As a snake oil salesman, Obama would have been a natural. The 19th century hucksters who plyed their patent medicines from town to town would have found a soulmate in this president. That's because only an idiot or a crook would have believed the pledge by candidate Obama to create 5 million green jobs over a decade in which government would spend $150 billion on green energy.
Politifact has been checking up on Obama's green jobs pledge. Their last entry is from June where the administration claimed that 225,000 green jobs had been "created or saved." Not surprisingly, Politifact views that number with a jaundiced eye. Besides, it is impossible to quantify because of the nature of what is meant by a "saved" job.
No matter. Now we have some real numbers on green jobs and they are far more revealing than any fantasy figures coming from the White House.
New York Times:
A $500 million green jobs program at the Department of Labor has so far provided only 15 percent of current participants with jobs, leading the agency's inspector general to recommend that the bulk of the money be returned to the Treasury.
The program, which was funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, aims to find employment for almost 80,000 people by providing grants for labor exchange and job training projects. With those grants expiring over the next 15 months, IG officials concluded that the program would fail to come close to that target.
More than $300 million remains unspent, according to the report (pdf). Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who requested the Labor audit when he was ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, said the findings show that Congress should focus on creating jobs in all sectors of the economy.
"This report paints a pretty bleak picture of the program's effectiveness in job creation," he said in a statement. "It's hard to see how leaving $300 million in unused funding for the program in the hands of the Labor Department benefits either the taxpayers or the unemployed."
"Bleak," indeed. Snake oil and miracle cures are no help in desperate times.