Are we supposed to bleed green today or something?
I’m all for celebrating the Earth, but turning off the lights is probably not going to lead to jobs for the millions of Americans who are unemployed right now.
We’ve heard so much about all the green collar jobs that will be generated by a renewed focus on the environment by this administration, but unfortunately the big environmentally friendly job explosion has not yet started.
There is a lot of hype though:
“The good news is that we can beat this global recession and global warming at the same time.”
This statement was made by the Obama administration’s new “green czar” Van Jones during a speech at a leadership conference in Massachusetts, and he’s been going around the country lately singing the praises of so-called green jobs.
Alas, there is a debate over how many news jobs will actually be created.
The green investments Obama has proposed in his March budget could translate into 1.1 million new jobs, according to a report released earlier this month by the Economic Policy Institute.
But a study, funding by a pro-business group called the Institute for Energy Research, says all the job hype is a myth.
Myth: Green jobs forecasts are reliable.
Reality: The green jobs studies made estimates using poor economic models based on dubious assumptions.
Myth: Green jobs promote employment growth.
Reality: By promoting more jobs instead of more productivity, the green jobs described in the literature encourage low-paying jobs in less desirable conditions. Economic growth cannot be ordered by Congress or by the United Nations. Government interference - such as restricting successful technologies in favor of speculative technologies favored by special interests - will generate stagnation.
It’s hard to know who’s right, and it’s bugging me. I’m sort of having trouble celebrating Earth Day because of it.
I wrote about this debate in my MSNBC.com column before Obama even took office, and it seems that there is still no hard data on what American workers can expect.
Some experts project an explosion of such jobs, but no one really knows how many green-collar jobs there are today because the government doesn’t even have such a category.
Even the meaning of the word “green collar” is up for debate. Many experts lump together green industry manufacturing positions and office jobs under the same green-collar umbrella, although Raquel Pinderhughes, a professor at San Francisco State University who says she coined the term “green collar,” says it originally referred to only blue-collar type positions.
Green collar, blue collar, freaking rainbow collar — all I can say is the growing ranks of the jobless are hot under the collar.
Maybe if we turn the lights off we won’t be able to see them.