Who’s Afraid of a Green Stimulus?

Mark Boyer

This year's Christmas controversy was sparked by a Washington Post story about the allocation of stimulus money that ran on Tuesday, pitting green projects against more traditional infrastructure works. "'Green' Jobs Compete for Stimulus Aid - Obama Weighs Them Vs. Traditional Projects," the headline reads. According to the article, an internal struggle is taking place within the Obama administration over whether the planned economic stimulus should focus on short-term "traditional" infrastructure projects that promise to stimulate the economy quickly instead of long-term green projects that will revolutionize the economy. "Senior aides in the new administration and the congressional leadership privately predict that they will be able to please both camps but suggest that there have been delays in identifying enough of the environmentally friendly projects to reach a dollar level that will truly jump-start the economy." As green bloggers have been noting over the past two days, the WaPo story doesn't have much substance to back up the claim of an "internal struggle." Instead the story gives voice to those that are opposed to allocating stimulus money to green projects, like Blue Dog co-chair Rep. Baron Hill (D-Ind.), casting a cloud of skepticism over the ability of green jobs to stimulate the economy. Whereas the WaPo story suggests that spending quickly and spending wisely are mutually exclusive, the Center for American Progress has put together what Joe Romm calls a "not-especially-controversial summary list of near-term opportunities for driving new smart energy investments.” The list includes 17 "shovel-ready" green projects that would create jobs immediately. Opponents of allocating stimulus aid to "green-collar" jobs say that we need to invest in our crumbling infrastructure, but that should include more than just roads and bridges. Rebuilding green water and energy infrastructure, to name a few, will create jobs and economic growth in the future as well.

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