Obama: The Keystone pipeline is “not a jobs plan,” you know

posted at 8:41 pm on July 30, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

So… is that kind of like how aggressively pushing for federal, i.e. taxpayer “investment” in public-sector infrastructure projects but actively blocking private-sector ones is “not a jobs plan”? Or, maybe it’s more along the basic lines of how more Keynesian stimulus, deficit spending, increased regulation, and top-down market interference is “not a jobs plan”? Yeah, I think that’s the one.

If they’ve got a better plan to bring back more manufacturing jobs here to Tennessee and around the country, then let them know — let me know. I want to hear them. If they’ve got a better plan to create jobs rebuilding our infrastructure or to help workers earn the high-tech skills that they need, then they should offer up these ideas. But I’ve got to tell you, just gutting our environmental protection, that’s not a jobs plan. Gutting investments in education, that’s not a jobs plan. They keep on talking about this — an oil pipeline coming down from Canada that’s estimated to create about 50 permanent jobs — that’s not a jobs plan. Wasting the country’s time by taking something like 40 meaningless votes to repeal Obamacare is not a jobs plan. That’s not a jobs plan.

Ah, yes — the oh-so-typical refrains of how Republicans just hate the environment and their only proffered solution is to simply slash at the government spending that our economy so obviously needs at its current and preferably an even higher level. The biggest takeaway from that perfidious little moment, however, was that the president doubled down on his claim that the Keystone XL pipeline will only create a handful of jobs — a claim that he knows full well takes some mighty conspicuous liberties with the truth.

In citing the 50-jobs number, though, the president was using the smallest possible number attached to the pipeline project. The estimate he used likely refers to a State Department finding that — after the pipeline is built — it would take roughly 50 people to maintain it.

But the comment ignores the rest of the State Department report that estimates the project would create nearly 4,000 annual construction jobs — and potentially “support” an annual 42,000 jobs.

Obama similarly ignored those findings during an interview he gave recently to The New York Times. In the interview, Obama said the project would create roughly 2,000 construction jobs and maybe 100 additional jobs after that — calling it a “blip relative to the need.”

Glenn Kessler at the Washington Post took President Obama to task for the claim as well, and I just can’t manage to get over the fact that not only has the Obama administration approved similar projects for oil-and-gas-pipelines elsewhere in the United States, but also that the president took the opportunity during his speech to also talk up natural gas as the great and cleaner-burning fuel that it is. If the president does indeed want to continue to foster the shale-gas boom and the jobs that come from domestic energy production, we’re going to need a lot more pipeline infrastructure — stat.


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In citing the 50-jobs number, though, the president was using the smallest possible number attached to the pipeline project. The estimate he used likely refers to a State Department finding that — after the pipeline is built — it would take roughly 50 people to maintain it.

But the comment ignores the rest of the State Department report that estimates the project would create nearly 4,000 annual construction jobs — and potentially “support” an annual 42,000 jobs.

The Keystone XL pipeline, if built, would transport about 700,000 barrels/day of heavy crude from Alberta to southeastern Nebraska, where it would connect with an existing pipeline leading eastward into Missouri and Illinois.

The United States does not have enough refining capacity to supply existing demand for refined fuels such as gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, and home heating oil, so we must import refined fuels from other countries and pay THEIR workers to refine it.

If an extra 700,000 bpd of crude comes into the central United States from Canada, either new refineries must be built or existing refineries must be greatly expanded to refine it to usable fuels.

A typical refinery processing 100,000 bpd of crude requires about 1,500 to 2,000 people to run and maintain it after it is built, so multiply that by 7 and the Keystone XL pipeline creates 10,500 to 14,000 PERMANENT jobs in refining alone. Add to that extra truck drivers to transport the refined products to market, managers of wholesale bulk plants and tank farms, and gas station attendants.

In addition, refineries produce raw materials for the plastics industry, such as ethylene, propylene, butadiene, and styrene, and additional supplies would create thousands of additional jobs in the plastics industry.

