Obama, GOP ignore simple jobs program

With the White House unwilling to back oil or natural gas and a new strain of Republicans opposed to any kind of government involvement in industry, as many as 300,000 energy jobs go begging.

By Jim Cramer Nov 14, 2011 12:45PM

the streetThe enemies of energy self-sufficiency and jobs are everywhere, even when they don't think they are being the enemies.


Look, it is one thing to try to block Keystone, the heavy crude pipeline from Canada that some people say could endanger key aquifers in the U.S. I get that. There is always going to be something endangered when you move energy from one place to another. Always. There are a lot of jobs on the line, but I can see where, if the big aquifers can be avoided, you have to try to do so.


But you and I know that with this president the jobs are going elsewhere and this pipeline is going to swing west to export oil to Asia, not come here. Hey, green is here to stay. I get that, too. I want the jobs and the North American energy here. But that's not what seems to be the imperative in a White House that is willing to lose billions to back any cockamamie solar project.


But it is another thing to work so hard to stop our own resources from coming in to play and block new jobs from being created simply on principle.


Last week I asked former Sen. Rick Santorum a question about whether he would provide some sort of federal incentives to get workers where they are needed to get the oil out of the ground in North Dakota. I asked because North Dakota is a real conundrum. The Bakken is producing 470,000 barrels a day, and I think that would double overnight if we had the number of people needed to man the rigs, could get the train lines, had the truck drivers and could extend the pipelines.


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It could, ultimately, be much more than that, as there is plenty of good work from Continental Resources (CLR) that shows there could be a Prudhoe Bay -- the largest discovery in 46 years -- under the state.


We just don't have enough people there to get it out of the ground. At the same time, we have millions of people in other states who are qualified for these jobs -- jobs that are going begging -- to build out this oil infrastructure. But they can't afford to get there or live there because there is no residential infrastructure. They need roads, schools, homes, apartments, hotels, restaurants and malls.

In other words, they need what we used to build when we were a growth country.


My question was designed to see whether Santorum would be willing to put some federal money out to get those workers there, because the job is too big for private industry.


The results of the answer were disappointing, if not predictable. He said as a senator he presided over the Marcellus boom in Pennsylvania and that didn't need any federal aid.


Now, you have to be respectful in these events, even as that doesn't come all that naturally to me. I wanted to say "Hey, chief, you missed the entire point. North Dakota, unlike Pennsylvania, has the lowest unemployment rate in the country. They didn't need any help in Pennsylvania, because there were so many idle workers."


I am simply saying that North Dakota is where the jobs are but the people aren't. Why not make us more energy-self-sufficient with easy-to-refine light Bakken crude (not a lot of impurities) and create as many as 300,000 jobs?


The answer, according to Santorum, is let the market figure it out.


The market can't. If it could, why would I be asking the question? To hear myself talk?


Anyway, neither the left nor the right is really focused on a simple precept: when you can produce cleaner energy here and create jobs at the same time, it is a win-win for both parties. The federal monies will go after truly shovel-ready projects that will advance the private sector's ability to put people to work in high paying jobs that will be provided by Halliburton (HAL), Clean Harbors (CLH), Continental Resources, Brigham Exploration (BEXP) (soon to bought), Schlumberger (SLB), Lufkin (LUFK), Continental (CTTAY), EOG (EOG), Hess (HES) and all sorts of construction companies.


We would have more, cleaner oil, more jobs and an infrastructure that would last. It's exactly what the mission of government has been in the past. It's what creates the growth that spurs the tax receipts that pay for themselves while making us more independent of foreign powers.


We know this president won't do it. We know that Santorum represents the new strain of the GOP, a sort of "abolish the government except for defense, as private industry will take care of everything."


To which I say: If that could only be the case. But some projects, like the Panama Canal, the interstate highway system and the Hoover Dam, to name three too-large-for-private-industry jobs created by the Republicans, are made for the federal government.


Just not under either of the current parties.


Action Alerts PLUS, which Cramer co-manages as a charitable trust, has no positions in the stocks mentioned.


jim cramer

Jim Cramer is a co-founder of TheStreet and contributes daily market commentary to the financial news network's sites. Follow his trades for his charitable trust.

Nov 14, 2011 2:25PM

Right on, Cramer!!!  The conclusion from this article is that neither political party wants to create jobs or decrease the Federal deficit, because what Cramer is talking about would do just that. Our polititians just want bleat 'jobs' , 'cut the budget' but they really will do nothing to accomplish these. They know that the electorate won't understand the difference.

But the average American will suffer for their ignorance and so will their children. 

