Provide a living wage to average consumer

Letter to the editor

Posted: Wednesday, September 27, 2006

This letter is in response to four different articles within the Empire over the last couple of weeks, and if the readers will bear with me, I will tie them all together upon summation.

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The first article concerned the city council candidates discussing how best to stem the "brain drain." Their solution: Create an over-supply of housing thereby making it affordable. In a utopian society, yes, this sounds wonderful. We can retain our youth and attract a flood of newcomers. The downside that wasn't discussed is what about all the folks that have been building equity in their homes? Are they suppose to lose it all for the sake of newcomers?

Next was our school district's solution to the anticipated funding shortfall due to contributions to teachers' retirement system - lay off teachers.

Unfortunately, the teachers that get laid off will be the youngest, least tenured and least paid. What happened to Gov. Murkowski's billion dollars to education? Wasn't this supposes to buy our students a "world-class" education? Again unfortunately, when it comes to educating the individual student, the young teacher has far more affect on the student than any administrator.

Next, the governor gives pay raises to state employees. The governor to his credit recognizes that the cost of living in Juneau is hurting his employees, unfortunately he choose to target the wrong end of the economic ladder. The directors already made more then twice Juneau's median income. Unfortunately, the persons being hurt the worst by the cost of living are on the bottom of the ladder, not the top.

Can you see the common thread running through the last three paragraphs? As I have said before in this forum, the road to economical prosperity, "affordable housing" and stemming the "brain drain" does not rely on the "trickle down theory." But instead relies on providing a living wage to the average consumer. We as a state have proven this every fall for the last 25 years, in the form of the permanent fund dividend.

Your article on the business community's anticipation of the upcoming PFDs is proof of this. The vast majority of Alaskans will spend it, hence all the PFD specials. If you don't believe me, just think what the business communities' reaction would be if the "wage slaves" revolted and went on a 30-day strike against nonessential spending?

Michael Lavering


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