Still Looking for “Green Jobs”

, Michael Watson, Leave a comment

While researchers at King Juan Carlos University in Spain found in 2009 that the Spanish “green jobs” program killed over two jobs for each one it created, Politico notes that “the White House can’t point to much solid evidence” that green jobs are being created. Politico states that “Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers suggests 225,000 clean energy jobs were either created or preserved,” but does not acknowledge the follow-on effects identified by the Spanish study.

Politico, which deserves some credit for its open skepticism of Obama administration claims, reports that “White House officials say asking about the connection between the 9.1 percent unemployment rate and the administration’s green jobs campaign is the wrong question.” Instead of looking at macroeconomic effects of policy, Politico notes that the officials would rather show off the “exponential growth” in highly subsidized “clean technology industries.”

The Politico quotes “top Republican” Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) as “not seeing [green jobs].” Murkowski said, “I don’t know” when speculating on whether it was premature to judge.

Politico notes that “Obama pledged…5 million green collar workers” and that “he’s spent considerable time since entering the White House trying to make that happen.” Politico reports that “Democrats say…incentives have petered out” and that “they’re not all that optimistic about new funding opportunities.” Perhaps given the Spanish experience, Americans should be optimistic that Democrats aren’t optimistic about the future of the program. By the way, one Republican who the Politico did not consult goes further than the two it does—Sens. Murkowski (R-AK) and John McCain, (R-AZ)—in pointing out the dangers of the Green Jobs program.

“A major example of this dilemma occurred in Newton, Iowa, where President Obama visited on Earth Day to tout green jobs at a new wind turbine plant,” Sens. James Inhofe (R-OK), and Kit Bond (R-MO), reported on April 27, 2009. “During the visit, the President noted that new green jobs replaced manufacturing jobs where a Maytag plant closed.”

“However, he did not mention that only 700 jobs paying $13 per hour replaced the 1,800 jobs paying $20 an hour plus health care.” Sens. Inhofe and Bond both serve on the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

Michael Watson is an intern at the American Journalism Center, a training program run by Accuracy in Media and Accuracy in Academia.

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