Aug 19, 2011 3:51 PM GMT
Some top Congressional Democrats are losing faith in President Obama's signature employment initiative, the promotion of so-called "green jobs." They've lost so much faith that on Thursday one liberal Democratic member of Congress called the president's green jobs program "a lot of talk."
"Of course, we want to be a part of the new innovation and the green jobs," Rep. Maxine Waters said on MSNBC Thursday. "But you know, the green jobs have been about a lot of talk and not a lot has been happening on that." A few hours later, also on MSNBC, Waters said flatly: "All of this talk about the green jobs never materialized."
Waters is a senior member of the Congressional Black Caucus. Last month, the chairman of that group, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, told the Huffington Post that green jobs had little meaning for his constituents. "African-Americans out there were saying, 'What do we have in common with this new, green technology?'" Cleaver told the website.
The skepticism from Waters and Cleaver comes after a Washington Post-ABC poll, published July 26, found serious erosion in liberal Democratic support for Obama's jobs policies. "The number of liberal Democrats who strongly support Obama’s record on jobs plunged 22 points from 53 percent last year to 31 percent," the Post reported.
That skepticism is based on real-world evidence. "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," says the New York Times in a new report from California. "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."
For example, the paper reports that California received $186 million in the stimulus bill for the purpose of weatherizing homes. So far, the state has spent about half of the money and created the equivalent of 538 jobs. "The weatherization program was initially delayed for seven months while the federal Department of Labor determined prevailing wage standards for the industry," the Times reports. "Even after that issue was resolved, the program never really caught on as homeowners balked at the upfront costs."