Feeding The Masses On Unicorn Ribs
Published on: August 19, 2011
show comments
  • Randy

    It gets better. The World’s Greatest Orator has a big decision coming up: whether or not to issue a permit for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline from Canada to Texas. The Hamiltonians would consider this a no-brainer, but the enviros are watching it closely. My bet is that he will approve the pipeline with loads of stipulations, thus hitting Dr. M’s celebrated “sour spot” of making everybody unhappy.

  • vanderleun

    Dear Mead,
    You write, in what I assume is a jocular fashion, of:
    “There are perhaps some green jobs that would be exceptions; we could eliminate all forms of welfare and food stamps and offer the unemployed minimum wage jobs pedaling stationary bicycles hooked up to electric generators, solving our budget, poverty, obesity and energy independence problems all at once — but these are not the jobs either the President or his supporters have in mind.”

    If you were “just wining it” you will be suprised to learn the market has anticipated you by well over a year:

    “The Green Gym will be the first of its kind. Nowhere else in the country have such innovations been implemented for the benefit of homeless citizens. In addition to standard fitness equipment such as two weight machines, boxing bags, and a treadmill, 10 Green Revolution Technology™ enabled stationary bikes will generate electricity to be redirected into Cass’ power grid. Over one year of four daily classes, a full class of 10 at the Green Gym can generate enough power to light 36 homes for a month, or three homes for a year!”

    Press Release: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/detroit-non-profit-opens-green-gym-82054212.html

    I remembered this because at the time I covered it here:

    Harnessing the Homeless

    http://americandigest.org/mt-archives/droolcup_award/harnessing_the_homeless.php

    As someone said once and will say again, “you can’t make this stuff up.”

  • Peter Dellas

    All the tax money and legislation on earth will never overcome the laws of nature, nor the laws of economics. Nevertheless liberalism’s arrogance will keep on trying.

  • Darrell Judd

    Mr. Mead:

    As T.S. Eliot used to say “There are no lost causes because there are no found ones.”

    Your argument is based on the assumption that it’s always cheaper to manufacture in China, so, game, set match.

    Well, duh, change our insanely suicidal trade policy that has allowed America to be sold to China in a 10 year period in a massive transfer of wealth from labor to capital. Adjust for all of China’s tariffs, trade barriers, environmental degradation and worker exploitation,… and by the way, throw in the remotest concern for the whole communism thing and manufacturing in the U.S. becomes quite practical.

  • These criticisms should more appropriately be directed toward the TTOTPOTUS, otherwise known as the Teleprompter of the President of the United States. For it is the teleprompter which tells the president what to say, not the mind of the president.

    Please correct your article accordingly.

    Albert Finnegan, Chairman
    Global Teleprompter Alliance

  • Captian Farmer

    Professor Mead misunderestimates the intellectual integrity of the mainstream media, when he chastises them for failing to hold President Obama into account, for his green jobs fiasco from the get go. Simply put, the media, Obama and his minions are educated to the point, they believe the laws of physics and economics, don’t apply to their political-economic models. The “Ones we’ve been waiting for” are bigger than all of that.

    In the end Obama like any common, clinical delusional despot, will blame the common people for not being worthy of his extraordinary vision for them.

  • Randy

    Vanderleun,

    Profound. Brings to mind a story I once heard about Malcolm Muggeridge. He heard about a group of self-important windbags coming to Britain and he immediately wrote a satirical piece where they visit the most pointless tourist spots in the country. Then when he later found out their itinerary he had to rewrite the article because several parts of it turned out to be true.

  • Prologue

    “All the tax money and legislation on earth will never overcome the laws of nature, nor the laws of economics. Nevertheless liberalism’s arrogance will keep on trying.”

    Peter Dellas nails it. Not only will they keep on trying, they will keep on pinning their failures on someone else.

  • Darrell, you neglected one factor that sends jobs to China. Unions and an insane NLRB that is trying to keep Boeing from creating thousands of jobs in South Carolina.

  • glenn

    Walter, Walter,Walter,

    You don’t actually think that a story like this is going viral. Foolish Boy. The green jobs sthick was designed to recycle tax dollars into pols pockets.

  • maxMBJ

    Dr. Mead,

    I read your Wikipedia entry and discover you are a Democrat who voted for Obama. This makes your recent writings all the more interesting to me. You certainly don’t sound like a Dem or an Obama guy. So what happened?

    My guess is that you and a few other slightly left of center types like Mickey Kaus have seen the light and now wish to completely disassociate yourself from what is going to be an historical stench connected to all things Obama. If you’ll recall those who went down with the good ship S. S. Jimmy Carter really went down with the ship. The careers of men like Hamilton Jordan and Jody Powell disappeared off the radar forever.

    Republicans like Peggy Noonan who were temporarily mesmerized by the man with the raised jaw before adoring crowds have now seen the light. That interests me little since we saw what we needed to see with such ones when they fell under his spell.

    But you and Kaus interest me. I’m also getting a feeling Michael Kinsley may have seen the light. Perhaps even James Carville. And I seriously wonder what Larry Summers, Tim Geitner, and that ilk really believe about President Icarus.

    The fall to Earth is going to be hard. Nice to see a few prescient souls have jumped off. You in particular should enjoy a very soft landing. Well played.

  • Steve Feldman

    “Harnessing the Homeless”
    was anticipated by a few decades,
    see If We Can Keep a Severed Head Alive…Discorporation and U.S. Patent 4,666,425″
    still available on amazon.

  • Old School Conservative

    Manufacturing doesa not have to be cheaper in Asia. We have a really severe problem in the USA with “how clean is clean enough”. Then we apply the highest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world. Then carbon-phobic fools convince EPA to regulate the byproduct of respiration. Then we ignore the predatory monetary policies of China and bend over while asking for another.

    Are we suicidal?

  • What concerns me is not that the democratic establishment used the the green jobs theme as a central plank in their succesfull 2008 national campaign, but that 53% of the voting US public bought this nonsense.

