Curmudgeon's Corner

cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner

Implications of Keystone XL Delay

U.S., Politics, Quality of Life, Economy

The Department of State has once again set itself apart from anything resembling a thoughtful, functioning, and caring body of governance.  How did it do that?  It decided to extend the time period for a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline project.  After all, the timeline in place had only another two weeks to run and the decision by State might have been problematic given the elections coming in November.

This highlights the problems of trying to balance politics and governance.  There was supposed to be a healthy dissonance as established by the creators of our country.  There were three branches of government created, each equal to the others.  One of those branches in its current iteration has decided that it will simply do whatever it wishes to do whenever it wishes to do so without regard to either of the other two branches.

The Congressional branch is evenly split with Republicans controlling the House and Democrats controlling the Senate.  The Judicial branch is a necessarily slow-moving branch.  This has left the Executive branch with a significant amount of individual power as that relates to the hiring of key people across government, and as it relates to the political needs and desires of the occupant of, and the party in control of the White House.

I have difficulty believing that the State department was not heavily influenced in the decision to delay the Keystone decision.  I have difficulty in believing that the Executive branch did not dictate that decision.  I have difficulty in seeing why this delay was necessary, other than due to political motivation; and I have difficulty in seeing why this delay is better for the country than would’ve been a decision to go forward with or to kill the Keystone XL pipeline project.

Our country needs the access to energy this pipeline promised.  Our country needs the economic boost that would’ve flowed from the pipeline’s construction.  If we don’t take the flow of oil from Keystone, it will go elsewhere.  Just as we are sending much of our domestic production of natural gas to China given the economics involved, so will Canada sell its petroleum stock.

We are effectively mortgaging our country’s future to China given decisions such as this and given our current borrowing to support the huge flow of deficit spending being used to purchase the continued support of selected voting blocks.

It is not politically popular or even politically correct to talk about this, but…

We have makers and we have takers in our country.  The makers are not able to keep up with the demands of the takers, and the takers have grown to be sufficiently numerous and tend to vote for the party promising the most.  There is no ultimate good outcome to this if it continues unabated.  There is only one possible outcome and it will be bad for both the makers and the takers.  All we need to see as proof is what is happening in Europe.

We are threatening our very existence and we seem to be doing so with smiles on our collective faces.

The Keystone XL pipeline delay is but another example of politics taking precedent over what should revolve around good governance.  The power-hungry politicians are not the statesmen and stateswomen that our Constitution contemplated.

Things such as this surely point to term limits as a possible solution.  Some, if not all of the long-term officeholders decry the loss of institutional experience that would result.  That might well be true, but is that worse than what we’ve created for ourselves today, or might we be better off with less institutional carry-over?   Would turn-over be an improvement to carry-over?

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