Obama Shuns 20,000 Private Sector Shovel-Ready Jobs in Killing Keystone XL Pipeline Project: Politically Motivated or Something Else?

According to a US Chamber of Commerce press release, up to 20,000 jobs would be created immediately if the XL pipeline project were approved, with hundreds of thousands more jobs to be generated by this project in the near future.


“In spite of extensive and positive studies from the State Department, this is clearly a political decision and everyone knows it. Unfortunately, it will immediately cost more than 20,000 Americans an opportunity to get a job working on the pipeline and hundreds of thousands more jobs in the future.”


Although the Chamber believes this choice regarding the pipeline is politically motivated, and there is a superficial plausibility, after some deeper thought put toward the larger picture regarding administration actions concerning the condition of the economy, it appears to be a bit more than just politics.

 In this diary, I linked to a memo released by the White House that clears away regulatory hurdles in order to fast track infrastructure projects that are outlined in the President’s plan for “job creation,” citing the need to boost the “competitive edge” in our economy.  I pointed out the apparent lack of comprehension of where the “shovel-ready jobs” really are, and questioned who would be around to compete economically if our most dire needs are not met in short order. I received some flack about deregulation of the private sector in the comments section for that diary, but there is a huge difference between pragmatic regulation and strangling the golden goose with a rabid regulatory agenda while providing mere superficial explanations for these actions. For a nation that is desperate for a functional employment market, one would think that it would not matter so much who creates the jobs, every job and every opportunity for productivity counts for something toward having a “chicken in every pot.” In other words, when our house is burning down, we don’t stop the firemen from doing their job out of fear the fire hose will cause flood damage.

It is true that this particular instance, the Keystone XL pipeline, has to do with expanding distribution capabilities of raw materials for fossil fuels, and political reasons could very well be behind the delaying tactics. But if we consider the definition of a socialist economy, the direct allocation of economic inputs to satisfy economic demands (non-market allocation), and piece this together with the broader economic based behavior of this administration since the inauguration that even pragmatists brand as counterproductive, an ideological motivation for a general blockade of the private sector seems to explain our predicament, and the administration’s obsession with spending, directly and indirectly, much more clearly.  Even more than just a pipeline, or production of energy, it goes well beyond the financial sector where we have had the most recent bout of disorder. Instead of trying to just fix what was broken, there was truly no lie in the desire for a “fundamental transformation of America.”

If we take Greece as an example of a socialist economy, and look at the advice given to help solve its current financial crisis from nations that have their own socialist models:

1.  Privatize, privatize, privatize.

2.  Deregulate market access.

3.  Make it much easier for firms to hire and fire workers.

4.  Raise the retirement age to 67.

5.  Shrink its government, which is already smaller than the French government as a share of GDP.

It seems that even socialists can be pragmatic – too much strangling of the golden goose produces rotten eggs. Perhaps this is the perfect illustration that maybe our President as taken his ideology at least a few steps too far into the realm of unicorns.