The Keystone Pipeline and the Affordable Care Act

What could these two issues have in common? Photo: Official White House photo

WASHINGTON, November 20, 2013 —The Keystone Pipeline and the Affordable Care Act. What do they have in common? What could the proposal to move oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico and create forty thousand jobs possibly have to do with the implementation of a federally controlled and regulated healthcare system? On one hand, the refusal to act on the Keystone Pipeline can be seen as President Obama upholding his promise to promote clean energy and develop cleaner burning fuels. And on the other, Obamacare is seen as the fulfillment of a promise by the President to make healthcare more affordable for everyone in the country. What could these two issues have in common?

Everyone knows that the ACA has hit a snag or two. Millions of people are losing their coverage, and it has now been reported that millions more who are currently insured by their employers will also be losing their coverage. This does not bode well for the somewhat embattled President who is now forced to field medium pitch questions after so many seasons of tee ball with the press, as he somewhat struggles to cast blame on everyone but himself. Let’s face it he does not struggle, he does it quite well and the press eats it up. He’s like a dog owner who pretends to throw the ball and the dog goes crazy and runs in the other direction, President Obama is still holding the ball, and there are those in the press who still come back and wag their tail for more.

Recently in the news, it was reported that according to a Gallup poll from earlier this week, 56% of Americans do not believe that healthcare is the responsibility of the government. Many believe the President lied about being able to keep your individual coverage, many are asking why Unions are exempt from the new law, many are asking why we spent over half a billion dollars on a website that doesn’t work. The list goes on.

Now to the Keystone Pipeline. The President has told the American people repeatedly that he was going to try to develop American energy independence through renewable bio-fuels and wind energy. Seriously look it up on Youtube, there is a great video of him making the same stump speeches in 2008 and 2012 during the elections and they are exactly the same. President Obama has cited environmental concerns over the pipeline as reasons for its delay, then he goes about ordering infrastructure analysis reports through executive order, and then he does…nothing.

This is curious on the surface, considering at a time when Americans need jobs, prices at the pump are still painfully high, and we are constantly embroiled in foreign wars in oil producing countries, you would think that any reasonable move to make American more oil independent would be beneficial. But no, President Obama threw the Keystone ball over the other side of the election fence in 2012, and has not touched it to any extent since.

Now, you may ask what this rambling is. These issues have no connection other than President Obama correct? They do have one, glaring, and simple connection though.

Money.

Anthony Welters is the CEO of United Healthgroup, an organization that was instrumental in lobbying for and shaping the Affordable Care Act. Anthony Welters also happened to have raised up to $500,000 for President Obama’s campaign, with a personal contribution of around $100,000. That much cheddar buys you some favor with the king. Welter’s wife was given the ambassadorship to Trinidad and Tobago, and Mr. Welters was given the Affordable Care Act, which as of now has the potential of granting a $200 billion revenue stream for participating insurance companies. One can probably guess that some of that money will find its way back to Mr. Welter’s pocket, a hefty return on a $100k investment. Not to mention, by the way, that Mr. Welter’s owns the company that President Obama picked to fix Healthcare.gov, but that’s probably not relevant.

Now onto the Keystone Pipeline. Back in June President Obama ordered the State Department to hold off on the Keystone Pipeline until it can prove that it would not have an adverse impact on the environment via greenhouse gasses. Well, that’s adorable, because what could be construed as an impact on greenhouse gasses could discernibly be the emissions of the building equipment needed to construct the pipeline. This effectively stalled the program. But what President Obama was really saying here was, I have stopped the State Department from approving the Keystone Pipeline because it will cost Warren Buffett money. If you did not know, Warren Buffett is the head honcho of Berkshire Hathaway, the parent company of BNSF Railway. BNSF railway really likes the money that they make hauling crude all over the country, and they really don’t appreciate those pesky Canucks up north or those greedy Texans from down south biting into their enormous profit apple. According to Forbes, Warren Buffett helped raise $544,936 for President Obama through personal contributions and contributions of his companies. $417,663 of that came directly from BNSF. Again, that much cheddar buys you some favor with the king. As a result, President Obama has quite tactfully sidestepped and delayed this issue to avoid the Keystone Pipeline from transporting oil directly through the territory of BNSF, and directly through their profits.

What does all of this mean?

It means that two of President Obama’s legacy actions, or inactions, are not based off of some ideological principle that everyone should have affordable healthcare, or that the environment needs to be protected from the evil Keystone Pipeline that would quite literally pumps billions of dollars into the US economy, but instead they are based, as all modern policies are based, on the influence of donors and billionaires. This same problem plagues the Republican Party, and they are labeled greedy capitalist because of it, but no one in the liberal media seems to mind that the super-rich like Buffett and Soros are simply the Democratic version of the Koch Brothers.

If you take a look at US History, every major event can be boiled down to the issue of money. When you peel back the layers of idealism and rhetoric what you see is what happens when government is allowed so much influence over business, what you see is blatant cronyism masquerading as the common good. Whatever pretty picture the government may present to you, when you chip away at the gold plating on the frame and the colors on the canvas you will find the true meaning behind any political effort in Washington. It is all simply the expansion of power of Washington and the limitation of a truly free market at the expense of the American taxpayer. We are in a Second Gilded Age, what are we as Americans going to do to about it?  

 

 


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Conor Higgins

Conor Higgins has a B.A. from Catholic University in DC in American History, with a concentration on guerrilla warfare on American soil. He has an M.A. in US History from George Mason University in Fairfax, VA, with a concentration on Cold War insurgency. He believes that all news and all information should be taken with a grain of salt, and implores people everywhere to seek news stories everywhere. 

Higgins is also a fervent believer in the traditional role of media, in terms of acting as a balanced check on government policies and individuals regardless of party affiliation. But in the end, he believes that no matter how heated an issue is, there is nothing that can't be discussed over a smoke and some whiskey. 

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