NYT Falls Off the Green Jobs Bandwagon?
If this story is any indication, yes, the alleged paper of record is turning skeptic on Obama's promise that green jobs will lead us to the economic promised land.
Flanked by a cadre of local political leaders, Mayor Chuck Reed of San Jose used a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a solar power company last week to talk up the promise of the green economy.
Mr. Reed called the opening of the new headquarters of SolFocus, which produces large, free-standing solar panels, an “enormously important” development for the city’s economy.
“Clean technology is the next wave of innovation that Silicon Valley needs to capture,” the mayor said, noting that the San Jose City Council had committed to increasing the number of “green jobs” in the city to 25,000 by 2022. San Jose currently has 4,350 such jobs, according to city officials.
But SolFocus assembles its solar panels in China, and the new San Jose headquarters employs just 90 people.
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. President Obama once pledged to create five million green jobs over 10 years. Gov. Jerry Brown promised 500,000 clean-technology jobs statewide by the end of the decade. But the results so far suggest such numbers are a pipe dream.
After a brief cameo by Obama's former (red) green jobs czar, Van Jones, the Times gets to the meat:
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.
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, according to the State Department of Community Services and Development.
The weatherization program was initially delayed for seven months while the federal Department of Labor determined prevailing wage standards for the industry. Even after that issue was resolved, the program never really caught on as homeowners balked at the upfront costs.
Question: Should the Dept. of Labor really be in the business of setting "prevailing wage standards" for an industry that hasn't even gotten off the ground yet? Shouldn't the market place decide that sort of thing? Such a question was once answered in America with a yes, probably followed by a duh, but not anymore.
(Red) green jobs man Van Jones appears again, this time to lament the failure of bigger government to help prop up merely really big government.
Advocates and entrepreneurs also blame Washington for the slow growth. Mr. Jones cited the failure of so-called cap and trade legislation, which would have cut carbon pollution and increased the cost of using fossil fuel, making alternative energy more competitive. Congressional Republicans have staunchly opposed cap-and-trade.
It's all the Republicans' fault for wanting to keep fuel costs from skyrocketing!
The "green jobs" drive was never really about jobs, it was about "fundamental transformation" and putting Washington more in command of the economy. That has failed, in no small part because Obama's own regulatory state keeps driving jobs out of the country. There's a reason manufacturers keep moving to China, and it's not the reason Tom Friedman thinks it is. China hasn't become more efficient than the US, but it has become less hostile to business than the US is under Obama.
Yeah, a Communist dictatorship less hostile to business than the nation that all but globalized free trade and enterprise. That's what we've come to.