With all the hoopla that's been in the papers the last few week surrounding the Mackie plan and the proposed pay-out of $25,000 bucks, I figured I better get my two cents in.
First of all, I have been reading the Juneau and Anchorage papers and and have come to the conclusion that there are a lot of misinformed, out-of-touch people out there who have no idea what this would mean to Alaska. They are only looking at the instant gratification that a large sum of unearned income would bring them. They are thinking only of themselves and what they can blow the money on. Visions of expensive toys and frivolous expenditures are dancing in their heads, while thoughts about the children of Alaska and what this would mean to them do not even enter into the picture.
The thing that really scares me though, is that all this rhetoric and double-speak filling the papers and radio waves is coming from our elected officials. These are the people that are supposed to be looking out for us, not giving us the old bait-and-switch that you would expect from a used car salesman.
I urge the people of Alaska to step back and think about what's been put on the table. Make sure we know what we are talking about here. If you give the politicians a credit card and they max it out, increasing the credit limit will not teach them to budget their money. It will only teach them that they now have more money to spend. When they max it out again, they will be back for more, If the permanent fund is gone, that will mean a state income or sales tax to pay for all the frivolous programs and pork barrel projects that the money will be blown on.
Just because we let them buy us out, doesn't mean we have to give up the permanent fund. No matter what, we can't lose control of the program. They wanted $4 billion and said that would tide them over for quite awhile. Well, give them $4 billion. With the price of oil nearly triple what it was when they started the big push to tap into the permanent fund, that should be more than enough, provided we teach them to live within an actual budget. At the same time, pay us all $25,000, and leave $10 billion in the fund to start over. That way everyone is happy, and everyone has money. No income or sales tax, and the kids will have a permanent fund for their future. You can call it the Newell Plan.