Unintentional dry humor from CBO; don’t make a Denali out of a molehill, though

June 21, 2013

A mountain by any other name would be just as high. Image of Denali from Tiny Green Cabins

A mountain by any other name would be just as high. Image of Denali from Tiny Green Cabins

I get e-mail from the Congressional Budget Office.  I asked them to keep me posted on the studies they do, and they have.

Today, this:

S. 155, a Bill to Designate a Mountain in the State of Alaska as Denali

cost estimate

June 21, 2013
read complete document  (pdf, 27 kb)

As ordered reported by the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on June 18, 2013.

CBO estimates that enacting this legislation to name a peak in Alaska would have no significant impact on the federal budget and would not affect direct spending or revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply. S. 155 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and would not affect the budgets of state, local, or tribal governments.

Calling a mountain by its name won’t affect the budget?  Good news, I’m sure.  Shakespeare was right.

The testimony of National Park Service Deputy Director Peggy O’Dell is instructive:

STATEMENT OF PEGGY O’DELL, DEPUTY DIRECTOR FOR OPERATIONS, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS OF THE SENATE ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES COMMITTEE, CONCERNING S. 155, TO DESIGNATE A MOUNTAIN IN THE STATE OF ALASKA AS DENALI.

April 23, 2013

Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to present the Department of the Interior’s views on S. 155, a bill to designate a mountain in the State of Alaska as Denali.

The National Park Service appreciates the long history and public interest for both the name Mount McKinley and the traditional Athabascan name, Denali. The Department respects the choice made by this legislation, and does not object to S. 155.

Located in what is now Denali National Park and Preserve, the highest peak in North America has been known by many names. The National Park Service’s administrative history of the park notes that, “The Koyukon called it Deenaalee, the Lower Tanana named it Deenaadheet or Deennadhee, the Dena’ina called it Dghelay Ka’a, and at least six other Native groups had their own names for it.

“In the late 18th century various Europeans came calling, and virtually everyone who passed by was moved to comment on it. The Russians called it Bulshaia or Tenada, and though explorers from other nations were less specific, even the most hard-bitten adventurers were in awe of its height and majesty.

“No American gave it a name until Densmore’s Mountain appeared in the late 1880s, and the name that eventually stuck—Mount McKinley—was not applied until the waning days of the nineteenth century,” a gesture of support to then-President William McKinley.

In 1975, the State of Alaska officially recognized Denali as the name of the peak, and requested action by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names to do the same.

In 1980, Congress changed the name of Mount McKinley National Park to Denali National Park and Preserve (P.L. 96-487, Section 202), but did not act on the name change for the mountain.

In Washington, Congress designates mountains.  In Alaska, mountains designate you.

More:

Mount McKinley

Near-antique poster advertising Ranger Services at the National Park Formerly Known as Mount McKinley. Photo by Kirt Baab


Time to raise the minimum wage

June 21, 2013

Illustration for Bloomberg News by Rand Renfrow: $15 Minimum Wage

Illustration for Bloomberg News by Rand Renfrow: $15 Minimum Wage

Robert Reich put it succinctly at his Facebook site [links added here]:

Nick Hanauer, one of the nation’s most successful businessmen, proposed yesterday that the minimum wage be raised to $15 an hour. But wouldn’t that cause employers not to hire workers who were “worth” less, and thereby lead to higher unemployment? No, says Hanauer. By putting more money into the hands of more people, it would stimulate more buying — which would generate more jobs than any jobs that might be lost. Hanauer understands that the basic reason the economy is still limping along is workers are consumers, and workers continue to get shafted, which means consumers lack the purchasing power to get the economy off the ground. A minimum wage of $15 an hour, combined with basic worker standards such as paid sick leave and a minimum of 3 weeks paid vacation per year, should all be in a national campaign for better jobs and a better economy in the 2014 election.

That’s the case, in brief.

Last March Reich said raising the minimum wage to $9/hour was a “no brainer.”

Alas, he didn’t account enough for the anti-brain lobby.

What do you think?

More:

Also good, an update:


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