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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Fixing Federalism Sidestepped in Opposing E.P.A. Coal Regulations

In his letter to every state governor in March 2015, Mitch McConnell, the majority leader in the U.S. Senate, urged the state officials to ignore the E.P.A.’s regulations that when implemented would reduce carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants. In his letter, the senator complained that President Obama was “allowing the E.P.A. to wrest control of a state’s energy policy.”[1] Were McConnell the chair of the E.U.’ s European Council rather than the U.S.’s Senate, he would doubtlessly have pointed to the worsening “democracy deficit,” wherein regulators in the European Commission take power away from state legislatures. Yet, surprisingly (or many not), the majority leader did not frame the issue in terms of federalism. Why?

The full essay is at “Fixing Federalism Sidestepped.”



[1] Coral Davenport, “McConnell Urges States to Help Thwart Obama’s ‘War on Coal,’” The New York Times, March 20, 2015.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Conflicts of Interest in Europe’s Greek-Austerity Impasse

At the conclusion of the European Council session in March 2015, all 19 of the state governors in attendance still wanted the state of Greece to remain with the euro. As for whether Greece should continue its austerity program and reform its economy as per the ongoing agreement on continued bailout funds, the tally was 18 to 1. Although both federal and state officials in the E.U. overwhelming believed that the austerity program had been behind the growth in the Greek economy in 2014, the Greek finance minister and most Keynesian economists disagreed, pointing to the fact that the state had lost a quarter of its GDP under the austerity. Besides this honest difference of opinion on the effectiveness of the strategy, conflicts-of-interest compromise the “club of 18” and thus its position.