Mona Charen

Nor will they, because green jobs are a chimera. The numbers touted by the administration -- Obama claimed that he would create 5 million green jobs in 10 years -- are plucked out of thin air. The administration claims that 225,000 green jobs were either created "or saved" by $80 billion in stimulus spending. But that escape hatch phrase -- "or saved" -- prevents any kind of serious accounting. Besides, as Ed Morrissey of Hot Air calculates, if those numbers were accurate, it would mean a $355,555.56 taxpayer subsidy per green job.

The president's ideological commitment to the idea of green jobs seems impervious to evidence. In 2009, he worried that other countries were sprinting past us in this promising field:

"And think of what's happening in countries like Spain, Germany and Japan, where they're making real investments in renewable energy. They're surging ahead of us ... This isn't because they're smarter than us or work harder than us ... It's because their governments have harnessed their people's hard work and ingenuity with bold investments -- investments that are paying off in good, high-wage jobs."

It's true that Spain has pursued the sort of policies Obama favors, but far from inaugurating a new green-technology era, Spain is floundering. According to the American Enterprise Institute, since 2000, Spanish taxpayers have spent $771,000 per job for each green job created. And each green job has been purchased at the cost of 2.2 jobs lost in other areas of the economy. Spain, its government close to insolvency, has been forced to reverse course, slashing subsidies for wind and solar power. Germany, too, whose citizens have paid 7.5 percent more for energy since the green subsidies were introduced, is reducing support for green sources of energy.

But Obama, because he is who he is, cannot respond to these realities. He's too wedded to the idea of "governments ... harnessing their people's hard work and ingenuity" toward ends that he and his ideological fellow travelers approve. The 2012 election will turn on questions like: Do Americans want to be "harnessed" or set free?

Mona Charen

Mona Charen is a syndicated columnist, political analyst and author of Do-Gooders: How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help .
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