Sen. Jerry Mackie's shortsighted plan is typical of Alaska's political machine. Not only does he prey on the greed factor, which all humans possess, he sets himself up as politically popular, perhaps for a gubernatorial run. Certainly he is not thinking about future generations of Alaskans or even present day Alaskans living in the Bush.
The permanent fund - the working word being ``permanent'' - isn't supposed to end in 2000, 2001 or 2002. A while back when it seemed all the money in the planet was flowing into Alaska, some people fought the good battle and we all wound up with a permanent fund dividend. At the same time, government had a fat bankroll. But government being what it is, it effectively blew it all and it has been eyeing the dividend like cheetahs gazing at gazelles at the watering hole.
Finding it difficult to wrestle the permanent fund dividend away from the people, politicians, through ideas like Mackie's, turn to an old ally - bribery. They offer the people $25,000 dollars and they get $14 billion. It's strange how many people feel this is OK. The government will blow these billions of dollars well within our lifetime, waste it trying to move the capital, so land investors in the Anchorage area will become richer, they'll find barrels to fill with pork, while we all sit by and wonder what happened.
I was not born in Alaska and have only been here eight years, and may not stay in Alaska. I fall into the category of people who will benefit from the $25,000 dollar buyout. Yet, I oppose this plan for one simple reason: That money is not mine or yours. It was meant for all Alaskans today and tomorrow. Why should it dissipate because of our greed? If the leaders of 25 years ago thought that way we wouldn't be debating this now.
Sen. Mackie's condescension upon the people and manipulation of a common character flaw of humans is so unoriginal and blatantly political. Why are our legislators not proposing ways to balance the budget, instead of trying to take away a unique benefit from Alaskans? It may look like the golden ring he is waving, but upon closer inspection it turns out to be copper, which will surely tarnish over time. Whether it be $25,000 dollars or 30 pieces of silver, it is a bribe and serves only political purposes.
Lift your heads gazelles, they are circling in for the kill.