Obama's Green Jobs Failures


Green jobs I'd support.

Investor's Business Daily looks at President Obama's promise to create five million "green jobs" over the next decade. So far, quite a lot of stimulus money has been spent attempting to encourage enviro-work. But there hasn't been a lot of progress, and in a number of cases, the money appears to have been blown on projects that are clearly wasteful or doomed to failure. Some lowlights:

  • "Last week Obama toured to much fanfare a Johnson Controls plant in Michigan where $300 million in conservation grants produced 150 jobs — at a cost of $2 million per position."
  • Evergreen Solar Inc is a "Massachusetts company that the White House once said 'is hoping to hire 90 to 100 people' thanks to stimulus money has $485.6 million in debt. Evergreen closed a factory in March, reports the Boston Herald, and cut 800 jobs. A Michigan plant is to be shut down, as well, causing the loss of even more jobs."
  • "Green Vehicles of Salinas, Calif., which has burned through more than $500,000 in money 'invested' by the city, folded last month 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."
  • In Seattle, "a $20 million federal grant for home weatherization has, according to KOMO news, retrofitted only three houses and created 14 jobs in more than a year."

Read the whole thing here

As the job-creation rhetorical wars reach threat level five in Washington, it's worth remembering that the problem with jobs initiatives, green and otherwise, is that creating sustainable, productive jobs—the kind of employment that lasts and adds to the nation's productivity—is a hard thing to do. And there's no reason to think government bureaucrats, torn by a mob of competing political interests, are going to be somehow better at it than private sector operators. If creating productive employment were straightforward, wouldn't the private sector already be doing it? After all, you don't see most companies turning down opportunities to profit. Which is one of the many reasons why these fantasy jobs initiatives dreamed up in Washington frequently don't hit near the jobs numbers they promise, and why, when it comes to stimulus spending, the administration ends up leaning on totally unverifiable job-creation estimates to justify its spending. 

Lots more from Reason on green jobs here, here, and here

NEXT: Reason Writers Around Town: Shikha Dalmia on Rick Perry's Mixed Economic Record

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  1. It’s official. We are being punished for not feeding the trolls.

    This is depressing.

    1. I sent them a note yesterday about the Texas RLC trashing Rick Perry. That’s one possible link, as the RLC posted it on its website.

    2. John and Brett L think it’s because it’s the first anniversary of the Day of the Commenters.

    3. My fault. Sorry.

    4. Fuckit. Here’s some morning links.

      Chavez nationalizes Venezuelan gold production, prices soar (even more)

      Tourettaphone: for days when trolls don’t post

      Oh, and I suggest we discuss L. Ron Hubbard in detail. You know, maybe bring some Scientologists into the Reason fold.

      1. maybe bring some Scientologists into the Reason fold.

        Let me be clear.

        1. That would explain a lot!

      2. The real Chavez news is that he’s demanding delivery of Venezuela’s gold reserves.


        The bad boy is pointing out that the emperor might have squandered all his gold on his invisible clothes.

        The Ven gold mining industry is not all that large, and mostly already consists of wildcatters. Libertarians like Rothbard would generally classify them as legitimate homesteaders, but any government, the US as well as Ven, would call them criminals when they operate without government license in unowned wilderness claimed by the government.

      3. Chavez nationalizes Venezuelan gold production, prices soar (even more)

        When did Venezuelan alchemists discover the secret of producing gold? Wouldn’t that cause the price to drop?

  2. love these morning links!

  3. It’s truly pathetic that people think that the government creates jobs that help the economy. They can take tax money and borrowed money to create jobs that do the economy no good at all, yes, but I don’t think that’s doing the rest of us much good.

    I will say this: If the government decides to spend all of its money on getting each of us our own power ring and lantern, well, I’m in.

    1. tell that to perry since ~1/2 of the tx jobs are govt sector.

      1. Have the shovel-ready [JOBZ] creators created any shovel-ready [JOBZ]?

        Where are the government hack [JOBS] creators and their bullshit ‘green'[JOBS]?

