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The real story behind President Obama and Michael Vick

By Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr. and Niger Innis
web posted January 10, 2011

President Obama recently called Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, to thank him for hiring MVP-candidate Michael Vick, and underscore the President's support for giving rehabilitated ex-convicts a second chance.

We strongly support both sentiments, and think it is wonderful that a God-gifted athlete like Vick can again market his formidable talents. Our church has an active, successful rehabilitation programs for men and women who "did their time" and want to become productive members of society.

However, the main purpose of the call to Lurie had nothing to do with rehabilitation. It was to push the President's Green Agenda. Mr. Obama urged Lurie to make Lincoln Financial Field "greener," by installing wind turbines and solar panels; he also discussed the construction of a biodiesel plant nearby.  

Mr. Obama has frequently said the economy will be his "singular focus" over the next two years. "We need to work every day, to get our economy moving again. For most Americans and for me, that means jobs." He wanted Mr. Lurie to support that agenda.

However, when Mr. Obama says, "create jobs" and "grow the economy," he means taxpayer-supported "green" jobs and a "renewable" energy economy. This may be politically correct and appeal to some voters, but his plan will cause major trauma to our economic recovery. While Obama's agenda means subsidizing wind, solar and biofuel power, it also means handcuffing hydrocarbon production and use. The inevitable result will be increased energy prices and obstacles to investment in traditional sectors of our economy.

Mr. Obama's climate and energy czars, EPA administrator and Interior secretary are imposing policies this very week that will make this untenable result a reality. They will make more energy resources off limits, reduce royalty and tax revenues – and implement by executive fiat the draconian carbon dioxide and pollution controls that Congress and the American people rejected in 2010. The people rejected the plan because the controls would further curtail economic growth, and endanger environmental quality and human health and welfare.

For both ex-cons and citizens who have never been inside a jail cell, those policies will mean higher prices, higher taxes, fewer opportunities, hobbled civil rights progress, and a still moribund economy. They may create more jobs for government bureaucrats, but will cost millions of jobs in other sectors. These policies will be especially devastating for ex-cons seeking entry-level work.

Low-cost electricity and transportation fuels are key to improving productivity and giving American companies a competitive edge internationally, while paying the world's best wages and benefits. Policies that make energy less reliable and affordable impair productivity and profitability, freeze hiring, and destroy or outsource jobs. They adversely affect factories, truckers, airlines, homes, offices, schools, hospitals, ambulances, taxi and delivery services – virtually 100 percent of our lives.

These "job creation" and "economy building" policies may make sense in the rarified atmosphere of Planet White House. They make no sense in the real world the rest of us must continue to live in.

Michael Vick may be blessed with God given talent enhanced through his hard work. Most ex-cons, however, are not as fortunate. These rehabilitated individuals need a booming American economy that provides for a variety of job opportunities – not a crippled American economy handicapped by fatally flawed energy policies.

Reliable, affordable energy is the foundation for jobs, health, environmental and civil rights progress, and every other component of human welfare. These misnamed "green energy" policies severely undermine every one of these goals.

Congress, the states, truly responsible companies and the courts need to stop, defund or overturn this White House, EPA and Interior power grab. The Affordable Power Alliance will do everything it can to ensure that this happens. ESR

Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr. and  Niger Innis are co-chairs of the Affordable Power Alliance, a humanitarian coalition of civil rights, minority, small business, senior citizen and faith-based organizations that champion access to affordable energy.

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