House Republicans’ big meeting with President Obama on the Hill yesterday didn’t yield any sudden changes of heart on reaching some kind of big deficit bargain (shocking, considering how pure and straightforward I’m sure the president’s motives were, hem hem), but the president also kept his cards close to the vest on energy and how his administration is going to play the Keystone pipeline when Republicans pushed him on it. The White House insists that he didn’t provide any clues as to which way internal deliberations are leaning, but he did take a moment to rag on the economic benefits the pipeline’s construction could provide. The AP reports:
Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb., said Obama appeared “conflicted” on the pipeline, saying that many of the promised jobs would be temporary and that much of the oil produced likely would be exported.
But Terry said Obama also indicated that dire environmental consequences predicted by pipeline opponents were exaggerated.
“He said there were no permanent jobs, and that the oil will be put on ships and exported and that the only ones who are going to get wealthy are the Canadians,” Terry said. …
Obama said the pipeline “is not going to create as many jobs as you (Republicans) hope,” Scalise said. …
On at least one aspect of the pipeline, Obama is “flat-out-wrong,” Terry said. While some oil is likely to be exported, the total is far less than a majority, Terry said. “That was disturbing to me,” he said.
Okay, President Obama — let’s accept for a moment the premise that the Keystone pipeline will not create all of the direct jobs its proponents have claimed. That’s still not a reason not to build it, especially considering your own State Department has finally conceded its impact will be environmentally neutral. We’re talking about allowing free trade and the free market to function as it should, with both Canada and private companies investing in a fixture in the United States that would move oil to markets and grow the economy — and simply allowing that economic freedom, instead of shutting it down, does create jobs, and a heck of a lot more efficiently than all of the failed stimulus and government spending your administration has enacted to keep us stuck in the Longest. Recovery. Ever. Time to try something different, maybe?