Brown’s Moonbeam Jobs Scheme
Gov. Jerry Brown lately has gotten in touch with his Inner Moonbeam, launching it into orbit.
He’s spent his first eight months in office killing jobs with his push for more regulations and taxes. Unemployment, at 12 percent in July, keeps going up. Tomorrow’s new numbers for August should show a further increase.
Yet Brown on Tuesday called for a “war on unemployment.” He actually said:
Find the jobs, and do so by investing in the renewable energy, the efficiency technologies, the innovative transportation, the land-use policies….
Just as President Roosevelt put people to work during the Great Depression building dams, roads, schools and other public facilities, we can now put millions of people to work preparing our communities for the effects of climate change and building renewable energy projects.
His remarks came a couple of days after Solyndra, the Fremont-based solar-panel company, declared bankruptcy and was raided by the FBI. It got a $527 million cheap loan guarantee from taxpayers and still couldn’t make a go of it.
Back when Solyndra got the grant in 2009, then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was as enthusiastic as Brown at green companies creating jobs. Arnold said at a ceremony at Solyndra:
This project will create thousands of jobs…. Then those workers will produce solar panels that, over their lifetime, will allow us to avoid over 300 million tons of emission of greenhouse gases. This is like taking millions and millions of cars off the road. So there see a perfect example right here of how you can protect jobs, create jobs, and stimulate the economy, and also protect the economy at the same time.
Solyndra is a Green Enron. What makes Brown think his “war on unemployment” by creating green jobs would fare any differently?
He’s also bayed at the moon about President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s government jobs program. Nowadays even mainstream economists — not just conservatives and libertarians — point out that the FDR jobs programs didn’t reduce unemployment. Consider this:
Two UCLA economists say they have figured out why the Great Depression dragged on for almost 15 years, and they blame a suspect previously thought to be beyond reproach: President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
After scrutinizing Roosevelt’s record for four years, Harold L. Cole and Lee E. Ohanian conclude in a new study that New Deal policies signed into law 71 years ago thwarted economic recovery for seven long years.
“Why the Great Depression lasted so long has always been a great mystery, and because we never really knew the reason, we have always worried whether we would have another 10- to 15-year economic slump,” said Ohanian, vice chair of UCLA’s Department of Economics. “We found that a relapse isn’t likely unless lawmakers gum up a recovery with ill-conceived stimulus policies.”…
“The fact that the Depression dragged on for years convinced generations of economists and policy-makers that capitalism could not be trusted to recover from depressions and that significant government intervention was required to achieve good outcomes,” Cole said. “Ironically, our work shows that the recovery would have been very rapid had the government not intervened.”
That was written in 2004. Well, here we are in 2011. And the “ill-conceived stimulus polices” of the federal government the past four years — beginning with President Bush’s early 2008 stimulus and his fall 2008 TARP stimulus, then President Obama’s 2009 stimulus — indeed turned out to “gum up” the recovery, just like FDR’s stimulus did.
After all, the Great Depression is called that because it lasted a decade, from 1929 to 1939. FDR came into power in 1933 and presided over the bulk of the Great Depression.
The Great Depression ended only in 1940, as orders came in from Great Britain for war materiel to be used in its war against Nazi Germany.
And at least FDR’s jobs programs produced useful things still in use today, such as the Tennessee Valley Authority. Brown’s scheme would produce more Solyndras.
Then yesterday, Brown blasted Republicans for granting an “unconstitutional delegation of power” to the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. “The Republicans in Sacramento have one jockey.” Ironically, he spoke before the National Nurses United meeting in San Francisco. The union’s California affiliate, the California Nurses Association, is one of the most powerful unions in the state. And everyone knows that the unions control the state, especially Gov. Brown. They’re his “jockey.”
Little GOP Power
But it isn’t Jarvis that gets Republicans to unanimously oppose taxes. It’s Proposition 25, which voters passed last year. It dropped to a majority the threshold for passing a budget — except for tax increases.
Prop. 25 took away from Republicans any remaining powers they had — except on tax increases. So why would Republicans throw away their only remaining power in the capitol?
He also forgets that last spring Republicans were willing to place on the ballot Gov. Brown’s tax-increase proposal — provided a balanced-budget amendment also would be put before voters.
It’s Brown — ridden hard by his union “jockey” — who refused to make that deal.
Moreover, the Jarvis group is named after tax fighter Howard Jarvis. Brown opposed Jarvis’ Proposition 13 tax cut in June 1978. But after that, Brown embraced it, riding his new tax-cutter’s status to re-election victory in November 1978. Then Brown backed the Gann Limit to spending — which worked until misled voters repealed it in 1990.
Brown got his Moonbeam moniker for backing nutty government programs during his first run as governor. But at least 30 years ago he was fiscally sensible.
Now, he has launched into orbit on a rocket of fiscal moonbeams.
5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1
– Sept. 15, 2011
June 19, 2013