Obama admin begins downplaying stimulus job creation

Not surprising, after abysmal numbers keep coming despite President Obama’s promise that wasting $700 billion in taxpayer money on the first stimulus package would create or save millions of jobs. The save part is a total lie and now it seems the create part is washing away as well, though much quieter.

ABC’s The Note reports:

When Vice President Joe Biden announced a new $3.3 billion grant program to upgrade the nation’s electricity network, the rationale was simple: “This is jobs — jobs,” he said in April.

But the Obama administration is now saying it will not take the potential for job creation into account in “rating” proposed projects for possible funding — after initially saying that would be a primary consideration.

In April, when the Energy Department first announced regulations for companies that wish to apply for “Smart Grid Investment Grants,” “job creation and retention” was among the explicit criteria.

“Projects will be evaluated based on the extent to which they create and retain jobs,” the Energy Department wrote in its official “Notice of Intent” for the grant program.

Other criteria included “project approach and feasibility” and “project impact.”

But late last month, the department quietly modified the criteria to take the job piece out. As the department explained in a June 26 set of Frequently Asked Questions:

“These criteria differ significantly from those presented within the [Notice of Intent]. First, DOE removed the criterion on the extent of jobs creation and now will require applicants, as stipulated within the Recovery Act, to report quarterly on the number of jobs created and retained.”

In a question-and-answer section written to help applicants understand the process, the document continues: “Will DOE use the number of jobs estimated to be created and/or retained as a criterion for rating a proposal for funding?”

“No. Although job creation is not included in the technical criteria used to rate proposals, it plays an important role throughout the grant process, and grant recipients are required to submit the numbers of jobs created and retained in their quarterly reports to DOE and to recovery.gov.”

No further explanation was given. A Department of Energy spokeswoman said that, despite the change, job creation still “will be taken into account as one of several factors in the application review,” since the program is being implemented in accordance with the goals articulated in the stimulus package.

“The goal of the Recovery Act is to support projects that will create jobs now and usher in a clean energy economy that will also create jobs for years to come,” the spokeswoman, Jen Stutsman, said in a written statement.

But Energy Department officials declined to answer questions about why the grant evaluation process was made.

The shift means less emphasis will be placed on the potential for job creation as the Energy Department decides which projects to fund — even as the stimulus package has come under fire for not doing more to spark job creation.

The “smart grid” project aims to upgrade the nation’s electricity system to promote energy efficiency and reliability. Jobs impacted by the “smart grid” investments could include everything from meter manufacturers and installers to software providers and managers; the deadline to apply for grants is August 6, so no funding decisions have been made yet.

Katherine Hamilton, president of the GridWise Alliance, which advocates for “smart grid” investments, said she was not aware of the change until contacted by ABC.

She said the Energy Department appears to have decided that emphasizing job creation may not produce the breadth of projects that are needed to upgrade the nation’s electrical network.

“Job creation can be very artificial” as a way to measure a project’s worth, Hamilton said. “It could be that they realized that.”

After money for the project was included in the $787 billion stimulus program signed by President Obama in February, the administration has touted it as a key job-creating venture.

When Biden announced the “smart-grid” grant program in April, at a transformer factor in Jefferson City, Mo., he said it was about “jobs — jobs.”

“I’m happy to announce today the Department of Energy plans to distribute nearly $3.4 billion — $3.4 billion — in Smart Grid technology development grants. Your management here, and all of you, you are in the business of being able to compete for those. This is jobs — jobs,” Biden said.

Well, Joe, apparently it’s not going to be J-O-B-S like you claimed. In fact, this is simply an illustration of the entire stimulus package at it’s worst. Liberal Government projects like greening the electrical grid in this country will not produce jobs in the short or long term, as once touted.

Slowly but surely, this administration will have to answer for the claims it made time and time again which continue to not pan out in the time frame they set for themselves, that is the ironic part.

The “green job” myth is nonsense and will never come to fruition with the government trying to artificially impose it on the economy. “Green jobs” will be created when there is demand and thew private sector expands to meet that demand, those will be the only real “green jobs,” if such a thing exists. The government can subsidize an industry but it will never run efficiently or pan out the way it would in the private sector.