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Where Are The Green Jobs?

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Candidate Barack Hussein Obama said during the 2008 campaign that he would create 5 million well-paying green jobs within 10 years. So let’s see how, after three full years, he has done. If the next seven years are anything like the last three, Obama had better hurry.

Obama’s jobs plan was based on a greening of the economy, but the green jobs aren’t materializing as fast as he promised. That and/or each job created or saved (whatever that means) costs quite a bit of money. For example, in 2011, Obama toured a Johnson Controls plant in Michigan, where $300 million in conservation grants produced 150 jobs, $2 million per job. Wow! I can only hope that I get one of those jobs. But I’ll bet that the job doesn’t pay what it cost to create.

Stimulus money intended to boost the green economy hasn’t been well spent. Green Vehicles of Salinas, CA, which has burned through more than $500,000 in money “invested” by the city, declared bankruptcy without having produced anything of significance. The company promised it would employ about 70 and pay back Salinas taxpayers with $700,000 a year in city taxes. A $20 million federal grant for home weatherization in Seattle, WA, has retrofitted only three houses and created 14 jobs in more than a year. California was awarded $186 million in federal stimulus money in 2011 to weatherize homes. So far, the program has created the equivalent of only 538 full-time jobs. A $59 million effort to train people for green jobs in California produced only 719 job placements.

SolFocus, produces large, free-standing solar panels, designs solar panels in the US, but the bulk of its employment is in China where the panels are actually made. Said a company spokesman, “Taxes and labor rates” are cheaper there.

Gürcan Gülen, a senior energy economist at the Bureau for Economic Geology at the University of Texas at Austin, said job creation, “Cannot be defended as another benefit” of well-meaning green policies. In fact, the number of jobs that these policies create is likely to be offset (or worse) by the number of jobs that they destroy. Gülen also found that proponents of green jobs have not distinguished between construction jobs which are temporary, and longer-term operational jobs which are more permanent. Some claims of job creation have rested on assumptions of green energy production that go far beyond realistic estimates.

Some researchers claim that all sorts of other economic benefits will accrue from investment in green energy, including increased productivity, higher disposable incomes, and lower operating costs for businesses. Gülen concludes that the assertions are, “…Not backed up by any evidence and are inconsistent with the realities of green technologies and energy markets.” The primary problem is that green energy technologies are still very inefficient and expensive compared to fossil fuels. Deploying less efficient, more expensive alternative energy sources will hurt businesses and consumers, not help them.

On April 5, 2012, Jared Bernstein, former White House economic adviser, said in Las Vegas, NV,  “When I worked for the administration I was very active in the implementation of the Recovery Act. And one thing we found about clean energy was that if you build a solar plant you are going to hire a lot of people. If you run a solar plant, it doesn’t take a ton of people to run some of these plants. The labor-saving technology around the actual production of clean energy is quite intense. So some of these firms don’t employ as many people as you might hope.” One of the main points of the stimulus was to create jobs. So the fact that it doesn’t is quite troubling, especially in light of all the money (that we didn’t have) spent.

Green energy may produce jobs for highly skilled engineers, but it will not produce many jobs for US manufacturing workers.

OK, all you Kool-Aid drinkers, invent some way to blame “Wascally Wepublicans.”

But that’s just my opinion.

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  • Glenn Contrarian

    Warren –

    If you had a clue when it came to ‘green jobs’, you’d know that just like most other developing technologies, it takes GOVERNMENT INVESTMENT to make a difference in the marketplace…which is why China is pumping billions in subsidies into their alternative energy producers to corner the world market on solar panels and windmills.

    And my nephew who works in the administration of one of the world’s largest windmill manufacturers just told me not three hours ago that if America does not renew the tax exemption for windmills, then they will have to close down production operations in Portland, Oregon, and hand out pink slips to 1600 workers. You see, taking away tax breaks and subsidies for Big Oil would NOT force them to shut down…but it DOES make that much of a difference in the alternative energy industry.

