Alaska's economy under Dunleavy (not to scale)

An Open Letter to Dunleavy Supporters


Governor Dunleavy vetoed $444 million in line items from Alaska’s 2019-2020 operating budget. That’s likely more than all of Alaska’s past governors combined have axed from the operating budget.1 The Anchorage Daily News and other media have detailed the specific items cut. Dermot Cole has done a fine series of articles. But WC wants to address…

Source: Table 1.1.1, Bureau of Economic Analysis, National Income and Product Accounts (NIPA). Note: Seasonally adjusted at annual rates.

Trickle Down Didn’t. Anyone Surprised?


The Congressional Research Service is the public policy research arm of the Library of Congress. It’s a neutral legislative branch agency, working for Congress, individual members, committees and the body as a whole. The CRS prides itself on being authoritative, confidential, objective and nonpartisan. The CRS recently published a report finding that the promised benefits…

Downtown Featherville, Idaho

A Visit to Featherville, Idaho


Ethnic resentment and clan consciousness are social forces far more powerful than economic class. It reflects the permanent truth that all people, including poor people, follow their values, however perverted, rather than their interests, however plain. – Adam Gopnik, “The Takeback,” New Yorker, April 8, 2019. WC and Mrs. WC spent a few days recently exploring…

Cloud Peak's Gillette-based Cordero Rojo mine. Photo Credit: Cloud Peak Energy

Another One Bites the Dust


Cloud Peak Energy used to be the nation’s third largest coal producer. Last year it slipped to fourth place. This year it quietly slipped in to Chapter 11. How’s that coal thing working for you, Donnie? Cloud Peak had nearly no cash, was hundreds of millions of dollars in debt and sold less coal in…

Office Depot Inc. signage is displayed outside the company's store in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., on Friday, Feb. 19, 2016. Photographer: Christopher Dilts/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Problem with Capitalism


When WC was a much younger lawyer, circumstances put him in extended contact with the late, arch-conservative Larry Carpenter, former Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly member and former member of the Alaska State House. At one point, WC mentioned to Carpenter that WC was involved in a case where unrestrained capitalism had run amok. Carpenter’s…

Trans-Alaska Pipeline, Black Rapids, Alaska

Cause, Effect and Kara Moriarty


Kara Moriarty is a flack for the oil and gas industry.1 Her wages are paid by ExxonMobile and British Petroleum, among others, through the Alaska Oil and Gas Association. You know, the folks who pay royalty and property taxes on North Slope production. So when Kara Moriarty says current tax levels are just fine, a…

It's always awkward when the chickens come home to roost

Alaskans Learn About TANSTAAFL


Alaskans elected Mike Dunleavy as governor because he promised them big, fat permanent fund dividends. They voted their greed. Those chickens are now coming home to roost.1 The problem Alaskans face is that the laws of economics are as harsh and unforgiving as the laws of physics. One of those laws is sometimes abbreviated TANSTAAFL.…