Jennifer Rubin, on her “Right Turn” opinion page at the Washington Post says that “Keystone XL decision hands the GOP a gift.” She must be in a lot of pain to be so detached from reality.
I won’t get into everything that she says, suffice it to say that I think she is wrong for SO many reasons. First and foremost, job numbers, the primary focus of proponents of this monstrosity, would be minimal, (approximately 6,000) most of them short-term construction jobs, not the “hundreds of thousands” of jobs that John Boehner seems to dream of.
Laughable. Talking jobs benefits Obama, not Republicans (see graphs below). Solyndra, mentioned by both Rubin and Boehner, is also not an Obama problem as Solyndra was approved under Bush and was less than 2% of the energy loans from 2005 and the only one that has gone bad. Solyndra’s guaranteed loan was for ~$500 million, not the billions that went into later bailouts of both auto and finance. The stimulus was not a failure; without it the recession would have been a depression. The debt accumulation, well that will be argued until the end of time — when did it start, who increased it, etc. Needless to say, we went from a debt surplus at the beginning of Bush to a record deficit at the end of Bush, largely to his putting two wars on the country credit card, and it took a whole lot of congressional enabling from both sides of the aisle to make that happen.
Rubin also brings up entitlement reform but I assume she is referring to the favorite conservative buzzwords of social entitlements such as health care, food stamps, social security, unemployment, etc. If not, please forgive me for making such assumptions, I’ve been conditioned by the Republican debates. If you are talking inclusively about all entitlements, you include such things as corporate and individual tax loopholes (see today’s news about Mitt Romney’s offshore tax havens), corporate subsidies, forgiven FDIC loans in addition to social entitlement. I’m not so sure Romney is going to look like such a pretty boy when you examine him through that lens.
Bernie Sanders, Senator from Vermont, again leads the way in good sense. From Politicusa:
In December, Senator Sanders urged Obama to call the Republicans bluff on Keystone XL. President Obama did more than call their bluff. He let the Republicans kill Keystone XL for him.
Republicans set themselves up for this one when they demanded that the 60 day deadline be included in the payroll tax/unemployment benefits extension. Republicans are already trying to spin Obama’s decision as a refusal to create jobs, but the truth is that Keystone XL project would only create 6,000 or so jobs. Most of the full time jobs would not be filled by locals, and the other jobs would be temporary construction.
The Keystone XL project is not a job creator, or a path to energy independence. The oil that would come from the project was destined to be sold on the global market. If anything, Keystone would open up all US production to the international market. A point that Republicans never seem to understand is that oil drilled in the United States [belongs] to the oil company, not the country where it was extracted from.
Incidentally, the US would not have received any tax revenues for the Canadian oil. We would be merely a conduit for their dirty oil and the revenues produced without keeping either. The oil would go to the Houston refineries to be processed then shipped out to international markets. All tax revenues would bypass the U.S. because we are in no way a partner in the sale of the oil. Refineries would be paid for cleaning up and refining the extremely dirty oil but otherwise we just take the risk of a pipeline spill right in our heartland and get the refinery pollution.
Finally, if John Boehner, Mitt Romney and the Republicans want to talk about jobs,I bring you JOBS, JOBS, JOBS (“The Progress Report,” Jan. 6, 2012, Think Progress) with data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
2…the number of years of consecutive employment growth in manufacturing, after not one single year of growth between 1997 and 2010.
8.5 percent…the unemployment rate, the lowest since February 2009 just after President Obama took office.
22…the number of consecutive months of private sector job growth.
12,000…the number of public sector jobs lost in December of 2011 alone.
212,000…the number of private sector jobs created in December of 2011 alone.
280,000…the number of public sector jobs lost in 2011.
315,000…the number of health care jobs created in 2011.
673,000…the number of private sector jobs lost during the entirety of the eight-year Bush presidency.
1,080,000…the number of net jobs created during the entirety of the eight-year Bush presidency.
1,600,000…the net number of jobs created during 2011, after accounting for job losses in the public sector.
1,900,000…the number of private sector jobs created during 2011.
IN TWO SENTENCES: In either of the past two years alone, President Obama created more private sector jobs than President Bush did during the entirety of his eight-year presidency. While today’s jobs numbers are a promising sign, it’s no time to get complacent when 14 MILLION Americans are still out of work.