Seriously Doctor?? This isn’t a joke?
An academic’s view of Trans-Canada and conflict.
I’ve written previously about the undue influence of academics and other members of the university-based intelligentsia on public policy and the regulatory regimes of government. We are seeing in Washington today, the ramifications of turning over the levers of power to men and women who for the most part have never held a private sector job, much less ran a business or met a payroll.
The members of President Obama’s cabinet have all received a multitude of advanced degrees and have years of teaching and research experience. What they do not have is any practical experience in the fields they study. They can tell you a great deal about economic theory and can even write impressively lengthy papers on the subject. What they cannot do, is tell you with any certainty whether their advice and conclusions are worth spit.
A great example of this can be found locally, right here in Nebraska. An economist, F. Gregory Hayden PhD, has blessed the debate over the Keystone XL pipeline by weighing in with a 30 page paper titled “Conflicts in the Licensing Process for Trans-Canada’s Keystone XL Pipeline.” Given the papers length, one could be forgiven for expecting it to actually say something of interest, however the only prize awaiting the reader at the end of this work is an unshakeable feeling that a root canal would’ve been a preferable use of time.
The most interesting (and illustrative) part of the paper is included as a graphic with this story. It is a diagram that manages to make both a political and economic statement, albeit, not the one the author intended. Note the asterisk by the names of several agencies and individuals. These, according to the author do not “have a conflict” in the licensing process of the Keystone XL.
It is immediately apparent that to be considered as “unconflicted” by Dr. Hayden, you have to be either an environmentalist, against the pipeline, or both. Seriously, The “Cornell University Global Labor Institute” has no conflict of interest here? I witnessed the testimony of the representative of the Global Labor Institute and can assure you that at no time did I ever feel that I was in a “bias-free” zone. I urge you to watch the testimony for yourself, and come to your own conclusion.
Likewise, Professor Stansbury, of the “15 mile death-plume” fame is also credited by Hayden as being evenhanded. Other writers have already exposed Prof. Stansbury’s loyalties, so I won’t rehash them here, but it is clear, the politics of this chart do not fall to the conservative side of the spectrum. To me however, the chart is a wonderful bit of advocacy against the very regulatory regimes the author adores. The ridiculously byzantine process shown above cries out for streamlining, but don’t expect to hear that from our good Dr. Hayden.
As I mentioned before, all that is necessary to be considered as unbiased by Dr. Hayden is to be on the proper side of the issue; his side. Hayden has a very impressive set of credentials in academic circles. He graduated with his B.A. in Economics in 1962, and earned his PhD 6 years later ̶ at nearly the same moment as he began his one and only job, in the Department of Economics at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. The man has spent his entire life in the same job, in the economically sheltered environs of the academy.
The publications he has authored also provide a window into the “unconflicted” existence Prof. Hayden has led for the last 40-odd years. He has written on a wide variety of subjects, yet nearly all reveal a common thread; ecology, eco-system valuation and detailed instructions for how to more closely involve the government in seemingly everything.
I am genuinely saddened to see the above “conflict-chart” as the culmination of Dr. Hayden’s 40+ year career with our University. I am more saddened by the fact that we taxpayers have been paying this hack a salary for all that time. We Nebraskans deserve better scholarship from those we pay to teach our youth. We deserve actual research, not agenda-driven puffery dressed up in a tweed-coat.
Dr. Hayden owes us all an apology; first, for foisting this outrageously biased propaganda on a trusting public, and second, for cashing his paychecks. Paychecks I might add that allowed Dr. Hayden to be a regular contributor to the campaigns of our good Senator Ben “Cornhusker Kickback” Nelson to the tune of nearly $1000.
Come out of the shadows Dr. Hayden. This is the 21st century, and no one cares if you show a little “leftist-ankle” when the skirt hikes up. Just be honest about it. In the interest of full disclosure, I should say that I testified before the Natural Resources Committee on Senator Dubas’ bill, LB1, the Major Pipeline Siting Act. And I presented my testimony as the representative of Americans for Prosperity, speaking in favor of the pipeline, and against the Senator’s bill.
I did not receive any compensation for this, although I would not have turned it down had it been offered. I will say though, I attended an early Press Conference that was held at the Cornhusker Hotel in Lincoln, and I had two cups of coffee, which, I am relatively certain were billed to Trans-Canada. If that makes me a wholly-owned subsidiary, then so be it. It really was good coffee.
I welcome comments, and readers at my website, www.readmorejoe.com