The president poo poo’s the Keystone Pipeline

It is difficult for men in high office to avoid the malady of self-delusion. They are always surrounded by worshipers. They are constantly, and for the most part sincerely, assured of their greatness. They live in an artificial atmosphere of adulation and exaltation which sooner or later impairs their judgment. They are in grave danger of becoming careless and arrogant.” –President Calvin Coolidge.

In the midst of his most recent jobs tour, President Barack Obama basically stated that the Keystone Pipeline is a hustle that Republicans are trying to sell the American public.

Obama-shutting-off-pipelineRepublicans have said that this would be a big jobs generator.  There is no evidence that that’s true.  And my hope would be that any reporter who is looking at the facts would take the time to confirm that the most realistic estimates are this might create maybe 2,000 jobs during the construction of the pipeline—which might take a year or two—and then after that we’re talking about somewhere between 50 and 100 [chuckles] jobs in a(n) economy of 150 million working people.”{1}

The liberal Washington Post gave the president two Pinocchios for this assessment stating:

When we had looked at this before, we concluded that all such estimates are subject to guesswork, but the most mainstream estimate appeared to come from the State Department — 5,000 to 6,000 construction jobs per year. Interestingly TransCanada, which would build the pipeline, had a very similar estimate for the two-year project — 13,000 jobs, or 6,500 per year…The State Department also says the project could “potentially support approximately 42,100 average annual jobs across the United States over a one-to-two-year period.” State said the employment would translate into about $2 billion in workers’ earnings, $3.3 billion in construction and materials costs and $67 million in state and local taxes. That sounds like real money and quite a few jobs, at least in the short term.”{1}

Even if we side with the president, over the Washington Post, that “There is no evidence that that’s true,” and that “the most realistic estimates are (that) this might create maybe 2,000 jobs during the construction of the pipeline,” we should all flinch at the idea that 2,000 jobs, even if they’re only temporary jobs, is evidence of something trivial in the president’s mind.  It may not be considered a “big jobs” generator, if we agree with the the president’s numbers, over those of the liberal Washington Post, but isn’t doing something better than doing nothing, even if doing something is relatively meager?

This “relatively meager” charge reminds me of the relatively meager charge Senate Democrats made in 2002 when they stated that energy production in the virtually uninhabited portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) should not occur, because it could take ten years to show effects on gas prices.  Eleven years later, ANWR remains closed, gas prices have almost doubled, and Democrats continue to block any attempts at additional energy production.{2}

So, the president’s answer, and subsequently the answer of all Democrats in Washington is, apparently, that if we want to have some jobs, or lower gas prices to some degree, we’re better off doing nothing than we would be if we tried something that could be termed by “most realistic estimates” to be relatively meager.  Obama, and his Democrat friends, haven’t proposed nothing of course.  They’ve proposed taxpayer investment in alternatives to fuel, but to this point those investments have yielded results that are worse than nothing.  We have, to this point, spent nearly $1 billion dollars, and we have nothing to show for it regarding gas prices, and a net loss of jobs of 2,000.  The Democrat answer to the overall, embarrassing results altnerative fuel companies have yielded, is that we should spend more money on them, but that we would be foolish to consider construction of this Keystone Pipeline, because it probably won’t produce enough results by “most realistic estimates”.

We could debate the president, Senate Democrats, and the special interest groups that provide them their talking points, with disputes against this line of thought all day long, but what it boils down to is that in the current climate in Washington, it’s not about doing what’s right for the American people, it’s about doing what’s left.

The Environment

The most common complaint regarding why we shouldn’t build the proposed Keystone Pipeline is that it might do damage to the environment, yet Obama’s own State Department has completed more than 15,000 pages of environmental review on the proposed pipeline over the years, and to this point, their findings have concluded that the project is unlikely to cause significant environmental impact to most resources along the planned route.  The report also said other options to move the oil from Canada to Gulf Coast refineries, such as trucks or rail cars, would be far worse for climate change.{3}

Economic Impact

Another theoretical argument that ia posed against the construction of this Keystone Pipeline is cost.  Yet, if one believes Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), the Keystone Pipeline wouldn’t:

Require a penny of our taxpayer money all the president has to do is approve it.”

The fine people at, dispute McConnell’s claim, stating that it could cost the taxpayers between $1 billion and $1.8 billion in tax breaks.{4}  In other words, it won’t cost the taxpayer a dime, but the government might not receive as much revenue as it could if we didn’t give those involved in the pipeline’s construction tax breaks.  As it stands right now, of course, the president’s indecision has netted government coffers exactly zero dollars, but if he approved it —with the current proposed tax breaks in place— the government would receive some revenue, but not as much as it would with the proposed tax breaks in place.  So, if one were to believe Democrat talking points, those proposed tax breaks would cost you money, and as we all know the Democrats don’t want to do anything that would cost the taxpayer money, so we’re just better off doing nothing.

This sort of logic reminds me of the logic Congressman Jim McDermott (D-Washington) attempted to pass in the Tea Party’s Congressional hearing.  McDermott stated that the Tea Party attempts to receive a 501(c)(4) tax break from the IRS were an attempt to get the American public to “pay for the Tea Party’s efforts to oppose the President on healthcare reform, to abortion restrictions, to gay marriage.” By this logic, if a taxpayer owes $1,000 dollars in taxes, and receives a tax break for $500, that taxpayer is asking other taxpayers to pay him $500?  It’s so convoluted that only a Democrat could say it with a straight face.

Anyone familiar with the Laffer curve will tell you that giving an individual, corporation, or group, a tax break actually increases the total revenue to the government, because it encourages that taxable activity.  Even if you don’t believe that, you have to recognize that construction of the Keystone Pipeline would increase total revenue, if it’s being done on the TransCanada dime, as opposed to the current status of no taxable activity occurring.

Only a Democrat could get away with the logic of stating that giving a tax break to a privately funded venture could be more expensive to the taxpayer than actually giving an alternative fuel based company like  Solyndra $800 million in stimulus money, an Evergreen Solar Inc. $5.3 million, and a SpectraWatt $500,000 in a grant from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory as part of the stimulus package.  All three of these companies received actual funding from the government, or as we in flyover country call it, the taxpayer, as opposed to this illogical definition of somehow giving a revenue stream to those companies vying for tax breaks.  It also should be noted that all of the alternative fuel companies listed above, have all filed for bankruptcy, because “they couldn’t compete with China.”{5}

And due to the fact that American alternative fuel companies couldn’t compete with China in this regard, say Press Secretary Jay Carney, and Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Ponemait’s now more important than ever that the American taxpayer pours money into these companies to help them compete(?).  Even though, these companies have already cost us nearly $1 billion dollars, and they have resulted in a net loss of over two thousand jobs in current numbers?  Even though construction of the Keystone Pipeline could almost zero balance that loss with a gain of 2,000 jobs by “most realistic estimates” at no expense to the taxpayer?  That’s right, we need to pour more taxpayer dollars into these alternative fuel projects that may never produce desired results, because the Keystone Pipeline, and ANWR, might not produce enough results, or in the case of ANWR immediate enough results.  That’s right, [chuckles] some of the times it’s not about doing what’s right for Americans, it’s about doing what’s left.







2 thoughts on “The president poo poo’s the Keystone Pipeline

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