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Friday, October 19, 2012

David Brooks, "A Sad Green Story": Green As in Dollars

Yes, everyone is in favor of green tech, especially Al Gore.

In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "A Sad Green Story" (, David Brooks writes:

"Then, in 2008, Barack Obama seized upon green technology and decided to make it the centerpiece of his jobs program. During his presidential campaign he promised to create five million green tech jobs. Renewable energy has many virtues, but it is not a jobs program. Obama’s stimulus package set aside $90 billion for renewable energy loans and grants, but the number of actual jobs created has been small. Articles began to appear in the press of green technology grants that were costing $2 million per job created. The program began to look like a wasteful disappointment.

Federal subsidies also created a network of green tech corporations hoping to benefit from taxpayer dollars. One of the players in this network was, again, Al Gore. As Carol Leonnig reported in The Washington Post last week, Gore left public office in 2001 worth less than $2 million. Today his wealth is estimated to be around $100 million.

Leonnig reports that 14 green tech firms that Gore invested in received or directly benefited from more than $2.5 billion in federal loans, grants and tax breaks. Suddenly, green tech looks less like a gleaming beacon of virtue and more like corporate welfare, further enriching already affluent investors."

Al Gore may have lost the presidential election in 2000, but he has cried all the way to the bank.

Lessons to be learned:

  • Should Obama lose on November 6, his yellow brick road leading out of the White House will be paved with gold.

  • "A sad green story"? Obviously sadder for some than others.

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