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Sunday, August 04, 2013 ISSUE #768

Should a bucket brigade replace Keystone pipeline?

    President Obama announced a “grand bargain.” The White House switchboard lit up with calls from women, “Where’s the sale?”  They were disappointed to hear that no prices have been reduced, only tax rates for big companies.

    The President wants more Americans to find work. Republicans want more Americans to find work. But they don’t agree on how it should happen. The economy is crawling along with only a few people finding work, and most of those new jobs are part time.

    The Keystone pipeline is still being debated. Republicans want it because it would add about a million barrels a day of North American oil. President Obama and most Democrats oppose it, saying it would only add 50 permanent jobs to the oil industry. “That’s not a jobs plan,” says the president. Well, of course it’s not a jobs plan, it’s an energy plan.

    If the goal is to add jobs, forget about the pipeline. Set up a bucket brigade. Can you picture a million people standing next to each other from Canada to Houston? They would need a whole lot of 5-gal buckets, but the oil would get there. Except for what spilled. You would say, that’s stupid. Well, how about hauling the oil in 55-gal barrels in Ford pickup trucks? That would take more people than a pipeline. And it might give work to a bunch of former bank tellers who were replaced by ATMs.

    Back to that 50 jobs. Our oil refineries currently handle about 18 million barrels a day. Here’s a math problem for you: if 50 workers can refine 1 million barrels, how many does it take to refine 18 million? 900? Does the President really believe that only 900 are employed in our oil refineries?  

    Congress has left town and the President is heading out soon for vacation. Congress will be out for five weeks. The President is always off somewhere speaking, so what difference does it make if he’s in Martha’s Vineyard, or Chattanooga or Warrensburg, Missouri? He had better follow his own advice and avoid travel to any Muslim country. We don’t want to risk getting the President kidnapped by al-Qaeda. To get him back might take more than a grand bargain.

    Historic quotes by Will Rogers:
    “Our President (Coolidge) left for a quiet vacation with twelve carloads of cameramen, reporters, cooks, valets, maids, butlers, doctors, military and naval attaches. I saw King George when he left Buckingham Palace in London last summer for his vacation, and you could have put all he and Mary both had in a Ford truck.”
DT #281, June 15, 1927

    “Congress adjourned last Monday, and business jumped up like it’s been shot. Honest, the whole thing... everything went up. Everybody’s feeling better. If they had adjourned before they’d met, I expect we’d have been the most prosperous nation in the world.” Radio, June 24, 1934

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