Obama Recycles Failed “Green Jobs” Strategies

February 3, 2011

At a press conference today in Pennsylvania, President Obama is announcing new taxpayer-funded subsidies for so-called “better buildings,” the latest incarnation of his failed big government jobs strategy:

“In his State of the Union, President Obama laid out his vision for winning the future by investing in innovative clean energy technologies…

“The President’s Better Buildings Initiative will make commercial buildings 20 percent more energy efficient over the next decade by catalyzing private sector investment through a series of incentives to upgrade offices, stores, schools and other municipal buildings, universities, hospitals, and other commercial buildings.” (“President Obama’s Plan to Win the Future by Making American Businesses More Energy Efficient through the ‘Better Buildings Initiative,’ The White House, 2/3/2011)

By the White House’s own admission, this latest plan “builds on” the stimulus. President Obama has spent over $80 billion to date on green jobs, with no measurable results. Perhaps this is the Son of Stimulus.

“This initiative builds on our investments through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), and our continued commitment to passing the President’s proposed ‘HOMESTAR’ legislation to encourage American families to make energy saving upgrades in their homes.” (“President Obama’s Plan to Win the Future by Making American Businesses More Energy Efficient through the ‘Better Buildings Initiative,’ The White House, 2/3/2011)

“And although the administration has allocated as much as $80 billion through the stimulus package to create more than 6 million green jobs, it is impossible at this point to quantify success. For one, there is no official federal definition of a green job…” (Lois Romano, “Voices of Power: Adviser Sets Sights on Developing Green-Collar Jobs,” The Washington Post, 8/11/09)

Even allies on the Left doubt that Obama’s latest proposal can create jobs:

“Obama’s environmental agenda is in tatters. His green jobs plan has done little to make a dent in unemployment, which persists at close to 10 percent.” (Michael Shellenberger, “Cap And Charade” The Green Jobs Myth,” The New Republic, 10/14/10)

Even Obama’s Democratic allies say the investment in a clean-energy future is unlikely to provide a lot of relief to the unemployed.

‘There are good reasons to create green jobs, but they have more to do with green than with jobs,’ said Alan Blinder, a Princeton University economics professor and former Federal Reserve vice chairman. ‘There is no reason on Earth to think that spending money on green jobs is more effective than spending on other things.'” (Michael D. Shear And Steven Mufson, “Obama Sticks With Clean-Energy Goals,” The Washington Post, 7/13/10)

The Washington Post suggested that the White House is more concerned with optics than actual job creation, intent on showcasing Obama as a “cheerleader” for the economy. But no amount of flashy press events will change his failed jobs record of the past two years:

“He used to tour the country touting all the bills he had signed into law. But now, often with safety goggles covering his eyes, President Obama has become the host of what feels like a looping infomercial on American innovation….

“In this new stage of his presidency, Obama, once derided as anti-business, has adopted a different tone: cheerleader….

For the administration, however, the events communicate another message: The president cares about the economy, and you can tell because he’s standing beside a huge white generator, peering closely at the technology and greeting one of the workers producing it. These images emerge on the front page of the next day’s local paper with quotes from an enthusiastic commander in chief.” (Perry Bacon Jr., “On Economy, Obama Takes A New Role: Cheerleader,”The Washington Post, 1/31/2011)