Biden’s Management of Obama Stimulus Program May Preview His $2 Trillion Green Energy Plan

August 25, 2020 Updated: August 26, 2020

News Analysis

When President Barack Obama signed into law his $787 billion economic recovery program in February 2009, he immediately turned to Vice President Joe Biden and handed him the management reins.

“As part of his duty, Joe will keep an eye on how precious tax dollars are being spent. To you, he’s Mr. Vice President, but around the White House, we call him the sheriff,” Obama told reporters.

It was a highly significant move by Obama because he had promised during his historic 2008 campaign a $150 billion “green jobs of the future” program “to advance a clean-energy economy built around biofuels, hybrid cars, low-emission coal plants, and renewable sources such as solar and wind.”

Obama made fulfilling that promise a priority in the massive stimulus effort that was to produce 5 million new green jobs.

Two years later, the green jobs part of the “Sheriff” Biden-managed program had produced only 2,642 such jobs, according to a Bloomberg Businessweek in a story headlined, “The 5 Million Green Jobs That Weren’t.”

Numerous media investigations and four Department of Labor reports, including two from the Inspector General (IG) and two from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), exposed a program shot through with waste, fraud, and broken promises.

One of the IG reports found, according to a 2012 Daily Signal analysis that:

  • More than 20 percent of recipients of Green Jobs program certificates and degrees had no more than one day of training.
  • Nearly half (47 percent) of the graduates got five or less days of training.
  • Program officials were unable to document whether as many as 44 percent of the graduates actually got green jobs as a result of their training.
  • Less than 40 percent of the targeted number of employed graduates that advocates promised the program would produce actually got green jobs, but a third of those who did had positions before entering the training.

Now, along comes Biden as the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee, promising a $2 trillion “accelerated investment” aiming, among much else, to convert the U.S. economy from its dependence on fossil fuel energy to a zero-emissions, “carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035.”

Biden also promises to “pursue a historic investment in clean energy innovation,” and to “secure environmental justice and to secure equitable economic opportunity” as part of the $2 trillion program.

“This is a sequel to a bad movie,” Institute for Energy Research (IER) senior economist David Kreutzer told The Epoch Times on Aug. 25.

“They take somebody without a job back in 2009 and dress up their new crony package like they are going to be helping those people and then nothing happens. All the studies on the green jobs were so embarrassing that they literally defunded them.”

Kreutzer pointed to a June 7, 2012, hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform during which the panel’s chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), grilled BLS officials about how they counted green jobs.

“If you sweep the floor in a solar panel facility, is that a green job?” Issa repeatedly asked BLS officials who clearly didn’t want to respond.

“If you drive a hybrid bus, is that a green job? What if you’re a college professor teaching classes on environmental studies? What about any school bus driver? What about the guy who puts gas in your school bus? How about employees at a bicycle shop?”

The grudging answer to each question from Issa was “yes.” Issa also pointed out during the hearing that the largest BLS green jobs category was “janitors and cleaners, except maids and housekeeping cleaners.”

Finally, the BLS officials conceded that Issa also was correct that being a lobbyist for an oil company would qualify as a green energy job under the Obama–Biden stimulus program.

While not very many green jobs were produced, billions of tax dollars were spent in the Biden-managed program during the Obama years; Kreutzer expects a similar outcome if the former vice president is elected in November.

“The hundreds of billions of dollars are going to go to the big donors, the people with connections and so on,” he said, referring to a 2015 analysis by economist John Lott.

“Billionaire Democrat donors who received a lot of money from the [stimulus program] include: Solyndra owner George Kaiser; Tesla Motors owners Elon Musk, [Google co-founders] Larry Page and Sergey Brin; NRG Energy owners Warren Buffett, Steven Cohen, and Carl Icahn; Abound Solar Manufacturing’s Pat Stryker; and Siga Technologies’ Ronald Perelman,” Lott wrote.

“Among other wealthy Democrat winners were former Vice President Al Gore, whose investment in Fisker Automotive was rewarded with a $529 million loan guarantee. All together, about 75 percent of loans and grants have been given out to companies run by Obama supporters.”

And in 2020, with Biden putting $2 trillion up for grabs in the energy and environmental fields, Climate Leaders for Biden, “an ad hoc group of deep-pocketed [Silicon Valley and Wall Street] donors, has brought in more than $12 million for Biden’s campaign,” according to E&E News.

Contact Mark Tapscott at Mark.Tapscott@epochtimes.nyc