With the coming of the Second World War, many eyes in imprisoned Europe turned hopefully, or desperately, toward the freedom of the Americas. Lisbon became the great embarkation point. But not everybody could get to Lisbon directly, and so a tortuous, roundabout refugee trail sprang up: Paris to Marseilles, across the Mediterranean to Oran, then by train, or auto, or foot across the rim of Africa, to Casablanca in French Morocco. Here, the fortunate ones through money, or influence, or luck, might obtain exit visas and scurry to Lisbon; and from Lisbon, to the New World. But the others wait in Casablanca . . . and wait . . . and wait . . . and wait . . .
—Opening narration, Casablanca
You should pass it right away.
Can’t these people say “yes” to anything?
But where has this urgency been during the 28 months since May 2009 when—despite assurances that Stimulus I would guarantee unemployment stayed below 8%—unemployment first passed 9%, cresting at 10.1% in October of that year; a time, by the way, at which the Democrats held the White House and overwhelming majorities in both houses of Congress? They could have passed anything they wanted, and there would have been nothing the Tea Party or anyone else could have done to stop it. But instead of acting on jobs, they chose to use that time and their effective supermajority—curiously always behind closed doors, in the middle of the night, and at the last minute—to ram through Obamacare and attempt to ram through Cap-and-Trade.
Where was that urgency in April of this year, when after a temporary dip to 8.8, unemployment shot back above 9%, yet there was no plan from Obama?
Where was that urgency in June when Debbie Wasserman-Schultz said the Democrats “own the economy,” and unemployment was at its 2011 high of 9.2%, yet there was no plan from Obama?
Where was that urgency during the entire month of August—a month during which the economy generated zero net jobs—while the President was so busy on the golf course he couldn’t be bothered to send a draft of his “jobs plan” for Congress to review in advance of his petulant and, frankly, childish tongue-lashing?
Where is that urgency now as Harry Reid and the Democrat-controlled Senate sit on the proposal it took Obama 966 days in office to publish because even he and the Leftists in Congress can't get behind it?
Obama and the Left continue to dream about the hypothetical jobs of the green future—or at least funneling hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars to their billionaire friends (see Solyndra). But they can’t manage to grasp that there’s a very real need for very real jobs right now. And there is action that can be taken right now that will allow private industry to create jobs without costing a single taxpayer cent.
Case in point: The Keystone Pipeline.
As I discussed in a post last month, the Keystone XL Pipeline extension is a proposed project to extend the existing Keystone Pipeline from oil-rich sands in Canada to refineries in Texas. This project would significantly increase the volume of available crude, and create thousands of construction, transportation, and refining jobs, all without federal “stimulus” money. It’s been held up in bureaucratic red tape due to alleged environmental concerns—recall that Daryl Hannah, one of the great minds of our time, was arrested at a protest outside the White House (one wonders how she got there from her off-the-grid Colorado bungalow; betcha dollars-to-donuts it involved flying in one of those private jets the Left so hate)—and was awaiting a revised State Department report on the potential environmental impact. The State Department issued its final report August 26, stating that the project would have “no significant impacts” to the environment if proper practices were followed. All the project needs is Obama’s go-ahead. Yet now a month later, while we’ve heard endless browbeating from Obama about the need to act now on jobs, he has done absolutely nothing on this project; a project that actually is “shovel ready,” actually will create jobs, and actually will not cost U.S. taxpayers.
It is worth noting that one of the environmentalists’ core objections isn’t with the pipeline itself, but with the fact that it is transporting oil developed from so-called “tar sands” that represent a huge boost in reserves. In a report published two Sundays ago in the Houston Chronicle, it appears that Chinese firms are spending billions to gobble up large segments of these Canadian sands, and will surely develop them regardless of whether Keystone XL gets built. The only question is whether we will participate. At a time when the White House and Congressional Left are so concerned about ceding industries to the Chinese, this seems like a no-brainer. "Green" energy may ultimately prove to be the industry of the future, but oil and natural gas are in indisputable fact the industry of right now. News reports continually say that his approval is “expected by the end of 2011,” but if the need to act on jobs is so urgent, and this project actually does create jobs, why not act now?
The answer is Keystone is part of Obama’s continuing political war on the oil industry. The American Petroleum Institute—yes, it’s an oil industry lobby group, but its proposals have been echoed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce—has suggested that programs to increase leasing and open drilling areas in places like the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska could create between a half-million and a million jobs, and would do so not only without costing the taxpayer, but would generate billions in revenue through additional royalties and lease rentals as well as additional excise and other taxes. But Obama—who can’t stop lecturing on the need to stop playing politics and take action—can’t bring himself to go along with these, either.
The truth is Obama isn’t the least bit interested in creating jobs. He’s interested in creating the illusion of action, while punishing those the Left perceives as their enemies, and redistributing what wealth is left in this country. It is more politically expedient to him to pander to the environmental zealots and anti-industry wackos in his base by holding up projects like Keystone, preventing domestic drilling, and pursuing industry-specific tax increases, than it is for him to take action that will actually create jobs in the real world. So vast reserves continue to go untapped, and thousands who could be employed continue to sit idle.
At least everyone comes to Rick’s.