Travis Blais: Obama Wants Reelection More than Job Creation

Travis Blais is the Chairman of the Windham Republican Town Committee.  

Barack Obama has finally told working Americans exactly what he thinks of them. He thinks they’re stupid.  

In his words, Obama claims to champion the middle class. But in his deeds, he says “nyet” to the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have created 20,000 middle class jobs.  

Working America want jobs. Obama gives them speeches and thinks they won’t notice the difference.

The Keystone XL pipeline is a no-brainer, supported by labor unions and industry.  It means jobs, energy security, and a unique chance to stimulate the economy without taxpayer money and worsening our national debt. Call it the anti-Solyndra!

The President’s own Jobs Council called for “more access to oil, natural gas and coal opportunities on federal lands” and pursuing projects that “deliver electricity and fuel.” Not only could the energy industry itself be a source of mass-employment, but a source of reliable, abundant, and affordable energy could kick-start the whole economy.  

Unfortunately, Barack Obama has only one job on his mind – his own. And as revealed by Democrat strategists this past November, Obama’s reelection campaign has given up on appealing to working class voters — the kind of people who cling to guns and religion. Instead, he wants to target young people and affluent urban and suburban dwellers – the kind of people to whom “pipeline” is a dirty word.

We have an increasingly stratified economy defined by competitiveness. At the top, a professional class in high-tech, law, entertainment, consulting, science, higher education, and financial services is thriving. Armed with education, technology, and versatility, this knowledge class is still competitive, even dominant, in the global economy.

But for the middle class, the value of their work isn’t always enough to compensate for the high cost of doing business in America.

Main Street works in commerce, agriculture, industry.  Working class Americans drive diesel delivery trucks, operate water-diversion pipes, drill gas wells, and adjust the chemical mixtures in printing presses. Such work may not require a college degree, but it adds value and can pay well.

But it’s also the kind of work that urban, hyper-educated elites find dirty and unseemly.  There can be smoke and bulldozers and waste byproducts and having to watch your fingers.  

So we enact ever more regulations, particularly environmental regulations, that raise the cost of performing this work until it is driven overseas.  To the affluent knowledge workers favored by the Obama campaign, such regulations are cost-free.  To the working class, they are a stack of pink slips.

For our working class to make a comeback, we must cure an epidemic of denial among Obama and other liberals. They cannot accept an inconvenient truth — there is a trade-off between economic activity (middle class jobs) and foreswearing the use of our natural resources (environmentalism). Absolutely no cost/benefit analysis is allowed. 

This delusion is the source of the nonsensical “green jobs” myth. It’s awkward that new regulations will displace workers in traditional industries making products people want to buy. So just pretend these workers will all find employment in “green” industries making expensive and unreliable products that people don’t want to buy, even with government subsidies.

Some Democrats in Concord and D.C. have said that complex regulations are job creators, because the business must hire someone to ensure compliance. By that logic, let’s burn down the factory to encourage construction employment.  

As it turns out, employers and consumers won’t willingly incur additional costs without receiving additional value.  Who woulda thunk it?

Politically unwilling to stop harassing the businesses that employ the working class, Barack Obama’s rhetoric is increasingly desperate. We hear class warfare and demonization, as if shared misery has ever created jobs.  He rails that free enterprise “doesn’t work” and “has never worked,” as if the 1970s and 80s never happened. He peddles another reelection-motivated contradiction, that flooding the labor market with low-cost illegal immigrants has no adverse effect on the businesses and workers who play by the rules.

And of course there is the universal prescription of more government. More regulations, more bureaucrats to administer them, more subsidies to the politically connected, more lobbyists to vie for those subsidies. The working class may not benefit, but hey, six of the 10 wealthiest counties in the U.S. now surround Washington, D.C. Their votes are locked up.

Working America has a jobs crisis.  It needs the freedom to be competitive in the global economy.  Unfortunately, Barack Obama has his own job crisis. His “nyet” to the Keystone XL pipeline shows which will take priority.  

Author: Travis Blais

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