Opinion: Dunleavy’s fiscally irresponsible and deceptive plan

Constitutions are about broad policy objectives and legal boundaries — not about the day-to-day.

  • Thursday, October 21, 2021 10:50pm
  • Opinion
Anselm Staack (Courtesy Photo)

Anselm Staack (Courtesy Photo)

Anselm Staack

Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s state-paid-for-advertising says that his plan can save the Alaska Permanent Fund, the PFD, and simultaneously erase the deficit in five years; it sounds idyllic.

The scene morphs to children frolicking in a fairy-tail field of yellow; then comes the Alaskan bear at the waterfall with a salmon jumping into his mouth. The part where dogs and cats are finally going to live together was left out of his state funded propaganda, however.

Dunleavy’s “plan” is nothing more than forever tying the hands of future legislatures, governors, and the public to conduct business in a manner appropriate to those times. Forever constrained by an actively dangerous constitutional amendment proposal.

All politicians believe that their “one” permanent solution can forever force-solve every future problem no matter what happens in the future. Pure arrogance.

Dunleavy’s constitutional amendments would inevitably force the state to turn to further tax resources because of constitutionally mandated future unworkable constraints. ConocoPhillips’ CEO and the company’s embedded former and present employees Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer and Sen. President Peter Micciche should already know that; but they believe they have control anyway.

What Dunleavy wants is to make sure Alaska gets locked into his particular brand and to hell with the future public needs. Dunleavy has no respect for the Constitution itself; as has been well illustrated by his ignoring the Constitution to force judicial picks that will bow to his politics.

But that falls in line with the Dunleavy GOP political mantra of denying those who disagree with them their own free agency and flexibility to react to future events when the time comes.

Alaskans have been knocked down like 10-pins while Dunleavy failed to muster the simple adult courage because of his political football approach to public heath.

While COVID delta ravages Alaska he dithered. Now, on crisis health care allocations that will unnecessarily cost the lives of many innocents, mostly in his backyard of Anchorage, Wasilla/Palmer and Fairbanks. Some will die because they can’t get emergency treatment in hospitals clogged with patients that didn’t have to get that sick.

That’s Dunleavy — politics and party loyalty — not what’s actually best for the public as a whole. That requires guts to go against one’s own party as real-life situations dictate.

First, no Alaska Legislature is dumb enough to kill the PFD or the permanent fund. They want their positions with the guaranteed petty grift too much. Dunleavy’s assertion that he alone is saving Alaska is pure hip-wader deep BS.

The PFD has been described by some as a “socialist miracle” because people are given money by the state they didn’t work for — pure socialism. That’s what Alaska’s PFD is!

No one is getting rid of the PFD annually unless there comes a public vote to split up the fund in one last giveaway orgy and dissolve it; as has actually been proposed once before. If that happened, half of the Anchorage area would disappear in five years.

Dunleavy wanted a $2,350 break-the-bank PFD because he wants to buy votes for the 2022 election. But its purpose is nothing different than the Christian Church sin of “Simony” where one buys and sells privileges.

A $2,350 PFD under the unstable financial conditions of today is simply an example of gross fiscal irresponsibility.

As to the further assertion that the Dunleavy demanded plan will magically balance the budget in five years is pure self-created speculation by political hacks.

Constitutions are about broad policy objectives and the boundaries of the law — not about the day-to-day, legislature-to-legislature, at the moment fiscal intricacies for years down the road.

The permanent fund lost over $10 billion dollars in the financial crisis of 2007-2009. The next inevitable Wall Street financial crisis, which is long overdue, will likely take out $15-20 billion. Many multiples of the annual PFD. What then?

Maybe I’ve got this wrong. As a supporter of the previous fair tax share initiatives, perhaps I should support the Dunleavy plan and its inevitable consequences that will force the public to go after the resource industry for the state’s fair share.

Alaska’s resource industry should be very scared of the Dunleavy plan.

Anselm Staack is registered non-affiliated, is a CPA and an attorney who has been an Alaska resident for over 47 years. He was the Treasury comptroller for Alaska under Gov. Jay Hammond and worked directly on the creation of the Alaska Permanent Fund and Corporation. He resides in Juneau.

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