Some Republicans really don’t like the idea of new jobs. Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA) , in his opening statement on the Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454), attacked green jobs as “subprime” and “just like leaves on a tree” that disappear over time:
There’s little doubt in my mind that this legislation will shut down businesses and eliminate blue and white collar jobs. While I know the majority has prided its plan on the creation of green jobs mr chairman I have listened to some of our counterparts in Europe discuss their experience with these green jobs. It seems to me that green jobs, just like leaves on a tree, they may shine in the summertime when everything is sunny, but when the fall comes these leaves will fade and in winter they’ll be long gone. They may be described as “subprime” in comparison to solid traditional manufacturing jobs we’ve recently lost to other countries.
Gingrey and Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY), who also attacked green jobs by reading from a National Post hit piece (which Whitfield mistakenly called the “New York Post”), were relying on a study by Spanish libertarian Gabriel Calzada that blamed Spain’s support for its renewable industry for its high current level of unemployment. The only problem is that the study — produced by a right-wing Spanish think tank — is “completely untrue.” The Wall Street Journal has pointed out that “the study doesn’t actually identify those jobs allegedly destroyed by renewable-energy spending” and that “hard to see how” Spain’s support for green jobs “could have edged out private-sector spending, especially when the Socialist government there has reduced corporate income-tax rates, most recently this past January.”
Gingrey was right when he said that “solid traditional manufacturing jobs” have been recently lost to other countries. His mistake is in not understanding that investing in green jobs is how to keep these traditional jobs in the United States — from designing, building, and transporting wind turbines to installing insulation and solar panels in millions of homes. Gingrey needs to spend more time in his district and visit his constituents working for green companies like the industrial heating engineering firm Sigma Thermal, home refitting company Wheeler’s Windows and Doors, and the electrical design engineering firm Lunar Accents Design. I doubt they consider their work to be “subprime.”
Transcript: Read more