President Obama set the record straight on the Republican myth that the Keystone XL pipeline, if built, would be a job creator. In an interview with the NY Times released Saturday, the president said that the pipeline would not create jobs, and would not reduce U.S. gas prices since most of the Canadian oil carried by the pipeline would be shipped to other countries.
When asked if he agreed with Republicans that Keystone XL would be a “job creator”, the president responded that it would create at best 50-100 permanent jobs.
“Well, first of all, Michael, Republicans have said that this would be a big jobs generator. There is no evidence that that’s true. And my hope would be that any reporter who is looking at the facts would take the time to confirm that the most realistic estimates are this might create maybe 2,000 jobs during the construction of the pipeline — which might take a year or two — and then after that we’re talking about somewhere between 50 and 100 [chuckles] jobs in a economy of 150 million working people.”
When asked about the fact labor unions are joining oil companies pushing for the pipeline, the president said that they probably want to see the 2,000 construction jobs. He said that the pipeline will not lower gas prices like Republicans claim, and could actually increase them.
“So what we also know is, is that that oil is going to be piped down to the Gulf to be sold on the world oil markets, so it does not bring down gas prices here in the United States. In fact, it might actually cause some gas prices in the Midwest to go up where currently they can’t ship some of that oil to world markets.
The president said the bottom line is his decision will be based on the effect of the pipeline on climate change. He also said the Canadians could be doing more to mitigate the carbon releases in the production of tar sands oil.
Keystone is the only Republican jobs plan
The Keystone XL pipeline is not only the centerpiece of the Republican jobs plan, it is their only jobs plan. Since they took control of the House in 2010, Republicans have harped about Keystone only slightly less than Obamacare. They have passed several bills and added amendments to other bills to require Keystone to be constructed. Like the 40 Obamacare repeal bills, none have become law.
Republicans, depending on the day, claim Keystone will employ 200,000 to 300,000 construction workers and 50,000 permanent jobs. No one but Republican politicians Koch-funded Tea party followers believes that hyped-up propaganda. Republicans killed bills the president sent to Congress that would have created 1,000,000 construction jobs and 50,000 permanent jobs. Instead they made Keystone their only jobs proposal.
Media regurgitates GOP talking points
President Obama made a good point when he asked when the media was going to begin challenging the Republican claims over Keystone. Reporters are smart enough to know the GOP claims are way off base. They can look at the historical data on other pipelines even the Alaska pipeline and know that with the heavy equipment used today, it does not take hundreds of thousands of workers with picks and shovels to construct a pipeline. This is the 21st century not ancient Egypt.
Perhaps Republicans are talking about the jobs created to clean up massive oil spills when the pipeline breaks from time to time.
The media has totally abrogated its role. They do not ask questions or do independent analysis. They just repeat Republican talking points because that is what big corporate advertisers want. What we can expect is for the media to give a microphone to every back-water Republican Congressman who takes a shot at what the president said Saturday.
We so not know what the president will ultimately decide about Keystone, but it is refreshing that the Chief Executive is not snowed like the media by Koch Brothers propaganda.
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