It’s the oldest political trick in the book: If you’re a lawmaker, you figure out what a piece of your legislation does, and give it a name that conveys the exact opposite of the bill’s intent. If you’re a Republican that wants to preserve the right to smoke in Wisconsin restaurants, you introduce a bill and call it the “Smoke Free Dining Act.” For Democrats, taxpayer funding of campaigns becomes the “Clean Elections Bill,” and censorship of conservative talk radio becomes “The Fairness Doctrine.” (If Barack Obama were President during Hurricane Katrina, he would have called it the “Bayou Modernization Act.”)
In recent months, Democrats have been taking a beating at the polls – despite spending hundreds of billions of dollars on “stimulus” spending, U.S. unemployment continues to hover in the double digits. Recent reports show that all this spending hasn’t actually created any jobs – and voters appear to be fed up, seeing as how they are now electing Republicans to statewide office in Massachusetts. (Which is a bit like Tim Tebow being elected president of Planned Parenthood.)
(Democrats argue that had the stimulus not passed, things would have been much worse – a fact that can’t be proven. They might as well say that the stimulus saved the Earth from being encased in lime jello. What we can prove is that their supposed “jobs” bill actually had nothing to do with creating jobs.)
Which brings us to this week, where both President Obama and Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle spent a substantial portion of their “States of” speeches to discuss the new fad in mis-naming bills: “Green Jobs.”
Democrats have figured out that in order to counter the perception that they are responsible for dramatic job loss, they have to throw the word “jobs” in front of every bill they offer. When they introduce a bill that will raise energy costs on everyone on the state, they call it a “green jobs” bill. Doyle insists his “green jobs” bill will create 15,000 new positions – about the attendance of a Wednesday night Milwaukee Bucks game – by 2025. It appears many of these new jobs will be the result of funneling money to politically connected lobbyists, whose businesses stand to profit directly from the legislation. (In some cases, they even get to write the bills themselves.)
In the meantime, our study here at the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute has demonstrated how higher energy costs will force current employers to cut nearly 43,000 jobs – and that estimate is as conservative as possible.
If a bill written by special interests to pad their own wallets at the expense of utility rate payers statewide is a “jobs” bill, then literally anything is a jobs bill. Spending a billion on new trains to run all over the state? It’s a JOBS bill.
Democrats are currently pushing a medical marijuana bill – how is that not a jobs bill under their definition? (And a true “green” jobs bill at that.) Marijuana users get hungry and buy a lot of Cheetos – won’t their bill keep Chester the Cheetah employed here in the state? (Last week, Chester was indicted on three counts of providing kickbacks to federal judges.)
This whole “jobs” crazy among Democrats is simply naked image rehabilitation – no different than John Edwards’ trip to Haiti with a personal videographer. It’s a verbal sleight of hand that has no basis in reality, and only serves to confuse the public.
To gauge the true effect of the bill, one needs only to listen to the businesses that actually create the jobs here in Wisconsin – who are nearly universally opposed to the climate change plan (except for those who State Rep. Cory Mason allows to write the bill to line their own pockets.) They argue, persuasively, that by jacking up energy costs, businesses will have less money to hire workers and re-invest in their communities.
On the other hand, the bill’s proponents want you to believe them because they…well… they belong to the Sierra Club. And their newsletter has a quote from Leonardo DiCaprio, saying climate change is bad.
(Incidentally, environmental groups are the best at mis-naming bills for their benefit. For instance, take the “Independent DNR Secretary Bill,” which eliminates the governor’s ability to choose the Department of Natural Resources Secretary. Because nothing says “independent” more than a cabinet secretary chosen by an unelected board of environmental activists.)
Asking liberal politicians to grow jobs in a bad economy is like trusting a doctor who amputated the wrong leg to get it right the next time. This climate change bill is nothing more than throwing good money after bad – giving Democrats an escape hatch from their disastrous job creation efforts of 2009.