Extreme Job Reclassification: How the Obama Admin Boosted Its Green Job Count

This illuminating exchange between Chairman Darrell Issa and John Galvin from President Obama’s Department of Labor Statistics took place in a committee hearing a couple of weeks ago but I didn’t become aware of it until John Gibson played the tape this week. (Youtube video of Chairman Issa’s exchange with the reluctant Mr. Galvin here.) Honest to pete, as Chairman Issa read down the list of jobs that the Obama administration has tagged as “green”, it sounded like an SNL skit:

– everyone who works at Salvation Army (and, presumably, Savers and all thrift stores);
– staff of a consignment shop;
– full time employees at used record shops;
– someone who sweeps the floor at a company that makes solar panels;
– a bike-repair shop clerk;
– a hybrid-bus driver;
– all school bus drivers;
– “the guy who puts gas in a school bus”;
– employees of train car manufacturers;
– employees of a trash disposal yard;
– college professors teaching classes about environmental studies;
– someone who works at an antique dealership;
– someone who sells rare manuscripts;
– an oil lobbyist, if his work is related to environmental issues.

Additionally, this excellent analysis by the Heritage Foundation’s David W. Kreutzer points out, inter alia, that over 80% of the “green” jobs that the Obama administration counts in electric power generation are in nuclear. Zero carbon emissions, yes; but is nuclear power green???
To reiterate, these are not jobs necessarily created during the Obama administration by the billions President Obama has spent on green jobs; in fact, it looks like most on the above list were not. They are jobs that the administration has simply placed in the “green” category.
Why would they finagle government labor stats that way? Two reasons come easily to mind. Firstly, Chairman Issa hypothesizes that

the administration is reclassifying such jobs to prove that billions of taxpayer dollars, through the federal stimulus program, have created green, or environmentally-focused jobs – a major initiative for President Obama.

I would add that it undoubtedly doesn’t hurt the campaign’s fund-raising efforts with eco groups. “Look at all of the green jobs I created! So make your checks out to …”

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joe bernstein
joe bernstein
9 years ago

An “occupier”who poops on the grass=”compostor”

Sammy in Arizona
Sammy in Arizona
9 years ago

Monique
Iam just a little curious, how can you mention Darrell Issa without including his lengthy criminal arrest record, Issa was arrested TWICE on illegal weapons charges, twice for car theft, a third time for fraudulently faking a car theft. Then there was allegations of arson. Issa quadrupled his building insurance from about $100,000 to $460,000 . Also, flammable liquid had been poured on the only area without sprinklers ?
citation MSNBC.com
Be well all…Sammy
And thank you for letting me comment here

Dan
Dan
9 years ago

Because some people aren’t mindless partisan trolls and actually want to stay relevant to the political topics at hand, Sammy. I realize this may be an alien concept to you.

KenW
KenW
9 years ago

I’ll share the following newspaper article with you on so called “Green Jobs” from the state with the highest electric energy prices and highest gasoline prices in the United States which Republican President George W. Bush requested the U.S. Department of Energy to work with the state in finding ways to reduce its dependence on imported Asian oil which 30% goes towards powering buildings and 60% goes towards transportation. PS: Unlike RI, State of Hawaii and all 4 municipal governments have a balanced fiscal budget for the next 2 years without raising taxes or instituting layoffs and is currently reviewing 6 year fiscal budget benchmarks. “Solar powers job growth With booming demand for such systems, more local and mainland companies are increasing their workforce By Alan Yonan Jr. POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Jun 17, 2012 Honolulu Star Advertiser Hawaii’s booming solar energy market is proving to be a tonic for the state’s ailing construction sector. A mix of homegrown solar companies, construction firms, electrical contractors and entrants from the mainland are all boosting their payrolls as they push to meet the growing demand from homeowners and businesses for rooftop photovoltaic (PV) systems. While the level of overall building permits has been fairly static over the past five years, permits issued for PV and solar hot water systems have soared. Solar projects accounted for 18 percent of all building permits issued on Oahu during the first five months of this year, up from 4 percent in 2007, according to data from the city Department of Planning and Permitting. Hawaii is expected to be among the nation’s leaders in PV installations again this year after strong growth in the first quarter, according to a report released last week by the Solar Energy Industries Association. And construction jobs are on track to begin… Read more »

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
9 years ago

Posted by KenW
“In addition, the city and county of Honolulu has lost millions of dollars from waiving fees for the installation of PV systems. The exemption cost the city $3.6 million in lost fees last year, according to the Department of Planning and Permitting.”
It requires a certain way of thinking to regard a fee not recieved as a “cost”. You have to regard fees as an “entitlement” of the city or town.
I have heard rumors of several cities and towns where the building department has been expected to “show a profit”. Am I alone in my thinking that civic departments are not “profit centers”? Think of all of those school departments that are not showing a profit.

