Rich, Spendthrift and Underdeveloped

Good news: Alaska is reaping huge windfall off Big Oil.

Bad news: Governor Sean Parnell wants to cut the oil taxes, supposedly to increase oil companies' investment in drilling new wells and keeping Alaska's oil production strong - even though this would destroy Alaska's surplus and the facts are that investment is increasing anyway - with no guarantee (and little likelihood) it would increase further if free money was given to the companies.

This sort of proposal can be translated as: Someone has clearly been bought - or, given the relative vacuity of Parnell's cranial capacity - he may simply has been sold on the ideological illogic of it all. I would guess it's a combination.

This sort of proposal is also known as taking money away from Alaskans who deserve the benefits gained from the development of their resources. I say the following without any sense of irony: Palin actually had far more sense than Parnell on this issue, as she supported a tax hike on Big Oil during her administration - her greatest accomplishment as Governor.

But aside from this, here's the sad news: Even with all this money, the state government isn't going to spend more on improving Alaskans' lives any time soon. (See the first link in the post.) In a state with huge rates for depression, domestic violence and high school dropouts, many isolated communities without proper access to basic services, a dangerous lack of energy economic sector diversity, and not even its own law school, all I have to say is... ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

Alaska is highly fortunate among all the united states to have the sort of natural wealth that may indeed support our population for a long, indeterminate number of years to come. Not only have we had massive oil inflows for some decades now, but the spendthrift political attitude of the government - which is perhaps even greater among Alaskans themselves - has lead to the development of a great deal of savings, including but not at all limited to the famed Permanent Fund. I appreciate this responsibility; I really do. Indeed, I think the state should certainly continue to save much of what comes in as revenue.

However, as an Alaskan who cares about progress, I cannot accept that the state government is taking in such large amounts of money without increasing its spending on the common good. Of all the governmental entities in the United States during this time of nationwide financial crises, the State of Alaska is the one that should not be worrying about freezing spending. Without increasing spending, the government states that it's satisfied with the status quo, or that there's nothing more it can do to improve Alaskans' lives. With all the problems I stated above and more, it's clear that I disagree on both counts.

This probably isn't heard very often, but can't our politicians be a little more creative about spending money? It seems all they can come up with is to give some back to BP and Exxon.

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