More Gas Pipe/LNG Entrigue

We noted that YESTERDAY the Alaska governor sought to increase the statutory reach of the Department of Law’s Attorney General, so that he (i.e. and various attorney friends of the Administration as well, we presume), could participate in tribunals presided over by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

Here is the bill he submitted to the Legislature.

Please review our Sunday night observation and consider that in testimony today before the Senate Finance Committee the President of the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation (AGDC) said that he was aware a competing pipeline/LNG route has risen to oppose the AGDC route before the FERC.  He said that he “intended” to stick to the route terminating in  Nikiski.  

More on this later in the week….

 

TONIGHT THE ALASKA SENATE STATE AFFAIRS COMMITTEE WILL MEET TO TAKE TESTIMONY ON SJR 2, THE RESOLUTION CALLING FOR A VOTE OF THE PEOPLE ON A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT IMPROVEMENT TO MORE RELIABLY CONTAIN GOVERNMENT SPENDING. WE URGE ANY OF OUR ALASKA READERS TO PARTICIPATE. YOU CAN CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS AGENCY, THE OFFICE OF SENATOR MIKE DUNLEAVY AND/OR TUNE IN ON GAVEL-TO-GAVEL 360. THE MEETING STARTS AT 3:30 BUT WILL NOT LIKELY TAKE UP THIS ISSUE UNTIL 4 P.M. OR LATER.   SEE BACKGROUND HERE.    -DH

To Alaska’s Legislators, With Hope and Respect

Valentine’s Day Comments On Alaska’s Addiction To Overspending

by

Dave Harbour

We spend time on the fiscal systems of Alaska and other North American regimes because energy investment requires certainty.  The less certainty the less investment.  The less investment, the less opportunity for the coming generation.  And…we should never forget that fossil energy is the very foundation upon which is built the prosperity of North America.  Without it, we would be a 3rd world player.  

With the certainty to investment comes the freedom to innovate and grow in our freedoms.  We dedicate these fiscal commentaries to that proposition.  -dh

Recently we briefed readers on the importance of Alaska’s effort to control the unsustainable size of government and the root cause: lack of spending discipline, which is a human condition.  Here is the link to that background.

Civilization has developed techniques for defending itself against human temptation — like the temptation of driving 100 MPH on a highway in your new car.  Even as far back as circa. 1750 B.C. King Hammurabi developed a set of laws to bring order to the chaos that otherwise unrestrained human behavior can produce.  Those 300 laws — a tribute to the King’s understanding of good governance and human temptation — are inscribed on a magnificent stone pillar on display in Paris’ Louvre today. 

Princes of yore didn’t need laws to control their own dictatorial spending policies.  But a Constitutional Republic such as ours is led by elected officials whose desire to retain the status, emoluments and pleasures of power given to them by voters, is subject to the temptation of giving demanding voters more than those voters’ government can afford.  

The result in today’s Alaska, like today’s U.S. Federal government, is such an indefensible degree of overspending that our civilization is now stealing the future from our children’s non voting generation in the vain quest to satisfy all of today’s voters’ desires.  It is called intergenerational theft, or more delicately put, intergenerational inequity.  Since Alaska — unlike the federal government — cannot print money, it simply creates ‘entitlements’ with no idea how the kids will pay for them.  And, it spends all of its savings, with the mindlessness of a grasshopper.

The U.S. Federal government steals from the kids by creating entitlements it has no idea how the next generation can support.  Nor, can today’s budget support the weight of entitlement.  So the U.S. government steals by printing money that has the effect of devaluing the savings of parents and kids in the future.

For the King of ancient Mesopotamia to maintain order in his growing empire, he created several hundred laws with the intent of enforcing them for the purpose of making, “justice visible in the land, to destroy the wicked person and the evil-doer, that the strong might not injure the weak.”

Today, we won’t try to solve all of Alaska’s and the United States’ civil problems, although we believe that a Hammurabi-like approach to robbery, for example, produces an instant reduction in robbery were his law our law: “If any one is committing a robbery and is caught, then he shall be put to death.”

The point is that law is partly required to “keep honest people honest”, to address the failings of “human weakness”.

In the case of Alaska’s overspending problem, we found that in 1982 human weakness caused legislators to thwart the will of the movement to control spending by watering down the language restraining overspending until it had virtually no impact on run-away spending.

So now comes a new generation of legislators saddled with a huge, unaffordable government and low oil prices,upon which up to 90% of that failed bureaucracy depends.  They are facing imminent fiscal default of the state.  If they don’t take resolute action, their state — under their very own watch — will go broke.

One way to confront the challenge long-term, is to repair the deficiencies of the 1982 constitutional spending limitation.

The second way is to confront the short term challenge of deficit spending.  

We’ve addressed short term solutions elsewhere.  Today, we urge action on at least the long term solution to fiscal certainty and sustainable budgeting: passage of a strong, binding limitation on state government appropriations and spending policy.

Accordingly, we congratulate Senator Dunleavy and those of his colleagues who see and understand the cause of Alaska’s current fiscal distress and wish them well in constructing a proper, constitutional solution.

We believe Alaska’s children, who read of this history, will appreciate the work of this legislature to keep their honest parents honest.  

We believe the kids will appreciate that this 2017-2019 Constitutional spending limit process enabled them to enjoy a free and liberated “pioneering state”, where they occupy the “last frontier” of opportunity and hope rather than languish in dependence on the welfare offerings of a bankrupt system.