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A green jobs program in one of America's greenest cities is being called a bust 16 months after a $20 million federal grant to weatherize homes in Seattle ended up putting just 14 people to work in mostly administrative jobs and upgrading only three homes in the area.
Contractors who do the energy audits and home retrofits blame government for getting in the way. To be a participating business in Seattle, the contractor is required to pay workers $21 an hour with full benefits, including retirement pay. But according to several small business owners in the area, the prevailing wage for new workers who lay insulation is $12. per hour.
But Myers and others say the biggest problem with the program is government is trying to create a market that consumers don't want. The average homeowner in the U.S. pays about $2,000 a year for energy.
The weatherization upgrades are aimed at saving 15 percent on energy consumption. If the retrofit costs $10,000 even with all the government incentives, it will take over 30 years to pay off through lower energy bills.
"The problem is the policies the politicians choose, whether green jobs or retrofits, are based on appearance," Myers said. "They choose things that look good, rather than what's best for the environment."
Among the other cities having trouble fulfilling the green jobs promise are Toledo, Kansas City and Phoenix. So far, those cities have created a combined 72 jobs with $65 million in grants.
The difficulty is magnified on the federal level. President Obama once said he wanted to create 5 million green jobs over 10 years. The 2009 stimulus package included $5 billion toward that goal.
A chunk of that money went for weatherization programs, but according to a Department of Energy inspector general report one year later, "only two of the 10 highest-funded recipients completed more than 2 percent of planned units."
What all this doesn't say is how much was spent. I'm not going to bother to look it up because this stuff is spun like this all the time. It may have had 20 million allocated - but that doesn't mean that the money was distributed.
With out proof it is more faux outrage for the Lemmings. Just watch the freepers tear into this -- not one will ask -- can that be true -- not one.