Washington Examiner: Chase for 'green economy' not about to taper

Published: January 28, 2013
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“WE cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries,” President Obama said in his second inaugural address. “We must claim its promise. That is how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure — our forests and waterways; our croplands and snowcapped peaks. That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God.”

It's one thing to say we have to throw a lot of money at solving global warming to save the planet. It's quite another to pretend that there is a “green economy” just waiting to happen, filled with hundreds of thousands or even millions of good jobs, as Obama has often promised.

The new “green energy economy” that Obama has repeatedly spoken of — a future of lower ocean levels in which Americans work at good-paying jobs manufacturing windmills and solar panels — has always been among the most optimistic features of his vision for America. But given that it is an economically impossible pipe dream, it is also one of the biggest flops of his presidency. When Obama pledged $150 billion over 10 years to the cause of creating his “clean energy economy,” he promised 5 million green jobs over 10 years. He'd better get moving, because as Bloomberg Businessweek's Ira Boudway noted late last year, only about 30,000 jobs have been created so far by the Department of Energy's 4,000 or so green energy projects.

From the stimulus package, American got a multibillion-dollar clean energy subsidy program that propped up almost a dozen now-bankrupt firms, including most famously Solyndra, which sucked up $535 million in taxpayer money alone. Smaller but nearly as inefficient was the $400 million that the stimulus spent on a green-jobs training program. The program placed less than one-third of its enrollees in new “green” jobs, and the “green” jobs they did get came with an average annual salary of less than $26,000 per year and frequently lasted less than six months.



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