    Another thing that concerns me is the state of the US main stream media. Most of the media in this country have become an outlet for democratic talking points. The media does not attempt to seek out and report fact-based stories for the benefit of the public. The media generally pursue a pre-defined agenda that usually accords pretty close to the national democratic party and their own self interest. It is the worst I have seen it in my 30 years of media consumption.

    Many in the media have lost sight of the professional ethics and responsibilities that go with the job. If journalists were required to pass state tests for licensing like other professionals, say geologists or engineers for instance, many journalists would have lost their license to practice years ago.

    There are many good journalists in the US today, but it seems to me there are an equal or larger number of bad journalists. It hurts our society. A free, non-biased, media is important.

    Doug Santo
    Pasadena, CA

  • Soylent Greenskeeper

    Rather than waiting for the ‘fruits’ of Obama’s political acumen, as Mr. Mead seems want to do, why don’t we just cut to the chase and start eating the poor?

  • Brian

    “It’s not just the opportunity cost as more practical and reasonable job creation agendas were shoved aside to make room for the unicorn hunt. It’s the credibility cost.”

    As my wife said many years ago: “Credibility is a non-renewable resource.”

  • Jerome

    Darrell,

    Actually, the price of manufacturing in China is going up, as they exahaust their labor surplus. But the more basic point is this; Green Jobs are predicated on the assumption that we can become wealthier as a nation by increasing the costs of things we do already. For example, making electricity more expensive, to pay for windmills and solar panels. This may create some jobs building windmills and solar panels, but only at the cost of higher electricity prices, which are a drag on all businesses and consumers.

    Economic growth comes from making things cheaper, not more expensive. And any policy which is primarily intended to “create jobs” is bound to make something more expensive. Because the jobs would already exist if they made something cheaper.

  • Remember: it is well-known that a unicorn can only be tamed by a virgin. So if we are going to feed the masses with unicorn ribs, it is important to ensure an adequate supply of virgins to do the unicorn-herding.

  • JorgXMcKie

    “our insanely suicidal trade policy that has allowed America to be sold to China in a 10 year period in a massive transfer of wealth from labor to capita”? That’s peurile. And wrong.

    Basically we got cheap stuff that would not have been manufactured here and China got, what? Dollars of decreasing value and bonds on now unknown worth?

    We *still* manufacture around 25% of the world’s goods, we just do it with way less human labor than before. That’s not going to stop.

    And I’m assuming you’re too young to remember the late 80s when Japan was going to own the US for quite similar reasons. How did that work out? Oh, yeah. Japan has basically been a static economy for the past 10 years. Look at China today. Look at Japan 20 years ago. Notice the similarities. Now explain how the end result will differ and why.

  • Boyd

    @8:38 … and manufacturing in the U.S. becomes quite practical.”

    As Mead points out “Whether a product is … has zilch, zero, nada influence on the mind of the manufacturer trying to decide where it should be made.”

    What China does is not only beyond our control but shouldn’t matter when it comes to our job creation. Five year plans like “green jobs” and the socialization of education are what make us unable to compete, not lack of regulations.

    Business has no responsibility to provide jobs or produce a particular product. Business has a responsibility to turn a profit in a legal manner. Nothing else. Jobs just happen as a certain consequence of running a business. We had a pretty good system for doing this till the progressives came along.

  • John Burke

    Nice piece, but Prof. Mead, may I point out a small but important bit of misdirection that both liberals and conservatives continue, inexplicably, to engage in?

    The typical American unemployed are not meat packers or truck drivers. With three quarters of the US economy in the services sector, they are far more likely to be administrative assistants, car salesmen, retail clerks, media buyers, and yoga trainers. Even the poorest new arrivals from Mexico or West Africa are more likely to be restaurant dishwashers or hotel maids (!).

    This is not an incidental matter. Legions of liberal politicians, pundits and professors view the “working class” through the prism of a vanishing industrial blue collar way of life that was once common to cities from Boston to Sf. Louis.

  • TANSTAAFL

    There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

  • TANSTAAFL

    And, BTW, as I was reading the first couple of paragraphs the thought struck me that Ayn Rand was a [veritable] Cassandra.

  • JKB

    Traditionally, when you sell snake oil you skedaddle out of town a head of the truth coming out. The presidency being 4 yrs made this untenable and, in any case, his useful idiots are left behind to face the village.

    It’s nice to say $2 million per job or 80,000 per job but we must point out that the worker didn’t get a third of that cash. $1.97 million ended up in Democrat “friends” pockets while the worker got about $30k.

  • TexEd

    david foster said, “Remember: it is well-known that a unicorn can only be tamed by a virgin.”
    David, that used to be the case, but last October, Obama’s Department of Energy issued a waiver for this requirement, apparently on the basis that it’s implementation would have a disparate effect on protected minority groups, including homosexuals.

  • John

    When the Clinton forces were out of power but gearing up for the Hillary ’08 campaign, they made lots of comments about things like green energy or other foreign policy pronouncements that put them in tune with the Kos/MoveOn/MSNBC left. But being Clintonites, people knew that most of it was simply a cynical play for votes, which is why the left wascin large part so disdainful of her campaign.

    Team Obama, in contrast was and is made up in large part of the True Believers. They might e scared enough of the domestic consequences not to shut down the War on Terror (even they’re not ideologically pure enough to be willing to gamble on getting blamed for another 9/11), but on what they saw as “low consequence” actions like promoting green jobs while shutting down coal-fired power plants, they really believed their own side’s hype. And they’re so sure of their own infallibility, it never occurred to them that they might not be right that propping up a company like GM based on the idea that if they cam just keep things going until the Chevy Volt hits the market, its maasive sales will make everything better.

  • Hale Adams

    Professor Mead,

    You are entirely too kind to President Obama and the rest of the Administration when you state that they have chosen poor policies.

    The man and his minions can’t choose to NOT enact such policies– it’s what they ARE; it’s what they DO.

    And we the people were [darn] fools enough to elect him (and them).

    November 2012 can’t come fast enough.

