The resignation over the Labor Day weekend of White House "green jobs" czar Van Jones tells you some interesting things about the Obama administration.
One of them is that a man who proclaimed himself a "communist" in the 1990s and signed 9-11 "truther" petitions suggesting Bush administration complicitity in the Sept. 11 attacks was considered fit for a White House appointment.
Liberal columnists have been attacking Republicans because some of their voters are "birthers," believers in the absurd charge that Barack Obama was not born in Hawaii and thus is not a natural-born U.S. citizen. But they have failed to identify any "birther" that occupied a position in the Republican firmament comparable to that of "truther" Jones in the Obama administration.
Another interesting thing about Jones is that the administration seems enamored of his "green jobs" concept. There's an understandable political reason. Legislation to restrict carbon emissions that is supported by the administration would undoubtedly kill a large number of jobs by increasing the cost of energy, and so you can see why its advocates might want to argue that there will be a compensating number of "green jobs" created -- at least if the government spends a lot of money on them.
But this sounds like fantasy. If there were money to be made in green jobs, private investors would be creating them already. In fact, big corporations like General Electric are scrambling to position themselves as green companies, gaming legislation and regulations so they can make profits by doing so. Big business is ready to create green jobs -- if government subsidizes them. But the idea that green jobs will replace all the lost carbon-emitting jobs is magical thinking.
Obama's approach to health care legislation, unless he made a major course correction in his speech to the joint session of Congress, is of a piece with his hiring of Jones. By ceding the task of writing legislation to congressional Democratic leaders and committee chairmen, he has been following a "no enemies to the left" strategy.
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