And I think he actually means it.
As Obama called for passage of those bills, he also responded to a recent Republican push to require him to approve the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada. “However many jobs might be generated by a Keystone pipeline,” he said, “they’re going to be a lot fewer than the jobs that are created by extending the payroll tax cut and extending unemployment insurance.”
Looks like the president woke up on the Manichean side of the bed again. Why does there have to be an either/or choice here? It’s not the case, that if you extend the tax cut and unemployment benefits, then you cannot also approve the XL. We’re a big country — we can do both! Nothing other than political considerations is forcing this choice the president is attempting to set up. The Republicans have tied the two together so that the revenue generated from the jobs that the XL creates can be applied to paying for the tax cut extension, and the economy gets an overall boost. That’s just sound economics.
Never mind the fact that unemployment benefits also impose a serious cost on the economy, mitigating any jobs that doing so may actually “create,” itself a very dubious claim.