    Hale Adams
    Pikesville, People’s Democratic Republic of Maryland

  • ErisGuy

    “he probably would not have married himself so publicly to so vain and so empty a cause”

    Yes, he would have. The purpose of his administration is corruption and power. Why do you persist in thinking Obama is a rational actor with needs of the country in his heart?

  • DavidinOC

    Since WRM has previously noted the elite’s disdain for religious learning,practice, and morality, I am not surprised to to read of another example of their sympathy for the diviners and soothsayers of our own day.

  • oger

    “The goods that drive renewable energy industries, like so much else in this world, are far cheaper to construct in Asia. ..The solar panels are assembled in China…(the nature of the article has no) influence on the mind of the manufacturer trying to decide where it should be made.”

    Viewed in that light, Obama’s green policies have been stunningly successful in advancing a prime goal for Democrats, i.e.,redistribution of wealth (What’s wrong with a little redistribution?” as O famously asked during the campaign.)

    Of course it is redistribution of American taxpayers’ wealth to Chinese labor. But nationality doesn’t matter to the internationalist billionaires who fund and run the Democrats.

  • Manufacturing doesn’t have to be cheaper in China? True. The theory of comparative advantage only says that countries will specialize in those industries in which they have the biggest relative advantage. They might be better than all other countries at everything, but even so will concentrate on those things where they are strongest.

    What does that mean in the case of China? Well, China’s comparative advantage lies in its relative abundance of wage labor. That means they will specialize in those industries that are labor intensive. In other words, the industries that produce all the jobs! We get to specialize in the ones that are capital intensive. That’s the bad news.

    The good news is that even capital intensive industries will shift towards more labor-intensive manufacturing systems. That’s because an army of displaced workers will be thrown on the market, lowering wages, and thereby making labor relatively more attractive. That’s why a predict a resurgence of the American automobile industry. The factories may be owned by Japanese — or even, gasp, Chinese! — but they will employ fewer robots and more people doing things like spot welding and body painting.

    This is real economics, Prof. Mead, not something I made up. I learned about it here when I was well into my fifties. You can too. If you do you will be ahead of most of the pundits in this fair land of ours. Did I say most? You will be ahead of them all.

  • Luke Lea

    [Editorial correction: I said, “You can too” I should have added, “if you apply yourself. ” Allow two hours a day for about six weeks — and skip the geometry if that’s not your strong suit. :)]

  • What, no high speed rail?

  • stephen b

    Folks pedaling bikes to generate energy can be compensated with lottery tickets.

  • David Davenport

    There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

    I assume you are for unrestricted free free free trade.

    However, if you really believe that There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch, then you must admit that there must be some downside to a flood of cheap imported manufactures.

  • jms

    I’ve been making the observation for a long time that environmentalism is the ultimate high-end consumer good. People will only buy it with their disposable income, and it’s the first thing people jettison when they can’t pay their bills.

    The only way to expand environmentalism is to sell it to a population that is so wealthy and affluent that it has extra money to burn on goods that are no better than other goods, but produced a certain way. People might pay twice as much for “free range” chicken, or “organic” milk, but not if they are struggling financially. Only wealthy societies can afford “clean air” laws and “sustainable” and “zero-impact” energy. The Obama administration has allowed the economy to stagnate and decline, and as a result interest in “green” everything is wilting on the vine.

    Anyone who wants to promote “green” initiatives and environmentalism has to figure out what it is going to take to make the country prosperous again. Only then will boutique “green” jobs follow, but trying to force “green” initiatives on struggling people is simply going to make them resentful and likely to result in the complete jettisoning of the “green” environment philosophy altogether. If green really means poverty than no one will want to go green.

  • Brian Rehder

    Good piece, but your shot at the right (I assume in an effort to prove your “balance”), was W-E-A-K. If you honestly think that a “Garden of Eden/Tree of Life healthcare policy proposal would “poll well” in GOP focus groups, you are delusional. First of all, not all Republicans are believing Christians, and second, “Christian”, or even “Fundamentalist Christian” is not -despite secular liberal aplomb – a synonym for “insane.” You could poll that “policy” idea to 500 congregants exiting an Evangelical church on Sunday and maybe get 3% approval.

    If you want to make a case that conservative Christians are nuts, maybe you should write a second article. And perhaps as evidence you could debunk something they actually – you know – believe.

  • mickeymat

    As long as all economic decisions in the White House are made by the likes of David Plouffe there will be no coherence or logic except politics. How old is he, 25 ? The many professional academics Obama has had advising him are just for window dressing. Although it could also be said that they are dumb as posts about the world outside their hallowed halls.

  • vanderleun

    Somewhere else on the web today somebody remarked, “Isn’t it amazing how quickly bankruptcy pursues green jobs after the government check clears the bank.”

  • Jim K.

    I doubt that the White House will change course heading in to 2012. They have already telegraphed their strategy for the upcoming election- attack the Republican nominee and attempt to paint that person as a crazy nut who has no business running the United States. In a way, it’s similar to the campaign that Johnson ran against Goldwater. Goldwater was portrayed as a loon who would cause a nuclear war and therefore should not be allowed anywhere near the proverbial big red button.

    The problem for Mr. Obama, of course, is that political science has shown that the single most important factor in winning elections is the state of the economy. If the economy is bad, you lose, regardless of other factors. I see no way that Mr. Obama fixes the economy in a handful of months and thus ensures his reelection, so let us hope that Mr. Romney or Mr. Perry are not as nuts as they will be portrayed.

  • Sam L.

    “What worries me is that they didn’t understand that making something this bogus a central plank of his actual governing plan on an issue as vital as jobs would have serious costs down the road.

    Many liberals want green jobs to exist so badly that they don’t fully grasp how otherworldly and ineffectual this advocacy makes the President look to unemployed meat packers and truck drivers.”

    Not only them, but pretty much all not-a-liberal/progressives.

    “But if that same politician then proposed to base federal health policy on a hunt for the historical Garden of Eden so that we could replace Medicare by feeding old people on fruit from the Tree of Life, he would have gone from quackery-as-usual to raving incompetence.”

