One gets an interesting response when the subject of the Keystone XL pipeline is brought-up in the presence of a "progressive". Sometimes they give real reasons to be against it but mostly they try to change the subject. I think that on some level they know that there isn't a rational reason for opposition. Based on the reasons they give, one hopes that they really don't think these things are convincing:
"Oil from tar sands is much worse for the environment than conventional oil" Okay, granted. But do you think the lack of a pipeline will cause the Canadians to just leave the stuff in the ground? This is usually where they try to change the subject. Oil sells for somewhere in the neighborhood of $100/bbl and it costs less than $40/bbl to produce from tar sands--anyone can do the math. If anything, it will get cheaper to produce going forward. Technology constantly improves and natural gas, which is a major input, has just gotten a lot cheaper.
The alternative to the pipeline is that we will buy more oil from overseas, which will come by tanker. The Canadians meanwhile will pipe it to the Pacific, then put it on a tanker to China. All in all, energy will be wasted.
Yet, I do understand the opposition: Imagine a scenario where North of us was not friendly, democratic and (just as, if not more) environmentally conscious Canada, but rather a country like North Korea. They care nothing for the environment, their people are essentially slaves and all the money will be used to build weapons to threaten us. If that were the case, I would be against the pipeline too.
The difference here is what it takes to elicit moral outrage. What is odd is that the left frequently accuses the right of trying to impose their morality on all of us. They don't seem to notice that much of what they are for boils down to imposing their morality on us. And the Canadians.
It doesn't happen all the time, but every so often while driving down the highway, I will see a car pulled-over by a highway patrolman. Even more rarely, the patrolman has pulled over a motorcycle. Whenever that happens, I think to myself that if I was the cop I would be lenient to the rider of the motorcycle.
It is not like the motorcycle had to stop, at least not in the sense that he would have had to stop if he was driving a car. The fact of the matter is that almost any bike could out-run and evade a patrol car in a way that even an exotic sports car could not do.
So cut the guy some slack. That's all I'm saying here.
Similarly, I feel much the same--only more so--about paying the capital gains tax. Mitt Romney has caught a lot of flak for his average tax rate of about 15%. The rate for him seems low only because almost all of it is not in the form of regular income but rather from long term capital gains, which are taxed at 15%. The thing about it though, is that you don't have to pay any capitol gains tax as long as you keep the assets. Romney sells-off some of his assets each year to fund charities and cover his living expenses and he pays 15% on whatever he takes out.
The important thing to remember is that he hasn't worked (not for the primary purpose of earning money) since 1999. He has been living off of his wealth for more than 20 years! This has given him the freedom to do things like be governor of Massachusetts, run for president a couple of times, volunteer with his church and run the Winter Olympics when they were held in Utah.