On Friday, the Times printed a harsh assessment of the state of the "green" economy—including a conclusion that the President's promise to create five million green jobs over 10 years has proven to be nothing more than "a pipe dream," with California's Bay Area providing a particularly poignant example of how "green" jobs have actually been lost, not gained:
In the Bay Area as in much of the country, the green economy is not proving to be the job-creation engine that many politicians envisioned . . .
A study released in July by the non-partisan Brookings Institution found clean-technology jobs accounted for just 2 percent of employment nationwide and only slightly more — 2.2 percent — in Silicon Valley. Rather than adding jobs, the study found, the sector actually lost 492 positions from 2003 to 2010 in the South Bay, where the unemployment rate in June was 10.5 percent.
California isn't the only place, though, where the green dream is falling short of reality. Last year, Seattle won a $20 million federal grant to invest in weatherization programs. The money was to be spent on insulating crawl spaces, serving to create jobs while helping the environment by reducing the energy needed to heat homes. The program, which was announced at the White House on the eve of Earth Day, has proven to be a total flop. Seattlepi.com reports:
[M]ore than a year later, Seattle's numbers are lackluster. As of last week, only three homes had been retrofitted and just 14 new jobs have emerged from the program. Many of the jobs are administrative, and not the entry-level pathways once dreamed of for low-income workers. Some people wonder if the original goals are now achievable.
Those failures aren't just hitting the West coast, either. In Oak Park, Michigan, a state-government-funded hybrid bus company sits dormant, out of business just two years after it drew acclaim for being part of Michigan's green future, despite millions in state taxpayer funding and a contract to sell buses to be purchased with federal taxpayer dollars. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports that the company failed to meet two performance "milestones" as part of its $2.6 million total loan agreement with the state—and without government funding, the company couldn’t survive.
Despite these green failures—and reports that 80 percent of the $2 billion set aside in the "stimulus" package for green jobs is going overseas, mostly to China--President Obama is continuing to make the pitch that a federally funded green future is central to his plan for rescuing the economy, going so far as to pledge an additional $2.4 billion for green jobs, especially to make batteries for electric cars. The Heritage Foundation's Ernest Istook explains why the President's plan will fail, just like it has in the past:
Green jobs are about government subsidies, cronyism, and job cannibalism. They aren't self-sustaining because they rely on giveaways of taxpayer money and they cannibalize existing jobs...
The green agenda soaks taxpayers. But it also packs a double wallop because taxpayers are first hit to pay for the subsidies, then everyone is hit by higher energy prices caused by energy taxes and regulations.
As President Obama stays the course, pursuing a well-worn path toward government-subsidized green jobs failures, it's important to point out that there is another way toward real job growth that doesn't require taxpayer subsidies. As Heritage lays out in its "Saving the American Dream" plan, by reversing the growth of the federal government, eliminating unnecessary regulations, and repealing Obamacare, Congress can set America on a better course. It's one that preserves the reality of the American dream, rather than chasing the fiction of a green pipe dream.