The Obama Administration is currently seeking suggestions for its Middle Class Task Force, and the topic of the first official meeting on February 27th will be "Green Jobs: A Pathway to a Strong Middle Class."
While I agree that we need a strong middle class in this country and applaud any effort to create new jobs in our current economy—especially sustainable jobs which will benefit both the environmental and the free market ecosystems—I am dubious about the government’s ability to create jobs, green or otherwise.
The creation of jobs takes capital as in wealth as in money. The government is not in the business of making money; it is in the business of providing services which are necessary for the public good but are not necessarily profitable. It provides these services by imposing taxes on people like you and me.
While government can and should provide incentives to the green sector to create jobs, ultimately, it is the end-consumer who will create new jobs by demanding new products and services. If we, as consumers, are willing to pay for green products and services, then businesses will find a way to deliver them…and create jobs in the process.
The best thing our government can do is to reduce spending, reduce debt (which will in turn strengthen the dollar), and reduce taxes. That way, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, and, yes, even corporations will have more capital to invest in and develop clean technologies that will take us into a new age where environmental waste is not built into our business models but rather is seen for what it truly is: unprofitable.