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Keystone GOPs

Who would have thought that opposing a bi-partisan and extremely popular bill that prevents a tax increase for millions of Americans, loss of unemployment benefits for millions of Americans, and loss of Medicare reimbursements for doctors would backfire? Obviously, not the Republican party. Why would a party who champions tax reductions be so adamant in preventing a bill that does just that from being passed?

Maybe, it’s not the extension of the payroll tax cut that bothers them. Maybe, they would like to see millions of Americans lose their unemployment benefits right after Christmas, in the middle of a recession and during record unemployment. Surely, not. That would be ludicrous. Then it must be that they believe doctors should not be compensated for their services. No, that can’t be right either, because we all know how much the GOP love “the greatest healthcare system in the world” by the way they refuse to make any changes to it. Or, maybe, it’s the fact that a few powerful Republicans have gotten their panties in a wad over a refusal to attach, to the bill, a controversial measure accelerating the construction of an oil pipeline.

The Keystone XL is a proposed pipeline that would transport synthetic oil from Canada to the US. Sounds like a good idea, right? Then we could get oil from Canada instead of the country we currently rely on as our top supplier of oil… also, Canada. So, if Canada is already our top supplier, Republicans must want this project passed because it will create some much needed long-term jobs for Americans. Fortunately, Cornell University conducted a study to illustrate how many jobs it would create:

– The project budget that has a direct impact on U.S. employment is between $3 and $4 billion or about half of what industry claims.

– 50% or more of the steel pipe, the main material input used for Keystone XL, will be manufactured outside of the U.S.

– Jobs will be temporary and between 85-90% of the people hired to do the work will be non-local or from out of state.

– Job losses would be caused by additional fuel costs in the Midwest, pipeline spills, pollution and the rising costs of climate change.

– Even one year of fuel price increases as a result of Keystone XL could cancel out some or all of the jobs created by the project.

(above taken from: http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/globallaborinstitute/research/Keystonexl.html)

In all fairness, a Perryman study found that as many as 119,000 jobs would be created but, in all unfairness, the study was commissioned and funded by TransCanada who stand to benefit exorbitantly from the pipeline’s construction. By the way, the Cornell study also found that:

– The Perryman study, which estimates around 119,000 (direct, indirect and induced) jobs is a poorly documented study commissioned by TransCanada.

Holding the American people hostage to facilitate the incorporation of a pork-barrel project that costs much more than it’s worth and provides much less than it’s proponents claim is nothing new when it comes to Congress. As the grandiose claims of the project begin to dwindle away, it becomes evident just who stands to benefit from the project by the few stragglers left rattling cans in its support (see: picture above).

It is worth noting that almost everyone in Congress, Democrat and Republican alike, fully expect this bill to pass with or without the attached pipeline measure as it only makes common sense to do so.  So, why would these hangers-on continue to stonewall the inevitable when, according to John McCain, “It’s harming the Republican party.”? To fully envision how Congress works one must abandon everything one was taught in school about the Legislative branch of our government.  It is much simpler to imagine a giant band of corporate puppeteers with the Congress as their puppets and, right now, we are watching a select few puppets throw a temper-tantrum death-dance as the clock slowly runs out for them.  I’m sure even John Boehner knows his efforts are futile but that doesn’t mean his puppeteer does.

UPDATE: ” According to John Boehner’s 2010 financial disclosure forms, he invested $10,000 to $50,000 each in seven firms that had a stake in Canada’s oil sands, the region that produces the oil the pipeline would transport. The firms include six oil companies—BP, Canadian Natural Resources, Chevron, Conoco Phillips, Devon Energy and Exxon—along with Emerson Electric, which has a contract to provide the digital automation for the first phase of a $9.4 billion Horizon Oil Sands Project in Canada.” (source)

 

 

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