        1. again ask perry who luvs govt [JOBZ] in texas using stim money.

          1. Who’s ‘perry’?

            1. “PRESENT!”

              1. Eat it, bozo! I was a close personal friend of SINATRA!

                1. The lack of Perry Farrell references saddens me.

      2. Double Anus finally brings something of note to the discussion.

        Well done sir.

        1. Too bad he didn’t bring a fucking link.

          1. It’s missing. Oddly appropriate, that.

            1. I see what you did there, JoJo. But that joke would’ve killed had you been talking about Steve Smith.

              1. No worries. If Steve Smith ever were to charge me: I’d just lob Tony into his path, as a… ummmmmmm… “distraction.”

  4. “Last week Obama toured to much fanfare a Johnson Controls plant in Michigan where $300 million in conservation grants produced 150 jobs ? at a cost of $2 million per position.”

    “Look! Look! Over there! Rick Perry and Michelle Bachman are PRAYING — !!!”

    1. Heh. Worked like a charm with Palin, in ’04… should work just as easily again, this time.

      1. You can depend on us all the way, boss!

    2. MSM: “Candidate ‘X’ might be gay, or bisexual.”

      REASON (correctly): “Right of privacy! No one’s business but their own!

      MSM: “Candidate ‘Y’ might mainline Cap’n Crunch, or regard cough syrup as one of the four basic food groups.”

      REASON (correctly): “Right of privacy! No one’s business but their own!

      MSM: “Candidate ‘Z’ might willingly share Christian beliefs with her husband.”


      1. Hah!

        In all fairness, though: it probably does make more sense in the original gibberish.

  5. Alright, this won’t wait any longer. The story is pretty interesting but the main point of this is to call your attention to the comments.


    Here’s an example of the goodness:

    Bill Morrow 7:04 am
    Barack, You are as out of touch (worthless) as your namesake in DC. Why don’t you leave the comments to those with the intelligence to post something worthwhile? Isn’t it time for you to go out to collect your welfare check?

    1. It is a bit curious that the fox station reporting it never bothered to address the potential race angle. These kinda things, these flash mobs, appear to be popping up a lot more back east.

  6. As the job-creation rhetorical wars reach threat level five in Washington…

    That’s Threat Level Orange. So where are the orange jobs, I ask you?

    After all, you don’t see most companies turning down opportunities to profit.

    Uh, they do if they see the opportunity to make Obama look bad. Because Obama is black. And they are racists. Straight up.

    1. MSNBC|8.18.11 @ 10:43AM|#

      You can depend on us all the way, boss!

  7. The really sad thing is that the leaks/speculation from DC about Obama’s Big Jobs Speech next month are pointing to a clone of the stimulus bill.

    Infrastructure spending? Check.

    Transfers to state and local governments to fund government jobs? Check.

    Tax credits for new job creation? Check.

    Downsizing the regulatory state? Umm, no check.

    1. Giving lots more money to our buddies before we get tossed out of the White House and Congress? Check.

      1. That’s what it’s always really all about anyway.

    2. And yet word is that Pflouffe and Axelrod want to focus on deficit reduction for campaign reasons. I hope they get that money-crapping unicorn ready by October 2012.

      1. We have to spend now to prime the pump, jumpstart the economy, which will then grow rapidly, increasing our tax collections and shrinking the deficit, ummm, later.

        Which is also when we’ll cut spending! Lots and lots of cutting! Later.

        I got $20 that says that’s how they argue that spending now = lower deficits.

    3. He is from Chicago. The solution to everything is to pay off your friends and punish your enemies.

    4. does anyone remember the “line-by-line” campaign pledge. Er, whatever happened to that? Yeah, I know politicians will lie to win, but still…

      1. We did go through stuff “line by line”.

        Now get these insects off us!

