The President of the United States, arguable the most powerful person on the planet, earns $400,000 per year, whether he is deemed to have properly carried out his functions or not. The new University of Alaska President earns 81-plus percent of that amount, with a promised bonus of up to $75,000, which would equal the salary of the U.S. president, if he wrings more money out of alumni, improves minority graduation, cuts administrative costs, plus six other unidentified requirements, by 10 percent, all of which are or should be in his employment contract anyway. At the same time, the news media reports that the citizens of Alaska will likely see an income tax again, and potentially a hit on some part of the Permanent Fund Program. The responsibilities of the UA President are worth the same value as the responsibilities of the U.S. president? Really? It appears to me that the Board of Regents is throwing down the gauntlet, and intends to challenge the State Legislature to pick it up. Let us hope that the Legislature does, and promptly and ingloriously unseats the Board of Regents from their runaway stallion, with a resounding clang of bending armor hitting the hard ground of reality.
I recently had the pleasure of driving down Mackey Lake Road through two miles of thick, billowing dust as a considerate, productive member of our community sped alongside the road in his ATV. I was particularly appreciative of him given I’d washed my vehicle just that morning. Back at work I relayed the story to co-workers who regaled me with their stories of having difficulty seeing to turn onto Mackey Lake given an ATV-induced dust cloud, and even having one chip their car’s paint as it kicked up rocks speeding down a K-Beach side road.
Regularly we see these folks speeding alongside the Sterling Highway coating hundreds of cars with the dust they kick up. I’m sure those drivers are as appreciative as I have been, especially as the ATV drives over the taxpayer-funded hydroseed alongside the road.
I write with the hope that maybe upon learning of how they’re adversely affecting so many of us with their activity they might become a bit more considerate.
Milton Freidman was a conservative who loved freedom. He was the greatest economist of his generation. He once explained capitalism does not establish freedom but “competitive capitalism” does. Nothing will change the problems Alaska has until we understand how to build Competitive Capitalism in Alaska.
That starts with money and its purpose. Most in Alaska understand we have many untouched natural resources. If we could only access them we could all prosper. But we also have another resource which we never touch, Money. The world is awash with our money called the dollar. China has trillions of them and has established a Bank called Asia infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
They will use our dollars to help Asian nations build infrastructure.
Alaska has billions of dollars sitting in our Permanent Fund. We could use those dollars to start our own Alaska Infrastructure Investment Bank (also called public Bank of Alaska.) We would have an advantage over China using our dollars. Banks in the USA use cold hard cash to create credit expanding the money supply 10 times greater than the cash they have on hand. A public Bank of Alaska could do the same.
How it would work. Some Permanent Fund money would be placed into this public Bank of Alaska. I suggest 30 billion dollars. Like the Permanent Fund this money could never be touched because it would become part of the banks reserves (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bank_reserves ) on which new money (credit) would be created. I believe expanding credit 10 times more than the reserve amount is foolish. It is my understanding the only public bank in the nation, Bank of North Dakota, creates only an equal amount of credit based on their reserve of deposits. If our public Bank of Alaska did the same we would have $30,000,000,000 ready to expand infrastructure. Some of which we could start to build the needed gas-line. Others around the world would invest.
Private enterprise would be hired to build the gas-line. Once built we could expand competitive capitalism. Hire the best company who could do the best job for the money. We would establish rules of safety and production levels.
Today’s economic environment revolves around crony capitalism. Too big to fail corporations. That will always lead to monopolies that control jobs and resources. The big banks have plenty of credit to lend. But understand private banks have one fiduciary responsibility, make the most money for their shareholders. If you were a private bank who would you lend to, big oil, too big to fail or some small company who may fail as oil prices drop.
Self interest drives the credit market. Until Alaskans take control of our untouched resource called money we will always have crony capitalism. As a conservative, I believe as Milton Friedman did. With competitive capitalism freedom will abound.