August 19, 2011

Not Exactly the Civilian Conservation Corps: Politicians' Promised 'Green Jobs' Are Not Appearing

Certain politicians have been promising that "green jobs" will lead the way out of the recession.

So far it is not happening, not in California and not in Seattle, Washington.

But I have to wonder if the villain is energy conservation—that is hard to believe—or if it is clumsy, top-heavy government programs.
[Seattle Mayor Mike] McGinn had joined Vice President Joe Biden in the White House to make it. It came on the eve of Earth Day. It had heady goals: creating 2,000 living-wage jobs in Seattle and retrofitting 2,000 homes in poorer neighborhoods.

But more than a year later, Seattle's numbers are lackluster. 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."
People who go to meetings get jobs. People who might be climbing a ladder and turning a wrench don't get jobs.
In the Bay Area as in much of the country, the green economy is not proving to be the job-creation engine that many politicians envisioned. President Obama once pledged to create five million green jobs over 10 years. Gov. Jerry Brown promised 500,000 clean-technology jobs statewide by the end of the decade. But the results so far suggest such numbers are a pipe dream. 
The Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930s, whose benefits we still reap in state and national parks, national forests, scenic parkways, etc., started—so I am told—with a one-page document. Maybe someone needs to dig it out of the federal archives.

Forest Army is a blog about the CCC—no recent posts, but good stuff in earlier posts.

1 comment:

Darrell said...

Hey, it worked just as intended--it made lots of bureaucrat jobs, and lined the pockets of lots of cronies. And guess who they all work and vote for?