    AND…the media would be all over him like kids on candy, sharks, etc. Which they clearly haven’t with Obama and Green Jobs. And show little sign of so doing.

    “Worse, the failed unicorn barbecue undermines the President’s ability to convince the American people that he knows how to create jobs.”

    That, and the years of crying “WOLF” about everyone (except himself) contributing to making his job so hard.

    “…the White House needs to figure out how to change course — and how to communicate that change of course to a country that has come dangerously close to tuning out the President when he talks about jobs.”

    I think there is no way he can do that, for we have passed the point of “close to” tuning him out; we actively think “There he goes, again. November 2012 can’t come soon enough.”

    Doug Santo wrote, “Many in the media have lost sight of the professional ethics and responsibilities that go with the job. If journalists were required to pass state tests for licensing like other professionals, say geologists or engineers for instance, many journalists would have lost their license to practice years ago.”

    I have to disagree. They’d be tested and certified by those like them. I dislike being so cynical, but I have to be to protect my sanity.

  • Richard

    Walter, you are on a roll. Welfare mothers generating electricity? Now, that’s funny.

  • John

    I have a friend who runs a steampipe fitting operation, the guy is smart enough to only do government work (schools, hospitals, etc) because they pay twice as much as the private sector.

    Anyway, my friend was the beneficiary of The Green Economy. The feds apparently threw tons of money onto school districts with the edict that the money be used to make the buidings more energy efficient.

    He tells me that lacking anything else to spend the money on, the schools had him rip out perfectly functioning boiler and water heater units and replace them with new ones. As he told me “You wouldn’t believe what they’re paying me to do. I’m destroying perfectly good equipment because nobody can think of how to spend the money.”

    Like Cash for Clunkers, Obama’s jobs program is the equivalent of paying people to dig holes and then fill them in. Money is spent and nothing is accomplished.

  • JimGl

    just keep in mind, the purpose of the green movement was to create GOVERNMENT created jobs, not private sector. Corporatism ( Progressiveism) at work.

  • Jim K.

    On the whole China thing, I believe that too little has been written about the devasating effect that sex selective abortion is going to have on that country in the near future. There will be a generation of men without families to bind them. Combine this with the already simmering Chinese resentment of the government, and Tiananmen Square will look like a tea party.

  • Frankly

    The continuing failure to produce meaningful Green is the Economic version of the missing WMDS.

  • Jim.

    There are jobs that can’t be outsourced…

    …Defense jobs.

    Guess which jobs Obama is planning to cut?

  • Bonfire of the Idiocies

    If Obama understood any economics whatsoever, he’d realize in the long run nobody gets rich making or selling a product the government has to subsidize in order to get people to buy it. This arrangement actually produces no wealth but merely shuffles it from one pocket to another with a corresponding loss due to the transfer process. It’s like thinking you can drain your leaky boat by drilling more holes in the hull.

  • 57nomad

    The promise to create “green jobs” using federal funds was nothing more that trying to put in place a command economy to replace the free market demand economy.

    There has never been a time since economies existed anywhere when a command economy has succeeded. Obama knew that, all of his advisors knew that and anyone who knows that the USSR is no longer in existance knows that.

    Consequently, the motives of Obama and his crew must be called into question. The attempt to create a command economy will destroy the demand economy and replace it with no economy at all. So, why did he try? One can only guess but all of the possible reasons are sinister.

  • Tom Kinney

    Mead is correct in saying that a fawning press mortally wounded Obama from the get-go. This was clear even before the election where the opposite of vetting was in vogue. Let’s call that notable lack of scrutiny by the media a case of classic MSM tail-dragging; an instant sweeping out word-by-redacted-word of the slightest hint of skepticism from unclean disbelievers, i.e., Joe Public and his slothful lot. Perish any thought of sinful disobedience to the master, or the seventh ring of hell loomed in the chastising words from the pharisee punditocracy. They placed a media-driven curse that was so strong not even a single jeweled utterance from this redeemer mounteback king could be seen as insincere. The thought that his golden words could on occasion have been falsified for self-gain, it was declared, should send the unworthy masses to immediate confessional. Was he not a god-sent politician from the holy city of Chicago? Who could doubt such a virtuous pilgrim?

    That his wisdom, like holy script, could even be questioned, much less doubted was assumed by the mandarins of the media to be apostasy of the first order.

    But even had he been vetted by the ritual trial and fire of a properly cynical media, this president would not likely have learned his lesson. There is in his psychology a steel door triple-locked between word and meaning. If it sounds good, he lets it soar and assumes that the gist of his soothsaying will arrive later under separate cover. Or not. Doesn’t much matter. After all, like the music of the spheres, if his words were found to be pleasing enough to stoke the fever dreams of his acolytes, that would be their sufficient reward.

    It’s as if Obama had, like an errant, parroting savant, inherited MLK’s oratorical talent for word construction, but without a clue as to any intact content.

    He’s a poet who addresses his love letters return to sender. A glowing prophet of meaninglessness who spreads his soothing cadence to believers far and wide but does not begin to get the error of his own message.

  • Mkelley

    A friend of mine actually lost a part-time job because of the “stimulus”. He has a boiler license, so the county hired him to maintain the gas-fired boiler that heats our county courthouse. He said the boiler, though old, would have worked fine for many years. Then the federal government decided to stimulate us, and now our dilapidated old courthouse has a brand new boiler, fancy keypad door locks, and Lord knows what else. With the new boiler came a one-year service contract, and there went Jack’s nice little job.

  • Jimmy

    @Jim

    Some of those defense “jobs” need to be cut. You ever watch that show “Futureweapons”? Half of that [stuff] looks completely worthless.

    That said, I’m somehow sure that this will be yet another time that the O Administration rolls out amateur hour.

  • KP

    And meanwhile the colleges are pouring out graduates who majored in “environmental studies”, fully expecting to find those green jobs that will help them pay off tens of thousands of dollars in loans.