    WHICH SHOULD MAKE YOU VERY, VERY, HAPPY – because it (1) hurts the alternative energy industry which you hate since it smacks of a liberal mindset, and (2) hurts the economic recovery, which you hate since it helps Obama – and anything that helps Obama must be fought against with all your oh-so-patriotic heart…no matter how much it hurts America and helps China.

  • Igor

    Glenn is straight to the point.

  • Dan(Miller)

    Green jobs are everywhere. Even Greece is going for them. No social Darwinism for them!

  • Warren Beatty

    Re: comment # 1, Glenn, you say, “… it takes GOVERNMENT INVESTMENT to make a difference in the marketplace…” Yeah, just like GOVERNMENT INVESTMENT backed the telephone, the radio, the computer (particularly the progress), the automobile, and the airplane. But that notwithstanding, how many bankruptcies and job over-promises must you SEE before you admit that the whole “green energy” thing is a payback scam? Or is the evidence just too much for you to handle?

    Regarding China subsidies, I choose to avoid purchasing what China subsidizes.

    Regarding your nephew, does he work for Vestas?

    And there you go again, using that word subsidies.

    You say, “…hurts the alternative energy industry which you hate since it smacks of a liberal mindset….” Your prejudice is showing. I have NEVER said I hated alternative energy. In fact, I am one of its biggest fans. I just want to see the industry become economically viable and not depend on taxpayer money. It’s NOT government’s job to pick winners and losers.

    You continue, “…hurts the economic recovery, which you hate since it helps Obama….” Again, your prejudice is showing. I have NEVER said I hated an economic recovery. I have just said that Obama has surrounded himself with unrealistic sycophant economists who are (like you) evidence deniers.

    Re: comment # 3, Dan, did Obama ever define social Darwinism?

  • Dan(Miller)

    Warren, I don’t think so. At least not the way I did.

  • Baronius

    If the government targets the right industries, industrial policy works. Sort of. But not really.

    Twenty/thirty years ago, we were all being told about the Japanese miracle. The key player in Japanese growth, it was said, was MITI (the Ministry of something or other). But if you look at what industries the government was supporting, you can see that they generally picked wrong. For example, the government decided that since Japan was emerging as a major auto manufacturer, they should tackle the aircraft market next. They poured money into it, but it didn’t go anywhere. On the other hand, they stayed out of the camera industry, because that wasn’t seen as being a strong export item. So they let that industry sort itself out with vicious competition and no subsidies.

    Of course, later on it became clear that Japan had overextended itself. They’d supported some industries financially, but hadn’t created the necessary infrastructure for the labor force. Japanese labor costs skyrocketed, and competition pulled out to manufacture cars, for example, in South Korea and the US. So the government stepped in and drove down interest rates, then drove them up, then back down again, and thoroughly destroyed the financial system.

    And note that the industries that the government targeted were the ones that governments always target: big manufacturing ones with one or two dominant companies. Glenn wants us to do a cannonball into the overcrowded green energy pool. We’re better off moving into industries that no one else is targeting, and the best way to do that is to unleash the entrepreneurs. A million locusts can find food that an elephant would miss. So, where should the smart money go in the green energy market? I dunno. I’m not smart about green energy. But I’ll bet that the guy who is smart about it is a lot smarter than a Congressional subcommittee.

  • Kyle Darwin “greenhouse gas” Hunter

    Obviously Warren is has knowledge of the FACT that the GOP has blocked every single Obama green-job initiative in congress and is attempting to exploit that through this article.

    The failure of “green jobs” can be directly blamed on every republican in congress, not on Mr. Obama.

    Obvously Warren’s head would explode if he attempted to write an article on actual verifiable scientific and political facts instead of misleading and slanted opinions gathered through Fox News and his local southern baptist priest(ess)

  • Igor

    I gave Warren another chance and read his first citation, which, once again is not a data source but an editorial, beginning: “Failed Policy: The Obama administration’s jobs plan was based on a greening of the economy. But the green jobs aren’t materializing, a fact driven home by the recent bankruptcy of a solar power company.”