Nov 14, 2011 4:43PM
I have several relatives working in North Dakota on the oil fields. The people there are building housing as fast as possible. The worst thing that could happen would be for the government ot stick their noses in. That would really screw things up. Cramer is another big city **** who knows nothing of the area and would screw things up with his not knowing the facts, but then who in that bunch on TV does. None I would guess, but they sure do have strong opinions. Butt out or travel to the area and learn.
Nov 14, 2011 3:22PM

"abolish the government except for defense, as private industry will take care of everything."


Without government, we wouldn't have put a man on the moon.  We wouldn't have the internet.  We wouldn't have all of those wonderful satellites beaming data around the planet.  We wouldn't have the interstate system.  We wouldn't have split the atom.  Look at all of the medical and agricultural advances that are discovered in public research universities funded by state and federal government!


The list goes on.  Yes, I know the private sector was instrumental in the development of the above technologies, but the private sector was set to work by the government's need for innovation. 

Nov 14, 2011 3:39PM
Smile Switch horses bobo,  the Bakken crude will be OK the Finnish oil company Statoil will do the work
Nov 15, 2011 5:20AM

Vexed One, what we are witnessing is the combined results of greed, corruption, incompetence, and yes some purposeful acts.


We have been running trade deficits for decades and the end result is what can best be described as a National Bankruptcy Liquidation. Trade deficits have forced foreign entities to keep their revenues here in the USA to avoid currency reevaluations. So, they bought productive resources and now we are seeing creative ways to move wealth back home without triggering currency exchanges. Raw materials, scrap metal, energy, manufacturing, and intellectual property rights are all moving off shore.


Jobs are being created, but not at a rate sufficient to absorb new intents into the work place. We are still loosing ground to a downward facing demand driven spiral. Wages are stagnant in the face of relatively mild inflation, but continuing to loose ground none the less. Purchasing power is being lost with each spiral feeding the next spiral. The corporate propaganda is always trying to paint a rosy out look where there is none. The over 18 million unemployed and the under employed have no relief in sight.


Just do the math. If we started adding 250,000 jobs to non-farm payroll each month constantly it would take over 13 years to reabsorb the estimated 18 million currently unemployed.


                                       18,000,000 unemployed


(250,000 added per month – 135000 new entrants per month) x 12 months     


This downward facing demand driven spiral is a growing monster and the number of jobs being created by oil exploration is but a pimple on the butt of this monster. This energy development boom is nothing but an excuse to blow tax payers money enriching the oil companies which are flush with cash already. We need to learn form our Alaska experiences building pipelines for export to Asia. Let the private sector build its own pipeline to export the oil wealth off shore.


Which brings me to the corruption that is congress; they have created a leverage system that profit maximizes their own insider trading deals. That is the main reason why Glass Steagall has not been reinstated. That is the main reason why the commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 has not been repealed. That is the main reason that the leverage ratios remain too high. That is the main reason people are occupying parks in almost every major city. This nation is misallocating capital resources on speculation (a zero sum game) to benefit a few corrupt inside traders who have given themselves an exemption from the insider trading laws. These criminals that call themselves congress people are lining there pockets ignoring the best interests of this country. As it fails it is just another shorting opportunity for the well connected insider. We need to get rid of every one of them.  


The congressman trying to liquidate federal land in Los Angeles knowing full well that it will triple in value once the new foot ball stadium is built should be ashamed of himself.

Nov 14, 2011 5:00PM
@upy2. The term as fast as you can is completely objective. They obviously are not being built as fast as they can be and that is Cramer's point. Giving incentive for people to create businesses that create houses, roads, infrastructure, etc. will help lure people who aren't already in North Dakota to North Dakota. And the goal is to bring people who are out of work to North Dakota  where there is work because ND's unemployment is the lowest in the country. That's his point.
Nov 15, 2011 12:57AM

Some of the posts I have read seem to imply that there is a specific and directed plan to make us all financially weak, while others imply that our current woes are simply a direct result of the incompetence of the past. Can anyone here give me an intellegent or decisive answer on what the real deal is? 


If jobs are not being created, the housing market is being left where it's at, and big money oppurtunities are being handed to foreign competition because of a lack of the will to act on them (as part of some sinister 'home grown' plan); what is the purpose of making the U.S. and it's citizens financially weak?


 Is it to level the playing field between the poor and middle class? The idea of re-distributing wealth (one I do not agree with) does not seem to hold any clout here unless it is to make the middle class poor as well. 


Is it a tool being used to force Americans into jobs they would not normally or could not normally afford to take? Sounds like immagration control to me, although I do not agree with this specific 'means to an end' scenario.


