Nancy Zorn, 79, of Warr Acres used a bicycle lock to attach herself this week to a piece of equipment being used to build the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline in Hughes County. Zorn was jailed when she refused to leave.
A group that opposes the pipeline quoted the woman as saying she couldn’t sit still while “toxic tar sands are pumped down from Canada into our communities.” Zorn’s hope was that she might inspire others to join the fight.
She shouldn’t hold her breath.
Oklahomans strongly favor construction of the Keystone pipeline. They understand that building the pipeline means jobs, and that worries about pipeline safety are red herrings offered by anti-fossil fuel zealots.
Zorn is left with a story to tell her grandchildren, but not much else. The pipeline is coming, and it should.
As the sequester neared, Reason magazine editor-in-chief Matt Welch was among those arguing that the looming government budget cuts didn’t go nearly deep enough.
Writing at cnn.com, Welch pointed out that the amount cut would equal “a tiny sliver of the federal budget” and should leave people asking what the country gained from doubling government spending from 2000 to 2010.
“If the bureaucrats can’t produce an explanation for the price increase of government, then they should not expect their budgets to be rubber-stamped by an already suffering public,” Welch said.
Complaints are coming from “a government money machine having difficulty adapting to a political universe that no longer accepts automatic annual increases,” he said, and those will continue until politicians muster the gumption “to align government expenditures within miles of revenue.” Don’t hold your breath waiting for that to happen.
For the eighth consecutive month, Oklahoma City has recorded the lowest jobless rate among the nation’s 49 largest cities. Our unemployment rate was just 4.5 percent in November.
Gosh, who would have thought the capital city of Oklahoma — reddest state in the nation, dominated by political leaders who expressly reject the “tax and spend” economic philosophy touted by the current occupant of the White House, whose state leaders openly advocate and advance policies actually running the opposite direction — would somehow achieve an unemployment rate far, far below what President Barack Obama claimed was achievable only if lawmakers passed his “stimulus” measure in 2009?
Thanks mostly to people leaving the workforce, Obama was finally able to lower national unemployment below 8 percent. In Oklahoma, we’ve lowered the rate the old-fashioned way: job creation. Sadly, we doubt Obama will take note.
Oklahoma’s November tax collections contained both good news and warning signs.
Sales tax collections for the month were 8.4 percent higher than the prior year; motor vehicles tax collections were 2.2 percent higher. Both figures are signs of continuing consumer confidence in Oklahoma. On the downside, low energy prices made gross production taxes nonexistent and individual income tax collections were down 5.4 percent.
Secretary of Finance Preston Doerflinger noted total collections for the fiscal year to date are $33 million above the estimate. Still, he warned that if the federal government goes over the “fiscal cliff,” it could have dramatic impact on the state economy.
The governor’s office is drafting a state budget responsibly prepared for federal cuts of $137 million to $200 million. Oklahoma’s economy is faring well, but warning signs are on the horizon, and haphazard federal fiscal policy could easily plunge us back into recession. Stay tuned.
Here’s another one for President Barack Obama’s “you didn’t build that” file.
As a mother of four, North Carolina native Brandi Tysinger-Temple started sewing clothes for her children and eventually sold extra items on eBay, then on Facebook. Response was strong and the business grew. From its humble origins in a spare bedroom, Lolly Wolly Doodle today fills a 19,000-square-foot facility and employs more than 100 people in Lexington, N.C.
The business has more than 375,000 Facebook fans. In a town with an unemployment rate of 10.7 percent, Lolly Wolly Doodle is creating jobs the old-fashioned way — by identifying a consumer need and meeting it, not through the crony capitalism too often promoted by Obama.
Tysinger-Temple’s success is an inspiration to those who still believe in the American dream, and a rebuke to government planners who think they know better.
Hostess is attracting suitors for its signature brands, plants and other assets. When news of Hostess’ pending demise broke last month, thousands of Americans mourned the loss of the Twinkie and other Hostess products. But brands, like factories, can be bought and sold.
The Twinkie may live on with a different baking company. Will it taste the same? Remains to be seen. Other famous brands that are likely to survive under new ownership include the Ding Dong, Donettes, Sno Balls, Ho-Hos, Chocodiles and Zingers.
We’re worried, though, that another Hostess staple may be too generic to find life after bankruptcy. It’s those miniature fruit pies that (at least in the minds of mothers who pack school lunch boxes) are healthier than other Hostess offerings. Will someone please pluck the fruit pie from the Hostess tree and plant it in another orchard?
Recently, there’s been a push to overhaul Oklahoma’s liquor laws and allow grocery stores and similar outlets to sell wine or strong beer. So far, sellers benefitting from current restrictions have won the day; state regulations have remained intact.
Recent trends suggest many entrepreneurs expect little change in future years.
The number of liquor stores in Oklahoma has reached 666, the highest total in decades. In 2001, there were just 538. Some have suggested wine sales in grocery stores would increase underage drinking, but it would seem the growth of liquor stores would have the same potential impact.
From a free-market perspective, the increased number of outlets should boost competition and keep consumer prices lower, benefiting consumers. But allowing grocery stores to sell wine would do the same.
As a result, the growth of liquor stores is actually undermining arguments for the sales restrictions that benefit them.
Want a glimpse of what happens to businesses reliant on government regulation to stay viable? Take a look at California, where cheese makers benefit from a state law governing the price they pay for milk.
The price has been so low that many dairies are now going out of business — an estimated 100 out of roughly 1,600 this year. Dairy owners obviously favor raising the price. Cheese makers argue a milk price increase could drive them out of business given the high cost of operating in California due to its other excessive regulations.
To offset the impact of overreaching government regulations, cheese makers are forced to promote … other overreaching government regulations. Instead of competing through the marketplace and letting consumers ultimately determine price, California’s dairies and cheese makers must compete in lobbying state lawmakers.
That’s no way to run an economy.
President Barack Obama’s program to allow some illegal immigrants to remain and work legally in the United States isn’t drawing as many takers as expected.
The program, which applies to those younger than 30 who were typically brought here by their parents when they were children, has drawn just 40,000 applications out of an estimated 1.7 million eligible. It turns out that people who’ve violated immigration laws are hesitant to provide the government their names and locations without a guarantee they or their relatives won’t be deported.
Because the program was enacted through an executive order and not an act of Congress, and because a presidential election looms, Obama can’t make that promise.
We’ve noted Obama’s gesture was more about politics than actually resolving long-standing immigration problems. The response of those targeted by Obama’s program indicates many of them feel the same way.
Oklahomans need few reminders of the importance of the energy industry to the state. They’ll get more reminders next week as the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs holds an energy summit on Tuesday and an American Energy Alliance (AEA) bus tour makes a stop here on Friday.
One in every seven Oklahoma jobs is directly or indirectly tied to energy, according to the AEA. The group’s bus tour has already logged more than 2,000 miles to spotlight the continued importance of fossil fuels in the age of renewable energy mania. The bus will be at the Oklahoma History Center near the state Capitol at 9 a.m. Friday.
OCPA’s National Policy Summit on Energy & Federalism is scheduled for the new Devon Energy Center in downtown Oklahoma City. Panel discussions will focus on national security and state and federal regulations.
Energy’s importance is highlighted monthly in reports on state revenues and demonstrated daily by the thousands of industry employees who live, work and shop in the state. Fossil fuel is still cool here. May it be so for a long time to come.
By the way, those buses that ferry Barack Obama campaigners around the country this fall won’t be running on solar power.