President Obama likes the environmental movement. He thinks green. He also likes Keynesianism: government deficits to overcome unemployment. He combined them in this boondoggle.
The federal government paid the state of Nevada to plant trees.
Nevada needs trees, of course. It needs rainfall even more. It’s a desert.
Although the green stimulus was advertised as a key component of “shovel-ready” jobs designed to boost employment rates immediately, the recipient of the funds now admits the grant had nothing to do with creating jobs.
This was sold to voters in 2009 as a job-creation bill. But it really wasn’t. Not according to Bob Conrad, the public information officer for the Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, which oversaw the grant money. “It was one of a number of projects that we do believe helped improve natural resources in the state.”
In short, it was a boondoggle.
The grant produced one full-time job. It also produced 11 part-time jobs.
The Nevada Division of Forestry (NDF) defended its utilization of the federal grant.
“At $290,697 per ‘job’ created, the Nevada tree-planting program is a rare if highly relative stimulus bargain,” deadpanned Christopher Horner, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
“Averaging out the $787 billion stimulus, it created or ‘saved’ jobs at about $393,500 per temporary position filled. ‘Green jobs’ in the same package cost about $355,555 [apiece]. And Solyndra [government-subsidized solar power] temp jobs wrung us out for $479,000 each.
The trees were planted in an urban area of Clark County. Here is the irony. Private individuals are not allowed to do this. Trees consume water. The region has a chronic water shortage. This is common in deserts.
When will all this stop? The twelfth of never, as long as Washington can sell bonds to the Federal Reserve System.