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EDITOR, Daily News:
On Nov. 12 the Ketchikan Daily News printed an editorial titled “$20 an hour,” in which it scolded someone for saying they wouldn’t get out of bed for $20 an hour. While reading it, the following passage jumped out at me:
“[T]he people who work for less than $20 [an hour] should be appreciated. Their contribution to the community is as important as the highest paid.”
Well said! But does the Ketchikan Daily News really believe this? Because if the contributions of the lowest paid are really as important to society as those of the highest paid, then, logically, shouldn’t the lowest paid be appreciated by…paying them more? Because, again, if the contributions of the lowest paid “is as important as the highest paid,” then massive inequality isn’t justifiable and we should be collectively supporting policies that raise the lowest incomes.
Yet, strangely, this has not been a line your paper has taken in the battle over the Alaska Permanent Fund dividend. The PFD is an inherently progressive program — the income the dividend provides is of the greatest financial benefit to the lowest-paid Alaskans. Taxing the dividend in turn is extremely regressive, as it hits those with the lowest incomes the hardest. The Ketchikan Daily News editorial page however has been very unsympathetic to this regressive impact and has on several occasions viciously dismissed the PFD as “a payment for breathing.”
If the Ketchikan Daily News has since seen the light on what a horrific injustice that the dividend tax is, and converted to the cause of a full dividend, then good for you. If not, then the “appreciation” your editorial would have us show to the lowest paid is nothing but a morally and intellectually empty platitude. You can’t purchase essentials with this substance-free “appreciation,” or put it in the bank, or pay for a doctor, or invest in your children, unlike a dividend, which provides the lowest paid with the means to live and bring up their families.
How cruel it is to preach courtesy towards the lowest paid with one breath and then advocate for financially harming them with the next.