Mayor Mike McGinn's green jobs weatherization program, already something of a laughingstock of underperformance, drew a new round of guffaws and groans from Jon Stewart's The Daily Show this week. Recapping Barack Obama's plans for a "new green economy" built in part on weatherizing American homes, Stewart noted the national program has been stagnating under the oversight of Joe Biden -- even in the veep's home state of Delaware, the job plan is suffering from gross mismanagement and potential fraudulent activity.
So what have we gotten in return for the $5 billion-plus spent so far on the program? Stewart asked. There was, for example, this Fox News clip: "In Seattle, which got a $20 million grant," a reporter said, "one year into the program only three homes have had upgrades and 14 jobs created [as of August]." Said an astonished Stewart:
Fourteen jobs to weatherize three homes? What are you, just plugging the unemployed into the drafts? Come on man, three homes in a year? Have you been to Afghanistan? In Afghanistan in the space of weeks we built an entire city in a barren desert, we equipped it with state-of-the-art climate control, water filtration, Pizza Huts, Starbucks, and we did it while people were shooting fuckin' rockets at us. You telling me we shouldn't be able to weatherize Seattle bungalows?
The $20 million stimulus-fund program is supposed to create 2,000 Seattle jobs, but has essentially flopped under McGinn's watch. After a year of bureaucratic foot-dragging, McGinn recently said he now was "rolling out an entirely new program." Or, it seems, a program for the first time.