President Barack Obama promises to create 5 million new “green” jobs. But they aren’t the kind of jobs that much benefit an advanced industrial society.
A report released in February by the Sierra Club concluded that “green jobs are not always good jobs” that can support a middle-class lifestyle. Despite heavy government subsidies, wind- and solar-energy manufacturers currently pay wages below the national average, and a third of nonunion green-construction
workers take home less than the federal poverty rate. For them, “green” means “poor.”
San Francisco State University urban-studies professor Raquel Pinderhughes acknowledges that “employers describe basic work skills of being responsible, being on time, having good communications skills, etc. as the most critical skills for the green jobs they offer” in 22 sectors — including bus drivers and mechanics, landscapers, agricultural, construction and manufacturing workers, recyclers and maintenance people.
But these jobs are mostly low-paying manual labor that Pinderhuges admits “do not require high levels of education.” And if Congress passes Obama’s job-killing cap-and-trade legislation, “green” will mean “poor” for millions more Americans.
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