Spread the surplus


Posted: Tuesday, February 27, 2001

If the economy really needs a boost to recover from a too-long series of interest rate hikes last year, let's use the Alaskan method on the national surplus and give everyone a check of equal amount.

What's the Alaskan plan? Oil found on state of Alaska lands produces income which goes to the state, and some of that income goes into a permanent fund, now about $30 billion. But the people are the state. So about half of fund income goes back into the fund to protect against inflation, and the other half of the fund income gets paid out in equal shares to each Alaskan man, woman and child.

The surplus belongs to everyone, not just taxpayers, and certainly not more to people who pay more taxes. As the U.S. Supreme Court said in Zobel v. Williams, striking down a plan to pay more to people who'd lived in Alaska longer, we won't want to create "invidious distinctions" between citizens.

The same is true here. Let "equal" mean EQUAL. Pay out some part of the surplus in equal-dollar shares to each person, man, woman and child. Each person is part of the nation. So distribute that national surplus equally. That's the Alaskan plan; let's make it the American plan too.

Joe Sonneman


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