Archive for the ‘green jobs’ Category

Team Obama Learning: Governing Isn’t Campaigning

January 15, 2009

On Tuesday, America can take pride in a special transfer of power as Barack Obama becomes the first African-American to be sworn in as president.

Shortly after the ceremony, the new president’s aides will slip away to inspect the offices they now inhabit. They’ve put much of their lives on hold to take jobs that will last, for most, two or three years. Hours will be long, pressure unrelenting, decisions momentous, and families often neglected. Every American should respect their sacrifices.

By Karl Rove
The Wall Street Journal

What these aides will soon realize is that they aren’t history, but passing through it. I learned that from an elderly man who told me “to honor the house” as he emptied my trash bin late my first day at work.

That is what an administration owes the country. But it is not all it owes. There is also the matter of governing. Team Obama is about to learn that it’s easier to campaign than to govern.

In fact, they are already learning it. Last February, Congress passed a stimulus bill, adding $152 billion to the deficit. Mr. Obama called it “deficit spending” and criticized the “disdain for pay-as-you-go budgeting” in Washington. Now he forecasts trillion dollar deficits on his watch. Mr. Obama, the candidate, criticized the “careless and incompetent execution” of the Iraq war. But as president-elect, he decided to retain George W. Bush’s defense secretary and put a Bush adviser in charge of the National Security Council.

More significantly, Team Obama is stumbling on its biggest priority — an economic stimulus package. One stutter step came when Mr. Obama said he looked forward to signing a stimulus bill on Jan. 20 and then failed to lay out a proposal by mid-December so Congress could chew it over. That led House Appropriations Chairman David Obey to carp that “We’ve got to have some signals called by Obama . . . it’s hard to negotiate” when Team Obama “hasn’t decided what they want.”

Mr. Obama also tripped himself up by sending advisers to Capitol Hill on Dec. 18 to say that he wanted a stimulus bill to cost between $670 billion and $770 billion, but that he would accept $850 billion. This invited Congress to roll him and spend more. Now he may see not only his number shredded but the elements of his package as well.

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Why Obama’s green jobs plan might work

January 4, 2009
Some states — including Michigan — already see renewable energy as their future: It’s the only sector that appears to be making room for more employees despite the recession.
By Marla Dickerson
The Los Angeles Times
January 4, 2009
Reporting from Hemlock, Mich. — While Detroit’s automakers struggle to rebuild their sputtering operations, the key to jump-starting Michigan’s economy may lie 80 miles northwest of the Motor City.

This is the home of Hemlock Semiconductor Corp. It makes a material crucial for constructing photovoltaic panels. And that has turned this snow-covered hamlet into an unlikely hotbed for solar energy.
On Dec. 15, the same week that General Motors Corp. and Chrysler begged $17.4 billion from taxpayers to stave off collapse, Hemlock announced a $3-billion expansion that could create hundreds of jobs. It’s a rare piece of good news for this battered Rust Belt state, whose 9.6% unemployment rate is the nation’s highest.

In contrast to Detroit iron, Hemlock’s quartz-based polycrystalline silicon is in such demand that workers in white smocks and protective gear toil around the clock to get it to customers around the globe.

Hemlock has been deluged with applications from idle factory hands such as former autoworker Don Sloboda. The 50-year-old Saginaw resident has been retraining at a local community college for what he hopes is the region’s new engine of job growth.

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