McGinn, Left want a winner-picking economy where they pick

Former Seattle mayor Mike McGinn penned a column in Crosscut last week on how Gov. Inslee can “change the script” on climate issues. It included a few headscratchers, as Shift WA pointed out. Notably, McGinn is anxious to blame Senate Republicans for stalling Inslee’s agenda but won’t acknowledge that Inslee’s cap-and-trade plans clearly didn’t have enough votes to pass in the Democrat-controlled House, where they’ve never been brought to a vote.

McGinn posits that any transportation package that spends on highways is a bad thing, and I think it’s fair to say that’s not where the voters are at on that issue. The former mayor also wrote, “Even in deep green Seattle, politicians stood aside to facilitate Shell Oil’s Arctic drilling rigs,” ignoring that in the City’s attempt to prevent the drilling rig work, its tortured legal interpretations were ruled “clearly erroneous.”

More troublingly, McGinn calls for the governor to institute two bad ideas that will kill jobs and expose state retirees to more risk.

  1. “Issue an executive order subjecting all new or proposed expansions of fossil fuel infrastructure to strict regulatory review under existing laws. Where the Governor has direct authority he could use it – for example stopping Tesoro’s proposed oil terminal. Where the law is gray, the Governor’s backing and encouragement would help agencies go to the limits of their authority…It would be a powerful signal to the fossil fuel industry that they are not welcome in Washington.”

Such an executive order would cover a lot more than just oil refineries, and given the immense regulatory hurdles any large projects already have to overcome, McGinn is really just calling on Inslee to throw up one more mega hurdle to projects that don’t fit the Left’s agenda. It’s incredible how comfortable activists like McGinn are with government picking the economy’s winners and losers. I don’t mean that in a broad the-wheels-of-government-turn-slow sense; I mean government literally choosing who can and can’t be part of the economy, where the winners are the politically favored.

People in cities such as Anacortes and Ferndale need to hear the message: in the world McGinn wants Inslee to create with the stroke of a pen, refineries are “not welcome in Washington” Try telling that to a Ferndale that’s already worried about Alcoa’s future in the area.

  1. “Instruct his appointees to the State Investment Board to immediately begin working to divest state investments from fossil fuel companies.”

That would set an incredibly poor precedent. The State Investment Board has a fiduciary duty to produce maximum returns. The health of Washington’s pension funds depend on it. The day the board starts making decisions on investments based on political instructions from above, then it’s no longer keeping its eye on its one job: maximizing returns so taxpayers don’t have to bail out the funds in the future. The board’s decision making needs to be financial, not political.
-Rob McKenna

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Rob McKenna
Rob served two terms as Washington’s Attorney General, from 2005 to 2013. He successfully argued three cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and negotiated three of the largest consumer financial protection settlements in national history, all involving mortgage lending and servicing. He is a recognized leader in the development of consumer protections on the internet, in data protection and privacy regulation.