Menus Subscribe Search

Follow us


Obama Defines Green Jobs and Says He Wants Lots of ‘Em

• January 31, 2009 • 12:16 AM

 

Barack Obama on Friday returned to his campaign promise of creating millions of jobs in a new, renewable economy, announcing a task force on the middle class that next month will launch with a focus on ‘green jobs.’

Environmentalists have championed the phrase and the concept behind it, while conservative economists have dismissed “green jobs” as an empty slogan built on shady math. Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are now taking another stab at the definition.

They have called green jobs “good jobs,” jobs that can’t be outsourced. Today, they’re explaining another point: Green jobs are middle-class jobs, directly tying their creation to the fate of America’s largest demographic and the one around which Obama built his campaign. (He’s still not defining, though, precisely who fits in the middle class, which is a whole other battle of terms.)

“So what do green jobs mean for the middle class?” asks the just-launched Middle Class Task Force blog at the new whitehouse.gov.

“First, quite simply, it means more jobs.”

The task force, to be chaired by Biden, will discuss this point at the group’s first meeting, set for Feb. 27 in Philadelphia.

The site calls for finding innovative ways to create new jobs at a time when the economy is shedding them by the tens of thousands. Tops on the list of these new areas for employment are building a new power grid, manufacturing solar panels and weatherizing all types of public and private buildings.

The phrase “green jobs” suggests the country can fix the economy and the environment at the same time when the two goals had long been considered at odds with each other. The task force seems to be extending the logic one step further: Even if you, personally, don’t get a green job, you’ll still benefit financially from their existence.

“More green jobs mean more money in your pocketbook at the end of the month,” the blog post continues. “If we create jobs that aim to reduce your energy costs – like your electric bill and your home heating bill – that means you have more disposable income for other things.”

The administration appears to be testing a new bumper-sticker-ready slogan for the green-job movement: “It helps the economy as a whole; it helps our environment; and it will save you money.”

Everyone ought to want at least one of those things — even Republicans.

In addition to Biden, the task force includes the secretaries of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Commerce and has as its major goal raising the living standards of middle-class families.

In an opinion piece published today in USA Today, Biden not-so-subtly blames George W. Bush for the need to create such a task force.

“For years, we had a White House that failed to put the middle class front and center in its economic policies,” he wrote, adding that during the boom years “the middle class participated in very few of the benefits. But now in the midst of this historic economic downturn, the middle class sure is participating in all of the pain.”

He stops short, though, of blaming Bush for the other problem at hand: the need to clean up the environment.

Emily Badger
Emily Badger is a freelance writer living in the Washington, D.C. area who has contributed to The New York Times, International Herald Tribune and The Christian Science Monitor. She previously covered college sports for the Orlando Sentinel and lived and reported in France.

More From Emily Badger

A weekly roundup of the best of Pacific Standard and PSmag.com, delivered straight to your inbox.

Recent Posts

November 26 • 4:00 PM

Turmoil at JPMorgan

Examiners are reportedly blocked from doing their job as “London Whale” trades blow up.


November 26 • 2:00 PM

Rich Kids Are More Likely to Be Working for Dad

Nepotism is alive and well, especially for the well-off.


November 26 • 12:00 PM

How Do You Make a Living, Taxidermist?

Taxidermist Katie Innamorato talks to Noah Davis about learning her craft, seeing it become trendy, and the going-rate for a “Moss Fox.”


November 26 • 10:28 AM

Attitudes About Race Affect Actions, Even When They Don’t

Tiny effects of attitudes on individuals’ actions pile up quickly.


November 26 • 10:13 AM

Honeybees Touring America


November 26 • 10:00 AM

Understanding Money

In How to Speak Money, John Lanchester explains how the monied people talk about their mountains of cash.


November 26 • 8:00 AM

The Exponential Benefits of Eating Less

Eating less food—whole food and junk food, meat and plants, organic and conventional, GMO and non-GMO—would do a lot more than just better our personal health.


November 26 • 6:00 AM

The Incorruptible Bodies of Saints

Their figures were helped along by embalming, but, somehow, everyone forgot that part.


November 26 • 4:00 AM

The Geography of Real Estate Markets Is Shifting Under Our Feet

Policies aimed at unleashing supply in order to make housing more affordable are relying on outdated models.



November 25 • 4:00 PM

Is the Federal Reserve Bank of New York Doing Enough to Monitor Wall Street?

Bank President William Dudley says supervision is stronger than ever, but Democratic senators are unconvinced: “You need to fix it, Mr. Dudley, or we need to get someone who will.”


November 25 • 3:30 PM

Cultural Activities Help Seniors Retain Health Literacy

New research finds a link between the ability to process health-related information and regular attendance at movies, plays, and concerts.


November 25 • 12:00 PM

Why Did Doctors Stop Giving Women Orgasms?

You can thank the rise of the vibrator for that, according to technology historian Rachel Maines.


November 25 • 10:08 AM

Geography, Race, and LOLs

The online lexicon spreads through racial and ethnic groups as much as it does through geography and other traditional linguistic measures.


November 25 • 10:00 AM

If It’s Yellow, Seriously, Let It Mellow

If you actually care about water and the future of the species, you’ll think twice about flushing.


November 25 • 8:00 AM

Sometimes You Should Just Say No to Surgery

The introduction of national thyroid cancer screening in South Korea led to a 15-fold increase in diagnoses and a corresponding explosion of operations—but no difference in mortality rates. This is a prime example of over-diagnosis that’s contributing to bloated health care costs.



November 25 • 6:00 AM

The Long War Between Highbrow and Lowbrow

Despise The Avengers? Loathe the snobs who despise The Avengers? You’re not the first.


November 25 • 4:00 AM

Are Women More Open to Sex Than They Admit?

New research questions the conventional wisdom that men overestimate women’s level of sexual interest in them.


November 25 • 2:00 AM

The Geography of Innovation, or, Why Almost All Japanese People Hate Root Beer

Innovation is not a product of population density, but of something else entirely.


November 24 • 4:00 PM

Federal Reserve Announces Sweeping Review of Its Big Bank Oversight

The Federal Reserve Board wants to look at whether the views of examiners are being heard by higher-ups.



November 24 • 2:00 PM

That Catcalling Video Is a Reminder of Why Research Methods Are So Important

If your methods aren’t sound then neither are your findings.


November 24 • 12:00 PM

Yes, Republicans Can Still Win the White House

If the economy in 2016 is where it was in 2012 or better, Democrats will likely retain the White House. If not, well….


November 24 • 11:36 AM

Feeling—Not Being—Wealthy Cuts Support for Economic Redistribution

A new study suggests it’s relative wealth that leads people to oppose taxing the rich and giving to the poor.


Follow us


Attitudes About Race Affect Actions, Even When They Don’t

Tiny effects of attitudes on individuals' actions pile up quickly.

Geography, Race, and LOLs

The online lexicon spreads through racial and ethnic groups as much as it does through geography and other traditional linguistic measures.

Feeling—Not Being—Wealthy Cuts Support for Economic Redistribution

A new study suggests it's relative wealth that leads people to oppose taxing the rich and giving to the poor.

Sufferers of Social Anxiety Disorder, Your Friends Like You

The first study of friends' perceptions suggest they know something's off with their pals but like them just the same.

Standing Up for My Group by Kicking Yours

Members of a minority ethnic group are less likely to express support for gay equality if they believe their own group suffers from discrimination.

The Big One

One in two United States senators and two in five House members who left office between 1998 and 2004 became lobbyists. November/December 2014

Copyright © 2014 by Pacific Standard and The Miller-McCune Center for Research, Media, and Public Policy. All Rights Reserved.