As a relative new-comer to Alaska (10 years) the sense of entitlement to our permanent fund dividends can be startling. Lew Williams' column in the Sunday paper (Empire, Oct. 10), struck me as a fair amount of whining that our PFDs weren't a couple hundred bucks bigger this year, and then an abrupt karate-chop to presidential hopeful John Kerry.
I am perplexed. Williams says that voting for John Kerry will guarantee a recession, because the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge will be protected against development. I wasn't aware that the federal budget was dependent on raping ANWR. I'm pretty sure that's a simplification of the matter. The Bush administration, in four years, has not only evaporated the nice federal budget surplus left by Bill Clinton, but has rung up hundreds of billions of dollars of debt. Mostly by making sure the richest get richer, and by killing thousands (up to 40,000 innocent Iraqis) in a war aimed at controlling oil revenues, and by eroding funding of crucial social services at home.
George W. Bush offers more of the same for 2004 and beyond. Which means much less personal security for Americans (because the neocons arrogantly flaunt military might, inciting more terrorist acts), bankruptcy for millions more Americans in the next four years, potentially irreversible damage to our lakes, forests and farm lands, more children left behind, more high school dropouts, not to speak of utter decimation of an international policy which must necessarily emphasize diplomacy.
By contrast, John Kerry has offered a vastly more intelligent and responsible fiscal plan, which includes shifting the tax burden off the lower and middle classes to the wealthy, reducing pork-barrel appropriations, and distributing war costs to a coalition of U.S. allies. These fiscal policies are much more likely to protect our resources, secure Social Security, restore veterans' benefits and provide health care for all American children - all stated goals of John Kerry.
Lew, what really sounds better? A slightly bigger PFD for the rest of your personal lifetime (not guaranteed by Bush winning), or a scenario that includes less horrific and costly war abroad and more healthy, well-educated, financially protected American children at home (guaranteed to not occur if Bush wins)?
Dr. Emily A. Kane
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