Keystone XL jobs: estimates range from a few thousand to about 1.47 bazillion

Michael Giberson

The Columbia Journalism Review takes a look at the jobs numbers that have been cited in news stories about the Keystone XL pipeline and traces them back to their shaky foundations.

It is a detailed and useful reminder of the slim link to reality that these claims have. (I use an easier method: anytime I hear a politician or project promoter talk about jobs, I assume they are lying.)

But more to the point, such job counting exercises ought to have no influence in public policy decisions, so no role in policy discussions. Policies ought to be evaluated on whether the overall expected benefits are reasonably believed to exceed the overall costs, with a moment or two of silence for the peoples whose rights will be trampled by the projects.

If jobs are the goal, we can mandate that every truck used have five drivers and every pipe laid be dug up twice and buried again. I trust that even the newspaper reporters of the world can see how silly that would be. (The politicians? I don’t have much hope, but it doesn’t really matter since I already assume they are lying.)

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2 thoughts on “Keystone XL jobs: estimates range from a few thousand to about 1.47 bazillion

  1. “I assume they are lying.” Nice.

    One could also assume they are pandering. Or you could assume they are clueless. Really, there are so many options. Let’s not be forced to make false choices.

    What if we all want more leisure, or a higher quality of life? How important would jobs be then? What if we want different and/or conflicting things?

    There is also the notion individuals can have a positive effect on the economy by increasing controls over it that many readers of this blog might question.

  2. Even if the Keystone promoters are off by two orders of magnitude, the project should be approved, because it is a private investment, and it won’t cost the taxpayers anything.

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