Dividend delight

Frank Gerjevic

One of the beauties of Alaska Permanent Fund dividend is that you can argue for or against it from anywhere on the political spectrum.

Bane of the right and blessing for the left, it's a redistribution of wealth that benefits the poor far more than the rich.

Blessing for the right and bane of the left, it takes money out of the hands of government and gives it directly to individual Alaskans to use as they see fit, no matter what their station in life.

Dreaded by social workers, this October curse bankrolls liquor and drug binges, leaves kids neglected and spouses battered.

Welcomed by families, this October windfall buys winter boots and college courses, fixes cars and settles debts.

Libertarian's dream, eh? No, government handout that breeds a sense of entitlement and dependence rather than an ethic of self-reliance and contribution.

Good for business. Loser magnet.

Looks like we'll renew the old arguments this year with the proposal by Sen. Hollis French and Rep. Harry Crawford to make the dividend part of the Alaska Constitution.

What do I think of the dividend? I'm a reactionary about it.

When I hear people argue that it should go away, that Alaskans have been somehow corrupted by it, I want to defend it. Like any money, it's done both the lord's and the devil's work and everything in between. But I'd bet it's done more good than harm.

One the other hand, when I hear people treat the dividend as one of the rights we hold to be self-evident, I can't buy it. Show me a good public purpose that would outweigh the individual benefits and I'll give up that dividend in a moment.

Until then, I don't need the state to put my dividend in the constitution. I need the state to put my dividend in the right account come October.


Frank Gerjevic