By Dr. Peter Morici
The mid-term elections made clear American voters want Washington to better address high unemployment and stagnant wages. Yet, on issues ranging from energy to immigration to trade, President Obama continues to put politics ahead of strengthening American families.
Senator Mary Landrieu (D., LA) is locked in a tight runoff election with Representative Bill Cassidy (R., LA). To improve their chances, both are trying to move a bill through Congress to finally approve the Keystone Pipeline.
The project would bring billions of barrels of western Canadian oil to Gulf ports and refineries and create thousands of high paying jobs, but the president threatens to veto any legislation in deference to the bogus claims of environmentalists that the pipeline would promote fossil fuel use and exacerbate climate change.
Canadian oil is going to get to global markets one way or another—it's too important to our northern neighbors not to. By denying the safest, most direct route, the oil will get there by rail and other pipeline projects that pose more, not fewer risks.
Even if environmentalists managed to slow development of western Canadian reserves, production would shift to developing countries—where environmental risks are less well managed than in Canada—or in the Middle East—where oil money too often ends up in the hands of terrorists.
Obama appears intent on blocking new jobs in Louisiana and other Gulf States and worsening terrorist threats, simply to sustain support for Democrats among radical environmentalists.
Some 11 million illegal immigrants live and work in America. Many have become critical in construction and other industries—but only by driving down wages and displacing native born Americans with third world competition.
One out of six adult males ages 25 to 54 remain jobless, and many could be offered the dignity of employment if President Obama enforced immigration laws—and required the states to cooperate, for example by requiring proof of citizenship to possess driver's licenses, enroll children in schools and access to social services.
Centrist GOP leaders in Congress recognize they have little hope of winning back the White House if they ignore the sentiment of Hispanic voters, who frankly want the president and Congress to ignore our immigration laws and end deportations.
Clearly possible is the potential for a bipartisan compromise that finally seals the border, limits the legalization of undocumented workers to the truly worthy cases, and establishes a rational and effective deportation policy.
Instead, the president appears intent on granting legal status to millions of illegal workers through an executive order that unconstitutionally circumvents Congress. That would force centrist leaders in the new GOP-led Congress to forcefully oppose the president, and permit his surrogates in the media to paint the GOP as anti-Hispanic.
That might help the prospects of Democrats in 2016 but at the expense of flaunting the rule of law, selling out millions of unemployed Americans and pounding down the incomes of working families.
The president is paying off his Silicone Valley financial supporters with a trade deal with China that eliminates tariffs on many high technology products. The White House claims it would create 60,000 jobs by opening the Chinese market to about $1 trillion in U.S. exports.
Sadly, that was what we were told about automobiles when the United States agreed to admit China into the WTO. Instead, China threw up administrative barriers that require competitive U.S. and Japanese automakers to produce with local partners in China to sell there, and ultimately transfer critical knowhow to those partners.
Digital technologies are the family jewels of the American economy but President Obama seems intent on giving those away, along with thousands of good paying jobs, to keep Silicone Valley campaign dollars flowing into Democratic coffers.
Anything for political advantage, the American worker be damned.
Peter Morici is an economist and business professor at the University of Maryland, and national columnist. He tweets @pmorici1