    So, what’s new? Many solar companies fail and will fail. That’s the glory of our economic system: success and failure are determined by the market, not by stuffed shirts in a government bureau nor a stuffed shirt in a corporate office.

    What’s the problem?

    Is it the wasted money? Then consider, for a moment, the $4billion in oil subsidies wasted every year on oil companies making $130billion in profits and paying no US corporate taxes, and 60% owned by foreign investors who will thus take home $2.4billion of US taxpayers money.

    And we’ll do it again next year! To prop up a sunset industry whose US employment goes down every year.

    Where do you think we should turn our attention?

  • Solar Kyle Darwin “greenhouse gas” Hunter

    Zingzing, Shirley you weren’t suprised were you?

  • Clavos

    A far greater loss to the American people than the alleged $4 Billion in oil subsidies, is the more than $75,000,000 aggregate base salary (exclusive of benefits, expense accounts, and a myriad of perquisites) paid annually to the members of the house of representatives, because of their questionable practices when allocating and spending taxpayer money.

    Their combined waste reaches the $trillions, not mere $billions.

    We should take a leaf from Fidel’s manual on governing and walk them all out to the paredón and shoot them at the end of their first term. That would probably stop the corruption very quickly.

  • Warren Beatty

    Re: comment # 7, Kyle et al, you say, ” The failure of “green jobs” can be directly blamed on every republican in congress, not on Mr. Obama.” And now you are going to enlighten us all by providing a link(s) that will substantiate your statement.

    Re: comment # 8, Igor, you say, “Many solar companies fail and will fail. That’s the glory of our economic system: success and failure are determined by the market, not by stuffed shirts in a government bureau nor a stuffed shirt in a corporate office. What’s the problem?” If what you say was true, there would be no problem. However, the success or failure of solar companies is NOT determined by the market. They are all failures, costing us unwilling investors millions of taxpayer dollars, because they are not economically viable. So stuffed shirts in a government bureau try, with our tax dollars, to prop them up. THAT is the problem, not their failures.

  • Dan(Miller)

    Clav, the idea of shooting all CongressCritters at the ends of their first terms does have some appeal. However, I understand that an environmentalist movement is now afoot to eliminate lead from bullets slugs. Until some suitable non-toxic substitute is found and used, I consider the idea a disgraceful effort to harm Mother Earth.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Yeah, just like GOVERNMENT INVESTMENT backed the telephone, the radio, the computer (particularly the progress), the automobile, and the airplane.

    Really? Read this article.

    Telephone: Do you really think it was only private industry that paid for laying all the telephone lines across the nation, and across the oceans?

    Radio: FYI, the Department of Defense was one of the biggest innovators in this arena.

    Computers: No? Ever hear of DARPA? For about $1.6B in today’s dollars we got the team that would go on to pioneer technologies that brought us the Internet and the Global Positioning System. Of course that’s all just government waste, right?

    Automobile: I’m not sure if you’ve heard of it, but there’s this little something called the “Interstate Highway System”. You may even have driven on it. It’s sorta like the electrical lines for the light bulb and the telephone lines for the telephone – it’s almost ENTIRELY taxpayer dollars that enabled building of car-friendly roads.

    Airplane: You might be interested in this article that shows that Delta airlines (one of the biggest opponents of the ExImBank) benefited directly from a government loan this past year, and more than two-thirds of ALL loans by the ExImBank benefited Boeing in 2007/08.

    And then there’s the progress that’s been made on wind power:

    o Over 400 facilities across 43 states manufacture for the wind energy industry.

    o 60% of a wind turbine’s value is now produced here in America, compared to 25% prior to 2005.

    o Over 90% drop in the price of wind power since 1980, benefiting utilities and consumers.

    o More than $60 billion of investment since 2005.

