Permanent fund dividend is compensation, not a handout

Posted: Monday, May 12, 2003

The way I see it, there seems to be a very strong drive by members of the Legislature to get a bigger share of the pie, the permanent fund dividend. Even those who promised to keep their hands off of it are right there among the rest of the grabbers. I'm not very good at using politically correct words.

There's a story that goes back to the very start of the permanent fund. People had to register with the state to maintain their underground soft-mineral rights. Some were able to hire their own lawyers. For those who couldn't, the state provided an attorney, but, oddly enough, the list of names gathered by the attorney didn't make it to the registration in time. So goes the story.

If true, it would seem to me perhaps there was a possible conspiracy there. And, as the story continues, one of the homesteaders got angry and at gun point, forced the clerk at the office of registration the next day to register his name on the list of these who wanted to keep his land rights.

If there is merit to this story, then the least that we can learn in that we are receiving the permanent fund dividend as compensation, and not as a handout, as our people in office would want us to believe. And that is what they're trying very hard to do. Some are saying that it is a gift; some say it is a right; and others are saying that this a socialists' thing. They act and seem to think that it is the property of the Legislature that's what they feel is their property! I cannot stand by and allow that falsehood to perpetuate itself like a plague. It is compensation pure and simple.

Our state is not supposed to be a for-profit corporation. Once in a while, I hear a statement on the radio made by some esteemed legislative person saying that the biggest mistake the state ever made was to give us the permanent fund. What a fool! The state didn't give it, they bought it, and now they're trying to renege on it.

Legislators are playing these mind and word games with us, hoping that if they all say it in unison, and say it long enough, that maybe we, as a people, will begin to believe it.

I say we clear out all those who have put their support against us out of office, without any retirement benefits, too. Why not? They've been living high off the hog for a long time, including the biggest liar of them all, our good ol' boy Gov. M.

If $800 a month is too expensive for our government to keep its word to our senior citizens, then $7,500 a month is way, way, way too much to be paying our legislators, especially when they don't represent us or keep their promises, like our governor. We should also take away the retirement benefits of those who have gone before, because they didn't keep their promises also. That would be an even keel with their having not kept their promises. In fact, I think that our past legislators should also with those in office now, who are veterans, should foot the bill for our deficit.

They put us there; they all should show some fiscal responsibility. Isn't that what they're telling us to do! Sounds drastic? Well, they're asking us to take drastic measures. I think that they should, too. I don't feel good about taking medication and food and shelter away from our senior citizens, and at the same time maintain huge payoffs for over Gov. M and our legislators.

It seems that all the burdens are being left to the people, while people in office haven't lost a penny kind of like the people in Iraq. You know, no food for the people of Iraq, but lots of money and French wine for Saddam and his ol' boys.

Well, point made. Don't touch our compensation (permanent fund dividend) and get off your duffs and let's equalize the burden here. You give some and then I'll give some. Sacrifices shouldn't be made on the backs of the poor. All the barons should share it, too. If an $800longevity bonus represents 25 percent of a senior's income (or whatever percent it is), then cut your income by the same.

Richard C. deMello, Kenai

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