It’s a small thing, to be sure, but a comment that Ian Donnis made to his own recent post on economic development in Rhode Island points to an increasingly sore spot:
… hopefully the effort to promote “green jobs,” which I’ve written about previously in the Phoenix, will also yield dividends.
It is not my intention to single out Ian — who is among the more reasonable of his ideological species — but here’s a radical thought: How about we just try to create jobs, in general? Isn’t the horrible state of our state such that we’d be well advised to avoid burdening its economic health with adjectives?
With the fad of “green jobs,” echoed in Ian’s reference to the Greenhouse Compact from the ’80s, it seems that those on the left are less concerned with job creation than making the ideological most of an opportunity to promise any economic development at all — in this case, to leverage the thirst for work in order to promote the Kool Aid of environmentalism. The reason, it seems clear to me, even if it isn’t of conscious origin for Leftists, is that they are opposed to taking those steps that would promote a generally business-friendly environment, so they cast their hopes on “inventing” or (more often) “reinventing” the market to suit their preferences.
They do not want to tell the unionists that the state can no longer afford to pay more for their work than it’s worth, in market terms, neither do they wish to admit to civic dependents that, well, sorry, but the state of Rhode Island really isn’t in the best position to sustain them, just now. So, to make the necessary investments — and allow the necessary reality of “high-paying jobs” — palatable, they insert that immunizing adjective: “green.” They allow themselves to believe that, with just the right mix of incentives, a government-driven industry will materialize that provides high-paying union jobs, while filling the government’s coffers with redistributable revenue, all with the ecological boon of saving Mother Nature from the ravages of mankind’s selfishness.
I hate to go all capitalist populist on y’all, but it seems to me that anybody who’s currently struggling to stay working in a state and at a time of shrinking employment probably doesn’t care much for any green but the hue of cash. High paying, low paying, most of them probably agree with me that the time to embark upon “a strategic repositioning of the local economy,” in Ian’s words, is when things are going well. Not when people are watching as the local economy drains their lives of everything that they’ve worked so hard to build.