      2. I know. Obama is a walking Republican campaign ad factory.

        They could probably bang out a dozen of these ads, cutting between Obama saying one thing and then saying/doing the exact opposite, put them in heavy rotation, and take the general campaign season off.

        1. Something I’ve been wondering. If by some stroke of magic, Ron Paul were to win the GOP nomination (admittedly, given how well he’s polling and doing in sum, I don’t think its entirely unthinkable, albeit still a long shot), would the GOP actually committ money to help his campaign the way they would with a Perry/Romney/Bachmann?

          1. I would say no. I think they’d really rather let Obama win, and then say “…see, this proves that a libertarian-leaning candidate can’t win. Stay with the party establishment!”

            1. Nah, they’d just co-opt some libertarian rhetoric and make sure Paul either played ball or was a one-termer.

  8. The government trying to create green jobs is even more doomed to failure then just creating regular jobs. It might be possible for the government to create a steel mill without massively loosing money since its the kind of large scale concentrated workplace they do with government projects. It will probably be over budget and lose money constantly but at least it will probably produce steel

    However green jobs usually involve very grass root effort. Each job of insulating a house needs to be specifically designed around the individual house. The same with solar, wind, bio fuel etc, they need to be tailored to the specific site and environment. You can’t centrally plan such systems and that means people on the ground have to have the power and resources to make decisions and that is something the top down bureaucratic government system is just not capable of

  9. http://www.nationaljournal.com…..s-20110818

    This going public now has nothing to do with the recent downgrade I am sure.

    1. Ye gods.

      1. The news is spinning this as just a coincidence because the investigation started before the downgrade. As if the Feds didn’t know the downgrade was coming. No they would have never opened an investigation and told S&P “don’t do it or you know what happens” and then made the investigation public after the downgrade.

        1. [::hopping up and down, waving arms frantically::]


        2. Haven’t RTA but, is there any news of ratings agencies that didn’t downgrade government debt getting investigated? I believe they were just as bad on the mortgage ratings.

    2. Obama keeping his pimp hand strong.

    3. What could possibly go wrong?

    4. This is what happens when you cross the mafia government.

    5. Standard & Poor’s is the target of a Justice Department investigation into whether it improperly inflated the ratings of dozens of mortgage securities,

      I for one agree that they should be investigated. There’s no way the U.S. is AA rated…

  10. (AP PRESSWIRE) — AUBURN, AL — The Ludwig von Mises Institute today announced that it has acquired the assets of the not-for-profit Reason Foundation and the foundation’s Web site and 50,000-circulation magazine Reason from owners David and Charles Koch for an undisclosed amount of gold bullion.
    Mises Institute President Lew Rockwell announced the immediate closing of the magazine and the end of the popular “Morning Links” blog on the Reason.com Web site.
    “It’s time to de-louse this place of cosmotarians,” said Pat Buchanan, the newly-appointed chief of Reason TV in a written statement.

    1. Another possibility. Definitely, capitalists are involved. Possibly corporations, too!

      1. Will Pat wear The Jacket?

        1. Pat can’t handle The Jacket!

        2. Pah. You don’t wear the Jacket. The Jacket wears you.

          And no, the Jacket would not wear Pat. I would advise Pat not to press the issue.

          1. I would advise Pat not to press the issue.

            …nor the Jacket.

  11. Is that pronounced “Green Lantern Corpse,” Suderman?

    1. It is now; the last issue just came out. 😉

  12. Green jobs!

    The EPA issued an order requiring the Sacketts to put the land back the way it was, removing the piles of fill material and replanting the vegetation they had cleared away. The property was to be fenced off and the Sacketts would be required to submit annual reports about its condition to the EPA. The agency threatened to fine them up to $32,500 a day until they complied.


    The Sacketts appealed to the Supreme Court, asking for the right to go straight to a federal judge. The high court agreed to hear the case in its fall term. It is being watched closely by environmentalists and property rights activists because of its potential scope. A ruling in the Sacketts’ favor would blunt one of the agency’s favorite enforcement tools. Each year it issues up to 3,000 “administrative compliance orders” to businesses and individuals, demanding an end to alleged environmental violations and applying enough pressure that those who are accused typically give in before the agency has to justify the action before a judge.


