A carbon tax is a better way.12:01 PM, Sep 14, 2015 • By IKE BRANNON
The answer is climate change—at least if the question is “why should we keep a costly and ineffective government agency." The Obama Administration’s recent repurposing of a heretofore moribund government agency as a tool to soften the impact of climate change—a move heralded in a recent Washington Post article—is more than just a political master stroke: It represents the logical progression of strategy for climate change warriors who won’t let congressional inaction stop them in their quest to save the earth.
The Denali Commission’s corrupt inception, ineffective existence, spastic death throes and eventual salvation at the hands of the president is more than just a metaphor for government run amuck: It also happens to perfectly encapsulate what the fight over global warming has morphed into—an all-encompassing excuse for the expansion of government.
The commission was itself the product of an earlier era, when the chairmen of appropriations committees could create and fund dubious home-state projects in election years. The ostensible purpose of the Denali Commission was to help isolated Alaskan communities--possibly a worthy mission, although why it would be a federal rather than a state-sponsored mission is a mystery to me, given Alaska’s abundant oil wealth and the tenth amendment. (But I digress.)
It turns out that the commission was completely ineffective, so much so that its own inspector general concluded that it should be abolished, a sentiment with which the General Accountability Office concurred. In 2011, the newly Republican Congress seemed inclined to put it out of its existence, especially after imposing a ban on earmarks, but the state’s congressional delegation kept it alive on life support.
The delegation’s machinations appear to have paid off. The administration announced during the president’s visit to Alaska last week that the Denali Commission will be repurposed to help small communities adjust to the impact that climate change will have on their economy and way of life.
It’s a deft move politically, as it gives three Republicans in Congress a reason to pay lip service to the dangers of climate change. Given the pittance the Denali Commission will cost, the president may have struck a bargain. Climate change has become the be-all and end-all for many Democrats and nearly all environmentalists, the lens through which they see every policy debate.
Stymied at the federal level, the liberal war on climate change will likely bring about a lot more repurposing of agencies, additional action at the state and local level, and--most importantly—further action from the EPA, which has already been given a lot of leeway by the courts to treat CO2 as a pollutant under the Clean Air Act, allowing it to impose regulations to mitigate its rise.
The conservative answer to this war on multiple fronts has been to just say no and refuse to engage on the matter. That’s a nihilistic response. The climate change car is out of the barn and driving down the road.
Let me suggest another path.
A comprehensive tax reform that uses revenues from a carbon tax to reduce other, more harmful taxes and engenders a modicum of relief from further regulatory chicanery would be an unmitigated win for conservatives, and the planet. A carbon tax is less bad than the income tax, especially in a world where both small businesses and the working poor face effective marginal tax rates in excess of 50% and where the U.S. corporate tax rate is amongst the highest in the world.
The honest response to this (besides that tax economists see tax reform as an answer to everything) is that there’s no way to ensure that the environmental left will back down from further administrative measures if they were given a carbon tax. Fair enough—we will never get the left to drop current EPA greenhouse gas regulations for a carbon tax—but it will be much more difficult for them to win the support of voters for additional, costly actions when everyone’s already paying more to drive or heat their home to fight climate change, and if it helps us to kill a few Denali Commissions along the way, or potentially rein in future EPA actions, so much the better.
How Alaska’s governor went from Palin favorite to Obama pal.Sep 14, 2015, Vol. 21, No. 01 • By FRED BARNES
Governor Bill Walker flew to Washington, D.C., to accompany President Obama aboard Air Force One on the president’s seven-hour flight to Anchorage. “I’m honored to be governor of Alaska at the time a sitting president comes to Alaska,” he told the Alaska Dispatch News. “You bet.”
10:02 AM, Sep 1, 2015 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
One of the most disturbing aspects of living through the Obama presidency is reading every week or two about some new decision that has been decreed by the executive branch rather than voted upon by the legislative branch. Time and again, things that — in a constitutional republic — should be decided by the people’s representatives are instead being decided by a man who never again has to face the people’s verdict, or by those serving underneath him and at his discretion. This is not the way America is supposed to work.
3:34 PM, May 7, 2015 • By JERYL BIER
Rural Alaska is well known for its wolves, bears, and moose, but the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set its sights on a considerably smaller creature: the bed bug.
