Worst mistake?

Posted: Wednesday, March 05, 2003

House Speaker Pete Kott's comment that the "permanent fund dividend was one of the worst things we got ourselves into" (Empire, March 4) is obviously a very shortsighted and not terribly well thought out statement. It is however, very revealing, not only of how Mr. Kott views the permanent fund but how many of our elected politicos currently perceive the fund.

To the contrary, the creation of the permanent fund is arguably the most intelligent concept ever enacted to ensure the protection and preservation of each and every Alaskan's natural resource wealth from the insatiable appetite of our elected officials to spend every available dollar on "necessary" government programs.

Additionally, unlike the aforementioned programs, the permanent fund benefits each and every Alaskan both now and in the future fairly and equitably as opposed to the few who benefit from any number of the frivolous entitlement programs currently funded and administered by the state.

Thankfully, when the voters amended our state's constitution to create the permanent fund, they created an entity that cannot be abolished except by another amendment facilitated by another vote of the people. Neither executive, legislative, nor judicial action can serve to abolish what the people of Alaska have created. Disturbingly, we the people of Alaska are saddled with legislative and executive branches, which undoubtedly in the coming months, will overwhelmingly try to convince us that we can trust them with our money and that unless they have it we will all suffer. Absolutely nothing could, or should I say will, be farther from the truth.

The only real suffering will come when the Legislature and governor are faced with the harsh reality of having to live within their means. Alaskans hold the purse strings and are responsible for the permanent fund. Undoubtedly, in the not too distant future we will be coaxed, persuaded and cajoled into believing that without government access to the permanent fund our children, the elderly, and the disadvantaged will suffer immeasurably. Don't believe it for a second.

Just remember, the permanent fund is your money, and I guarantee, no matter how convincingly they may argue for access, they will raid that fund and they will fritter it away on their precious programs. All the while, however, the average hard-working Alaskan won't see one red cent of what was rightfully and constitutionally their perpetual savings account. Contrary to House Speaker Kott's comments, the biggest mistake Alaskans could ever make would be to allow Mr. Kott and company access to our permanent fund.

Gary Patton


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