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Wisdom and folly

Letter to the Editor

Posted: Monday, May 13, 2002

I've spoken up several times in this paper against certain government conduct. To be fair, let me also give credit where credit is due. Over several decades, the people have pressured their government and elected officials to provide jobs and work for Alaskans. However, this function is actually not specified for government in any constitution. Ben Franklin even said: "The Constitution only guarantees the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself." Nevertheless, government has shown incredible ingenuity at complying with this mandate with artfully covert application of feudal (not democratic) technologies to get around this problem. Nearly any citizen has a story of these technologies applied. Recently in her Empire letter, a lady even used the lovely term "medieval fiefdom" for the state!

The results are far beyond expectations. Our state now proudly boasts the greatest proportion, by far, of quality jobs in government vs. resident population of any state in the union! Alaska also leads the nation, by far, on cumulative government spending per resident (see recent news article)! Wow! Thank you past and present state governments and our congressional delegation.

Of course, such addiction to government subsidy and government-provided work has helped create our fiscal crisis, a regulatory atmosphere, and a vague future. But nobody can blame our public servants they obviously did what they were told! So Alaskans should remember three things: 1) Be careful of what you ask for; you might get it, 2) What you don't ask for, you don't get, and 3) President James Garfield's lucid observation: "All free governments are managed by the combined wisdom and folly of the people."

Stuart Thompson

Auke Bay



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