“It’s a big hunk of land” the President-Elect said, “there’s nothing out there but Eskimos”
What’s in store for Alaska from the Trump administration? There have been enough strong hints to suggest that, notwithstanding Trump’s good showing among Alaska voters, Alaska is not going to do well. Though all three of our congressional representatives gave at least nominal support to the Trump campaign, Sens. Murkowski and Sullivan will be under particular pressure to evaluate President Trump’s nominees at confirmation hearings and Rep. Young too will join them facing pressure with respect to program initiatives. The irony here, for these three and many other members of Congress, is that opposition to many of President Trump’s programs may well develop as vigorously as opposition to President Obama’s programs. It may also be that a new, informal coalition develops in the Senate with a few or quite a few Republican senators joining overwhelming Democratic opposition to block nominations of extremists and relegate ill-conceived program proposals to the waste basket.
Among the most obvious of these contests will be the fight over the president’s proposals to “voucher-ise” Medicare, Medicaid, Veterans Affairs and other medical programs and to advance voucher use in public schools. We are likely to see a wave of angry senior citizens, relatives of senior citizens, teachers and parents sweep over Trump’s proposals and reject the Cabinet officers that appear to have been selected solely for enthusiasm for vouchers as a substitute for established federal programs. No doubt there are supporters of such proposals, but they surely aren’t a majority. If Alaska’s two senators nod dutifully endorsing these nominees, it will drop money in the bank for opponents in future elections.
Candidate Trump has made much of international trade agreements as allegedly doing away with American jobs. Maybe a majority of Americans agree with him, but not Alaskans who know something about the state’s economy. We are not a manufacturing state. Very few jobs fall into that category. Alaska is an exporting state, in the billions. If we get into tariff and trade wars, retaliatory action against Alaska’s exports is all but certain. Alaska’s delegation has no business supporting national initiatives that can provoke trade wars and cost Alaskans thousands of jobs.
There is of course the one, perennial possibility that Trump can break the hold of the environmental movement and its allies, and arrange for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, or parts of it, to be open for exploration and development of oil and gas. For this development to help the state in its current budget crisis, it would be wise to have a general income tax in place so that the 6,000 or so immigrants who would come with this development, including nonresidents already here, pay a share of the public services they will use such as roads, medical and educational services, and public safety among others that you now pay for.