At the Corner, Stephen Spruiell quotes James Pethokoukis’ Tweet that “having a truther in charge of green jobs is a good fit… you need a certain willing suspension of disbelief for both.”
This morning on Fox & Friends, Ellen Ratner and I were debating the resignation of Van Jones when she said something to the effect of this: Who cares about Jones’s other opinions if they aren’t relevant to his (former) duties as Obama’s “green jobs czar”?
TV being TV, I didn’t get a chance to respond, but it’s a question worth answering. Now that the press, other than Fox, is finally paying attention to Van Jones, most of its attention will be focused on those “other opinions” that led to his ouster. But let’s not miss the opportunity to point out that Jones’s promotion of “green jobs” was just as dubious, if not as reviled, as his dabblings in 9/11 Trutherism. As James Pethokoukis tweeted: “having a truther in charge of green jobs is a good fit… you need a certain willing suspension of disbelief for both”
To buy into the “green jobs” scam, you must have an unshakeable faith in the ability of the government to create a viable industry from whole cloth, because there is no commercial demand for the services these green-collar workers would provide. We don’t have to guess about the future of green jobs; we can look to the ethanol industry.
In 2005, after decades of subsidization, the government finally mandated the consumption of ethanol. It upped the mandate in 2007. This, plus high gas prices, was the boost the industry was looking for. Ethanol plants started springing up all over the Midwest.
Corn prices went up to meet the government-mandated demand for ethanol. Then oil prices fell, bringing the price of ethanol down with it. The industry’s profit-margins disappeared. VeraSun, one of the largest ethanol makers, is in Chapter 11. Last December, the industry asked Congress for a bailout.
Again, this is an industry whose customers are required by law to buy their product, yet it couldn’t survive in the commercial marketplace. Those green jobs are now disappearing. Before he was hoisted with his own petard, Van Jones was in the business of selling illusions — costly ones, too. It’s good that he’s gone, but it would be better if the position of green jobs czar went with him.
Since “you can’t spell ‘crazy’ without C-Z-A-R”, why not all of them?
Besides, as a front-running presidential candidate promised us last year:
“The biggest problems that we’re facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all. And that’s what I intend to reverse when I’m president of the United States.”
— Sen. Barack Obama, March 31, 2008
Feel free to start any time now, Mr. President.