Joe
Joe
9 years ago

You know who likes fees? Romney.

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
9 years ago

Posted by Joe
“You know who likes fees? Romney.”
Yes, he made a name for himself in Mass after the limitation on Real Estate taxes. He determined that “fees” are not “taxes”. Fee generating agencies became “profit centers”. For instance, recording a deed has gone from $25.00, to about $250.00. Since the registries have gone “on line”, it now costs to search records. Back when it was on paper, searching was free. Some minimal on line searching is without cost.

mangeek
mangeek
9 years ago

“is nuclear power green?”
Yes. It’s the greenest energy out there. Even with a Chornobyl or a Fukushima once-in-a-generation, it’s FAR safer than any other form of electricity generation, including wind, solar, and hydroelectric.
Actually, is we took the money we were going to use for Deepwater and built two AP1000 nuclear reactors, we’d be able to power the entire state at rates that would be the envy of the nation, we’d create thousands of high-tech jobs, we’d lower our carbon emissions to ridiculously-low levels (especially when homes start switching from gas and oil to electric heat), AND we’d be able to sell power to the grid at a massive profit.
If we ramped-up the nuclear program at URI and applied for research grants to develop breeder reactors (used to turn nuclear fuel waste into more fuel), we would again attract thousands of jobs, billions of dollars, and bring more military resources into the state (for security at the location).
We’re geologically sound, have plentiful water resources, and we really need to shut down the 40+ year-old reactors nearby for safety reasons. We may as well in-source this technology and be a leader in something awesome.

KenW
KenW
9 years ago

Mangeek, In 1870, Jules Verne introduced the concept of ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) in Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea but the Frenchman, physicist Jacques-Arsene d’Arsonval, is generally credited as the father of the concept for using ocean temperature differences to create power. The first commercial grade Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) generator operated during 1980s in the waters at The Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (NELHA) near Kailua-Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii and is far safer than a nuclear power plant. OTEC is a 130 years old technology and uses the temperature difference of deep ocean water and surface water temperature to heat a liquid to steam temperature to drive power generators and cool the steam back to liquid state. A side benefit is distilled ocean seawater from this process. OTEC is 95% efficient. Currently OTEC International LLC (OTI) is building a 1MW OTEC shore based demonstrator at NELHA. Off the west side of Oahu OTI will be constructing a 100MW ocean OTEC which will operate 365 days 24/7 at 100% efficiency (5% efficiency design short fall will be made up by a photovoltaic system) providing electricity to Hawaiian Electric Company.

KenW
KenW
9 years ago

Warrington Faust, under State of Hawaii constitution no government entity can make a profit. All government fiscal budgets are designed for 24 months and must be balanced. Any leftover or residual budget year funds cannot be carried over into the next fiscal budget year and under the state constitution must be returned to the taxpayers. I’ve already received 1 rebate check during the 6 years living in Hawaii.

KenW
KenW
9 years ago

Mangeek, you’ll never see military return to RI or New England. The main reason for the closure of Quonset Point, Davisville, and most of Newport Navy Base during Defense Base Closure and Realignment (BRAC) is the high cost of doing business or overhead in the region. Wait till Deepwater Wind builds those 5 offshore wind turbines for Block Island and National Grid runs the undersea cable to Block Island. Oahu currently pays 35.1 cents per Kwh. RI ratepayers are expected to rise to 42 cents per Kwh due to built-in 6% annual COLA. RI will have the highest electric utility costs in the nation beating out HI!! Just what business do you think will want to move to RI???? Also currently no utility company allows more than 15% defacto standard renewable alternate “green energy” on their electrical grid (except in HI where 30% renewable alternate “green energy” is on a grid) for fear of grid trip out. Deepwater Wind first indicated on their website they would power Block Island’s old legacy electric grid designed for firm-fixed power with 90% power from the 5 turbines; National Grid would supply the other 10% and excess power would be sold to National Grid. Now Deepwater Wind website has changed and is indicating they will supply the majority of power to Block Island. For the next 2 years U.S. Energy Department and 2 international countries (Japan and Korea) are performing “first in world tests” in Hawaii to determine how much renewable alternate “green energy” can safely be allowed on a legacy electric grid under normal daily load; how much renewable alternate “green energy” can safely be allowed on a smart electric grid under normal daily load; what smart grid components work and don’t work and what are the security requirements of a smart electric… Read more »

