You Make a Difference! Our mission and operations are funded entirely by Patriots like you! Please support the 2021 Year-End Campaign now.

Lawrence Kudlow / December 16, 2011

Keystone Blue-Collar Blues

The payroll-tax-cut debate is not really about the payroll tax, which is a very weak-kneed economic stimulant and a lackluster job creator because of its temporary nature. Without permanent incentives at lower tax rates, these rebates don’t do anything for growth and jobs.

Instead, the key to understanding the payroll-tax debate is to grasp President Barack Obama’s leftist vision of taxing successful earners (the millionaire surtax) and his obsession with clean energy at the expense of fossil fuels. These are ideological positions. They support the Obama vision of class warfare and his attachment to radical environmentalism.

The payroll-tax-cut debate is not really about the payroll tax, which is a very weak-kneed economic stimulant and a lackluster job creator because of its temporary nature. Without permanent incentives at lower tax rates, these rebates don’t do anything for growth and jobs.

Instead, the key to understanding the payroll-tax debate is to grasp President Barack Obama’s leftist vision of taxing successful earners (the millionaire surtax) and his obsession with clean energy at the expense of fossil fuels. These are ideological positions. They support the Obama vision of class warfare and his attachment to radical environmentalism.

And the key to understanding this state of affairs is the disposition of the TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline, which Republicans cleverly threw into the payroll-tax debate as the only real job creator.

By siding with the radical greenies and standing against the Keystone pipeline, Obama has turned his back on the most traditional voting bloc in the Democratic Party: blue-collar, hardhat workers.

Manufacturing workers. Construction workers. Truckers. Pipefitters. Plumbers. The Keystone opposition coming out of the White House is completely alienating all these people, the folks who work with their hands. And it’s these workers who have been decimated in the recession far more than any other group in the economy.

David Barnett, the head of the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters, told me on CNBC that unemployment is currently running at 20 percent to 25 percent in this blue-collar sector. He has repeatedly lobbied the White House to allow the Keystone pipeline to go through, and he notes high environmental standards in the work his men do. And yet even now, three years after the initial Keystone reviews began, the issue is still not resolved.

How can you have a jobs bill without putting blue-collar workers back to work? Answer: stubborn ideological insistence.

The Teamsters support the Keystone. So does the AFL-CIO. So do the machinists. And along with the plumbers and pipefitters, so does the Laborers’ International Union of North America.

And we’re not just talking about the 20,000 jobs that would accrue directly from the pipeline, but the secondary and tertiary jobs from a long supply chain that total well over 100,000.

As of this writing, the White House may dump the millionaire surtax. But that’s not much of a concession, since it never would have passed anyway. Republicans are adamant. It’s a nonstarter in the House, and probably the Senate, too. Meanwhile, Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell told me the Keystone pipeline is the key to the payroll-tax-cut deal.

Both practically and symbolically, Obama’s obsessive stance against the pipeline rips a huge split in the Democratic Party, and in the country as a whole. His manic support of clean energy – just think Solyndra – has blocked out any rational evaluation of the ongoing importance of oil and natural gas – including the oil-and-gas-shale fracking revolution that has become a huge jobs creator in North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Texas and elsewhere.

The Obama administration recently shut down the Utica shale field in Ohio because of an Agriculture Department objection. Two hundred thousand jobs are at stake. A field in Wyoming may be shut down. New York state desperately needs jobs and growth, but is wavering because of EPA actions elsewhere.

And with the Keystone ruling delay now extending for another year, the Keystone folks might give the whole project up in the U.S., in favor of a Pacific Ocean pipeline in Canada that will sell oil to the Chinese.

While the U.S. dithers, the Canadians are taking action. As a shot across the unbalanced environmental bow, the Canadian government is opting out of the Kyoto global-warming treaty. As energy analyst Daniel Yergin writes, while the unstable Persian Gulf countries represent 16 percent of U.S. oil imports, Canada represents 25 percent.

Yergin also writes that by the beginning of the next decade, Canadian oil sands could double production to 3 million barrels per day. That means an even higher share of U.S. imports coming from our friendly neighbor and largest trading partner.

So in addition to being an economic-stability issue, this becomes an energy-independence issue and even a national-security issue.

Obama’s decisions on the pipeline and other new energy breakthroughs are inimical to U.S. interests. They also are hostile to Democratic Party hardhats who may desert the president in droves come next November.

On top of all that, what may be America’s leading new source of job creation will be stifled.

COPYRIGHT 2011 CREATORS.COM

Start a conversation using these share links:

Who We Are

The Patriot Post is a highly acclaimed weekday digest of news analysis, policy and opinion written from the heartland — as opposed to the MSM’s ubiquitous Beltway echo chambers — for grassroots leaders nationwide. More

What We Offer

On the Web

We provide solid conservative perspective on the most important issues, including analysis, opinion columns, headline summaries, memes, cartoons and much more.

Via Email

Choose our full-length Digest or our quick-reading Snapshot for a summary of important news. We also offer Cartoons & Memes on Monday and Alexander’s column on Wednesday.

Our Mission

The Patriot Post is steadfast in our mission to extend the endowment of Liberty to the next generation by advocating for individual rights and responsibilities, supporting the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and promoting free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. We are a rock-solid conservative touchstone for the expanding ranks of grassroots Americans Patriots from all walks of life. Our mission and operation budgets are not financed by any political or special interest groups, and to protect our editorial integrity, we accept no advertising. We are sustained solely by you. Please support The Patriot Fund today!

★ PUBLIUS ★

“Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!” —George Washington

The Patriot Post is protected speech, as enumerated in the First Amendment and enforced by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, in accordance with the endowed and unalienable Rights of All Mankind.

Copyright © 2021 The Patriot Post. All Rights Reserved.

The Patriot Post does not support Internet Explorer. We recommend installing the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.