20 August 2011

Obama's (Gang)Green Jobs: Getting Back to the Garden?

Besides healing the planet and returning the rising seas to their natural beds, then-Senator Obama promised that his administration would create beautiful green jobs: well paid, stable, abundant jobs, unionized, with full benefits and making the earth healthier and the American people richer. As President, he stayed on message: even after the truther-enabling “green jobs czar” Van Jones left the administration, green jobs have been one of the President’s signature policies for putting the American people back to work. _GWPF_WalterRussellMead

Cranach: Garden of Eden (Wikipedia)

Something unexpected happened on the way to the Garden of Eden. Despite massive spending and stimulus, the green jobs revolution fizzled. Wind energy failed to meet expectations, as did solar. Electric vehicles were not ready for prime time, because electrical storage batteries are still 3 breakthroughs away from being up to the task. And the "smart power grid" is proving to be one more way that government and malicious hackers can monitor private activity, and shut it down.
Federal and state efforts to stimulate creation of green jobs have largely failed, government records show. Two years after it was awarded $186 million in federal stimulus money to weatherize drafty homes, California has spent only a little over half that sum and has so far created the equivalent of just 538 full-time jobs in the last quarter…

The Economic Development Department in California reports that $59 million in state, federal and private money dedicated to green jobs training and apprenticeship has led to only 719 job placements — the equivalent of an $82,000 subsidy for each one. _NYT_via_WalterRussellMead
Many of Obama's expensive green stimulus programs cost $1 million to $2 million per job -- mainly "hands-off" make-work administrative jobs, rather than the entry-level practical jobs as promised. Read the entire article at the link above.

The ongoing Obama recession has not helped the green revolution take off, of course. But if you look at the green revolution as just one more way for Obama to divert government spending from the private sector, into the pockets of friends and supporters, the entire effort makes a lot more sense.
...green trends suffer when a listless economy sends old-energy prices into a rollercoaster spiral.

This possibility is reflected in the less-than-impressive growth in the “green jobs” sector, which was supposed to lift America out of the recent recession. The New York Times’ Bay Citizen project surveyed the field and found some rather disappointing numbers in job growth, job training programs and even something as simple as weatherization projects. _PopSci
Perhaps the green revolution was always just about appearances, and not about results, like so many other aspects of the current US administration. Just enough hoopla! to satisfy the rubes, without the need to accomplish anything productive.

In the eyes of such political machinations, it is enough just to get re-elected. If the news on the street is not as good as the public wishes, a great communicator can always make enough excuses, cast enough blame in other directions, and toss out enough goodies, to keep the plantation operating.

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