A $38.6 billion loan guarantee program has gone through half the money and created just 3,545 permanent new jobs in two years. The Obama administration promised that the green technology program would create or save 65,000 jobs, The Washington Post
The loan guarantee program has come under scrutiny with the collapse of Solyndra, a solar panel company that received $527 million in loans. The Energy Department maintains that the program is on track to meet its employment goals and is taking credit for saying 33,000 jobs at Ford, the Post reported.
“I always take these job estimates with a big grain of salt,” Josh Lerner, a Harvard Business School professor, told the Post. “There tends to be a lot of fuzzy math when it comes to calculating these benefits” regardless of which party takes credit for programs.
Ford said the $5.9 billion loan helped turn truck and SUV plants into “flexible manufacturing plants capable of building more fuel-efficient vehicles” thereby retaining 33,000 employees who can now build fuel-efficient cars. The Brookings Institution’s Mark Muro, who researches the clean-tech industry, said the Energy Department seems to be counting every employee working in upgraded plants. The question should be how many workers would have been laid off without the loans, he said.
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