Red flag on green-jobs numbers

The Obama administration has insisted that their policies and subsidies have created a boom in so-called “green jobs,” with an additional 200,000 positions created in the alternative-energy or environmental industries.  How did the White House get that number?  Chuck Grassley has been demanding an explanation, and as Byron York reports, the numbers suddenly look more greasy than green:

Are you a financial adviser? You may not know it, but you’ve got a green job. Are you a wholesale buyer? You’ve got a green job, too. Or maybe you’re a newspaper reporter. You, too, have a green job — at least according to the Obama administration.

For months, Republican Sen. Charles Grassley has been pushing the administration to substantiate its claims of having created nearly 200,000 green jobs. More fundamentally, Grassley has asked Labor Secretary Hilda Solis to state clearly what a green job is. So far, he hasn’t gotten an answer.

Now, Grassley has learned that, in lieu of a settling on a straightforward definition of a green job, the administration has adopted an extraordinarily broad description of such jobs that could include not only financial advisers, wholesale buyers, and reporters, but also public relations specialists, marketing managers, and many more occupations that have nothing to do with protecting the environment.

If federal money has created any of those jobs, then the administration can claim to have created a green job.

Does this remind anyone of anything?  It sounds like the same kind of rationale that supports the “saved or created” metric which the White House still uses to defend its Porkulus package.  In this case, at least we’re talking about actual jobs, not theoretical outcomes from spending that have no firm job data attached to them, as we have with the Porkulus figures, even if those jobs have nothing to do with actual energy production or environmental protection.

The original intent of green-jobs spending — which Congress passed in 2007 as well — was to generate innovation in alternative-energy production and training in energy efficiency.  The list of job classes released by Labor, however, include such non-sequiturs as marketing managers, personal financial advisers, and most disturbingly, “reporters and correspondents.”  Has the government started training a new generation of green-industry propaganda artists?  Why would green-job subsidies otherwise go to training reporters and correspondents or funding their positions?

Forget for the moment that the government appears to have wasted a lot of money training for positions that have nothing to do with going green, or even that the federal government shouldn’t be intervening in these markets anyway.  Shouldn’t the reporters and correspondents who have been “trained” by the administration or had their jobs funded by these subsidies disclose that publicly?