One didn’t need to be a political insider to know that in this year’s State of the Union the president would address the public’s concern over scarcity of jobs and an unsteady economy. Attempts to assuage these worries included overviews of new proposals to spur growth and examples of success stories already unfolding as a result of his work.
Unfortunately, the reality is quite different. This administration’s policies have failed the American people. The recovery President Obama promised is not happening; and worse, he is destroying many new opportunities for job creation.
Last week, the White House acted in its political interest at the expense of U.S. workers when it rejected a permit for the Keystone XL project. Analysts estimated construction alone of the pipeline from Canada’s rich oil sands to refineries in the Gulf of Mexico would create 20,000 new jobs. Overall, it would generate more than 340,000 job opportunities through refining, distribution, sales, and other related industries.
With the U.S. rejecting its energy supplies, Canada may opt to transport those valuable resources to China instead. In the long-term, that means Obama’s political maneuvering will not only undermine current work toward economic recovery; it also throws our future energy security into jeopardy.
This move flies in the face of the president’s call earlier this month for industry leaders to rebuild our labor base and “insource” more jobs. And the Keystone XL pipeline is far from being the lone example of such hypocrisy. While Obama publicly chastises American industry for not bringing more jobs back home, he’s quietly giving taxpayer-funded military contracts to our foreign competitors.
Consider the case of American aircraft manufacturing company Hawker Beechcraft and the competition with Brazilian company Embraer to produce “Light Air Support” aircraft for the U.S. Air Force. In December the administration, out of the blue, disqualified Hawker from the bid without providing reason. On December 30th 2011, Obama’s Defense Department awarded the contract to Brazil’s Embraer.
The decision, effectively, amounted to the White House outsourcing 1,400 potential U.S. jobs. It means America won’t be able to add 500 new engineering jobs and 300 more highly skilled aircraft manufacturing jobs at its Wichita, Kansas facilities. To make matters worse, Embraer is under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for corruption and bribery in relation to their foreign military contracts.
Adding to the jobs lost in our defense and energy sectors, Obama has undercut the healthcare industry too. Boston Scientific Corp., a Massachusetts-based medical device manufacturer, plans to cut 1,400 jobs over the next two years. The reason? The company cannot afford to keep those workers and pay the new 2.3 percent excise tax that will be imposed under Obama’s healthcare reform.
Like Boston Scientific, other medical device companies will be forced to make difficult choices as well. At a Medical Device Industry Council meeting, nearly 90 percent of the 100 firms attending said they must also reduce costs to afford the Obama administration’s increasing regulatory and tax policy burden.
The fact is the president’s consistent politically motivated decisions counter the national interests of the U.S. public. Those hurting for a paycheck in Massachusetts, Kansas, and across the country tuned into Obama’s address Tuesday night looking for more than some of the empty promises he’s delivered in the past. Yet, what they heard was more than his ‘regularly scheduled programming.’
Todd Tiahrt was a Member of Congress from 1995 to 2011. He is currently the president of Todd Tiahrt, LLC, consulting in aviation and aerospace.