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For the Unemployed, Romney's Debate Was Full of "Wind Jobs"

By       Message Richard Eskow       (Page 2 of 4 pages) Become a premium member to see this article and all articles as one long page.     Permalink

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Romney says he'll reduce unemployment rates by putting more people out of work. Try wrapping your head around that economic Zen koan.

Romney said the words "small business" or "small businesses" 14 times during the debate, twice as many times as the president did. And yet Romney's fellow Republicans on the Hill rejected tax cuts for small businesses four times this year -- three times in the House and once in the Senate -- and last year his running mate's budget imposed savage cuts to the Small Business Administration.

In fact, House Republicans voted to stop all new hiring at the SBA's Office of International Trade, and to rescind $30 million in state grants to promote exports. They even gutted provisions written by a fellow Republican, Sen. Olympia Snowe, that would have helped small businesses export their products.

To paraphrase Harry S. Truman: In a race between a Republican and a Republican, the jobless person loses every time.

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Everyone Knows It's Windy

Another one of Romney's "five points to create jobs" is "energy independence," by which Romney means removing all of remaining environmental restrictions on oil and gas companies, and allowing them to mine, drill and dig where they please -- with minimal regulation.

It's true that oil and gas create some jobs -- but unrestrained exploitation of our natural resources creates relatively few of them, and it does so at an enormous cost in the future (and sometimes in the present). And the despoilers never talk about the jobs that have been lost as a result of their actions. Why don't you ask the folks down on the Gulf how many jobs the BP oil spill cost them?

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The industries Romney represents also love to say they'll bring gas prices down and make us energy independent -- but please note: At no time did Romney say the fuel produced by these changes would be sold in the United States. But step out of the wind tunnel for a second and you'll hear the dirty truth: Last year the United States exported more oil than it imported.

Many of the the companies that Romney wants to unleash in the name of "energy independence," especially those along the battered Gulf Coast, can make more money selling that oil to other countries.

Against the Wind

An Iowa-area newspaper notes that there are only about 7,000 wind-industry jobs in Iowa, which it describes as a "tiny sliver" of the state's workforce. That's true. But that's more jobs than the Keystone pipeline will create, according to a government study -- and the Republicans have been touting Keystone as a "job-creating" plan.

Romney offers all sorts of special tax breaks ($4 billion a year to Big Oil alone) to jobs that are often temporary, and which cause great harm to the environment and to the overall economy. But he sneers at real wind jobs, which are long-lasting, help restore US manufacturing, promote real energy independence, and help protect the environment.

A Cornell University study has concluded that Keystone will actually cost the nation jobs -- in the 15 states where gas prices could actually rise as a result of the pipeline, and due to crop failures caused by its pollution.

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(That's not even counting the costs should there be a major -- possibly lethal -- disaster. See "Four Ways Keystone XL Could Be a Job Killer" in Cornell UniversityPipe Dreams? Jobs Gained, Jobs Lost by the Construction of XL Pipeline.)

If you hate being jobless, imagine Romney's alternative: being jobless in a fouled environment, while paying even more at the gas pump.

Anyway the Wind Blows

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Host of 'The Breakdown,' Writer, and Senior Fellow, Campaign for America's Future

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