November 17 2011

The Meaning Of Keystone XL

Charlotte Hays

You Can’t Make This Stuff Up Department: Don’t miss this video of actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus saying that the Keystone XL pipeline is “mega-stupid.”

Why do I think that the multimillionaire actress isn’t really that attuned to the plight of blue-collar people who could benefit from the pipeline?

President Obama has always been quite obviously more comfortable with people like Ms. Louis-Dreyfus than Joe Wurzelbacher. Here is what the president said during a recent trip to Omaha during a TV interview:

"Folks in Nebraska, like folks all across the country, aren't going to say to themselves, 'We're going to take a few thousand jobs if it means our kids are potentially drinking water that would damage their health."

Daniel Henninger comments on this remark:

Imagine if he'd been leading a wagon train of workers and farmers across the Western frontier in 1850.

Extreme environmentalists tend to view the world as stasis—they are unwilling to admit that others less extreme also care about the beauty of nature but are eager for businesses to thrive.

The Keystone project would have little effect on the environment but it would have an enormous effect on people’s lives because it would create thousands of direct jobs—but for the sorts of people Ms. Louis-Dreyfus is unlikely ever to meet.   

According to Henninger, it is hard to underestimate the importance of the president’s Keystone punt:

The decision by the Obama administration to "delay" building the Keystone XL pipeline is a watershed moment in American politics. The implication of a policy choice rarely gets more stark than this. Put simply: Why should any blue-collar worker who isn't hooked for life to a public budget vote for Barack Obama next year?

The Keystone XL pipeline would have created at least 20,000 direct and indirect jobs. Much of this would have been well-paid work for craftsmen, not jobs as hod carriers to repave the Interstate.

Obama’s decision to delay does nothing to help the environment—it just means that the jobs could very likely go to China. The shutdown of deep-water drilling after the BP spill caused an enormous loss of American jobs. But don’t worry: the president says we would like to be a customer of oil-rich Brazil.

As Henninger points out, the president wants to create public sector, not private sector, jobs. The really good news: we the taxpayer get to pick up the tab for public sector jobs. That, in my opinion, is a mega-stupid idea.

 

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