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A dividend to all Albertans

on Thursday, 01 June 2006. Posted in The Social Dividend

Mr. Vic Bridger of Australia, in the Jan.-Feb. 2006 issue of The Australian Social Credit Journal, reported and wrote the following article:

Cheques to go to all Albertans, except residents of our prisons

The Edmonton Sun, Sept. 22, 2005

by DARCY HENTON, Legislature Bureau

This headline in the newspaper referred to an announcement by the Finance Minister in the Albertan Government to the distribution of a dividend to all citizens in the province. The amount of the dividend, which will be paid to every man, woman and child, would be $400. The total cost was estimated to be $1.4 billion, and was in addition to $2.6 billion set aside from the surplus for capital projects and endowment funds. It was suggested that the budget surplus could be as much as $10 billion.

This dividend was likened to the Prosperity Bonus provided each year to Alaskan citizens from their share of oil revenues which we wrote about some years back in this journal. The 2005 Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend will be $845.76 for every man, woman and child, which is nearly double that of Alberta. Last month (August) before hurricane Katrina hit — the fund had assets of $32 billion compared with Alberta's fund (The Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund)

fund could have been higher except for some bad stock and share investments. The $845.76 payment in 2005 is the lowest dividend payout since 1988. Just five years ago, it was a record $1,963.86. The shrinking dividends are in contrast to this year's record crude oil prices and a permanent fund at an all time high of $31.5 billion US. The dividends are calculated on a five year average of the permanent fund's income from stocks, bonds, real estate and other investments.

Stock market losses in 2002 and 2003 drove the value down this year; according to the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. And while the high oil prices bulk up the permanent's fund principal, that money must be invested, and is not figured into dividends.

The whole exercise represents an adherence to orthodox economic principles. It is a wonder that the income from the investments is not reinvested and reinvested etc., etc., building on a fairy tale of fantasy and unreal activities. Oil is a natural and real resource, whereas investments on royalties received from oil are based on reality; income (or losses) on financial transactions are based on the black magic of finance.

The payment of a dividend is based on a Social Credit concept except that it is directly related to oil royalties, and not inclusive of all economic activities within the province. Nevertheless, it does establish a couple of things. One is that the natural resource of oil energy is actually the property of the people of the province. Secondly, that is quite feasible to pay a dividend, irrespective of the amount, and therefore, and accepts the principle that it can be done.

Some of the comments by business leaders, letters to the editor, and in particular newspaper writers indicate the work ahead of genuine Social Credit proposals. It demonstrates political ideology that is likely to confront any attempt to introduce Social Credit principles in full and on a proper and sound financial basis based on physical realities. Readers can grapple with the logic contained in the following comments.

Terence Hopwood — Calgary Chamber of Commerce. "Giving folks their money back is ill conceived, short-sighted, a snap decision without foresight, and is neither disciplined nor balanced".

Letter to the Editor — G. Woodward. "I do not see the point in giving everyone $400. To most it won't make any difference to their quality of life. If they were to put those dollars into AlSH (Investment), it would make a huge difference". The editor commented that AlSH recipients will get the $400 too.

Mr. Woodward could well be asked what is the difference between obtaining a dividend from oil royalties and dividends from AlSH investments? Of course it could be argued that all the receipts from royalties should be invested and reinvested and reinvested, and no one should receive a dividend.

What if the dividend was not $400 but $4000, would that make a difference to the quality of life. The argument about the quality of life is silly. The point is that people should receive a dividend from the benefits obtained from natural resources which are owned by all, not investment companies or banks.

Letter to the editor — Rob Arrand. "Prosperity bonus: what a terrible lack of imagination this shows. The 3.5 billion (not sure where this figure came from — Ed.) would provide full employment for all of Alberta's unemployed for a year or more. If we spend every cent of our bonus now or in the future, the Federal Government will be enriched to the tune of over $200 million in GST receipts."

Newspaper reporters and editorials are too long to be included in detail, but the general tenor of the comments is that it is a bad idea, and that the Government could or should spend the money itself. This negates the whole concept of a national dividend as proposed by Social Credit. The dividend is simply an acceptance of the principle that natural resources and the benefits bestowed by them are communal property, and as such should be shared equally, not just the unemployed, or the poor, or a badly run hospital system, or the education system, or any other group. It is for all.

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