Congress gets bill to promote jobs in major sectors
Legislation to stimulate clean energy, manufacturing and transportation sectors with grants, loans, tax credits and rebates could create millions of jobs or be a big waste of taxpayers' money, supporters and critics said on Tuesday.
U.S. Rep. Michael Doyle, D-Swissvale, a co-sponsor of the bill introduced yesterday in the House of Representatives, said it has the potential to create jobs through improvements to the nation's deteriorating infrastructure.
"This is not some kind of make-work program," Doyle said at a news conference at the United Steelworkers Building, Downtown. "We desperately need a plan like this. ... It will speed up the recovery and build jobs for decades to come."
But Nick Loris, a policy analyst for the Heritage Foundation, a conservative policy institute in Washington, said similar government interventions into the economy have failed.
"It's proven that they are ineffective," Loris said.
There were only 225,000 clean energy jobs created or saved from an $80 billion investment into that sector through President Obama's economic stimulate package in 2009, Loris said. "That's $355,000 per job."
Such government subsidies into "(energy) companies that are not market-viable," only take the money from another part of the nation's economy, Loris said.
"The taxpayers should not be on the hook for a bad investment," he said, noting that solar company Solyndra LLC filed for bankruptcy owing the government $535 million.
The cost of implementing the bill, dubbed the American Energy, Infrastructure and Manufacturing Act, has not yet been determined by the Congressional Budget Office. That typically occurs after a bill is introduced, Doyle said.
The nation needs a jobs act to stimulate the economy, said USW President Leo Gerard, who noted that his members would benefit. Doyle's bill and Obama's American Jobs Act together will form a "comprehensive jobs strategy," Gerard said.
Rather than relying on the government to provide incentives for the private sector to create clean-energy jobs, private industry should do it and bite the bullet, without the taxpayers taking the losses," said Jake Haulk, an economist and president of the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy, a think tank in Castle Shannon.
Rather than spending money on technology the market has not supported, the government would be better served to spend money on clean-coal technology because coal provides so much more energy in the United States, Haulk said.
While Doyle said he expects to get bipartisan support for such job-creating legislation in the Republican-controlled House, Haulk doubted that the bill will gain GOP backing.
"I don't think there will be any appetite in Washington to do this," Haulk said, because of the clean energy companies that have gone bankrupt or closed their doors.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers wrap lackluster preseason with loss to Panthers
- Young adults drive home rental trend in Western Pennsylvania
- Penguins confident Pouliot will be healthy, ready for camp
- Steelers notebook: Safety Mitchell faces former team, hurts leg
- Penn State football team savors cultural experience of Ireland trip
- Man stabbed to death outside North Side grocery
- The IRS scandal: Do the Lois Lerner emails still exist?
- Preseason valuable for Steelers’ offensive line
- Parents sue Penn Hills School District, allege assault by teacher
- Government approves compromise on Corbett’s alternative Medicaid plan
- Early morning fire destroys East Deer home