    Almost NONE of that could have been accomplished without government investment. But you want to take away the government investment, despite what I told you in comment #1.

  • Jet Gardner

    On April 2, 2012, the Los Angeles City Council approved a pilot program for a long-debated solar photovoltaic (PV) feed-in tariff. The program will allow Los Angeles property owners to sell the power generated by their solar PV systems to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP).

    The program, which is available for 150 megawatts of installed solar capacity, will stimulate the solar PV market in Los Angeles, which is the largest city to adopt a solar feed-in tariff. According to Evan Gillespie of California Beyond Coal, the solar feed-in tariff program is expected to create 4,500 jobs and $500 million in economic activity in Los Angeles over the next three years.

  • Jet “The research department” Gardner


    A bill in the state legislature will hurt small businesses, kill jobs and cripple our progress toward energy independence. Interestingly, the Republican sponsors of this legislation are proposing a new tax.

    Over the past few years, Tennessee has become a leader in clean-energy jobs, particularly in the production and manufacturing sectors. A 2009 report by Pew Charitable Trusts highlighted Tennessee as one of three states in the country with a large and fast-growing clean-energy sector. A 2011 report from The Brookings Institution counted 76,031 clean energy-related jobs in Tennessee, making it the fastest-growing sector in the state.

    But our progress in becoming a national clean-energy leader is in jeopardy if Senate Bill 3296 passes.

    Under the bill, the state would raise a REPUBLICAN PROPOSED clean energy-facility’s property tax from 0.5 percent of its purchase cost to 33 percent of its installation costs. The result is an effective 6,500 percent tax increase on solar panel installations. That’s right: 6,500 percent! This increase will price out many companies and homeowners considering solar installations who then sell the solar power back to TVA. It’s worth noting that this is the only arrangement that TVA offers to solar production facilities.

    Just in the past two weeks, a Gibson County company announced its installation of a solar array to sell power to TVA. Two Chattanooga companies, Volkswagen and Alstom, each announced major solar farm installations.

    The Hawkins County school system will receive $14,000 annually from TVA for panels financed completely by an outside investor. They’re all great examples of what happens when the private and public sectors work together toward growing clean-energy jobs and opportunities… opportunities that the REPUBLICAN PARTY is moving to kill

    This tax increase will end all of that. The nearly 200 solar companies in Tennessee will slow or stop their hiring. One company has a multimillion-dollar deal hanging in the balance. This tax kills that deal, and the jobs that go with it. Without those jobs, graduates of clean-energy engineering programs at our universities will leave for opportunities in other states. The research and development of more clean-energy solutions will go with them.

    The proponents of the bill underestimate its negative impact, which will affect everyone involved in solar energy. They say the current rate is unconstitutional, claiming that other clean energy-related industries don’t enjoy the same tax treatment-but they could. Let’s leave the solar industry alone and lower taxes for other clean-energy industries to the same level.

    Wind-generated power has barely grown in the state under the tax level that Republican’ts are proposing for solar. Those incentives are not in line for job growth, but crippling the solar industry is not the answer.

    Tennessee’s investment in solar energy is paying off in good jobs, a growing economy and greater energy independence.

    A new tax on a growing industry is not the answer.

    Does the tea party teabaggers know about these republican’t TAXES????????

  • Jet “The research department” Gardner


    At least 3.1 million Americans are employed in green jobs, a sector that now accounts for about 2.4 percent of the nation’s total employment, the Labor Department said Thursday.

    The report represents the first time the department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics has come up with an official count of environmentally friendly jobs, an emerging part of the economy and a centerpiece of President Barack Hussein Obama’s stimulus plan.

    President Obama has set a goal of creating 5 million green jobs and his stimulus plan provided $80 billion to help boost this sector.

    “These green jobs are very real and important to our rebuilding economy,” said Cai Steger, energy policy analyst at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “It isn’t just about keeping kids safe or the environment clean, it’s about jobs … it’s about rebuilding our economy.