mangeek
mangeek
9 years ago

“the harm that spent rods could do to human beings thousands of years from now. Even if they can be “safely” buried, there is no way to durably mark the disposal site to warn people in the future to stay away.”
Well if it comes to THAT level, it won’t really matter. A band of humans in a post-apocalyptic world where there’s no coal, oil, or natural gas left to bootstrap into an industrial age is doomed to permanent agriculture.
I’m pretty sure that if 1820s archaeologists discovered giant hermetically sealed casks buried under a mountain adorned with various pictograms depicting radiation and death, they wouldn’t mess too much with them… even if they did, they’d learn pretty quickly that they made a mistake, and the damage would be relatively localized.

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
9 years ago

Posted by KenW:
“Mangeek, you’ll never see military return to RI or New England. The main reason for the closure of Quonset Point, Davisville, and most of Newport Navy Base during Defense Base Closure and Realignment (BRAC) is the high cost of doing business or overhead in the region.”
That may be part of it, perhaps an “excuse”. I think most people know that the location of military bases is, at least, 60% politics.
Posted by Mangeek:
“the harm that spent rods could do to human beings thousands of years from now. Even if they can be “safely” buried, there is no way to durably mark the disposal site to warn people in the future to stay away.”
Why should we base our assumptions on a bleak, post-apocalyptic, future? Are we trapped inside of a Japanese horror movie? Do you see a future of Morlocks and Eloids? I prefer to assume that future humans would be much better able to deal with spent rods than we. As for permanent markers, all of that porn that they are constantly finding in cave paintings seems to have stood up pretty well.

KenW
KenW
9 years ago

Posted by Warrington Faust:
“Posted by KenW:
“Mangeek, you’ll never see military return to RI or New England. The main reason for the closure of Quonset Point, Davisville, and most of Newport Navy Base during Defense Base Closure and Realignment (BRAC) is the high cost of doing business or overhead in the region.”
That may be part of it, perhaps an “excuse”. I think most people know that the location of military bases is, at least, 60% politics.”
My father spent 27 years at Quonset Point as an Industrial Management Analyst in the Base Commanding Officer’s Office till it was closed due to BRAC; analyst results were it cost twice the amount of overhead to do business in RI than in Norfolk, VA.
I worked 10 years in a command in Newport Naval Base that managed detachments in 11-states in the Mid-North and Northeastern quadrant of the United States. We had more government civilian staff at manager’s salaries than we had worker-bees or military staff! Our overhead was tremendous especially in manpower salary, winter heating bills and utilities in the old WWII buildings we operated out of. My command eventually got BRACed and moved down south where overhead and labor was cheaper doing the same jobs.
There was no politics involved just prudent use of government funds. With newer military technology you can do the same thing for less money in warmer states than in the colder northern states.
Look around the New England states and count how many large military bases you have left in the region and I think you’ll find not many because of high overhead and labor costs.

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
9 years ago

Ken,
I am sure that common sense sometimes prevails, probably when a budget crunch is on the horizon.
Still, any observer cannot have helped to notice the political fights over “base closings”.
“Look around the New England states and count how many large military bases you have left in the region”
Look around New England and count the political persuasions of our elected officals.
In a time when we are now equipping our ships with rail guns, there can be no doubt that technology has altered the picture. (I suppose that we are sorry now, that for political reasons, we precipitated the murder of the guy who developed the practical rail gun).

mangeek
mangeek
9 years ago

Warrington, I was quoting Monique with the ‘harm from spent rods’ bit.
As for the bleak post-apocalyptic future, I don’t think it should be a major consideration, but if you’re building a giant repository for waste, it may as well be marked in a universal and permanent way.

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