Former Massachusetts governor and presidential front-runner Mitt Romney — once a candidate who stood up to coal and supported clean energy — is now calling green jobs fake.
In an op-ed in the Orange County Register published Monday, Romney regurgitates GOP talking points on loan guarantees to Solyndra and Fisker Automotive, two stories that have turned leading conservative politicians and media pundits into a pack of scandalmongers — even while many of those politicians supported the same government investments for companies in their own districts.
Romney has officially joined the herd, calling green jobs “illusory.”
First, the good news: President Barack Obama has finally created some “green jobs.” Now for the bad news: They are not in the United States, but in Finland.
The creation of environmentally friendly jobs has been at the top of Barack Obama’s policy agenda since coming into office. With the first of his now many jobs plans, the president set out to fulfill his campaign promise of spending $150 billion to create 10 million green jobs. Alas, things didn’t quite work out as planned.
… So far, approximately 100 workers are employed by Fisker in Wilmington, Del., while an additional 500 are actually assembling the cars in Finland.
… Even these few jobs may be illusory: Studies of Europe’s green job experiments have found that each new green job destroys several other jobs elsewhere in the economy.
There are numerous gaping holes in Romney’s piece. But here’s the biggest one: There are now 64,000 green jobs in his home state of Massachusetts alone, according to a report released earlier this month [PDF] by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC). Hard to call that “illusory.”
Due to making green jobs a “clear economic development priority, supported by the passage of various legislative and policy initiatives,” on the state and federal level, MassCEC reports that the state’s green jobs workforce grew by 6.7 percent from July 2010 to July 2011 — smashing the average 1 percent growth of other industries in Massachusetts. Employers surveyed expect to see upwards of 15 percent growth in the next year alone. From the report:
Not only is it is clear that clean energy is one of our Commonwealth’s marquee industries, but this report affirms that this sector has played a key role in helping the Commonwealth fare the recession better than many other states.
The Massachusetts experience reflects growth in the clean energy sector broadly, which saw 8.3 percent growth nationally between 2009 and 2010. According to the Brookings Institution, the sector is creating jobs with median wages that are more than $7,700 above jobs in the broader economy.
Apparently, Romney didn’t get the memo.
And that Fisker Automotive story he refers to? That’s actually a rehashed story from 2009, too. For anyone not up on the latest “scandal,” ABC claims it has conducted an “investigation” showing that a loan guarantee for plug-in electric vehicle manufacturer Fisker Automotive is creating jobs in Finland, rather than the U.S.
In fact, when Fisker first closed the loan guarantee in 2009, officials publicly explained that the company would be doing final assembly of its first model in Finland while it ramped up a factory in Delaware. According to Fisker, none of the DOE funds have been used to support jobs in Finland — all the money has been used for building new facilities in the U.S. to develop its next EV model. The company only began hiring workers for U.S. operations in June.
Unsurprisingly, Fox News and other outlets are running with the story and inaccurately claiming that the company is using federal money to create jobs in Finland. And now the Romney campaign is spreading the disinformation too.
It appears that Romney’s version of the “facts” are the only illusory item in his op-ed.