Over at Free Exchange, I have a couple of new posts on job creation. In the first I consider the question of whether America should try to create good jobs or bad jobs--or whether it's simply a false choice. This post builds on the conversation I had with MIT economist Paul Osterman earlier in the week on NPR's On Point, which you can listen to here. I also have a post about the pros and cons of creating green jobs, in the wake of Barack Obama's headache with Solyndra.

While I wouldn't defend that particular project, I do think govenrment efforts to create green jobs can be worthwhile. Where the projects involve green energy they may be pretty expensive, and yield few jobs: most energy projects, green or otherwise, are capital-intensive. However, some projects have the advantages of laying deep roots in places where jobs are otherwise thin on the ground: west Texas has a lot of wind farms now, and they can't be easily outsourced. 

On a related note, Matt Yglesias complains that the media has a double standard when it comes to green jobs--I may be misunderstanding him due to jet lag, but I believe his point, in the wake of the Solyndra failure, is that the media simply applies much more scrutiny to green jobs programmes than other kinds. Assuming I have that right, I don't see the same double standard. The media is putting an awful lot of eyes on Rick Perry's more general claims about job creation in the state of Texas. But maybe the issue is that when we're talking about "green jobs" the distance between economic growth or prosperity on the one hand and job creation on the other is especially clear: as the phrase suggests, the point of a "green jobs" programme
 



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