Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s proposal to give all qualified Alaskans a $5,000 Permanent Fund Dividend is not only worthy of consideration but a brilliant idea that needs to come to fruition sooner rather than later – meaning the PFD needs to be distributed early, like in 2020, as opposed to waiting until October.

Today’s stock markets are in the midst of a huge, record-breaking speculative mania that has driven asset prices to insane heights. A precipitous crash is likely in the short to mid-term.
The Permanent Fund has benefitted terrifically from this incredible speculative fever, but this will inevitably revert into an even more violent deflationary spiral and crash as history has demonstrated again and again (remember the 2000-2001 market crash and its 80% decline). Rather than mindlessly ride this hysteria to its inevitable collapse, why not give Alaskans a substantial portion of their accrued wealth – before it is vaporized in the coming economic storm.

This would yield incredible benefits for individual Alaskans and their families. Many, if not most, will pay down or pay off stubborn debts, make needed home improvements, facilitate down payments on first homes, pay for college tuitions, bolster retirement savings, pay for needed medical procedures or increase household emergency food stores when facing an uncertain future.

Just think of all the good those PFD checks would do here and now as opposed to leaving the funds on the roulette table to be lost. Many refuse to face the reality that the stock market is insanely over-valued – a house of cards awaiting collapse. History will repeat. Financial assets will violently correct and sky-high asset prices will fall back to earth. Can we not learn from the past?

Of course no one knows what the future precisely holds for markets, but the smart money has already quietly taken their chips off the table, realizing huge profits before they are lost. They are also keeping a sizable portion of those monies on the sidelines waiting to snatch-up stressed assets for pennies on the dollar after the speculative collapse and carnage they well know is coming. This is an economic cycle the uber-wealthy have long mastered.

Dunleavy’s proposal needs a timely hearing – not just in the legislature but on Main Street, Alaska. Let’s use a generous portion of the PFD’s wealth productively and let each Alaskan family discern how best to utilize it.

Additionally, Alaskans should not forget that our PFD payouts over the last several years have been needlessly “capped” by previous Governor Bill Walker’s illegal fiat, and abetted by an uninformed, complicit legislature. A $5,000 PFD in 2021 is but a down payment toward repaying what Alaskans were legally owed from the start and righting a very stinging, and not forgotten, wrong.

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OPINION: Dunleavy’s $5,000 PFD proposal deserves a fair hearing before it’s too late

Toby Burke
Toby Burke is an ornithologist and long-time resident of Kenai where he and his wife are raising their family. He has worked as a biological technician for the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.