    Some environmental advocates believe the agency made a mistake in letting a case with such appealing plaintiffs reach the Supreme Court. The Sacketts haven’t dared to touch their land since the dispute began. Their dream house is on hold; they live in a rental nearby. It’s a problem for the EPA that the Sacketts “feel like the mom and pop who are getting the heavy hand of government brought down on them,” says Catholic University law professor Amanda Cohen Leiter, who sides with the agency. “I can imagine the court being sympathetic to these particular plaintiffs and issuing ? an overbroad ruling as a result.”

    Oh, no. “Appealing” plaintiffs! If only they were more corporationy, we could use the power of government to bludgeon them with impunity.

    1. A ruling in favor of the landowners on those grounds would reverberate beyond the EPA, potentially forcing both state and federal agencies to seek court permission before trying to enforce rules.

      Judicial oversight for a non-elected beauracratic board? Oh noes! How else will we force our unconstitutional decrees on the unenlightened masses?

      1. Court permission and signoffs? Oh yes, that stops government overkill! Tee-hee-hee-hee-hee.

      2. Judicial oversight for a non-elected beauracratic board? Oh noes! How else will we force our unconstitutional decrees on the unenlightened masses?

        Democracy needs these unelected bureaucrats. Congress can’t be experts on environmental minutae. Legislate…er, I mean, REGULATE AWAY!

    2. Yeah, to hell with right and wrong. What’s important is that the government has its “tools” to screw people with.

  13. Screw sea-steading. I say we skip straight to star-steading.

    “In what is perhaps the ultimate startup opportunity, Darpa, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, plans to award some lucky, ambitious and star-struck organization roughly $500,000 in seed money to begin studying what it would take ? organizationally, technically, sociologically and ethically ? to send humans to another star”

    1. Shouldn’t we be trying to clone Sasha Grey first?

      1. Why? As best I can tell from the interwebz, there are thousands out there just like her.

    2. I wonder if the star will have a planet which contains Unobtainium deposits which are located under the homes of the local blue inhabitants

      1. If there’s not a local population to displace and environment to scorch, then what’s the point?

  14. What did Buffet say he paid in federal income tax, 7M? Well, how about either paying Obam, er, taxpayers back this bullshit or just promise to piss HIS money away on green jobs.

  15. Crom laughs at your morning links! Laughs from his mountain!

  16. Have the shovel-ready [JOBZ] creators created any shovel-ready [JOBZ]?

    Where are the government hack [JOBS] creators and their bullshit ‘green'[JOBS]?

    1. ask perry who luvs govt-created [JOBZ] in texas

  17. The EPA is doing everything it can to create green jobs where I live, forcing local towns to pay tens of millions of dollars to rebuild their waste treatment plants in order to lower nitrogen emissions to save Eelgrass. When a town has an annual operating budget of $20M, coming up with another $10M is fun for all (and by all, I mean taxpayers).

  18. Infrastructure spending? Check.

    I thought we took care of all those “shovel ready” infrastructure projects, already.

    We can always use more trains, I guess.

    1. By shovel ready, they mean that people will shovel up dirt and throw it over everything else–buildings, factories, cars, people. In other words, they’ll bury us, completely Khrushchev’s vision for a better tomorrow.

    2. “Infrastructure spending” means paying lawyer and environmental consultants to study and sue each other over projects that will never be built. It doesn’t mean actually building anything.

      1. u mean like the replacement bridge being finished in my town? is that the kinda not building anything u mean?

