One thing all Americans agree on is the need to improve our economy. But as with so many other political issues, extremists in both parties are working against that mutual goal.
Two issues that hurt the economy are lack of a rational energy policy and outdated immigration laws. Needed changes are resisted by the far left and far right.
The poster child for the far left’s reduced carbon energy policy is the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. Those against the pipeline say the tar sands crude oil will increase pollution and global warming because more greenhouse gases are produced during refining.
Deferring to those who oppose the XL pipeline, President Obama has postponed an approval decision indefinitely.
Democrats are correct to work towards reducing climate damage. But the Canadian crude will be refined even if the XL pipeline is not built. The Canadians will instead build a western pipeline to an ocean port near Vancouver.
In the interim, the crude oil will be hauled by trains. But the increased use of trains has resulted in several actual and near disasters. Pipelines are safer, less expensive and pollute less. America has 2.6 million miles of gas and oil pipelines; an additional thousand miles is insignificant.
The claim that the XL pipeline will increase pollution is false. The pipeline would contribute $3.4 billion annually to the U.S. economy and reduce our on Middle Eastern oil. Recent events in Iraq demonstrate our need for more energy independence.
XL pipeline opponents should spend their political energy finding realistic tradeoffs between our needs for energy and reducing pollution.
Wrapping oneself in a righteous position may feel good, but it hurts the economy. Hyper-partisan Democrats and Republicans should do something courageous. Compromise.
Give a little, get a little.