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Published on July 1st, 2016 | by Zachary Shahan

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The Stupid Thing About Politics & Jobs


July 1st, 2016 by  


Jobs, jobs, jobs — this is what people want. Or a “better economy” — so they can make more money and buy more things, maybe even a Tesla or a Twizy. So this is what political campaign after political campaign focuses on. The stupid thing about it, though, is that some of the people promising jobs have horrible, horrible plans for creating jobs.

The president and presidential campaigns, of course, are where we put a disproportionate proportion of our political focus, even if the issues are really more in the court of Congress. But there’s no denying — the executive branch is one of the three branches of government, it is quite powerful, and the president is also simply powerful as the mouthpiece of the party and as an ideological influencer.

For some reason, the US presidential election is getting more attention than normal this year (I wonder why…). In all seriousness, Donald Trump is almost like a robot when it comes to throwing around strong words and vague, blanket statements. Beautiful, horrible, amazing, terrible, great, disgraceful — you can hear him saying these words right now, and are probably getting quite sick of them.

It’s typically hard to get any real policy plans out of Mr. Donald, but the result when you do isn’t pretty. Here are a few examples:

  • Defund and get rid of almost the entire “Department of Environmental.” (Luckily, there’s no such thing as the Department of Environmental, so that specific proposal wouldn’t change anything, but The Donald presumably means the Environmental Protection Agency, despite the fact that the economic benefits of the EPA dramatically outweigh the costs. In other words, Donald would like to add tens or hundreds of billions of dollars of net costs to the US economy in order to let corporations pollute more.)
  • In Donald’s “energy plan,” he mentions coal 9 times, and says, “We’re going to save the coal industry and other industries threatened by Hillary Clinton’s extremist agenda.” Aside from costing the US $500 billion a year in health and environmental costs, according to the former (now deceased) head of the Harvard Medical School, the coal industry just isn’t competitive any longer. Donald can’t save it, the same as no president could have saved typewriters from being replaced by computers.
  • Renewable energy is mentioned only once — yes, once —  in Donald’s “America First Energy Plan.” Here’s the beauty: “We will get the bureaucracy out of the way of innovation, so we can pursue all forms of energy. This includes renewable energies and the technologies of the future. It includes nuclear, wind and solar energy – but not to the exclusion of other energy.” Hmm, his “plan” is to allow tremendous subsidies to oil, gas, and coal in the form of unchecked externalities (i.e., to let them pollute the population, costing us $500 billion a year in health & environmental costs from coal alone, and who know how much more from oil and gas).

Remember, Donald claims that global warming is a hoax the Chinese government is somehow playing on the global scientific community.

Anyway, this article is supposed to be about jobs and politics. There were a few inherent linkages there, but let’s put the obvious behind a microphone:

If you want high-quality jobs in the United States, promote (yes, favor!) renewable energy and mass transit.

Whereas much of the cost for coal and natural gas power plants is simply in the fuel, with profits largely going to the über rich, much of the (increasingly lower) cost of wind and solar is in the installation of these distributed energy sources, as well as in manufacturing (much of which is done in the US). As a result, putting $1,000 into wind and solar is going to create approximately twice as many US jobs than putting $1,000 into coal and natural gas.

Transit Rocks It. (Click Here To Enlarge.)


 

Related to that, wind turbine technician is the fastest-growing job in the United States. Solar power jobs surpassed coal mining jobs in the US in 2013 or 2014, even though we’re still getting a lot more electricity from coal. In 2015, US solar power jobs surpassed oil & gas extraction & pipeline jobs, even though the US is the largest oil producer in the world.

In other words, if politicians were really so concerned about jobs as they say, they’d stop talking bull shit against wind and solar energy, would stop blocking movement to switch to a clean energy future, and would sign a few simple bills into law that would help create hundreds of thousands of well-paying domestic jobs.

Ah, but that’s not what ~50% of our politicians signed up for….

Oil & Gas Company Political Contributions In USA

oil gas

Coal Company Political Contributions In USA

coal

Big Oil wants its record profits. Big Coal wants its profits. Unfortunately, Republican politicians don’t care enough about high-paying jobs for more Americans to oppose their donors/funders/bosses.

It’s really just stupid, in my opinion. It’s stupid that politicians hype their concern for jobs and then aren’t willing to support (and even actively oppose) the industries that can bring their voters higher-paying, more stable, safer jobs. It’s stupid that voters buy their bull shit and put them into office … while complaining, rightly, that they don’t have jobs or don’t have well-paying jobs. It’s stupid that the media continuously lets these politicians get away with the lies, either because they can’t do math, don’t have time to open a calculator, or are bought by the same billionaires who bought the Republican Party. It’s stupid that we have a smoke & mirrors game going on and the public (and even some politicians) think they are engaging in a lively, thoughtful, world-leading democracy.

Spread the word.

Democracy isn’t a spectator sport, and useful information doesn’t get to your friends’ email boxes or Facebook messages by itself.

Oh yeah, and if you’re sold on Trump’s trade plans, I urge you to think again. And regarding immigration, let’s also recognize that Tesla Motors, SolarCity, and several of the USA’s other top job creators wouldn’t exist if we kept out immigrants as much as Mr. Trump would like. Who, again, is making American great again? Who is bringing thousands and thousands of the world’s most-coveted jobs to American shores? And, by the way, where are your ancestors from?

 
 

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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA] — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in this company and feels like it is a good cleantech company to invest in. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort on Tesla or any other company.



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