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October 8, 2002

In reference to Ray Metcalfe's article ("Get The Most Out Of Our Resources To Close The Fiscal Gap", 9-26-02), in the new ANCHORAGE CHRONICLE, I support his proposal that's been endorsed by 4 of Alaska's 6 political parties.

  • FACT #1: The Alaska State Constitution mandates that the natural resources belong to the people, "...for maximum use...for maximum benefit..." (Article VII).
  • FACT #2: Elected & appointed political officials to state government office swear to uphold the constitution (Art. XII, Sec. 5).
  • FACT #3: The major oil companies who own the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System are not Alaska-owned businesses.
  • FACT #4: Those same oil companies contribute to both Republican & Democratic Party candidates (See APOC Disclosure Reports).
  • FACT #5: Those same candidates who receive contributions from the oil companies have never, to my knowledge, returned any of those contributions, (See APOC Reports).
  • FACT #6: Those same elected politicians consider & vote on public policy matters, taxation rates, & other regulatory concerns over the pipeline owners.
  • FACT #7: The budget of state government keeps growing each year, regardless of how many line items are "set aside off-budget" by either the Administration or Legislature to give the appearance of a balanced budget or smaller state government.

ANALYSIS: Many critics would say that Metcalfe's plan smacks of "Socialism". They may be right, but that is how the state constitution is written regarding our natural resources. When the Founding Fathers & Mothers wrote the constitution, they remembered the history of Alaska up to that point. They remembered the precedents of outside interests raping & pillaging the fur, fish, & minerals & taking them en masse to their other countries. The founders realized that, with Alaska's small population base & large quantities of various resources, the only way for the new state to become self-sufficient was to have those resources collectively owned, developed, & distributed "in-house" by Alaskans, or the new state would continue to be dependent upon Washington DC or exploited by outside interests. Yet many of the state politicians have continued to allow OUR RESOURCES to be explored, extracted, & economically controlled by outside interests. Foreign fishing fleets, multinational corporations , dominating federal constrictures,& extreme radical environmentalists have more influence & lobbying power than the average Alaskan citizen. Those outside interests reap the benefits of their economic & political largesse while financing the campaigns of those same politicians who are supposed to represent the Alaskan people & Alaskan interests. Many of those political leaders have created this so-called FISCAL GAP, not you or I. Now they want to impose new taxes while they have squandered, through a growing state government, much of the wealth generated by our meager royalty & taxation rates as most of those resources have forever left Alaska or are endangered to be forever "locked up" from our present & future developmental use. In the meantime, those political leaders keep raising their pay & benefits, & those of the bureaucrats & state employees, while they expect us in the PRIVATE SECTOR to pay for them. Yet we see essential services being curtailed. That appears to be a STRIKE or a WORK SLOWDOWN. Why should our QUALITY OF LIFE suffer just to maintain that of those in power? There is no need to tax individuals here when there is a Permanent Fund Corporation with billions of dollars & many natural resources still UNTAPPED all around us. WE NEED TO STOP GIVING AWAY OUR RESOURCES. We need our political leaders to WORK FOR US, for a change, not for outside interests or for more government. Do you want to continue to suck on the federal tit, compliments of Sen. Stevens, while we compromise away our sovereign rights & future economic self-sufficiency? I don't. Why give away our tax dollars with one hand & then beg for some of it back with the other? JUST FOLLOW THE MONEY! I would not normally propose a state-run enterprise when the private sector should do it, but if those contracted businesses won't develop & process our resources OUR WAY in Alaska, then LET'S DO IT OURSELVES. We may have to conclude with a good compromise fiscal plan as also proposed by James Borsetti in this issue #23 of FREEDOM WRITER, but I say we first GO WITH LEGAL PRINCIPLE & PRACTICAL COMMON SENSE & develop our resources within Alaska by Alaskans & for Alaskans . There is nothing wrong with collectively & cooperatively working together to fix our financial foothold for the future, at least temporarily. Then maybe one day we all can become laissez faire libertarians, but we must first get our economic house in order. I support Metcalfe's plan, NOT BECAUSE IT IS SOCIALISM, BUT BECAUSE IT IS CONSTITUTIONAL.

  • CONCLUSION #1: Many of the elected politicians in Alaska are NOT upholding their OATH OF OFFICE when they give away our resources or don't fully develop our resources as mandated by the constitution.
  • CONCLUSION #2: Those same elected politicians who refuse to consider other economic & public policy alternatives to the status quo while they cry "fiscal gap" (WHICH THEY CREATED!) & threaten to "impose new income and/or sales taxes" on us small businesses & working people without slowing the growth of state government SHOULD STEP ASIDE, lest the voters MAKE THEM GO!
  • CONCLUSION #3: Rather than acting as Agents of Outside Interests (a distant federal government, or multinational corporations, or extreme environmentalists), our state officials should be acting as Agents for Alaskans instead, if Alaska is ever to become the independent self-sufficient sovereign state that the writers of Alaska's Constitution intended Alaska to be.

We need a new Governor & Administration & Legislature.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: Portions of this commentary were published in the new ANCHORAGE CHRONICLE on October 10, 2002).

Freedom Writer

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