Would Obama's New Jobs Bill Focus on Green Jobs?
Photo via Green Grown
Obama has revealed that he favors spending stimulus money on a jobs bill rather than using it to plug the growing deficit. This seems to be a sound decision, as creating more jobs will grow the economy--and of course will ease the deficit in the long term. But some interesting questions still remain, especially what TreeHugger wants to know: will there be provisions designed to create green jobs?Now, this is entirely speculation, but it seems that could be very likely. Just over a week ago, news surfaced that the Obama administration was considering implementing another variant of Cash for Clunkers--this time, "Cash for Caulkers." Sources said that Obama was keen on the idea, and was giving it careful consideration. A program like that would create a slew of weatherization and retrofitting jobs while providing the significant simultaneous benefit of increasing energy efficiency and lowering electricity demand.
Obama has always been fond of green jobs--they were a cornerstone of both his presidential campaign and of the stimulus bill he signed into law at the beginning of the year. But while the stimulus provided billions of dollars in tax breaks for energy efficient purchases and money for R&D; for renewable energy, few straightforward "green jobs" programs were created as a result (though there was funding for some training and services).
People are certainly finding green jobs doing construction and installation, working in renewable energy manufacturing, and so forth--just not nearly as many as anybody would like.
So what would a large scale green jobs program look like? The 'Cash for Caulkers' model could work, where consumers are given a financial incentive to increase electrical efficiency and reduce their electrical bills. But releasing funds to complete projects like weatherizing and retrofitting government buildings, or for work on public transportation--like that high speed rail Obama's excited about--may be the fastest way to create jobs and give the economy a shot in the arm.
And it may be a reality--a bill sponsored by Democrats may make use of unspent TARP funds to do something close to that. From the Washington Post: "That package, which would be financed with unused TARP money, could include as much as $70 billion in transportation and infrastructure projects, as well as new tax credits aimed at encouraging small businesses to hire new workers."
There's a distinct possibility that there will be a green hue to the jobs bill--we'll have to keep our eyes peeled.
More on Obama and Green Jobs
How to Pitch a $3.8 Trillion Budget: Obama Pushes Green Job
Green Jobs Advocate to Head Labor Department