Human Events Blog

Seattle: $20 Million Stimulus Creates 14 Jobs

Last year, right before Earth Day, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn traveled to the White House to announce a wondrous $20 million federal grant to create “green jobs” in the weatherization industry.  Insulating houses would create at least 2,000 jobs, and save the Earth by reducing Seattle’s carbon footprint, which is probably even bigger than Al Gore’s.

A year later, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer surveys the ruins of another in the long, long, long string of miserable Obama failures:

As of last week, only three homes had been retrofitted and just 14 new jobs have emerged from the program. Many of the jobs are administrative, and not the entry-level pathways once dreamed of for low-income workers. Some people wonder if the original goals are now achievable.

“The jobs haven’t surfaced yet,” said Michael Woo, director of Got Green, a Seattle community organizing group focused on the environment and social justice.

“It’s been a very slow and tedious process. It’s almost painful, the number of meetings people have gone to. Those are the people who got jobs. There’s been no real investment for the broader public.”

You read that right: fourteen jobs.  At a cost to the U.S. taxpayer (well, the U.S. taxpayer’s unborn children) of twenty million dollars.  That works out to $1,428,571.43 per job created.

According to the Post-Intelligencer, “organizers and policy experts blame the economy, bureaucracy, and bad timing for the programs’ mediocre results.”  Wait – you mean pumping millions of dollars through the federal government produced little actual result, but a mountain of bureaucratic sludge?  Who could have seen that coming?

A big part of the problem is that the fantastically expensive taxpayer-funded boondoggle paid only part of the weatherization costs.  Homeowners were expected to cover the rest, and they couldn’t afford it.  In other words, a massive subsidy was used to artificially lower the price of a “green” product, and in one of the most liberal, eco-fanatic cities on Earth, they still couldn’t sell it.

The city manager for Community Power Works, Joshua Curtis, says “we’re feeling cautiously optimistic” about more retrofits and upgrades in the future.  He shouldn’t be.  He, and the mayor of Seattle, and Joe Biden, and Barack Obama, should be compelled to return every dime they swindled from taxpayers.  If Obama and Biden were private-sector business managers, they’d be begging for jail time to escape from the lawyers hired by their outraged investors. 

At the very least, if they were corporate executives with such appalling performance records, they would be compelled to stop the “green jobs” insanity and resign their positions immediately.  If the shareholders didn’t take such prudent measures, the company would soon collapse into bankruptcy.  But instead, the “green jobs” scam artists will plow ahead, spending more and more, until after four years of absolute failure, voters finally have a chance to drag them out of office.  They won’t be held personally liable for a single wasted or stolen dollar.

America, have you learned to keep such people far away from the levers of power, and the keys to the Treasury?  Or do you need a few more of these horror stories to drive the point home?  Warning: you can’t afford any more of them.  In fact, you couldn’t afford this one.


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