Or is this all just the aftermath of a greedy (but intellegent) upper classthat has simply chosen to invest where the best profits are going to be made? Honestly?! If I had several million to invest (now or 10 years ago), why would I invest it in a company that produces steel here? Arn't the real profits being made in China?


Please don't get me wrong. I am all for American Industry, right here at home (even if it means taking a few losses) and if I had the power to make a difference 'here' I would. I'm simply curious to know what the truth is.




Nov 15, 2011 8:57AM
In all my years alive and in the work force I have never seen an administration that is so hell bent on continuous destruction of the American Dream and the destruction of jobs. This administration seems to only please the one while not looking out for the 500. Eyes are so blind to the needs as this administration wheels, deals, competes in insider trading while the average working American goes from paycheck to paycheck and drowns a little more each day. We have these people who want to rule us into the ground and take our livelihoods while they sit on their gold alters and sip wine and eat roses. I say it is time that the small investors take back our riches from these tyrants and wanna be dictators. It is time that all the ruling class of this administration feels our pain, it is time that we tighten the noose around their necks, it is time we stand them in front of the wall, it is time for this administration to do what We The People want. It is time for them to please us, it is time we as a Nation Take Back America and grow this country. Stop the tyrants and wanna be dictators create a better life for your kids, it is time we stop them, this is your call to arms, protect your freedom.
Nov 15, 2011 7:26AM
This is a hard one I just read a story on MSN about the housing shortage in Dakota and how "modest" 2 bedroom apts were going for 2000.00 a month.The story was all about the landlords raizing the rents on people who had lived there for years mostly old folks and some younger people who now have to move. I understand profits and making money while the sun shines, this is not Dakota's first oil boom (1980or90) but when is raizing rents 300% and more right ? After a flood? after a major storm? during a oil boom? I don't know the answer
Nov 15, 2011 7:06AM

I don't see the problem with our government... Our politicians are creating jobs in DC just as fast as they can!  The more people they can add to their own payrolls...the more votes they can control.

Oil... we won't need it much longer - as more and more people lose their jobs and file for bankruptcy...they will have less need/money to drive around...

Oh, and build more houses...silly idea... we just went thru that with the Feds help and look at the mess it created. Perhaps, we should be burning down several million homes instead of trying to sell them to the people that will be losing their jobs next year?

Now these are simple assumptions to the mess we are in... Cramer seems to have missed the easy answers! 

Nov 14, 2011 4:38PM

Of course Cramer is right. We have a natural resource that could benefit the whole country and employ people from all over the country. We should have had the forsight to do this several years ago, none of this info is so new. But now its common knowledge and still none of the politicians seem to get it. This should be a national priority, like the Manhattan project. Its just as much a question of national security as it is economics. But it seems to be only one of politics to the politicians.


We must develop our own resouces and do whatever we have to do to do that, as a country. Countries build infastructure. Roads, bridges, pipelines across state lines. We dont ask investors to do that ordinarily although some public private partnerships look promising here. The politicians are really fighting over who controls the money which means whose friends get it and what contributions are bought. The money should be earmarked for specific projects and given to State infastructure banks, not doled out piecemeal by the Feds as a control device. Thats the fight. Not what needs to be developed or why. They are really just fighting over how to get a piece.


. And schools are a state responsibility, not a federal one. The policy that all children must get an education is one thing but how is up to the state and the local community and spending money to make them green at the expense of other priorities is assinine.

Nov 14, 2011 7:13PM
Cramer and the GOP talk jobs? Lets see the bush tax cuts were to create jobs? No jobs there? If the GOP people running for president wants to create jobs? LOL None of them would have supports the loans to Chrysler and GM ? If them two companies went down in 09 ? It would have brought down Ford and Toyota , and the whole supplier base of the USA , about 6 million jobs there! ! The CEOs of both companies have said it ! Believe it now? Tax cuts do not create jobs , consumers do ! When consumers spend , companies hire more people to make the stuff consumers buy! That's what creates jobs! People talk free enterprise? That's a joke in the USA. COMMUNIST CHINA and the Communist China marts of America are booming! The only problem is nothing is made in the USA ? Hmmmmm????? LOL
Nov 14, 2011 4:14PM
The Keystone XL project is really not economically viable. Mitigating the environmental impact of mining, transporting, and refining the oil dervived from Canadian tar sands adds close to $50 dollars per barrel to the cost of producing it, making it more expensive than crude oil shipped by tanker from the middle east. So forget about jobs there.

Where is this huge oil field in North Dakota that Cramer is talking about? The one that produces light crude oil. How much oil are we talking about?

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