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All Da King's Men

Green Jobs Status Update

By Da King Published: February 1, 2012

We already know about the failure of Obama's stimulus investment in Solyndra, which cost the American taxpayers $535 million.

We found out a few days ago about the failure of Ener1, another Obama stimulus-funded alternative energy company, which has filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The taxpayers put up $118 million for that one.

Another stimulus-funded alternative energy company, Beacon Power, also failed. The taxpayers lost $43 million on that deal.

That's three failures in less than three many more will there be ?

And now this - the inspector general for the Labor Dept. is calling for an end to Obama's green job training program. Why ? Because it isn't working. There aren't enough green jobs:

House Republicans are expanding their probe into the Obama administration's energy programs, investigating $500 million in green job training grants that placed just 10% of trainees in jobs, according to a government report.

The program's goal was to train 124,893 people and put 79,854 in jobs. But 17 months later, 52,762 were trained and 8,035, or roughly 1 in 10, had jobs. Those numbers come from an audit by the Department of Labor's inspector general, which recommended that the administration end the program and return unspent money.

Sounds like those green jobs aren't panning out so well, but some disagree:

Assistant Secretary of Labor Jane Oates defends the initiative, saying the inspector general's audit used old numbers and that it was never designed to provide immediate results.

"It's like coming to me three days after I join Weight Watchers and yelling at me because I didn't lose 62 pounds yet," she said. More recent numbers are still being compiled, Oates said.

Okay, but it's been 17 months, not three days, and if "more recent numbers are being compiled", whose fault is that ? It's not the Inspector General's fault for using the numbers the Labor Dept. gave him.

Here's one example of the green job shortfall:

One group Issa singled out is the Pathstone Corp., a Rochester, N.Y. non-profit that spent $2.3 million of its $8 million grant and had trained only 25 people — far short of its 660 goal, auditors found.

Those numbers are "extremely outdated," said Pathstone's Jeffrey Lewis. But he conceded that job placements have been much slower than anyone would have liked. "This grant came just as the recession heightened," he said.

I'm starting to sense a defense mechanism at work here, the "numbers are outdated" excuse. That raises this question - why don't the recipients of stimulus-funded training dollars know how many people they trained with the money ??? Why doesn't the Dept. Of Labor know ??? Where's the accountability ??? Or are they merely engaging in obfuscation ???

As it turns out, the government's own bureaucracy has gotten in it's way:

Bureaucracy also slowed the process. As part of its grant application, Pathstone needed to line up employers to take its graduates. But by the time it won the grant, one employer in Scranton, Pa., stopped hiring after a moratorium on natural gas drilling...

And who implemented the natural gas moratorium ??? President Obama did, though it seems he might now be reversing course, according to comments from his State Of The Union speech:

In his speech, Obama said America’s natural-gas reserves could meet the nation’s energy needs for 100 years and provide 600,000 jobs by the end of the decade.

“The development of natural gas will create jobs and power trucks and factories that are cleaner and cheaper, proving that we don’t have to choose between our environment and our economy,” Obama said.

Good move for energy production and job creation, but there will be controversy here, and it's name is "fracking":

The Bureau of Land Management estimates 90 percent of natural-gas drilling on public lands involves hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in which a mixture of chemicals, sand and water is injected into shale formations to open fissures and allow the natural gas to come to the surface.

Environmental groups are against fracking (environmental groups are against EVERY method of energy production that will actually work to supply America with the energy it needs):

Groups such as Protecting Our Waters say hydraulic fracturing -- in which a mix of water, sand and chemicals are shot underground to break apart rock and free gas -- is tainting drinking water and causing more pollution than is cut by the cheap gas. The broad new federal legislation and regulation the groups advocate would tangle up fracking in miles of red tape, industry leaders counter.

The EPA agrees that fracking causes groundwater pollution, and because the EPA is basically an autonomous government authority answerable to nobody who can make it's own law, the "miles of red tape" prediction sounds likely. In fact, I think America's energy policy of the last thirty years should be called "miles of red tape". Nothing much ever seems to get done.

In summary, Obama's grand prediction of "millions of green jobs" seems far from becoming reality, but not to worry, the government has plenty of YOUR money to burn on Obama's quest. Speaking of which, the CBO just said the federal deficit will top a trillion dollars again in 2012. That makes four straight years with deficits over a trillion under President Obama. Funny how he didn't mention that in his State Of The Union speech. It's a pretty big deal. I guess he just forgot.



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