'Big, bold ideas' in Carson City

Preening that Nevada could lead the nation in linking job creation to energy efficiency, state Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford detailed his "green jobs" initiative to a legislative panel in Carson City last Friday.

Senate Bill 152 would use federal stimulus funds to train an estimated 3,200 workers at a cost of about $3,500 each, and cover the costs of weatherizing about 6,500 homes and upgrading government buildings and schools so they use less energy, explained Mr. Horsford, D-Las Vegas.

The result would be reduced greenhouse emissions, lower energy costs and a work force ready for the renewable energy industry, Mr. Horsford told the Senate Energy, Infrastructure and Transportation Committee.

"At the end of the day, we will have a skilled work force that is ready to go for a new wave of renewable energy projects, making our state an attractive place to build renewable energy businesses, once and for all, establishing Nevada as a leader -- as the leader -- in this new green economy in our country," Mr. Horsford said.

"I'm all too aware that the first question in everyone's mind is how we will pay for all these big, bold ideas," the Senate majority leader quickly added. But he had an answer, of course.

The new federal stimulus package, totaling nearly $1.5 billion for Nevada, has earmarked tens of millions of dollars to Nevada for job training, weatherization, state energy programs and energy block grants. Staffers are working to determine requirements for qualifying for those funds, Mr. Horsford said.

This all sounds great, except for the fact that it's pathetic nonsense which wouldn't earn a passing grade at the eighth-grade science fair.

First, excuse the continued repetition of the obvious, but no government can "create jobs." All this government money will come from taxes on productive citizens and enterprises. This money to "create jobs" has been taken away from the kind of private-sector capitalists who build casinos, factories, gold mines, pizza joints and outlet malls. They will therefore create fewer jobs -- real jobs, actually producing stuff. Instead, the jobs have merely been "shifted" -- to the new equivalent of hiring men to build rock staircases in the woods.

For instance, the private sector wanted to build a coal-fired electric generating station up at Ely, generating thousands of construction jobs and then some 200 permanent jobs running the place. That would have produced something -- new power.

The "greens" killed that idea.

Instead, Mr. Horsford now promises to spend 11 million of our hard-earned dollars training 3,200 unemployed folks how to perform a home or commercial "energy audit" and then slap an extra layer of plastic insulation over the windows -- a one-time operation that generally takes a couple of days, and which most folks could actually learn to perform ... well, in a couple of days. That means a work crew of 3,200 could do half a million homes per year -- assuming Mr. Horsford gets around to telling us who'll pay these highly-skilled plastic staplers to go to work once they're "trained."

Then what?

Plus -- assuming this $11 million doesn't just vanish down the "feasibility study" hole without a trace -- the one-time federal "stimulus dollars" will quickly run out, won't they?

At that point, will Mr. Horsford and his colleagues start whining that the Legislature has no choice but to take over ongoing funding of the "Weatherization Army," lest they all go on welfare -- meantime announcing a bold new initiative to "weatherize every dog house and chicken coop in Nevada"?

Oh no, we forgot: A couple days of "weatherstrip" training will make these workers prime candidates to compete for jobs against out-of-state scientists with advanced engineering degrees when it comes time to design the Harry Reid Memorial Solar Farm and Toxic Battery Station.

Finally, this plan will cut costs in a number of other areas by reducing dependence on foreign oil, Mr. Horsford said.

But it won't. Building 1,000 new coal-fired power plants and/or 1,000 new nuclear plants per year (which wouldn't raise global temperatures enough to incubate a chicken egg) would "reduce our dependence on foreign oil." But that's what the greens and their political pals won't let us do.

Instead, we're going to train the unemployed to weather-strip chicken coops.

Who on earth will be in charge of implementing these "big, bold ideas"? Is Emma "Ma" Chalmers available? Claude Slagenhop? Wesley Mouch?

Hee haw!