, Salem, MA


October 10, 2012

Column: Some clarity in the Brown-Warren race

The Brown-Warren debates have been picking up speed, but there has been some difficulty in discerning substance from style. The problem, I believe, is that Scott Brown’s purported platform is not supported by his voting record. The Boston Globe pointed out on Oct. 3 that he votes 76 percent to the right, which is not, strictly speaking, a bipartisan record. If you average in his votes before Elizabeth Warren declared her candidacy, the percentage of Republican bandwagon votes from Brown goes up to 85 percent.

My two main concerns are points that have come up in the debates but have yet to be clarified. One is regarding the Keystone pipeline that is to run south from Canada across America’s breadbasket region. It is being billed by Brown as a job generator and a rescue from high energy prices: That is a myth. The truth is, the 6,500 full-time jobs it would generate are only temporary and end once the pipeline is completed, except for around 50 jobs. All the oil being generated is earmarked for immediate export; it’s going to the docks, tankers, then gone. Not one drop stays in the United States, which sees zero revenue, not even a transport fee. We also risk the precious fresh water of the High Plains aquifer system, dominated by the Ogallala aquifer, which rests under eight states and feeds the fertile American breadbasket.

Brown either knows this and is genuflecting to the oil barons’ desires or doesn’t know this, which for a sitting U.S. senator is even more frightening.

My other main concern is the three separate American Jobs bills Brown voted against. One of these, in particular, the Rebuilding American Jobs Act, would have invested $50 billion in infrastructure care, i.e., the desperately needed repair of roads and bridges across the United States, and created tens of thousands of jobs nationwide. In Massachusetts alone, $850 million would have been injected for infrastructure investment and would have created an estimated 11,000 jobs here. This all would have been financed, entirely, by a 0.5 percent surtax on all earned income over $1 million. Every time Brown says he doesn’t want to raise taxes on people, the people he’s talking about, to be very clear about this, are the millionaires and billionaires. That is why on Nov. 3 he voted “no” on the Rebuilding American Jobs Act of 2011.

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