    Republican’ts have questioned Obama’s focus, despite 2010’s 2.3 million green jobs created in the private sector and 860,300 in the public sector.

    In the private sector, manufacturing had the greatest number of green jobs with about 461,800, about 4 percent of all manufacturing employment. Construction was second, with about 372,000 jobs.

    Vermont had the highest proportion of green employment at 4.4 percent, while Florida had the lowest at 1.3 percent. California had the largest number of green jobs, with 338,000 workers

  • Warren Beatty

    Re: comment # 13, Glenn, in comment# 1, you said, “If you had a clue when it came to ‘green jobs’, you’d know that just like most other developing technologies, it takes GOVERNMENT INVESTMENT to make a difference in the marketplace…” Now you offer USES of technology developed without GOVERNMENT INVESTMENT. Once again, you mix variables and then try to hide behind your mixing. But that is typical of you.

    Re: comments # 14, 15, and 16, Jet, Let’s see… you think it’s alright to remove “Big Oil” tax incentives (what y’all call subsidies), yet a tax on the solar companies would kill them. Are they not both in the energy business? Whatever happened to free enterprise, to let the customer decide? Do I detect a bit of bias from you?

    And, Jet “The research department” Gardner, I noticed that you provided no substantiating links about jobs. But, then, silly me, the article was about jobs.

  • Jet Gardner

    You see guys… I told you… it’s the Bill Maher bubble!

    By the why Warren, it’s not my fault if you can’t use Google search, or Yahoo search, or Bing search.

    This may come as a shock to you sweetie, but because of today’s school systems, especially in the south and specifically in Texas and Louisiana too much time has passed and most people don’t know who Hussein is other than that they’ve been taught that it’s a “bad word”…

    Like Liberal.

    It might interest you to know that Liberal means all-accepting and all-inclusive…

    Jesus Christ would have to be categorized as a liberal, healing and defending every kind of leper, outcast and sinner… A fact most southern born-agains would have a fit about if they used their brains and thought

    about it.

  • Jet Gardner

    17-Amazing how it escaped you that the word “jobs” appears IN THE FIRST SENTENCE of both research comments.

    And, Jet “The research department” Gardner, I noticed that you provided no substantiating links about jobs. But, then, silly me, the article was about jobs.

    It’s that damned bubble. Facts just can’t get through that thing… I truly pity you your ignorance.

  • Igor

    The fact is that the PUBLIC sector is doing it’s job: most of the new hiring is coming through public financing. By contrast, the PRIVATE sector is falling down on the job.

    The private sector has taken this opportunity to bank over $5trillion, which is simply capital withdrawn from the economic system. That is an additional cripple of the USA economy, which is already about 20% over-capitalized (as any reader of business magazines would know).

    The rich and powerful have plenty reserves and don’t need to work. They can withdraw their capital and effort from the economy and not suffer personally. And that appears to be what they have done, because their political allies in Washington are determined to get rid of Obama (because of the small bits of power he’s taken from them), and restore Bush era corporate despotism.

    Of course this rule-or-ruin plan will diminish the USA, but that’s OK with them.

  • Jet Gardner

    Absofuckinlootly correct Igor. And they won’t release it until a Republican’t is elected to make him look like the next messiah, economy and jobs be damned.

  • Warren Beatty

    Re: comments # 18 and 19, Jet, are we supposed to take EVERYTHING you say as fact?

    Re:comment # 20, Igor, you may find this link interesting.

  • Warren Beatty

    Glenn, Kyle, Jet, Igor, … If ever we needed proof of the old adage, “If a person wants to make a fool of himself, get out ofthe way,” y’all are it.

  • Jet Gardner

    HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA. Disprove them Warren… If you can.

    um with verifiable research, not opinion and stick to the facts as I have layed them out, NOT off-subject diversion tactics.

  • Igor

    #22 Warren: sorry, I don’t view videos.