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January 20, 2012

How can Obama get re-elected?

Joe Charlebois

How does President Barack Obama expect to get re-elected? He has consistently stated throughout his three years in office that "My administration will not rest until every American who is able and ready and willing to work can find a job.” Is he serious?


This week thousands of jobs could have been created through the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. This is a project that would eventually allow TransCanada to move their crude oil to the refineries in Port Arthur and Houston Texas. This would put in place 13,000 American jobs – good paying jobs in the fuel and construction industries – with a potential for 118,000 additional jobs created in local economies due to the growth related to the pipeline.


The pipeline’s eventual terminus near the Gulf Coast would assure that Canada – which is our greatest trading partner and most stable oil exporter to the United States – would increase its share of the American market and lead to a more stable supply of oil.


We need stability now more than ever with the sabre rattling Iranians threatening to shut down oil shipments in the Strait of Hormuz. The president should have responded to the threats from Tehran and moved forward with this project. The ‘green lobby wouldn’t allow him.


Our ability to remain self-sufficient, or at least dependent on true and stable allies, is critical in the ability to deal with the demands of wild regimes – like Iran – which feels a need to claim global superiority.


We need to be economically stronger and we need to be more independent when it comes to protecting the supply of America’s economic lifeblood – oil.


When President Obama was sworn into office, he claimed to have wanted to transform the economy. He wanted to hold unemployment levels down and raise the economic prosperity of the middle class.


What has really happened has been an inattention to the economy and jobs, jobs, jobs. It has been anything but.


Mr. Obama’s administration may claim that it has “saved or created” millions of jobs, but the numbers just don’t bear that out.


There were approximately 12 million unemployed on the president’s inauguration day. As of December 2011 there are currently 13.1 million unemployed (8.5% of the workforce); 5.6 million of those are deemed “long-term unemployed.


The Bureau of Labor Statistics also notes that there are those not included in the 8.5% unemployed rate, and they are the involuntary part-time employees which number 8.1 million. These are those employees who would otherwise be employed in a full-time job or have had their hours cut back to a part-time status.


Discouraged workers are also not included in the 13.1 million unemployed. These workers make up nearly another million who gave up filing in the month preceding the report. In addition to the 13.1 million unemployed and 8.1 million under-employed, the 945,000 discouraged workers help to create a more definitive picture of an administration that is not serious in letting the free market work.


Our economic situation, if not described as dire, is definitely in need of critical care. The number of Americans with a need for food stamps has risen from 32 million to 45 million. Healthcare costs have continued to skyrocket due in part to the upcoming takeover of the industry by the federal government. Our home values have dropped precipitously. The number of Americans in poverty has increased greatly. And, of course, gas prices have skyrocketed just as the president had hoped. When Mr. Obama took office a gallon on unleaded was selling for $1.85. It is now over $3.25 per gallon, and expected to climb.


If the President was serious about jobs and our economy, he wouldn’t spend every day finding ways to pander to interest groups that have only its self-interest at heart. He would do what is in the best interest of the United States.


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