Is the battle over Keystone XL about creating jobs and spurring on the economy or is it about protecting pristine forests and further preventing carbon pollution? It’s neither, say most experts. Keystone XL will have little effect on climate change, production of the Canadian oil sands, gasoline prices, or the overall job market (a few dozen permanent jobs and several thousand temporary ones) in the U.S. What is important to understand is that the oil in the Canadian tar sands, notwithstanding the political drama, will get to the market—if not through Keystone XL, then through another pipeline or by rail.
So what is all the hullabaloo? Jerry Taylor, founder and president of the newly formed Niskanen Center (a Washington-based Libertarian think tank) and former director of natural resources studies at the Cato Institute, explains how the fight serves an intentional purpose: voters believe that their concerns are being heard and championed by their elected reps. Most politicians on either side of the issues “appear to address public concerns (global warning and high unemployment), but neither is doing anything tangible about either.”
As Jerry Taylor notes, politicians do not ignore public opinion; they appease it. Read more here how this “theater of the absurd” allows our governing elites to go about their business with minimal interference from voters.