The Place to Combat Elitism

Alaska’s Duality

Alaska has always been a place of contradictions and remains supremely so today.  The theme goes well beyond the hours of daylight.

The Alaska economy has a boom and bust cycle on a grander scale than down south.  Since the 1890’s Alaskans have had the clear opportunity for riches along with the reality of high living expenses.  The sudden wealth of the 1970’s pipeline construction bonanza turned to the huge economic bust of the 1980’s.  Twice, the Gold Rush was replaced by the Gold Bust.

In legend and often in practice the new 20th Century Alaskan was known as the hardy individualist bending nature and beast to his will as they must do to prosper.  The legend endures.

But 21st Century Alaskans know that latter day Alaska has become a place owned almost lock-stock-and-barrel by the federal and state governments and the tribal corporations, along with the system’s corporate and personal cronies. 

Over time the top-down way of life has seeped into many Alaskan souls in a big way, especially with those wielding state power.  Little Hitlers of many forms are found throughout Alaska.

At the federal level Alaska has become known for the place best able to maneuver billions of taxpayer dollars away from its sister states.  Any sort of power-play for federal aid and projects will do just fine.  Alaskans will applaud anything that works.  It is known to be a dirty business.

Yet, at the time of statehood in 1959 Alaska was known as the place easily exploited for decades by company barons from Seattle and elsewhere.  As a coast guard district station for decades after the Russian czar sold Alaska to the United States there were few laws in Alaska to stop exploitation of anyone or anything. 

So now, the long exploited land of the North has somehow become the exploiter of lands far, far away.

For these same general reasons, for the bulk of the Alaska economy, free-market capitalism has not been in much use either when compared to just about any other place in the United States.  Federal and state spending dominate decision-making in the economy.  Politics tends to rule Alaska’s economy.

So, might tends to make right in the Upper One.

Yet, so many Alaskans are as heroic and charitable towards others as one could ever be.  The best examples are too many to begin to list.

And many Alaska companies are leaders in a competitive marketplace as they must be.  Alaskans can be as productive and innovative as any workforce in the world.

So, to ever effectively parse the good from the bad in Alaska is possibly an impossible task, but one worth examining by Alaskans anyway.

What Happens to Alaska’s Wealth?

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Alaskans are in theory the owners of all of the natural wealth of the state.  Most of the wealth being harvested now comes from lands owned by the State of Alaska or from leases granted on federal land.  The federal government still owns 69% of Alaska lands with the state government and native corporations owning almost all of the rest.  Alaskans have only been allowed to buy a fraction of 1% of Alaska land to hold as their own.

The numbers on natural resource extraction in Alaska are staggering.

Between oil production, mining companies, fishing, forestry and so many other “exports” of Alaska’s natural wealth the annual gross revenue figure for Alaska-based industry comes to an incredible $30b, according to figures put together from the state department of natural resources web site and the published state revenues for 2012. 

What can be directly added to that figure is Alaska’s annual import of tourists from Outside.  Tourist expenditures for Alaska adventures come to about $2b annually. In 2008, its peak year so far, 1.7 million people visited Alaska.

Net federal subsidies for Alaska, what federal money is spent here compared to what Alaskans pay in federal taxes, comes to $18b/annually, an amazing figure, $1.87 returned for every federal tax dollar paid.

If just those revenues listed above, $50b, were to be equally divided among Alaskans, a population of 700,000, each man woman and child would receive a dividend check for $72,000 annually.

That, of course, does not begin to add also the tremendous productivity of the other Alaska businesses, large and small, that make the lives of Alaskans better.

So, where does all of that wealth go to?  Somehow, the median gross per capita income of Alaskans came to only $22,600/year as of 2011, PFD check and all. 

The answer to that question is the same that must be given concerning many societies, past and present.  In a phrase, the very few have taken far too much from the many by controlling the system.  It is the use of “the law” to determine the winners and losers of the people’s money.

In Alaska industry profit consumes 48% of net Alaska export/tourism revenues.  The figure for Alaska government spending is 33% of those revenues, leaving the citizen’s paychecks and permanent fund contributions at only the 18% left.

An Unlevel Field

The opposite of free market competition are monopoly practices, whether in industry, finance, the trades, the professions or in the government itself. The insiders like to rig the game.  Established groups using helpful legislators try to corner state money or rule out competition and raise prices within their bailiwick.

Since no person or company owns Alaska’s resources those in political power have a free reign in harvesting its treasure.  One of the freest spending legislatures in the nation has the helm with everyone’s seven-figure bank account paying every friend in sight.

This is what so greatly afflicts Alaska, the powerful grant to themselves special advantages, ones largely unconnected to the public interest.

The tab for the elite comes to well over 80% of Alaska’s riches every year, $17b for the “system” compared to $4b for Alaskans.

How to Fight for Your Fair Share

This journal plans to cover all areas of crony capitalism and wasteful state expenditures: the parts of the Alaska economy where “Trust-Busting” Teddy Roosevelt style should be enacted by Alaskans. 

It is the only way Alaskans are going to finally keep most of what is said to be theirs.  Join our journey by exploring the subjects we are working on so far.  *

The Energy Industry

Native Corporations 

Public Education  

   Harvesting Fish/Timber

The Regulatory State

Alaskan Civil Liberties

The Professions

The Mining Industry

Infrastructure Spending

Public Sector Unions

Combating Pollution

Strengthening the Republic
* Some field areas are still under construction

A New Voice in Alaska

Alaska Trustbuster is an organization of concerned Alaskans seeking to educate the public concerning how our state remains dominated by elitists, whether it is by the Feds, the multinational corporations, state governance or the multitude of state cronies and hangers-on.  Alaska Trusbusters is not affiliated with any political party or any industry group.

Planning to become a platform to develop and harness public awareness, this homegrown organization hopes to become a source and enabler of greatly improved public policy in Alaska, a policy across the economy that for a first time lays a level playing field for the Alaska citizen.

This web location is an investigative journal intended to educate Alaskans and also to provide a bulletin board for our visitors’ experiences and thoughts on public policy in our state.   Interactive readership input is requested in each public policy area that is examined here.  If you have a story concerning how the Alaska economy is being manipulated by powerful people send it along for review or post it on one of our discussion rooms.

Out in the real world Alaska Trustbusters is going to be widely heard from too, especially by the elitists and their enablers.

Finding and executing the best ways to finally level the economic playing field in Alaska is going take the talent and effort of many, many Alaskans.

Help us by bringing your unique talents to this peaceful revolution in Alaska.