  • Rational Debate

    We could only wish that Obama’s marriage to ‘green jobs’ and most of his policy positions was a recent one of convenience brought on by a mixture of pabulum to the liberal base cheered on by a complicit and self-admittedly liberal press now devoid of ethics and any pretense to impartiality.

    Unfortunately, if one looks back at Obama’s history, family, associates and friends it’s crystal clear that his hard left sacrament was a pre-arranged nuptial from days long before he was born. He teethed on this twisted meat that he now so generously spreads around as a benefaction upon all us lowly needy souls out here so piteously unable to see the light for ourselves. Obama only requires unquestioning adulation in return, and what is so unreasonable about that when he is so freely giving of his wisdom?

    Unfortunately I have to say that I believe the willingness to overlook, expect, and ‘forgive’ politicians for spreading a little manure to feed the mushroom base is a serious part of the problem with politics in general. I do NOT forgive politicians for saying what is expected of them devoid of sincerity or personal belief in what is being said. It is not understandable, let alone forgivable, for them to ‘feed the base’ with pabulum.

    That so many people are now jaded and take this view is what allows politicians to get away with such ploys. How many press articles have you seen talking about what a politician should say if he wants to be elected? Why are we all condoning dishonesty, and electing such flawed characters rather than tossing them out on their ears whenever such behavior is noted?

    When such a lack of integrity and character is routinely tossed off by a significant portion of the electorate as understandable and forgivable, it eventually leads to just what we now have – a circus consisting of nothing more than a dog and pony show with some illusions thrown in and performers only concerned with looking good, putting on a good show, rather than ensuring they provide anything meaningful, anything of substance, anything durable.

    And we wind up with a charismatic carnival huckster who apparently believes his own magical potions might really work, because hey, someone took it once when they had a headache, and awhile later after he’d pestered them a dozen times about it, they admitted they felt better . Clearly proof positive! So he just lays on the prevarication and hyperbole all the thicker. After all, if he says the same thing often enough, and the press gleefully amplifies all pronouncements, he might just manage to convince us regardless of reality.

  • Steve Gerow

    @ 36. jms – I think your post exactly hits the nail on the head!

  • Jacksonian Libertarian

    “Worse, the failed unicorn barbecue undermines the President’s ability to convince the American people that he knows how to create jobs.”
    What evidence do you have that he does know how to create jobs?
    You know his upcoming jobs plan is just going to be more job killing government spending.
    There is a reason why it’s called Capitalism; it’s because Capital is what fuels it.
    What would happen if the Government Monopoly stopped taking $2 Trillion a year, at the Federal, State, and Local levels, from the pool of available job creating investment capital?
    How many private sector jobs would $2 Trillion create?
    With a $40k per capita income that’s 5,000,000 jobs, 5 MILLION JOBS.
    What would interest rates be if the Government monopoly (Federal, State, and Local) wasn’t sucking $2 Trillion a year from the pool of available job creating investment capital? 1%? Mortgage rates in Japan are 1% so it’s reasonable.
    Government Monopoly spending is always a COST to the private economy, whether as taxes and or higher interest rates it’s always a COST. The talk of a Government spending multiplier effect, or as an investment in the economy is a Leftist LIE, it’s always a COST.

  • This is some intellectually lazy, short-sighted [stuff I disagree with]. Because China’s manufacturing costs are cheaper we should abandon the idea of making anything green here? (Or anything at all for that matter?)

    Yes it costs a lot of money to create jobs, especially in a new field. It’s easy to call green energy investments inefficient when you throw one number out without any context. Those jobs will stay in America and the income taxes will pay for them over the long run. Let’s not mention the money we’re saving in fuel costs, oil subsidies, and weapons manufacturing to fight resource wars in the future.

    Pissing and moaning about the cost of government or investment is childish and will ultimately sink this country. We will have the right to thank because they were too lazy and retarded to look more than four feet in front of them.

  • Thomas Paine

    Jim K. says:
    “…and Tiananmen Square will look like a tea party.”

    Jim! Sakes!

    Don’t give these Fascist loons any ideas…!

    PS Pre-emptory for libtard critics:
    NAZI = National SOCIALIST German Workers’ Party

  • wareagle1982

    Press Release: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/detroit-non-profit-opens-green-gym-82054212.html
    ——————————-
    1) from post #2, which I still hope was a comedic effort since the notion of a free-use gym for the homeless is an idea only the faculty lounge could embrace.
    2) of course, this would be done by a non-profit. Without a subsidy, this idea would be laughed before the suggestion for it was even completed.
    3) assuming this story is serious, someone expects people to take it seriously.

  • Skep41

    Dude, you’re not looking at the Big Picture. This Green Jobs Program is only a small piece of the Obama picture; a panoply of similar federal programs that will drive the nation into bankruptcy, destroy the economy and by doing so lower our carbon footprint. Maybe a tenth of the population will survive the collapse of Evil Factory Farming and the nationaization of medical care (instituting a Cuban-style system where medical care is free but you have to bribe doctors and nurses to treat you and buy any medicines on the black market). Those few survivors, living in the traditional mud huts that our aboriginal forebears loved so dearly will present little threat to the balance of the atmosphere. Its a win-win!

  • Rick G

    A truly amazing thing is that Obama is going to try and sell another huge “investment” in green jobs for the green economy.

    And yes of course, an entire large segment of the population (you know the ones that think Republicans are not smart enough to be President) will giggle with glee at the exciting prospect.

  • Is democratizing the production of energy truly so outlandish? I think it was at this blog where I read that once upon a time most Americans were agricultural farmers. Why not today become a nation of energy farmers? Rather than the government being actively involved, it could provide massive tax incentives for private solar & wind power generating installations then get out the way as the market bootstraps itself.

    In Germany utility companies are obliged to pay consumers more for any energy they produce than the rate at which they can sell it. See http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/30/business/worldbusiness/30iht-30solar.13338622.html, which reports that the incentive rate is being cut back somewhat due to its success.

    Combined with a genuine policy of “drill, baby, drill”, this combination of family-oriented self-reliance and green energy production would, it seems to me, appeal across the political spectrum.

