"Jobs" must be the word of the year.

Republicans are debating about it. Our president gave a speech about it last Thursday. There’s so much interest in the topic, you’d think it was a Kardashian wedding or something.

The good thing about living in California, and here in Los Angeles in particular, is that we don’t have to worry about jobs. Oh, sure, the state’s unemployment rate is 12 percent and Los Angeles County’s is 12.4 percent, but not to worry. We’ve got all those green jobs on the way.

We know that because all the politicians keep telling us that. Just last year, Gov. Jerry Brown unveiled his green jobs plan and said California would get 500,000 new green and clean jobs.

And L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa talks endlessly about how so many green jobs are coming that they may even get the city in the black. In fact, the proliferation of green companies is so certain that he set aside that three-mile stretch on the east side of downtown Los Angeles as a "clean tech corridor," just so that all those incoming companies wouldn’t strain L.A.’s commercial real estate industry too much.

OK, OK. So there’s been a little wait for these jobs.
A report in June from the center-left Brookings Institution said the overall clean economy "grew more slowly in aggregate than the national economy between 2003 and 2010."

Even the New York Times, in an article last month headlined "Number of Green Jobs Fails to Live Up to Promises" reported that "federal and state efforts to stimulate creation of green jobs have largely failed, government records show."

And there’s been an embarrassment or two. L.A.’s clean tech corridor, after four years, didn’t get a single tenant until last month – a six-person company.

Another one: President Obama visited the Bay Area solar company Solyndra last year, saying it’s a great example of an up-and-coming green-job creator. Of course, that’s the company that went bankrupt a couple of weeks ago, imperiling a half-billion-dollar loan guarantee from the federal government. It was a teensy bit more embarrassing because a big shareholder in the company was a major Obama supporter. Oh, and it was even a teensy bit more embarrassing because the FBI raided it last Thursday. (Question: Can a criminal defense lawyer hired by a solar company executive be counted as a green job?)

And green jobs can be expensive, too. That New York Times article said California’s Economic Development Department reported that $59 million in taxpayer money dedicated to green job training and apprenticeship "has led to only 719 job placements – the equivalent of an $82,000 subsidy for each one."

Of course, critics have claimed that companies that make solar panels, wind generators and the like may find good customers in California, but there’s little reason to actually make their products here. After all, California is a high-cost state with lots of regulations. Even a green company can get tied up in red tape. That’s why 60 percent of all solar panel manufacturing has migrated to low-cost Asia.

Despite all the costs, the delays and the embarrassments, I’m sure all those green jobs will come to Los Angeles. Our political leaders keep telling us so. They are sure convinced.

Just look at the article on page 1 of the current issue of the Los Angeles Business Journal. Cereplast Inc. of El Segundo, which makes biodegradable resins for plastics makers, is finding that business is booming in Europe because of government mandates to have compostable plastic bags and the like.

That should count for some green jobs, huh? Well, yeah, except Cereplast moved its production to Indiana last year, where costs are lower. Electricity is 70 percent cheaper than in Los Angeles.

But there is an answer: more subsidies. A lot more. I mean, what’s the deal with taxpayers spending a paltry $82,000 per green job? Why not $100,000? Or $500,000?

I’ll bet if we taxpayers gave companies $1 million for each green job they created in Los Angeles, I’d be we’d get so many green jobs, we could paint the town red.