Jobs Absurdity in North Carolina

by Paul Chesser, Heartland Institute Correspondent on May 2, 2008

Paul Chesser, Climate Strategies Watch

In North Carolina, where the John Locke Foundation (my former employer) has endeavored to expose the influence of the Center for Climate Strategies upon the state's Climate Action Plan Advisory Group, an outside group enlisted by CCS has seriously backpedaled on ludicrous claims of great economic benefits that would result from CAPAG's recommendations. My Locke colleague Roy Cordato explains:

“Six months ago, the (Appalachian State University) Energy Center trumpeted its claims that policies to cut carbon dioxide emissions in North Carolina would add more than 325,000 jobs and $20 billion to the state’s economy by 2020,” said Dr. Roy Cordato, JLF Vice President for Research and Resident Scholar. “Now the same ASU team has snuck out a new report that drops that estimate to 32,000 jobs and $2.2 billion in gross state product.”

“That’s not just a rounding error,” Cordato added. “That’s a major mistake that should call into question the researchers’ competence. No serious scholar would put out research that makes a mistake that large.”

Of course, it was the earliest boast (see "Ponder presentation") that got the greater attention of the local media, while the new, revised figures ("Ponder presentation" again) were ignored.

That CCS contracted out to the Energy Center in the first place was a recognition that they had to shore up their credibility on the economics claims they were making. Only who did they get to do the research? A fellow named David Ponder, who is a graduate assistant in the Department of Political Science at Appalachian State. Further evidence of CCS's embarrassment over economic ignorance is that they have overhauled their personnel page on their Web site to emphasize economics credentials. Amusingly updated on executive director Tom Peterson's bio are these new inclusions:

He holds a B.S. in Biology with a concentration in Economics from the College of William and Mary…

He also has a Master's degree in Environmental Management with a concentration in Natural Resource Economics and Policy from Duke University…

Meanwhile, the Beacon Hill Institute (well-qualified economists all) has produced its own analysis of CAPAG's recommendations, and not surprisingly they arrive at far different conclusions from the poli-sci grad student:

“By 2011, the state would shed more than 33,000 jobs,” according to the report from the Beacon Hill Institute, the research arm of the economics department at Boston’s Suffolk University. “Annual investment would drop by about $502.4 million, real disposable income by more than $2.2 billion, and real state Gross Domestic Product by about $4.5 billion.”

“The negative economic effects would spill over into state and local tax collections,” the report adds. “We estimate a loss of $184.6 million in revenues in 2011.”

So now the question for everyone concerned is, who do you believe?


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