  • B. Samuel Davis

    The Green Jobs pitch was a dodge – it was a way to give money to Obama supporters who could then pocket it. Like the $500,000 given to NOW in return for silence in the Monica Lewinsky matter the Democrats knew they could engage in out and out corruption and never be called on it by their friends in the media.

    It’s an old and sickening ploy and still going on – what was the stimulus (which is re-spent every year – look it up) but another pay off? What about terminating the dealerships of GM dealers based on whether they donated to Republicans?

    Those on the left should rethink their affiliation with this corrupt organization – after all the biggest scam of all is what Democrats have done to blacks since the civil rights era. Democrats are the party of corruption, plain and simple and they are systematically looting the country, and the press stays mum.

  • Henry Miller

    Yet another of Obama’s long list of failures.

  • Barry Bungler

    Guess those green jobs weren’t so shovel-ready, either.
    Good job, [Mr. President]. Only time that we can tell when you’re lying is when you open your mouth.

  • bri

    It has become an American Proverb, that only Nixon could go to China.

    Is it possible that only Mead could call out the Green Jobs fallacy?

    I must say this author is unpredictable. Refreshing.

  • Jim Stagg

    Dear Mr. Albert (#57):
    I cannot believe you read Mead’s article, plus 56 posts and came up with this inane post.

    [demonstrate your undoubted intelligence more convincingly in the future], please…..and don’t go looking for unicorns.

  • Craig purcell

    Sure just continue building taxpayer funded roads out into the green areas and making buildings that last the length of the bank loan and no longer while making more parking lots. Encourage the Chinese to rip up their extensive bike paths and buy cars and drill baby drill.

    Brilliant vision Walter.

  • teapartydoc

    Unicorn ribs? More like unicorn droppings. The last green job I saw was after drinking a bunch of that green beer they make on St. Patty’s day.

  • JC

    Like a rudderless ship the president’s programs sail on while the nation languishes on a sea of doldrums. He bleeds the patient, fastens leaches to it: Green jobs, health care, billions for union workers but still there isn’t a breath of wind in the sails.

    Mr. Mead’s commentary on unicorns is lamentably true. In one case after another the progressives demonstrate their utter lack of economic sense. The president led us into a massive expansion of Federal health care benefits in the midst of a financial crisis, promising a reduction in costs. He hailed green jobs as the “engine” of the new economy, pumping billions into it. He ratcheted down on U.S. manufacturers, burying them in new regulations just China and India are exploding with new business. He unleashed a raft of new energy restrictions in the midst of a spike in fuel prices while the EPA zeroed in on coal fired plants. And while record numbers of American sit in unemployment lines, he softens restrictions on illegal workers.

    Presidents are a lot like a physicians. And there comes a point when you look at the bad ones and say, hey pal, no hard feelings but you just don’t have the mojo.

  • valwayne

    The American people don’t have to wonder anymore how Obama could borrow and waste nearly a trillion dollars with the corrupt stimulous plan, and trillions more outside of that plan with nothing to show for it but 9.1% UNEMPLOYMENT, Record Long Term UNEMPLOYMENT, nation destroying debt, and a campaign slogan. Obama certainly doesn’t give up on his trillion dollars campaign slogans. You can bet after he finishes his vacation with the Elite Billionaires at Martha’s Vinyard and finally gives us his jobs plan, if he does, that it will contain more corrupt billions for the campaign slogan and other special interests. Obama is such a disaster!

  • cfi

    One small problem with the Tree of Life analogy: no Republican would ever propose this. It is an analogy to unicorns, not to green jobs. In this sense it is a smear of Republicans, as the analogy seems to say: see they’re just as bad. But in fact, you used it because there aren’t any handy “this just doesn’t work” policies that they’re offering up.

  • Jim Bob

    “Here in particular Senator Obama as he then was would have benefited from a less gushing, more skeptical press.”

    It’s too bad we have a president so economically illiterate that he needs the press (of all people) to advise him on economic policy. Gosh, Van Jones himself only pushed green jobs for cynical reasons — to him, “green jobs” was just a marketing slogan to sell handouts to inner-city poor, who would be paid money to “weatherize” abandoned buildings.

  • Albert_II

    It is the nature of man to create things that can produce things once made by man. Industrial robots, for example. Man dreams up the possible: robots make it. They may even make more of themselves. Robots are capital goods. They’re very efficient at what they do. By comparison, humans stink. Jobs performed by humans will eventually go to the same place where the Pony Express jobs are now.

  • limboman

    Don’t expect hard core progressives to suddenly come to their senses and take any responsibility for the failed policies that have devastated our economy. I think it is impossible for them to even consider that these policies just won’t work, especially government sponsored/subsidized green jobs as a way to full employment, energy self sufficiency and environmental bliss.

    The only thing I hear progressives doing is blaming everyone but themselves for our current problems. Since these people will never change, they need to be removed from positions of authority to stop the bleeding.

  • Lavaux

    Feelings become reality unless checked by objective perception and reason. Liberals rarely check their feelings about their ideology and policies, which then coalesce into a reality in conflict with objective perception and reason.

    Had the forces of evil not intervened, Liberals feel, Obama’s enlightened policies would have created millions of new green jobs, putting America’s economy on a path to long-term environmental sustainability and prosperity. But putting parochial self-interest before the good of the nation, racist Republicans and greedy capitalists took Obama’s stimulus money, bought corporate jets and yachts with it, and then sent all of the green jobs to China. Obama’s now on Martha’s Vineyard, not vacationing, but fighting like heck to get his green jobs money back from the malefactors of great wealth.

    See how it works? Liberals will never admit their policies don’t and can’t work in the real world because they’ll never check their feelings about them. What’s more, their Manichean worldview provides plenty of demons to whom they can assign their failures.

    One could find the Liberals’ cartoonish psychological/intellectual mechanics quaintly endearing if weren’t for the fact that lately, they’ve been adding the people and the U.S. Constitution to their growing list of demons. Americans are ungovernable, they say, which is why we must redo the U.S. Constitution or ignore it altogether. Of course, America’s democratic constitutional republicanism – by intentional design – so disperses state power that the Liberals can never acquire enough of it to force reality to fit their feelings. So how are these demons to be exorcised?