        1. Probably more like the 710 Freeway here in L.A. It was rebuilt and completed in early 2009. A month later, it was completely torn apart, and has been rebuilding since. There is a nice “Paid for by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009” sign on the freeway. I assume this was “sovel ready” because all the EIR’s were approved, the designs were drawn, and the entire scope of work was already known. The problem is, of course, it was just a make work project. They actually tore up a freeway they had completed a month before, just to spend two more years “rebuilding” it. I have a sneaking suspicion that many of these shovel ready projects follow a similar pattern. My point being, if they are going to spend the money on infrastructure, at least build something new.

          1. See our freeways are getting to a month old! We can’t allow them to crumble in disrepair for this long! MORE STIMULUS!

        2. u mean like the replacement bridge being finished in my town? is that the kinda not building anything u mean?

          Why didn’t your town finish the bridge within the constraints of your own budget? Why the fuck am I paying for a bridge in your town?

          Shorter Paul: Get your hands out of my pocket and pay for your own shit.

          1. its a nice bridge :))

  19. You racist teabagging assholes don’t understand that we have a national resource…rich people’s money, that hasn’t been harnessed to launch this wonderful Greentopia.

    1. Incidentally: y’all do know fire can’t melt steel, right? I have these pamphlets…

  20. There may be some jobs at the SEC before long.

  21. Georgetown basketball teamgoes gangsta on some Commies.

    USA! USA!

  22. I have actually seen and touched (though not driven) the Green Vehicles prototype/publicity car; it seems sound enough (albeit styled weirdly) and I’m wondering why someone couldn’t make a go of it.

    Whether the GV people were scam-artists or simply bad businessmen, this is yet another example of why governments should not use tax dollars and other favors to pick winners and losers. The political process does not tend to make good business decisions. Households can spend their own money a lot more intelligently than government can — EVEN WHEN households blow their money unwisely.

  23. For the military clean energy saves lives By Steve Hargreaves CNNMoneyTech August 17, 2011: 2:40 PM ET
    NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — One out of eight U.S. Army casualties in Iraq was the result of protecting fuel convoys.

    This statistic, derived from an Army study looking at fuel convoys in Iraq from 2003 to 2007, is a powerful incentive for the military to move away from oil and toward renewable energy, and that’s exactly what it’s doing.

    From experimental solar-powered desert bases for the Marines to Navy robots that run on wave energy, the military is quickly becoming a leading buyer of cutting-edge renewable energy technology.

    For the armed services, the benefits extend beyond reducing fuel convoy casualties. A fighting force that isn’t restricted by the reach of a tanker truck or weighted down by heavy batteries is more nimble and, as a result, more lethal.

    For renewable energy companies, the military is proving to be a vital customer, buying the latest in clean energy gadgets and encouraging private investment. The hope is the armed services can shepherd this technology to the point where it becomes commercially viable, much like it did a generation ago for GPS systems or the Internet.


      1. what’s kidz got to do w the military renewable energy projects?

        1. what’s kidz got to do w the military yet another government renewable energy [project]?

          I fail to see the difference.

    1. I coulda saved 8 out of 8 by not going to Iraq in the first place.

  24. My name for civilization’s green-washing attempts to slightly reform itself, while still occupying the earth, is Clean Green Fascism.

    Hardly any more sane than so-called “libertarians” trying to reform civilization with liberty-washed aggression of “Unleashing the Cops, for Liberty!”

    “Cops must be unleashed, and allowed to administer instant punishment…unleash the cops to clear the streets of bums and vagrants. Where will they go? Who cares?” ~Murray Rothbard, in The Irrepressible Rothbard

    1. When did this new H&R meme come up, and how did I miss it? Ok, who’s the wise guy? Come clean.

      1. Sorry, it’s not possible to come clean anymore as the phosphates have been taken out of the detergent.

  25. Related, as also pertaining to economics: Wow: Even the Obama 2012 campaign tired of Krugman

    I’ll admit, I’m fascinated (in advance) as to how the dynamics of this one will end up playing out, as the typical happy online fetishist of Obama’s Team Tongue Bath is — 99 times out of every 100 — a fawning Paulie Krugnuts idolator, as well. OOOOOOOooooohhh… decisions, decisions, eh…?

