Leading up to his third State of the Union (SOTU) address tonight, President Obama appears once again less interested in facilitating real job growth than in creating the mere appearance of job creation.
In a SOTU preview video released over the weekend, Obama declared that American energy fueled by homegrown and alternative energy sources is an important step toward rebuilding the economy. This statement in conjunction with last week’s rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline suggests a continuation of the misguided focus on the government pushing so-called “green jobs,” whether they work or not, while blocking job-creating private-sector investments in energy.
Last week, President Obama rejected the permit application to build the Keystone XL pipeline, a truly shovel-ready project that would have lifted up the U.S. economy with private-sector investment, real jobs, and lower prices for a significant production input factor: energy. As Heritage policy analyst Nick Loris highlights:
Building the pipeline would bring over 700,000 barrels of oil per day and directly create 20,000 truly shovel-ready jobs. The Canadian Energy Research Institute estimates that current pipeline operations and the addition of the Keystone XL pipeline would create 179,000 American jobs by 2035.
Just the week before the fateful Keystone decision, additional documentation was released showing that the White House had knowledge of impending layoffs at the now-bankrupt solar company Solyndra before the 2010 midterm elections. This is in addition to an earlier revelation that the Department of Energy pushed to withhold this information until afterward.
Recipient of a $535 million taxpayer-funded loan guarantee and previously poster child for President Obama’s objective to increase renewable energy and green jobs in America, Solyndra’s troubles raised serious political concerns for officials in the White House. Once the news over Solyndra’s filing for bankruptcy broke last summer, a scandal and congressional investigation ensued, questioning the Administration’s green energy “investments.” About 1,100 people were laid off as the taxpayer-subsidized solar company went under.
This goes to show some of the problems inherent in the government sponsoring what should be private enterprises. The issue here is the President’s overall track record when it comes to blocking energy-related jobs from reliable and affordable energy sources while handing taxpayer money to producers of unreliable and costly alternative energy whose “green jobs” are a fallacy. This is no way to strengthen the economy.