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Green Jobs Program is a Bust

John on September 15, 2011 at 8:35 am

Hat tip to Hot Air headlines for this Washington Post story:

Obama’s efforts to create green jobs are lagging behind expectations at a time of persistently high unemployment. Many economists say that because alternative-­energy projects are so expensive and slow to ramp up, they are not the most efficient way to stimulate the economy…

The Energy Department says that the green-jobs program is still on track to meet its employment goals. It claims credit for saving 33,000 jobs at Ford Motor Co. — about half of the Detroit automaker’s entire hourly and salaried U.S. workforce. The department says the biggest of its loan guarantees, for $5.9 billion, protected the jobs at Ford by enabling the automaker to upgrade plants in five states to build more energy-efficient vehicles. The Energy Department said the loan would “convert” the Ford jobs to “green manufacturing jobs.”

It goes on to say that the guarantee allowed Ford to switch some of its truck assembly lines to lines “capable of building more fuel-efficient vehicles.” Does anyone really believe that producing cars instead of pickup trucks represents a switch to “green jobs?” Ford isn’t even saying they are producing more cars only that they are “capable” of doing so. This NY Times article from 2009 says Ford will merely produce the same cars with more efficient engines:

the financing would be applied to improving the fuel efficiency of more than a dozen Ford cars and trucks, including the Focus, Escape, Mustang, Taurus and F-150 pickup.

So the mpg ratings will go up thanks to this loan and magically that makes all of the old jobs working on these same vehicles “green jobs.” Sounds like marketing to me. You also have to love the chutzpah of this:

Energy Department officials had vowed earlier this year to create or save more than 65,000 American jobs once its 42 projects were financed and complete. They say the program is now “on pace” to create or save roughly 60,000 jobs. (It shaved roughly 5,000 from the target after two companies turned down the department’s offer of help.) The department adds that its projects have helped generate 7,391 temporary construction jobs.

Guess where 3,000 of those temporary construction jobs were? That’s right…Solyndra! They are actually bragging about an empty factory which will now be sold for pennies on the dollar at a loss to taxpayers of several hundred million. Heckuva job, Greenie. Here’s the bottom line:

If the 20 companies that have won loans so far deliver all the new jobs they have promised, they will hire a total of 8,050 new workers for permanent positions. Half of those 20 companies have neither created nor saved any permanent jobs yet; several won their loans only recently.

Solyndra’s spectacular flame out only hides the more pedestrian failure of the rest of this program. We need to get the Obama administration away from the economy as quickly as possible.

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