These are boom times in Washington, as the executive branch is expanding to spend all the money Congress has bestowed in the last two years. For sheer enthusiasm, no one beats Energy Secretary
who unveiled her plan on Thursday for a federal Clean Energy Corps.
The recent infrastructure legislation included some $62 billion in funding for clean energy, and Ms. Granholm now plans to recruit a thousand federal employees in the effort.
“Your country needs you! Your planet needs you!” she proclaimed in a YouTube video, accompanied by a soaring sound track. She added that “we need project, grant and portfolio managers to help us get these investments out the door and deploy, deploy, deploy clean energy!”
She also wants “scientists, analysts, engineers—nuclear, mechanical, electrical and civil—to help us design and evaluate the electric vehicle charging networks and the nuclear reactors of the future. We need IT, cyber security professionals, we need people managers, we need HR professionals, we need mission-support teams to keep everything running. In other words, we need you on our team!”
You have to respect her enthusiasm, and amid a labor shortage it can’t be easy attracting people to work for the federal government. As the department explained in a news release, the Clean Energy Corps is “the largest staff expansion” in its history. No wonder the secretary is thrilled.
In addition to coming up with “solutions to climate change,” the Clean Energy Corps will seek to “create good paying jobs” and “spur economic growth,” the department claims.
If Ms. Granholm discovers a solution to climate change, she’ll go down in history herself. But short of that miracle, we’ll be watching to see how she and her climate recruits spend those tens of billions of dollars.
Her industrial policy track record in Michigan was a bust—recall the electric-car battery manufacturer A123 systems, which went bankrupt in 2012 after receiving a $249 million Energy Department grant and $125 million in state tax credits. The Energy Department used the 2010 green stimulus money to finance such failures as Fisker Automotive and Solyndra. When government spends so much money so fast, it tends to make bad decisions.
We suppose we should say better luck this time—to Ms. Granholm, her idealistic recruits, and especially American taxpayers. Let’s hope that among those 1,000 employees, she’ll include some auditors to follow the money.
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