November 14, 2011

Unintended Consequences of Obama's Keystone punt

Obama administration Keystone Cops.
There have been numerous pieces on Unintended Consequences both here (as an example) and elsewhere.  President Obama has clearly read none of them.  Instead, by making a political decision to punt on the Keystone oil pipeline he's cost 20,000 construction jobs and as much as a million energy jobs.  That's a grave and unneeded unintended consequence.

But there's more.  Lots more.

Canada's conservative prime minister Stephen Harper, could not have provided a clearer punctuation of the stupidity of the Obama administration decision than saying that Canada will look to China to sell its oil it would clearly rather sell to the United States.  Lest any of you liberal conspiracy theorists start thinking that this is a foreign conservative leader trying to impact the 2012 election and tip it against Obama, that's just a delicious added benefit.  There's an existential reason for the announcement;
The lengthy delay in a U.S. decision on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline has created sudden soul-searching for Canada’s energy and political leaders, who have now turned their attention to opening the way for oil exports to Asia.

Without new pipe of some form, it will only be a few years before Canada’s oil gets backed up and begins selling at a deep discount, a prospect that stands to erode corporate and government revenues by billions of dollars a year.
Oh, that. So the unintended consequences continue to mount up;

  1. 20,000 construction jobs lost foregone
  2. 1 million energy sector jobs lost destroyed
  3. China getting oil from a US-friendly and stable nation
  4. More oil continuing to come to the US from the Middle East
  5. An unhappy trading partner
  6. unions unhappy with Obama
  7. environmentalists suspicious with Obama that this is just a stalling tactic
Great work Obama.  Keep it up.  Or flip flop.  Either way the political damage is done, but hey, maybe you can save the non-green energy jobs and then use the tax to fund yet another Solyndra. 

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