Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Obama High Priority: Killing San Joaquin Valley Jobs

President Obama claims to support jobs through investments in infrastructure. Yet his actions suggest his real priority is to deliver political favors to left-wing activists.

Here is what President Obama promised on November 2, 2011—

“no more earmarks, no more bridges to nowhere. We're going to stop the picking of projects based on political gain and start picking them based on two criteria: how badly they're needed out there and how much good they'll do for our economy.”

Today, the President announced 14 high priority federal infrastructure projects around the nation. According to the White House, “the President directed agencies to expedite environmental reviews and permit decisions for a selection of high priority infrastructure projects that will create a significant number of jobs (see here).

One of the 14 projects is located in the San Joaquin Valley but it is expected to eliminate jobs, not create them. Conservative estimates of job losses, using the methodology of radical environmentalists, demonstrate that 3,000 jobs will be lost due to reduced water supplies (see explanation of reduced water supply and employment here). Also, due to the excessive cost of the project (more than $1 billion), taxpayers will be forced to shell out $21 million per fish for the “restored” salmon run.

With all of the significant challenges facing America today, including historic deficits, high unemployment and unprecedented debt, it is astounding that the President would view the job killing San Joaquin River restoration as a high national priority. However, it is not the first time we have witnessed politics and not policy rule the White House.

Less than two years ago the President offered a pre-election Halloween treat to Valley Democrats when he funded the infamous California high speed rail program in the Central Valley—an earmark that targeted assistance to one vulnerable Democratic Congressman. The project is a national disgrace and has been labeled the “train to nowhere” around the country (details here).

Today’s announcement has handed Senator Dianne Feinstein, the Natural Resources Defense Council and its allies an early Christmas treat by making the San Joaquin River restoration a high national priority. It will cost us precious water and thousands of jobs while damaging the environment by adding stress to a severely depleted aquifer.

For the people of the San Joaquin Valley, their communities and livelihoods, President Obama is likely to be remembered as the worst President in American history.