AKHEADLAMP is a big fan of Ed King – even when we disagree on an issue. This piece on the PFD takes a few minutes to read – but is well worth it! As the legislators continue to struggle with the issue – Mr. King provides a good description of the differing opinions in a manner that shows Alaskans can disagree on this issue and still be friends. Follow the link to read the full blog post.
The 3 Opposing Views of the PFD
Ed King, King Economics Group, June 13, 2019
The legislature is currently debating the future of Alaska’s Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD). The operating budget has passed, without a PFD. A separate appropriation bill for the PFD has failed on the Senate floor. The House minority tried to stuff the PFD into the capital budget but didn’t have the votes. And now, a “PFD working group” has been created, which went to work immediately, and is apparently preparing a history lesson for Alaskans.
I’m looking forward to that report. It is tempting to think that this issue is new, having arose from the ashes of the oil price crash in 2014. But the same debate we are having today has been had before. For most of our history, the opposing voices were muted by the steady flow of oil money gushing into the state coffers. But, in two distinct periods, this same debate raged with significant public interest. First at the inception of the Permanent Fund; then, around the turn of the century when oil prices bottomed out.
The narratives being voiced today are not new. The arguments have all been made before. And from what I have heard over the years, and read about in history books, I think I can tease out the root cause of the disagreement. I think that’s important. Because, only by seeing an issue from all angles can we draw a complete picture. And, as the issue is being debated and decisions about the program are being proposed, I hope that we can appreciate that those conclusions stem from different root assumptions.
I was going to wait until I was finished with my time with the state (I have two weeks left) to post this. But the debate is too timely right now and the PFD working group appears to be attached to a rocket. So, I’m going out on a limb and doing it today. Just know that I’m not writing this as a public official. This is not an opinion piece. It is not intended to be persuasive. I am merely attempting to help all of us expand our point of view.
That said, I do have personal opinions on this matter. As such, I am sure that they will drip between the lines as I write. For that, I apologize in advance and assure you that I attempted to remove as much as I could.
So, if you’ve already made up your mind about this topic, I welcome your criticism in the comments and a share on social media about how wrong I am. But, if you’re genuinely interested in gathering information before generating an opinion, I hope this (and the future posts on the topic) helps.