    1. ? of course providing no evidence for the latter, which I find curious for this Nobel winning economist. He rides the coattails of the simplistic argument that spending cuts ? any spending cuts ? are bad for a fragile economy, ignoring wholeheartedly his own revious cheerleading for cutting, say, defense spending. But that was back in the day ? all the way back in April of this year. […]


      1. I swear, if they could actually hear themselves half the time, their heads would all explode in perfect concussive concert; like something out of the final reel of Scanners.

  26. “Green Vehicles of Salinas, Calif., which has burned through more than $500,000 in money ‘invested’ by the city, folded last month without having produced anything of significance.

    I would have been willing to produce nothing of significance for half the cost. Well let’s say two thirds…

  27. Bad news from NASA: If we don’t reduce carbon emissions, the aliens might come and kill us


    It may not rank as the most compelling reason to curb greenhouse gases, but reducing our emissions might just save humanity from a pre-emptive alien attack, scientists claim?

    The authors warn that extraterrestrials may be wary of civilisations that expand very rapidly, as these may be prone to destroy other life as they grow, just as humans have pushed species to extinction on Earth. In the most extreme scenario, aliens might choose to destroy humanity to protect other civilisations.

    Sigh. When even NASA has finally been co-opted and corrupted by Teh Stooopid…

  28. Very nice blog! Thank you very much

  29. Evergreen Solar received its grant money before Obama ever took office. You should check your facts rather than just taking them from other (erroneous) media sources.

  30. Oboma has NOT brought CHANGE, In fact ~~ THE ONLY real THING needing CHANGE !

    Was Barack Hussein Obama II.

    Barack Hussein Obama II ( Who hates American Values )

    Who who is A ” SELF PROCLAIMED Enemy ” ~ of responsible, Morally Conscious HARD WORKING Americans.

    oBOMAS supporters KNOW~ that Barack Hussein Obama II, WILL FORCE YOU to paY THEM, out of your PockeT ….

    This UN~CHANGABLE fraud, has done His VERY BEST to Inspire VIOLENCE.

    THESE ARE OBAMAS OWN WORDS.. saying “Bring it on” To his supporters.

    Oboma ~ Demands Saying “Get ready for hand-to-hand combat with your fellow Americans”

    ? Obama has ALSO DECLARED to his Supporters

    “I want all Americans to get in each others faces!?

    Obama demands !

    “You bring a knife to a fight pal, we’ll bring a gun” ?

    Obama Cant wait to get everybody involved in some kind OF CONFRONTATION of some sort….


    Obama has ALSO DECLARED “Republicans are our enemies”-

    ** Obama on ACORN Mobs: “I don’t want to quell anger. I think people are right to be angry! I’m angry!”

    ANGER VIOLENCE and more taxes….. THIS IS OBAMAS Change for america

    /”Hit Back Twice As Hard”. He commands !


    *Obama on the private sector: ~~ “We talk to these folks?~ / so I know whose a#$ to KICK.”

    OBOMA wants to KICK your a#$/

    Shouting THAT Republican victory would mean ~ “hand to hand combat”

    HE IS EXPECTING people to kill & BE VIOLENT / for their immoral CAUSES



    * Obama Tells democrats: ” I’m itching for a fight.” !

    PLEASE go to reXes NEW WebsiTe ~ !

    Oboma *( Just like Adolf Hitler~~ In that oBOMA~~~ Demands ! — [ THE FINAL SOLUTION – For Un~Wanted Children

    Barak Obama A MURDERER .~Torturing UNWANTED babys on DEATH ROE

    OBAMA supports TAKING a little NEW BORN innocent child.. / BORN. ALIVE ~

    sTabing it iN the head & SUCKs ITS BRAINS OUT.

    He also demands, that a Child SURVIVING a FAILED ABORTION, Has no RIGHT to Life or medical care.

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