arack Obama learned the rough sport of politics in Chicago, but his domestic policies have been shaped by California‚Äôs progressive creed. As¬†the Golden State crumbles, its troubles point to those America may confront in a second Obama term.
From his first days in office, the president has held up California as a model state. In 2009, he praised itsgreen-tinged energy policies¬†as a blueprint for the nation. He staffed his administration with Californians like Energy Secretary Steve Chu‚ÄĒan open advocate of high energy prices who‚Äôs lavished government funding on ‚Äúgreen‚ÄĚ dodos like solar-panel makerSolyndra, and luxury electric carmaker¬†Fisker‚ÄĒandCommerce Secretary John Bryson, who thrived as CEO of a regulated utility which raised energy costs for millions of consumers, sometimes to finance ‚Äúgreen‚ÄĚ ideals.
Obama regularly asserts that green jobs will play a crucial role in the future of the American economy, but California, a trend-setter in the field, has yet to reap such benefits. Green jobs, broadly defined, make up only about 2 percent of jobs in the state‚ÄĒabout the same proportion as in Texas. In Silicon Valley, the number of green jobs actually declined between 2003 and 2010. Meanwhile, California‚Äôs unemployment rate of 10.9 percent is the nation‚Äôs third highest, behind only Nevada and Rhode Island.
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