Tag Archives: policy wars

David Davenport: Beware A “War” on Climate Change

Politicians have learned that, if they don’t know how to solve a problem, they declare a war on it.

So: now we live under countless domestic policy wars—the war on poverty, war on crime, war on drugs, war on terror, war on energy consumption and the like. These wars spend money, increase federal executive power, but solve very little.

Now comes a dangerous cry to declare a war on climate change. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez calls climate change “our World War Two” and Senator Sanders, who proposes an even bigger Green New Deal, agrees. Scholars claim it is already a war that we are losing and ask the president to declare an emergency.

All of this is code for “we don’t really know what needs to be done, but it needs to be big, expensive and federal.” Beware a new policy war on climate change.

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David Davenport: What a National Emergency Actually Means

Few Americans realize that they currently live under some 30 states of national emergency, the oldest declared by President Jimmy Carter during the Iran hostage crisis 40 years ago. Actual emergencies come and go but emergency declarations live on.

The primary effect of a national emergency is to shift power from Congress to the president, as President Trump wanted to build his wall. Along with executive orders and domestic policy wars on poverty, crime, drugs and terror, presidents since Lyndon Johnson have been moving power from one end of Pennsylvania Avenue to the other.

But politically, it’s a two-edged sword. When presidents seek to do things unilaterally, these actions are easily canceled and replaced by the next president. Perhaps you recall how quickly President Trump undid President Obama’s executive orders.

One day Congress will wake up and notice its primary powers are lost.

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