 05 2012

The figures are in, and consumers can’t get enough big, comfortable SUVs – much to the chagrin of central planners with delusions of verdure.

At least that’s what the latest news from Chrysler seems to be saying. The automaker is skipping the customary two-week July plant shutdown in order to manufacture more of the hot-selling Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango. This year’s sales numbers for the pair of SUVs are up 44% and 33% respectively despite high gas prices, while sales for GM’s technologically advanced but stratospherically priced Volt have failed to meet expectations despite hefty tax incentives.

After all, what good is the environment if you can't drive over it in air conditioned comfort?

The result? GM is flirting with cutting production of the much-lauded, “green” Volt while Chrysler is keeping more autoworkers employed this summer – and adding a third shift at the SUV-building Jefferson North assembly plant next year.

No one wants to see GM struggle. But the triumph of the Grand Cherokee and the concurrent disappointment of eco-friendly vehicles like the Volt is telling: it is becoming ever more evident that the high-paying green jobs we have been promised are costly pipe-dreams. Battery boondoggles, solar power scams, and algae fuel fantasies aren’t just distractions. They are a waste of precious resources in an economy that cannot afford further malinvestment, especially when it is funded by debt-backed spending.

Further, the jobs created by green regulation and sustained by artificial incentives actually come at the expense of existing, reliable jobs. It seems that an old-fashioned, dirty industrial job in the hand is worth, almost literally, two green jobs in the bush; data suggests that in the case of Spain, each green job cost 2.2 existing jobs.

Although environmentalists have questioned the accuracy of that figure (and given the complexity of any economy, we would be wise to take such precision with a grain of salt), the European Union-wide rollback of green subsidies speaks for itself.  Lofty claims of sustainable prosperity aside, green initiatives are, at best, an expensive and uncertain indulgence. Foolish even in good economic times, the continuation of green programs now threaten our tenuous economic recovery.

The good news is that the free market is a powerful, resilient force. Despite the best efforts of green dreamers, auto buyers have continued to seek out vehicles that they believe best suit their needs. Detroit’s automakers and autoworkers, or at least those responsible for vehicles like the Grand Cherokee and the Durango, are enjoying the benefits. The consumers have spoken. Central planners would be wise to listen –  and then get out of the way.




2 responses

1 05 2012

Get ready for more – there is a group pushing for a constitutional amendment requiring that Michigan get 25% of its power from bles by 2025, saying it will create jobs at a minimal cost to consumers. If it is such a good idea, an amdendment to the constitution wouldn’t be needed – market forces would drive the development. It is not a good idea, so some big $$ are pushing their agenda. Is it really a constitutional issue?

3 05 2012
Graham Kozak

If there’s one thing an under-performing economy is good at, it’s highlighting the stupidity of programs like this. The amendment process might give cooler heads time to make a case to the public, who cannot afford higher energy prices right now (or ever, really). Just look at the Germans, where hundreds of thousands of individuals can’t afford to pay for “greener” energy already (

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: