Sep 18, 2014

Six 1-ounce gold coins for each family of four. Santa Claus is in Alaska.

Every family of four will get six 1-ounce gold coins free from their government. In Alaska. The citizen dividend this year is US$1,884 per person regardless of age or employment. A family of four, with almost US$8000, can buy six 1-ounce gold coins.

1-ounce Gold Coin


Sep 16, 2014

The Founder of the Singapore Permanent Reserve

Singapore

The Singapore Reserve is permanent. It cannot be used by the Prime Minister, Cabinet or Parliament without an explicit written agreement from the elected President. Half its investment income can be used by the Parliament.

For comparison, the Alaska Permanent Fund is permanent. It's income is distributed as an annual citizen dividend to all residents. It's income can be diverted and used by the Alaskan politicians with a change to the Alaska Dividend law.

Aug 29, 2014

Return our Citizen Dividend. "People need to quit demanding jobs and start demanding justice."

Why you have the right to a $5K dividend from Uncle Sam | Making Sen$e | PBS NewsHour: (Aug 27, 2014)

This post on citizen dividend has quite a few gems.
"Dividends from common wealth, by contrast, unite society by putting all its members in the same boat. The income everyone receives is a right, not a handout. This changes the story, the psychology and the politics."
"A national dividend system would be simple, fair and immensely popular. It would rest on the principle of shared ownership, not redistribution. Once set up, it would be market-based rather than tax-funded. And it could gain support across the political spectrum: conservatives from Sarah Palin to Bill O’Reilly have lauded Alaska’s dividends."
"Our times demand a reliable flow of supplementary income as well. The best way to provide that is to pay dividends to everyone from wealth that’s logically ours."
From progress.org (Aug 28, 2014), on the above post about citizen dividend:
"What’s needed is for regular people to feel enough self-esteem to demand a fair share of what’s already ours just like the rich feel when winning an enormous share of what’s not theirs. We’re not broke. There is a surplus. It just needs to be shared. People need to quit demanding jobs and start demanding justice."
When will more people around the world be more like Alaskans, demanding their share of their own state's resources?

When will the Alaskans be more Alaskan, demanding a better share of their own state's resources? They only get a quarter of what the state gets from the oil companies, which is a small fraction of the oil wealth. I think Alaskans get less than 10% of their oil wealth in citizen dividends.

Aug 26, 2014

Want to raise the minimum wage? Take it to the ballot. A citizen dividend?

Want to raise the minimum wage? Take it to the ballot.:
by Claire Zillman @clairezillman AUGUST 19, 2014
Ballot initiatives have been used to push minimum wage laws through especially stubborn states. Take New Jersey for example. In January 2013, Republican Governor Chris Christie vetoed minimum wage legislation that state lawmakers had passed. At the polls ten months later, New Jersey voters approved a ballot initiative to boost the state’s minimum pay from $7.25 to $8.25 with 61% of the vote.
“A higher minimum wage is incredibly popular,’ says David Cooper, an economic analyst at the Economic Policy Institute. “If legislature is not being responsive to the public’s desires, advocates are going the ballot measure route because it’s been successful.”
Is there a similar way to decide a citizen dividend or a universal basic income through the ballet?

Aug 23, 2014

We own the resources, but the politicians negotiate the selling price. Part 2

From Guardian

This is a global problem where politicians are in charge of selling the citizens' resources. Citizens have to watch their resources carefully.

In the USA, in the 1920's, a politician was convicted for accepting bribes from oil companies in return for oil leases. (Wiki on Teapot Dome scandal)

In Nigeria, there is a report in 2012 of how $35 billion oil revenue was lost.
"A top Nigerian anti-corruption crusader was asked to prepare a no-holds-barred report on the rotten state of country’s oil industry. He delivered. Nigerians now have a clear idea of just how much their government has squandered on inefficiency, mismanagement and personal bank accounts, and they’re not happy."
 The Guardian reported:
"The most damaging allegation involved the state oil firm and oil companies Shell, Total and Eni, which together owned a subsidiary company called Nigeria LNG. This company acted as a middle man, buying oil on the cheap from the government and selling it on to international markets at a vastly inflated price. Ribadu's report estimates that if the government had just sold the oil at market price, they would have made an additional $29-billion."
There are international conferences dedicated to this global problem.

One example.

Citizens Against Corruption in Natural Resource Management, a 2008 workshop by IACC, International anti-corruption conference.
Summary
The exploitation of mineral deposits and oil both offer huge scope for corruption. This workshop explored practical ways to mobilize civil society organizations to fight corruption in the management of natural resources, drawing lessons from two case studies. The first case deals with the misappropriation of oil revenues in Azerbaijan while the second case addresses the situation where unscrupulous commercial operators bribe poorly paid local officials in Mongolia.
This quote is from the report from Azerbaijan:
While the government has the main responsibility to manage the country’s oil revenues wisely and to account for its actions to the general public, this will not happen without effective public oversight. Thus, civil society -- broadly defined to include the independent media, business associations, research institutes and active individuals as well as advocacy NGOs -- can and must play a key role in demanding good governance and government must be persuaded to accept this oversight. (From Vugar Bayramov, Anti-corruption Initiatives in Oil Sector in Azerbaijan: Do Civil Society Organizations Matter?)

Aug 21, 2014

Your Honour, the thief should return my money

From Openclipart

People: Your Honour, the thief should return my money.
Judge: What are your grounds?

People: Because I am poor and I need my money
Judge: You are poor because you are stupid and lazy. You will squander it on alcohol and gambling. You don't deserve this money.

People: Your Honour, I will spend it on food and clothing. That will stimulate the economy.
Judge: I am afraid that will lead to inflation.

People: Your Honour, I won't spend all. I will save some.
Judge: You will become lazy and stop working if you get the money and have more savings. That will be bad for the economy and the country.

People: No, Your Honour, I will work even harder to earn more money.
Judge: Enough. How can this money be given to you when you have done nothing. It is the police who work to catch the thief, and I who work on this bench. The money must not be given to you so freely.



Aug 20, 2014

We own the resources, but the politicians negotiate the selling price



Alaska is famous as an owner state.

The Alaskans own their resources, including oil. A big part of the oil revenue goes into a special fund dedicated for citizen dividend. This has been so for more than 30 years, with a sizable citizen dividend for every Alaskan every year.

Yesterday's referendum on Senate Bill 21 happened because a big group of Alaskans were not happy with the selling price negotiated by the politicians with the oil companies. They thought the selling price was too low.

The referendum outcome is still pending, with a few thousands leading in support of the new selling price but with many more thousands yet to be counted.

This is a situation that can happen in any country.

Are your politicians selling your resources too cheaply? Is there any potential bias? It was reported that politicians who voted on SB21 were employed in the oil companies. Is there any conflict of interest? Do they represent the citizen owners or do they represent the oil companies?
"Even before the votes were counted, one of the leaders of the referendum was back on the streets again with petitions, this time for an initiative to forbid legislators from voting on bills in which they have financial conflicts of interest. Ray Metcalfe, a former legislator, said the initiative would make such behavior a felony." (From ADN, 'No' votes hold narrow lead in Ballot Measure 1)
For now, citizens in other countries may not be very interested since they don't get a direct share of their resources. But they should. First, they should demand a citizen dividend. Then, they will have to decide the selling price of their resources.

Aug 18, 2014

Alaska SB21: Should Alaskans be in a hurry to pump up every drop of oil at a lower revenue per drop?

Alaskans have a referendum voting on August 19th on whether or not to repeal SB21.

The interesting point is that both sides are saying the same thing:

Repeal SB21 to get more dividends.
"If SB21 were applied to the entire period of ACES, the people of Alaska would have lost about $8 billion in revenue. SB21, over time, gives away too much and will not pay for itself." (From here)
Accept SB21 to get more dividends.
The key feature of the legislation is the balance that has been restored to our tax system. At today's prices and conditions, we are actually realizing more revenue for Alaskans. (From here)
A big percentage of oil revenue goes into the Alaska Permanent Fund, whose investment return is distributed as a citizen dividend to all Alaskans every year.

It's a tough decision for the citizen owners in Alaska. A very simplified analogy will be the options facing a landlord.

Do you ask for high rents (repeal SB21)?

Do you lower rents in the hope that there will be more tenants (accept SB21)? The rent cut is about one-third.
Vote Yes says Alaska does not share in higher prices under SB 21. False. If prices were to increase to $150 per barrel, Alaska would get 54 percent of the increase. The other 46 percent is shared between the producers and federal government. Under ACES the state would get 86 percent of the increase. (From here)
Unlike empty apartments that cost money to maintain and depreciate in value over time, unexplored oil fields may appreciate in value over time. Should Alaskans be in a hurry to pump up every drop of oil at a lower revenue per drop?

Aug 16, 2014

Citizen dividend: It's our in the first place.

Johnny West explains the fundamental reason for a citizen dividend very well. It is giving citizens back their rightful citizen income. This is justice. Not welfare.
Oil = citizen dividend
The IMF and oil: It's the politics, stupid - Opinion - Al Jazeera English: by Johnny West.
"Ownership of sub-soil natural resources by the entire people is recognised by law and in many cases by constitution, in most producing countries."
"Citizen dividends - give it back
If states manage natural resource wealth on behalf of the people, why don't they give some of it back to them directly? Not as welfare state; means tested and administered by a bureaucracy, but as a flat universal citizen dividend.
Ironically, this idea has been been vehemently opposed on ideological grounds by large sections of both the left and the right. The right are repelled by the decadence of giving away something for nothing. The point that natural resources actually belong, legally, to the people in the first place, so no-one is giving away anything, eludes them.
Parts of the left sometimes see it as a sinister libertarian plot to undermine the state, making an unfortunate and imported equation between the legitimacy of a state and the amount of money it has. The mental paradigm generally invoked is of throwing bundles of dollars off the back of lorries into a refugee camp.
In fact, in the 21st century a citizen dividend would be more likely to take place by digital transfer over mobile phone. Harnessed properly, it would be a massive asset for social and economic development - multiplying the tax base, a key IMF concern, transforming the local finance sector, putting the small business sector on steroids and, in many countries, coming close to eliminating absolute poverty."
Yes, as shown for Singapore, a citizen dividend will eliminate poverty in Singapore.

Aug 14, 2014

Libertarian or Conservative, I just want my citizen dividend back

Libertarian or Conservative, I just want my citizen dividend back.
The Pragmatic Libertarian Case for a Basic Income GuaranteeBy Matt Zwolinski Lead Essay August 4, 2014
The Conservative Case for a Guaranteed Basic IncomeCreating a wage floor is an effective way to fight poverty—and it would reduce government spending and intrusion. NOAH GORDONAUG 6 2014
It's mine. It belongs to me because I own the country. Together with all the other citizens.
The government or state or politicians have no rights to confiscate it.

Unlike taxes with specific tax laws, there is not a single law around for the government to confiscate our citizen dividend.

For example, in South Africa, it is explicitly written in their laws (Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act) that
1. The resources belong to all the people of South Africa.
2. The state is a custodian
3. The state has to provide equitable access to the nation’s mineral and petroleum resources to all the people of South Africa.

Nowhere does the law say the state can simply take the resources revenue and dump it into the government's operating budget.

It certainly looks possible for any South African to demand an equitable share of his or her resources, i.e., a citizen dividend.

Here are the relevant parts from the Act.