General News and Politics By Jim Barber, Camp Verde, Arizona Current news and political discussion
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
A MISSED OPORTUNITY
Today, the president began to test his re-election theory that the American public is more concerned that there is too much disparity between the income of the rich and poor than they are concerned about getting jobs. Obama made it quite clear that job creation and national security are secondary to his own re-election by saying that the Keystone pipeline expansion is "not in our national interest" and denying permission for it to proceed. The decision is political expediency at its worse - a concession to his far left base who believes he has failed to deliver the utopia he promised.
For the rest of us, the numbers mean more. The U.S. currently imports about 11 million barrels of oil per day. At its peak, Keystone would deliver about 900,000 bpd. In this uncertain world, a world where we depend on oil from foreign countries that do not see us as friend, where Iran threatens to disrupt 40% of world supplies, where Mexico and Venezuela have radically reduced production, Keystone would reduce that dependence by over 8% with a safer, stable, cheaper source of fuel. That is a security issue.
On the job front, a main Obama constituency - union members - disagrees with him, estimating the loss of 20,000 good paying union jobs that would come with construction of the pipeline, as well as an estimated 118,000 spinoff jobs being created - sorely needed jobs, along with the tax revenues they would create. "The respected Perryman Group found that across the entire economy, an increase in stable oil supplies would create 250,348 permanent jobs from gains in U.S. economic activity" - personal income gains of $6.5 billion and stimulating $2.3 billion in retail sales.
To argue that Keystone is more of an environmental threat than the hundreds of thousands of miles of pipeline already existing is ridiculous - 20,000 to 25,000 miles in Montana alone. That the oil will increase carbon is ridiculous as well. The oil will simply replace oil from other sources - not increase net use by 900,000 bpd. And, if we don't buy it, the Canadian Premiere has promised that the oil will go to China.
The president is gambling that the uproar from his decision will be over before his official campaign starts (he is already in full campaign mode). That is unlikely as the economic crisis in Europe is close to boiling over. The E.U. is sliding into recession. That means fewer exports from U.S. companies that are already struggling to rise from our own recession. It also means that major U.S. financial institutions are about to take another big hit because they are tied closely to the European finances. In a world economy, our fortunes are tied to theirs. Keystone might have been a cushion in the fall to come.