Personally, I remain incredulous about those candidates who claim to be "fiscal conservatives" in one breath and then propose to cut and cap the PFD in the next.

Proposing to cut something that will have a huge adverse effect on Alaska's private and overall economy (according to ISER, "the PFD cut ... has the largest adverse impact on the economy" of any of the fiscal options) in order to transfer and respend those dollars through government, where they will help a few selected by government but not nearly make up for the adverse impact to the economy overall, or, if it comes to that, avoid having all Alaskans pay the same percentage share of their income to fund government, is not "fiscally conservative."

Instead, as being applied here, it meets the classic definition of "crony capitalism" (which, according to Investopedia, is a condition where "the success of a business [or group of individuals, labor can be crony capitalists as well] is dependent on the favoritism that is shown to it by the ruling government in the form of tax breaks, government grants and other incentives").

Clearly, doing something which benefits a few sectors at the expense of the overall Alaska economy meets the test of economic "favoritism."

During the last session and since I have heard some argue that "the [state's budget] math just doesn't work" unless the PFD is cut. What they really mean is that the math doesn't work FOR THEM. Unless the PFD is cut, either government spending that benefits them will be cut, or they will need to pay taxes equally with others on a percent of income basis.

In short, by arguing for cutting the PFD they seek to have government work better for them than it works for the overall economy as a whole.

As I discussed on my segment this week on the The Michael Dukes Show (, unless the state backs up on its current track on the #AKLNG project and reengages with industry on finding a lower cost way forward, Alaska's fiscal situation -- and the economy overall -- is headed toward a very, very difficult place, much worse than the situation we are facing even now.

Although it already is the case, even more so then it will be critical for the state to adopt policies which best strengthen Alaska's OVERALL economy, not just one or two segments of it, and not just one or two income percentiles at the expense of the remainder.

As ISER has made clear, from that perspective cutting the PFD should be the very LAST tool pulled out of the toolbox. Those who advocate making it the first, or even one of several, cannot seriously claim to be "fiscal conservatives."

Instead, they need to prepare owning up to the label of being Alaska's version of "crony capitalists," using their access to government to make sure it looks out for them first at the expense of the OVERALL economy. ~Brad Keithley
Shared publicly