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Editorial: President agenda is anti-shovel-ready

President Barack Obama campaigned on a promise of “shovel-ready” jobs. It was the modern “chicken in every pot” but never quite panned out.

“Shovel-ready was not as, uh, as shovel-ready as we expected,” Obama quipped in 2011, conceding the pledge seemed beyond his grasp.

Today, his platform can be described as anti-shovel-ready. The president took to a White House lectern Friday to announce his unilateral decision to kill the Keystone XL pipeline, an $8 billion project that was about to create 9,000 high-wage, shovel-ready, private-sector construction jobs in parts of the country that need them most. The president should visit Nebraska and explain it to the children of unemployed workers who go to bed hoping mom or dad will get a good job the next day.

But it is not just the 9,000 shovel-ready jobs Obama killed. His own State Department reports that Keystone would contract with enough private-sector firms to support 42,000 “direct and indirect” jobs throughout the country.

The 9,000 jobs alone would have created millions of work hours throughout Middle America and the South, meaning working-class people would more easily afford health care, mortgages and college tuition.

Those are just the private-sector hardships imposed by Obama’s killing of Keystone.

The president, who has created more national debt than all predecessors combined, had the opportunity to initiate government revenues. In its first year of operation, the pipeline was expected to generate $100 million in tax revenues. That’s minutia in federal terms, but it is about $100 million more than is created by all global warming protests combined. Over its lifetime, the pipeline could have generated billions for governments.

Construction was estimated to contribute $3.4 billion to our gross domestic product before the pipeline moved a barrel of oil.

Related: Minnesota congressional delegation splits on Keystone rejection.

Americans have longed for energy independence from hostile foreign governments for decades. It is a matter of national security, economically and militarily. When al-Qaida-linked militants attacked an Iraqi oil refinery in 2014, they took out a daily production capacity of 350,000 barrels.

“Nearly the same amount the United States imports from Iraq,” said U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La. “The Keystone pipeline would transport nearly two and a half times that amount to American refineries.”

Landrieu and 10 other Democratic senators sent a letter to Obama in April 2014 pleading with him to allow the pipeline. Her constituents need the jobs. Colorado’s Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, who ranks among Obama’s staunchest allies, declined to sign Landrieu’s letter.

Obama said Friday the pipeline is not in the national interest. He talked about low gas prices and progress in the innovation of renewable energy, suggesting we don’t need the pipeline. He failed to mention how those positive indicators rely on generous supplies of conventional fuels.

He doesn’t want the pipeline because it would contribute to “climate change.” But his decision to kill Keystone is more environmentally questionable than allowing it. Canadian and Midwestern oil that cannot be piped is shipped by trucks and trains that burn fossil fuels and pose explosion hazards as they thunder through population centers. A pipeline is the most environmentally correct and safest method of transporting liquid.

Obama minimized the scope of the pipeline, saying it plays an “overinflated role” in national discourse. If so, it is because he and other environmentalists have blown a common-sense transportation project into a global warming scare. If the pipeline is such a trivial matter, one wonders how it would change the climate.

The president should have told us the truth about his motive for killing the pipeline. He values approval of global warming activists more than shovel-ready jobs. He places symbolism over substance. That’s his prerogative, but America’s unemployed have the right to know.

This article was from The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.