Jobs will be the number one issue in the U.S. election and public support for projects that create jobs will be key. But what is the best bang for your buck? Where is the big idea that will get people back to work?
It's certainly not an oil pipeline. In spite of exaggerated claims that the rejected keystone XL pipeline from Alberta to Texas would have created tens of thousands of jobs, the U.S. government's numbers show it was actually a dud. For an investment of over $7 Billion, all they would have gotten were mere ‘hundreds’ of permanent jobs, a warming climate, and the threat of more oil spills.
For the record, Canada's equally disastrous Northern Gateway pipeline proposal is fit for the same trash bin: Costing $5.5 Billion yet creating fewer than 1,150 jobs.
"I will not walk away from the promise of green energy... I will not walk away from workers..."
"I will not cede the wind or solar industries to china or Germany because we refuse to make the commitment here."
"We've subsidized the oil companies for a century, that's long enough. It's time to end the tax payers giveaways to an industry that's rarely been more profitable and double down on clean energy that has never been more promising."
And there it is. Obama, in the face of intense political pressure from corporations, opponents and even lobbying from neighbor governments, is choosing to double down on wind and solar anyway. The task of converting American energy infrastructure from a filthy expensive and insecure 19th century dinosaur to the latest and greatest renewable technology will employ a lot of people. It's an idea big enough to reach every corner of that country as companies invest and states are increasingly able to generate their own clean power.