    One can see where they’re going.

  • Rakkasan

    The waiver for virgin unicorn catchers is only valid-
    With a stamp from HHS (for the gynecologist) and Home Land Security (TSA requires a full body scan for traveling with a loaded unicorn).
    A waiver from the FBI (background check for any previous unauthorized unicorn transport).
    CIA (shipping unicorns from the G.O.E. through known unicorn terrorist sympathetic nations).
    Written consent from the consulate office in Iraq to proceed through the Tigress and Euphrates area; not tagged as one of an already spoken for 72nd virgin that would preclude her from returning.
    Certificate of training from P.E.T.U. (people for the ethical treatment of unicorns), stating sanctioned unicorn restraints will consist of invisible rope provided by Wonder Woman.

  • You also forgot to mention the heavily subsidized Chevy Volt. Obama and Government Motors (I mean, GM) have bet the ranch on this lemon and it’s a disaster in sales. Even though the government will give you a huge rebate just to buy one, people still are not buying it. I guess they came to the conclusion that electricity is NOT free and for the price of one Volt, you could get an economic conventional car PLUS a lot of free gas. I just wonder how soon it will be before we have to bail out GM again because of the Volt disaster. But GM does have one good customer for the Volt: The Federal Government. Obama wants to force some Federal agencies to buy the car, regardless of how bad it is. Now THAT is a wise use of our money, isn’t it?

  • Jim

    This was always ridiculous, as I pointed out to many people at the time.

    First, they confused capex with opex. Jobs created building something are by definition not permanent. So, let’s take the example of building either a gas-fired combined cycle power plant or a wind turbine. Each megawatt of power production capacity takes a certain number of person-hours to manufacture the machinery and install it. That is measurable, and it is probably greater for the wind turbine than for the combined cycle plant (if for no other reason than more megawatts of wind turbine capacity have to be installed to ensure the power actually can be delivered, because the wind doesn’t blow nearly as reliably as the availability of natural gas in the pipeline. But I digress.).

    That, however, is just the capex side of the equation. For the next 30 years the plant operates. There are a lot of person-hours of labor involved on an ongoing basis in exploring for natural gas, drilling wells, building infrastructure (pipe, compressors, etc.), operating and maintaining the gas infrastructure, and operating and maintaining the power plant. For the wind turbine, the number of people employed in delivering energy on an ongoing basis is, shall we say, appreciably lower.

    So it was always the case that the few jobs involved in building new green energy projects would be far outweighed by the jobs lost in (or opportunity cost of jobs that would have been gained) in operating the fossil fuel economy. This was self-evident to anyone with common sense and a little bit of knowledge about how the energy sector works.

    I’m not saying, by the way, that it might not be a price we as a society might be willing to pay, given the externalities and relative costs, and over time the invisible hand will undoubtedly work to tilt the scale increasingly away from fossil fuel as it becomes more expensive. But it was always clear that total employment would go down with the advent of green technology, not up.

  • snapper

    I thought that a major part of Spain’s economic implosion is the result of discovering that huge investments in green jobs does not pay off.

  • Brian

    “Green Jobs” is just the next in a long line of failed progressive policies. However even when the failures of these policies are seen they still blieve in them. War on Poverty ring a bell. As we were told it only hasn’t been a success cause we haven’t pent enough on it. They had plenty of evidence that Green Jobs are not only expensive on their face but often cost jobs. The Green Jobs policies of Spain cost over two non-green jobs for every green job produced. Yet still the true believers carried on. Once again this will happen even with all the bad press expect the Presidents new Stimulus program coming will no doubt double down on this. Cause remeber the only reason the stimulus as well as the Green Jobs policy failed was we didn’t spend enough.

  • K2K

    Mr. Mead – your bite is stimulating!
    I just wanted to add that Obama the Candidate never wanted to talk about the economy. The whole Green Jobs transformation was borrowed from Bill Clinton, who really did see green technologies as transformational as electricity in the 1920’s and computers in the 1990’s.

    Now that Ron Bloom has left the Obama administration, there again is no one who actually understands how destructive it has been for the US to offshore so much manufacturing, and Germany is proof that it has very little to do with unit labor costs.

    America has been destroyed by the rise of the lawyers and MBAs and bi-partisan nurturing of a dream of a post-industrial service economy since 1978.

  • ChrisMax

    Ah yes the automobile industry was supposed to employ more people than the horsedrawn carriage industry by now so let us pronounce these mechanical beasts a dead end. It is doubtful people would ever give up their horses for such a noisy dirty thing anyway.

    Green jobs are America’s future we have no choice in the matter unless we want to go the way of Rome. China is going full throttle on green jobs and knows it is the future. Of course the people on this blog who are anti intellect and science can stick their heads anywhere they prefer the future is green.

    Mr Mead is totally wrong about Evergreen Solar Inc they never received one dime of Federal funds. In fact his whole flatearth premise in this nonsense is laughable. It seems though there are still many flatearthers even in this day and age!

  • limboman

    @ChrisMax #83

    I haven’t heard one person who has commented here, or anything in the original article stating that alternative forms of energy will not be necessary at some point in the future. The technologies that will replace fossil fuels need some time to be developed and fine tuned. Subsidizing the production of immature and inefficient sources of energy doesn’t help anybody.

    The point is pouring taxpayers money into “green jobs” has been a failure. And yes, Evergreen did get TARP funds, as well as a boat load of taxpayers money from the state of Massachusetts.

    Your post is a mix of falsehoods, punching a strawman and sophomoric ad hominem attacks. You’ve therefore added nothing to the debate.

  • PhillupSpace

    Most points have been so artfully articulated by the previous posts I could hardly improve on any of them!

    My point then, is the danger that was lurking in Congress, the Senate, and of course the permanent executive when Obama arrived. Both the House and Senate are charged with their independant duties by the Constitution. But when Obama, the wistful arrived, he found a mob in both (previously elected by uncaring simpletons) who, hearing his flute, followed their long awaited “Pied Piper” to lala land, suspending all laws of reason.