The State Department estimate of 42,000 jobs “supported” by the Keystone XL pipeline is probably a MINIMUM, and the actual number is probably much higher. This is NOT “trickle-down” economics, but rather a FLOOD of jobs to be created, if one man (Obama) would get out of the way!

Steve Z on July 31, 2013 at 10:21 AM

Obama is perfectly correct. The Keystone Pipeline is not a jobs plan, it’s a job implementation. Why drag a perfectly good concept down into the mud of practical action?

stillings on July 31, 2013 at 10:42 AM

The Keystone pipeline will same my state from getting hammered to death, physically. HTF does this a$$hole think the Bakken oil that has no pipeline to get into gets anywhere? TRUCKS. And I believe, of course, his Buffet friend. Did you know that when a grain elevator orders trains, it has to project how many and when?
And then did you know that the trains sometimes don’t come? And you have all of this grain sitting in bins waiting to be moved?
Do you know how this affects EVERYONE in a farming community out here?
And did you know NOTHING happens to the train company bcs THEY DON’T CARE? Bcs they’ve rerouted their trains to someone who’s going to pay more, even though they had a forward deal with the elevator.
Keystone would save the roads of small communities like Stanley, where my bro in law was principal and had to LEAVE bcs he couldn’t stand it anymore. Pipeline is needed.
And it will not only create jobs, but it will create WEALTH for PEOPLE who will use that wealth not just to BUY things, but to INVEST and GROW their businesses.
But perhaps they might not want to do that bcs of stifling regulations and OBamacare.

It’s your sequester.

In any case, the government isn’t the reason the economy is suffering.

bayam on July 30, 2013 at 9:29 PM

Well massrighty already handed oyu your a$$ on a plate.
I have watched you for several years and it’s obvious you have never been involved in trying to start a real business. Unless you’ve started one with govt handouts. And that would make a lot of sense.
The myriad of rules & regs you have to go through to comply means huge startup capital that most people just do not have.
This is one reason why you see megacorporations handling everything.
Those of us trying to fly under govt radar & scrutiny without getting pecked to death are skating a thin profit margin, THANKS TO UNNECESSARY GOVT REGULATIONS AND RULES.
Can it really be made any plainer to you bayam? I know small businessmen who are DOWNSIZING and yes, letting employees go, bcs of the GOVT.
You cannot reason ever that socialism AKA COMMUNISM, no matter how you dress it up, is ever a good idea.
Bcs it FAILS. Every time.

This is why the American experiment was working. Until the Fed. govt abrogated, no, STOLE power it has no right to.
And I’ve always asked you why you think communism is a good idea and you never reply.
Big Govt was not what the Founders wanted. And it is in the Constitution as to WHY and the 2nd is up there on the list bcs that is the tool the people require to get rid of these communists.

Badger40 on July 31, 2013 at 10:52 AM

Okay, Obama, here’s billions of dollars to rebuild “crumbling roads and bridges”.

I expect a report from you this time next month, showing a list of all the bridges that will require 50 or more permanent people to maintain after construction is complete.

The Schaef on July 31, 2013 at 10:53 AM

And yes, dear bayam. The ideals you stand for ARE communist in nature.

Badger40 on July 31, 2013 at 10:54 AM

The Keystone pipeline is “not a jobs plan,” you know

Um…yes, it is.

krome on July 31, 2013 at 12:02 PM

I’ve got an Abyssinian cat that knows more about economics than King Putt.

Did this guy really graduate from Harvard?
I mean REALLY? I want to see transcripts.
Heck, the Manure Spreading Media had enough interest to get them for GW and John F’ing Kerry.

Obowmao is a complete and utter fraud.

Missilengr on July 31, 2013 at 1:05 PM

So, 50 is greater than none. Whatever happened to the starfish, oops, I mean, seastar story? We can’t put everyone back to work but we can put some back. That’s 50 people off unemployment, 50 people paying taxes. 50 families that won’t need foodstamps. 50 people putting money back into their local economy.

yongoro on July 31, 2013 at 7:28 PM

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