12:13 PM, Nov 12, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Republican Dan Sullivan of Alaska has defeated incumbent Democrat Mark Begich in one of the country's last outstanding Senate races. According to the New York Times, Sullivan has a nearly 8,000-vote lead, winning 49 percent of the vote to Begich's 46 percent.
The race between Begich and Sullivan had been too close to call in Alaska, where ballot results from the far-flung parts of the state can often take days and weeks to be counted.
Nov 3, 2014, Vol. 20, No. 08 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
The Scrapbook has no particular investment in Sarah Palin’s career at this date. She no longer holds public office and seems content with her speaking and TV gigs. Certainly, she is still a politically outspoken public figure, but this in no way justifies the media obsession with her.
9:01 AM, Oct 22, 2014 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
Entering the final fortnight of the Senate races, something of a pattern has started to develop. Republicans are leading in the Real Clear Politics average of recent polling in all states that were to the right of the national average in the 2012 election (which President Obama won by 4 points), with two exceptions: Kansas, which is tied; and North Carolina, where Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan is clinging to a 2-point lead but has less than 46 percent support. These right-of-center states in which the GOP is leading include six where seats are currently held by Democrats: Arkansas, Alaska, Louisiana, South Dakota, Montana, and West Virginia.
A key polling result may trip the legal marijuana breakout.4:45 PM, Oct 1, 2014 • By DAVID W. MURRAY and JOHN P. WALTERS
A poll reported in the Washington Post on September 23 offers positive news for those troubled by the movement to legalize marijuana. It also does not augur well for those pushing more states to follow Colorado and Washington, where legalization is already underway.
12:00 AM, Jul 24, 2014 • By FRED BARNES
Republicans have distinct advantages in Senate races this year, including President Obama’s low job ratings, the number of vulnerable Democrats, and an unhappy national mood. But there’s another advantage: the generally high quality of their candidates. This wasn’t the case in 2010 and 2012, when Republicans blew chances to capture the Senate.
The Democrats’ Senate problem.Apr 14, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 29 • By JAY COST
What do Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Montana, South Dakota, and West Virginia have in common? For one, none has a city larger than 400,000 people. For another, they all voted for John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012. For yet another, they are the most likely places for Republicans to pick up Senate seats, thus taking control of the upper chamber, in 2014.
These three facts are related.
9:07 AM, Feb 12, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
A new poll of likely Alaska voters finds incumbent Democratic senator Mark Begich leading a potential Republican challenger by 12 points with the inclusion of an independent candidate. Begich, who was first elected in 2008 over scandal-plagued Republican Ted Stevens, has 45 percent support in the Hayes poll, while one Republican candidate, former attorney general Dan Sullivan, gets 33 percent.
2:33 PM, Oct 24, 2013 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Senator Kay Hagan, a Democrat from North Carolina who is up for reelection in 2014, says she supports delaying the deadline for signing up for health insurance under Obamacare's individual mandate. Hagan, who voted for Obamacare back in 2010, also says the fine for not signing up for health insurance should be waived.
12:48 PM, Oct 15, 2013 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Not a single citizen of the state of Alaska have signed up for the Obamacare exchange. The Associated Press reports that Alaska senator Lisa Murkowski, a Republican, has written a letter to Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius about the problems with the health insurance exchanges set up by the federal government:
9:37 AM, Oct 15, 2013 • By MICHAEL WARREN
New polls of likely voters in three key states in next year's U.S. Senate election show Republicans running just behind incumbent Democrats. Harper Polling, a firm associated with Republicans and working on behalf of conservative super PAC American Crossroads, conducted surveys of likely voters in Alaska, Arkansas, and Louisiana, where those state's Democratic senators face reelection in 2014 (via Politico). In each of those races, most of the potential Republican challengers poll within single digits of the Democrat.
8:03 AM, Sep 12, 2013 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Alaska's lieutenant governor Mead Treadwell, a Republican, has officially entered the U.S. Senate race in 2014 to challenge incumbent Democrat Mark Begich. The Associated Press reports:
Treadwell, who announced his intention to run in June, has events planned for Anchorage and Fairbanks on Thursday.