In my November 18th column I wrote:
“The October employment numbers are out and they spell more bad news for Oregon. Only someone as economically illiterate as Gov. Ted Kulongoski would characterize the situation as “stabilizing” and “promising”. Yes, the new numbers indicate that Oregon’s total employment only dropped by 1,900 in October as compared to 10,000 for September; however, that same phenomena occurred in July followed by two catastrophic months. Nothing has changed in Oregon that would suggest that the October numbers are anything more than a seasonal fluctuation.”
The November employment numbers are now out and prove my pessimism prescient. Another month and another 4,600 jobs lost. Another month and more hot air from the governor who continues to prattle on about “green jobs” while demonstrating that he is clueless with regard to real job creation.
These quotes from the governor’s web page:
“Oregon is focused on accelerating our state’s economic recovery by creating jobs and economic stability for communities throughout the state during this volatile time. Governor Ted Kulongoski’s approach is comprehensive, leveraging state and federal dollars and private investment to maximize efforts that deliver short-term stimulus and long-term economic prosperity.”
“A key part of our recovery strategy is to leverage Oregon’s strengths to create jobs and put Oregonians back to work. In February of 2009, as Congress and President Obama finalized the details of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (“˜ARRA’), Governor Kulongoski announced a strategy to build upon Oregon’s national and international leadership in renewable energy development and sustainability to create jobs and restore prosperity. On February 11, the Governor signed an executive order committing the state to a focus on renewable energy, sustainable development and clean technologies in its use of ARRA funds. The Governor termed this strategy the “˜Oregon Way’.”
Whenever I hear Gov. Kulongoski talk about economic recovery by leveraging Oregon’s leadership in green technology I am reminded of Macbeth:
“. . . it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
There is no Oregon “national and international leadership in renewable energy development.” The only thing the Kulongoski administration has led on in the past seven years is the number of times it has been held up for ridicule by everyone from Doonesbury to the Tonight Show. If the Kulongoski administration really held such a leadership position, it could point to specific successes that have translated into business growth and jobs created. And the jobs attendant to such a leadership position would be found in the construction and manufacturing segments of Oregon’s job reports.
So how has Gov. Kulongoski’s “leadership” panned out? Well, in November Oregon lost another 1,400 construction jobs and 1,700 in durable manufacturing jobs bringing those to a two-year loss total of 28,500 and 36,800 respectively. Sure, I know there are wind generators being constructed in the Gorge and a new announcement about a massive wind farm at Sheperds Flats but they exist only because of heavy subsidies from Oregon tax dollars — a subsidy that is about to dry up because the public employee unions need those tax dollars to fund their salaries and benefits.
I also know that between proposal and performance is a long distance replete with environmental lawsuits and huge fights over the transmission facilities necessary to bring the electricity from those sites to California — that’s right because the Sheperds Flat proposal is solely to benefit California at the expense of Oregon’s skyline.
And finally, I know that none of this translates into long term jobs for Oregonians. Yes, there will be some temporary construction jobs to erect these windmill monsters and there will be a handful of long-term jobs to maintain the wind generators but the manufacturing will continue to be done elsewhere because nobody in their right mind would locate or grow a new manufacturing facility in a state that now has the second highest business tax in the world.
It is far more likely that these proposed wind farm projects will be cancelled and existing wind farms will be shut down with the elimination of Oregon’s heavy subsidies than that there will be any “sustainable” job creation arising out of Gov. Kulongoski’s love affair with his “green technologies” pipe dream.
Only time will tell who is right in this regard, but right now, after seven years, Kulongoski has failed to deliver a base hit let alone a home run. But, what the hell, if economics is a foreign language to Gov. Kulongoski and his public employee union handlers, what would you expect?