White House requests comments to define “green jobs”

posted at 10:12 am on June 11, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

After spending two years on the campaign trail and more than another year as President talking about “green jobs,” the Obama team has decided to take a significant step forward.  They’re now asking for imput from the general public in order to figure out what they hell they’ve meant for the past three years:

Buried deep inside a federal newsletter on March 16 was something called a “notice of solicitation of comments” from the Bureau of Labor Statistics at the Department of Labor.

“BLS is responsible for developing and implementing the collection of new data on green jobs,” said the note in the Federal Register, which is widely read by government bureaucrats and almost never seen by the general public. But the notice said there is “no widely accepted standard definition of ‘green jobs.’” To help find that definition, the Labor Department asked that readers send in suggestions.

The notice came only after the department scoured studies from government, academia, and business in search of a definition. “The common thread through the studies and discussions is that green jobs are jobs related to preserving or restoring the environment,” the notice said. Duh! Beyond that, a precise definition has eluded Labor Department officials.

Before he left the administration, Van Jones ran an entire office dedicated to “green jobs.”  Didn’t anyone think to define that term before creating the office of Special Advisor for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation? After three years of blathering about how these “green jobs” would create a vast expansion of the American economy, now we find out that no one in the White House can actually identify what a “green job” is?

That’s not going to help reverse the image of incompetence Barack Obama is manufacturing for himself at the White House these days.

Of course, it may not be just incompetence at work here.  It appears that no one can define a “green job,” or wants to define it.  That’s a pretty good indication that the term itself is meaningless and has no use at all in policymaking.

When alternative energy sources succeed in efficiently producing energy in mass quantities at a price point that competes with other energy sources, the industry will create plenty of jobs, and no one will care whether they’re green, purple, polka-dotted, or striped.  Right now, the best definition of a “green job” is one that taxpayers have to sink tons of green into creating with little return of green for their trouble.


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