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The Green Ball And Chain

Environmentalism has been the bane of the Obama administration from the beginning.  The Copenhagen summit, the cap and trade fiasco, Solyndra: every time the administration tries to go green, it comes up with egg on its face.

The Obama administration’s environmental issues continue to grow. With the Solyndra failure looming large over the administration’s attempts to create green jobs, other U.S.-backed energy projects are having similar problems. From the Wall Street Journal:

While Solyndra LLC’s flameout has fueled criticism of federal initiatives to encourage alternative power sources, the solar-panel maker is hardly the only disappointment among U.S.-backed energy programs.

That’s evident in California, which was awarded $4.6 billion by the Energy Department as part of the 2009 Recovery Act—far more than any other state—to fund programs in energy efficiency and other areas.

A program to install insulation and other energy-saving improvements in homes that received $185.8 million has been hobbled by delays, and a plan to remodel buildings to be more energy-efficient, which received $113 million, has struggled to persuade enough home and building owners to upgrade, according to California officials.

That isn’t all; a Department of Labor program to create green jobs has largely misfired.  It has created only 2 percent of the projected jobs — and the cost per job created is more than $120,000.

The pattern of failure tells us several things: that the administration’s understanding of green jobs was poorly conceived, and also that the execution was incompetent.  These failures are likely to play a significant role in the 2012 campaign because they support an argument that works well with independents.  Whether or not you believe in stimulus, Republicans can argue, it is clear that the Obama administration doesn’t know how to create jobs.  In the midst of the worst recession in three quarters of a century, it chose to subordinate real job creation to vague and illusory green fantasies.

This is a narrative that damages the administration on some key points.  It reinforces the GOP charge that an ‘out of touch’, ‘elite’ administration subordinated the interests of ordinary working Americans to service the whims of Prius-driving gentry liberals.  And it suggests that beyond any ideological problems, the untested president and his academy and foundation based appointees are unable to solve real world problems.

A smarter approach would have been to get the economy running well first, then worry about tweaking the machine.  It is now too late for that; President Obama will be dragging a green ball and chain behind him in the 2012 race.

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  • Luke Lea

    Look on the bright side. With a bona fide physicist at the helm of the Department of Energy — a true believer in the crusade against carbon — it exposes the intellectual hollowness of the whole global warming movement.

    No intelligent cause would make mistakes like this.

  • bluejay63

    The same thing happen in the Carter white house.
    when there’s easy goverment money (tax payer’s)out there, lookout here come’s the crook’s. green-energy, is really pixie-dust energy. BECAUSE IT’S NOT REAL!!!!!!!

  • ruralcounsel

    The administration’s understanding of private sector jobs, let alone green jobs, is so poor that one wonders if any of these people have ever held a honest job where they had to do actual physical labor, and not just fetch coffee, shuffle papers at a non-profit, xerox policy papers for upcoming meetings, and show up for their political internships in air-conditioned offices.

    They grew up in economics-free bubbles kept inflated with tax dollars, and can’t quite grasp the concept of cash flow, profit and loss, assets and liabilities, market demand, risk, and return on investment.

    Their understanding of ‘green’ is unilaterally adopted from their Luddite buddies in the environmental non-profit world, washed clean of any real world considerations like engineering feasibility, cost, thermodynamics or kinetics.

    Those two forms of ignorance are a fatal combination when they try to ‘invest’ in green technology.

  • Sam L.

    And it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.

  • William Diller

    I think that they have been pretty successful in their drive to destroy the commercial fishing industry though. They have foisted the whole plan of “Catch Shares” on the industry as and “Environmental imperative” yet we all know that the real reason is to put all the money into the hands of a few. It’s surprising that the “occupy” groups haven’t got a hold of this. (not)

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