by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Our youthful President can ably handle a basketball and a set of golf clubs; but when it comes to hot potato, he is really at the top of his game. Understandably uncomfortable being at the economic helm during the most sluggish recovery since the Great Depression, Obama mastered the art of blaming the Tea Party wing of the Republican House for the country’s nagging economic malaise.
In a number of recent speeches Obama has bashed this “Republican faction” in the House for blocking proposals he claims would strengthen the middle class — like infrastructure projects funded by higher taxes.
IF OBAMA REALLY WANTS AN ECONOMY worth boasting about before he exits from office, then he should woo the Tea Party instead of vilifying it. There are three steps the president could take right now with the full cooperation of these modern-day Jeffersonians that would boost production, federal revenues, and, most importantly, jobs.
Step one would be to approve the Keystone XL pipeline for transporting tar-sand oil from Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast. Obama seems to be inclined to block the project, which the State Department estimates would result in about 42,000 jobs. Obama, an enemy of all things fossil, excepting the wrist watch, minimized the project’s economic importance recently. He said it would create 2,000 jobs, a low-ball estimate from a source that remains a mystery. …
… A second step along the same lines would be for the administration to expedite the licensing of 15 liquid-natural-gas terminals that want to export fuel to countries without free-trade agreements with the U.S. — including allies like Japan and the countries of the European Union. Government estimates claim that 6,000 new U.S. jobs are created for every $1 billion of LNG sold. …
… Third, the president could expedite the recovery of the home-mortgage market by vocally backing some of the reform efforts on Capitol Hill, especially bills to do away with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and establish a market with a smaller federal footprint.