    A dishonest public who historicly gives Congress a 15% approval rating but re-elects 98% of them, will surely leave in place all the villians who made possible the permanent disfigurement of our society by Obama! These vipers, who will wait for the next Lonesome Rhoads or Elmer Gantry while successive presidents are ground up like
    sausage trying to patch up the vessel Obama has put on the shoals, will rise again in about 10 years to run this nation further to perdition. Lets not allow them to squirm out of sight when 2012 comes.

  • Ladd Prier

    BO is probably chuckling to himself out there on the greens over our angst about green jobs or the lack thereof. “Green” is simple misdirection and much the same as global warming or making nice with Islamofacists. The actual goal is near: the economic if not physical destruction of America. BO is probably just a puppet, getting his instructions by carrier pigeon from Kenya, penned in pigeon doo on sheepskin prophylactics by communist one-worlders.

  • WSP

    Unfortunately, more provincial ideological chatter. In addition to the $2 mil/job creation in the green sector, let’s talk about the expansion of the national security sector to the tune of minimally $400 billion/year and the 3 trillion dollar wars being waged. The cost of drone attacks killing innocent civilians? Merely the billions of dollars of wasted taxpayer money in carnage and causes used as recruitment tools for more terrorism necessitating the ramping up of defense spending, etc, etc, etc. Americans are facilitating that same mindless vision that keeps us dependent on foreign resources instead of developing the stealthy military necessary to bring the country into the predicted modes of conflict of the 21st century and using current technologies to increase the efficiency and utilization of factors of production whether done by public sector or preferably the private sector. The ‘green’ stimulus by Obama’s administration was poorly planned and implemented but why are Germany, China, Brazil, and the Nordic bloc countries some of the world’s bigger savers?? Why is ALL residential and commercial water cycled through the same treatment system as the waste water in those buildings? Because of a mid-nineteenth century engineering paradigm. Who’s interested in ‘green’ technology building? The energy efficient ‘green’ complexes built in Battery Park City, NY (including Rockefeller’s Riverhouse) are running at 125-140% of the efficiency of standard complexes by harnessing the FREE energy of the sun for heat conversion, using advanced photovoltaics for temperature consistency which reduce heating and cooling costs, partitioning water systems inhouse, treating water inhouse, recycling and filtering air systems, etc. So let the Chinese produce cheaper solar panels. It’s not just about inexpensive labor but more intensive, productive use of resources and basically a smarter capitalist business model. I agree with Mr Mead’s assessment of the ‘free money’ US welfare state, but in terms of his understanding of the potential for ‘green’ industry, he is obviously a product of his generation rather than a student of history.

    • Walter Russell Mead

      @WSP: to say that the ‘green jobs’ program is a scam says nothing about the potential for better and cleaner technology. There’s no connection between the two concepts.

  • As President Obama is reciting the same poem as other European socialists (including our very own), which by the way seems quite similar to Siemens’ brochures and advertorials, please consider the remote possibiltiy that all this Green talk has Central Planning Made in Germany.

    All these Green Jobs exist. In Germany.

  • Jim

    @87 WSP and @83 Chris Max: I’m not sure this is exactly Prof. Mead’s point, but I think it’s close. As I said above, I agree that there may be very good reasons due to externalities, security of supply, etc. to pursue “green” energy production, even ahead of when the invisible hand makes it happen automatically anyway (and efficiency, the cheapest form of green energy, almost always pays for itself). One could therefore call it economically justified, when looking at the total picture, to subsidize green energy technologies to a certain extent. But it is ridiculous to state that green technologies will result in increased jobs, because it is demonstrably untrue by analysis of the entire value chain, both capex and opex. Not only that, most of those fossil fuel jobs being lost are high-paying blue- and white-collar jobs, and many of the green jobs are, let’s face it, low-skilled insulation installers. Again, let creative destruction work in a capitalist economy and there is bound to be some loss of those fossil fuel jobs over time anyway. But the net impact on employment is negative, and that fact must be faced.

  • WSP

    Walter, you make much more general statements about the potential for the ‘green’ jobs industry in your piece versus the green jobs program implemented by the administration. The manufacturing and production of green infrastructure hardware is but the peripheral need for such industry and as you point out, is for the most part done more cheaply with labor abroad. The engineering and scientific conceptualization, construction, maintenance, education, etc. as with any industry as exemplified by the heavily subsidized fossil fuels, is what drives employment.

  • WSP

    @90 Jim, do you mean by ‘creative destruction’, the naturally occurring costs of procuring resources (war for instance; isolation, propensity for more conflict, etc) or the potential for creative destruction by removing subsidies?

  • pezdspencer

    We now have more government workers than manufacturing, farming, fishing, and mining combined.

  • the potential for creative destruction by removing subsidies?

    I’m down with that. Since $Green Energy gets more subsidy per KWH of installed capacity ($ vs ¢) removing all energy subsidies will kill $Green Energy. I’m down with that.

    BTW I did my first work with solar cells in 1962.

  • At 11:26 AM on 20 August, Doug Santo had written: “What concerns me is not that the democratic establishment used the the green jobs theme as a central plank in their successful 2008 national campaign, but that 53% of the voting US public bought this nonsense.

    With all due deference, Doug, just what the hell was their alternative? “Crash Test Johnnie” McCain?

    A choice that makes no [real] difference is really no choice at all.

    If we must have “Change,” let us have real change. I’m for the guy who called the financial crash of 2007-2008 decades ago.

    Ron Paul in 2012. Let’s fix this bloody mess.

  • Gary Hemminger

    The green movement has a fundamental flaw that will kill it. It is composed of two major subgroups. The first are the true environmentalists. The 2nd are the destructors. The destructors hate capitalism and consumption. Many are the former communists and leftist that were left without a cause after the fall of the wall. Since many of the aims of the green, the destructors are hurting the green cause. By the way, many of the destructors are also global warming alarmists.

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2017 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.