Maxine Waters: Green Jobs Are a Lot of Talk


Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), who recently professed to a crowd in Detroit that she, and the rest of the Congressional Black Caucus, are “supportive of the President but getting tired,” has returned to work out on the Obama heavy bag some more.

This time, in an appearance on “news” network MSNBC (where on-air personalities can invent fraudulent quotes with doctored video to slander presidential candidates, and yet keep their jobs), Waters declared herself low on patience for Obama’s fabulously expensive “green jobs” initiatives.

“Of course, we want to be part of the new innovation and green jobs,” said Waters, who should consider drinking tea in public and occasionally wearing a tricorner hat if she really wants to get Obama’s attention.  “But you know, the green jobs have been about a lot of talk, and not a lot has been happening on that.”

Oh, plenty has been “happening on that,” Rep. Waters.  Just this week, we had the story of a Seattle initiative that blew a cool $20 million in taxpayer money to create fourteen jobs.  An even worse dollars-to-jobs ration was achieved at Johnson Controls in Michigan, where $300 million was spent to create 150 jobs to manufacture batteries for electric cars.  Obama toured this plant as a “green jobs” success story earlier in August.

Practically every week brings a new story of a “green jobs” company declaring bankruptcy, increasing America’s carbon footprint by sending huge piles of taxpayer money up in smoke.  Investor’s Business Daily surveys the wreckage:

Stimulus funds intended to boost the green economy haven’t been well spent. The latest example of this is Monday’s bankruptcy filing by Evergreen Solar Inc.

The Massachusetts company that the White House once said “is hoping to hire 90 to 100 people” thanks to stimulus money has $485.6 million in debt. Evergreen closed a factory in March, reports the Boston Herald, and cut 800 jobs. A Michigan plant is to be shut down, as well, causing the loss of even more jobs.

Evergreen isn’t the only supposed conservation company that can’t make it even when fronted with piles of taxpayer money. Green Vehicles of Salinas, Calif., which has burned through more than $500,000 in money “invested” by the city, folded last month without having produced anything of significance. The company promised it would employ about 70 and pay back Salinas taxpayers with $700,000 a year in city taxes.

IBD goes on to note this is par for the course with “green jobs” programs, which have been expensive job-destroying failures around the globe. 

History is a guide. Spain’s green economy program destroyed 2.2 jobs for every green job it created.

Meanwhile, the Italians put into a single green job the same amount of capital needed to create almost five jobs in the general economy.

None of this gloomy news is difficult to understand.  Forcing consumers to buy something they don’t want is extremely expensive.  There are a number of side effects to gigantic compulsory taxpayer subsidies for products the political class has sanctified, but “job creation” is most certainly not one of them.  A decent high-school economics education would have made that abundantly clear to anyone who didn’t fall asleep in class.  Very few people in this Administration could pass a high-school economics class, and their entire agenda is based on the not unreasonable gamble that few people in the electorate could, either.

So, instead of congratulating Maxine Waters for very belatedly growing uncomfortable with this massive theft of taxpayer dollars, she should be explaining why it took her so long to wake up and smell the fair-trade coffee.

Why is Waters hitting the President so hard lately, and does it make any difference?  After all, she and her constituents will vote for Obama by lopsided margins, no matter what he does.  On the other hand, she’s furnishing plenty of tasty sound bites for Republican campaign commercials. 

My guess is that her constituents have noticed all that “stimulus” money vanishing into thin air, with no jobs to show for it.  The massaged U-3 unemployment figure for black Americans is currently 15.9%, far higher than the 9.1% rate for the general population.  As always, black America has very little to show for its monolithic support of Democrats, but it’s particularly uneasy to be getting this raw deal from the First Black President, who jets off to multi-million-dollar fund raisers and luxury Martha’s Vineyard vacations while the solar panel plants are packing up and moving to China.

The “green jobs” boondoggle is one of the most sacred myths of the Obama Administration.  When Maxine Waters throws cold water on it, she’s sending a pretty strong message, and it’s probably one she didn’t really want to send.  The Democrats are really stress-testing their automatic 90% support from the black community… and even if the percentages hold up, it won’t do them much good, if disillusioned black voters stay home.