Wednesday, December 14, 2011

"Well, sir, I guess there's just a meanness in this world"

PHOTO: Dangerous Minds
The line’s from Bruce Springsteen’s song Nebraska.

It came to mind yesterday when House Republicans passed a bill extending the payroll tax break and long-term unemployment payments— along with approving construction of the Keystone oil pipeline from Canada through our nation’s Midwest communities.

How cynical can elected representatives be in getting for industrial capitalists what they want by holding the economic well being of this nation’s workers and unemployed hostage?

Politics is the art of the possible, a phrase coined by Bismark.

House Republicans play "politics," the kind of all-or-nothing governing that give politics a bad name.  When the Democrats play “politics” that way, I’d call a pox on their house as well.

The Keystone pipeline issue should be dealt with as a separate issue. It should not be tagged on to a bill about a worker tax break and unemployment relief.

Eric Cantor (R-VA) said tagging on approval of the Keystone pipeline was justified because pipeline construction was a jobs issue.

It’s not a jobs issue. It’s an energy policy issue. It’s an issue of how local community values stack up against a project where communities bear all the risk and little benefit. Like building a coal export terminal at Cherry Point and transporting coal by rail or building a liquified natural gas terminal and pipeline near the mouth of the Columbia river, do these projects fit our national energy policy?  I’m sure there will be jobs and some local benefits but are those jobs and local benefits in the long-term interests of local community values?

Be honest and have that discussion. Shame on House Republicans.

--Mike Sato

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