SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

By the People, for the People

By Terri Robbins


March 18, 2018
Sunday PM

We have a system of government characterized by the principles of “By the People, For the People.” These were revolutionary ideas in the 1700s. Citizens, for the first time, had the freedom to affect the big decisions that directly impacted their lives. Our founders realized that with that freedom must necessarily come responsibility-the responsibility to vote, to serve, and to contribute to the well-being of our nation. Ours was to be a “government by the people.”

Our country has grown, both in population and in diversity. Our government, too, has grown to address the complex and serious challenges facing and motivating our citizens. Our state governments and the federal government must, of necessity, share certain aspects of governance, including the ultimate responsibility-the well-being of our citizens, thereby honoring the ideal of a “government for the people.“

The voices of some alarmed by government deficits shout the refrain, “cut, cut, cut!“ But, but, but, many of those same voices sink to mutters of discontent and complaint when a needed service is unavailable. Cries for reducing government spending ring out, without indications as to where exactly those reductions should fall or with suggestions that reflect a “not in my backyard” mentality. The needs of distant neighbors are judged less valid because they are not universal.

In Alaska, we all benefit from government services. Some of the things provided are unique, due to the nature of our demographics, geography, and climate. It is true that the level of services are sometimes disproportionate to the population of an area or region. One must remember, however, that fair does not mean everyone gets the same. Fair means everyone gets what they need.
How do we agree upon what exactly is needed? How do we provide the revenue required? Economic stability fluctuates with revenues. The cost of basic infrastructure is not determined solely by population. Expenses are affected by environment, remote locations, access to employment, available workforce, access to technology, and 100 other variables. Costs have risen. Outdated technology restricts progress. Access to already limited resources has become more costly. Our state now operates and provides essential services without adequate revenue. Our once healthy and abundant funding sources have weakened or disappeared. We are in dire financial straits. We cannot continue to accrue deficit. The time has come, again, for Alaskans and people who make a living in Alaska, to contribute financially to the State.

People speak of government as if it is separate from themselves-a Godzilla monster run rampant and beyond individual influence or responsibility. This is a delusion, fed by periods of passive and unquestioning acceptance of benefits and privileges. For years, Alaskans have enjoyed a government that paid for itself without levying taxes. And now we are unable to continue. It is time to accept that we ARE the government and we must sustain and support our own existence-not with extravagance but with a commitment to ensure that no person or community suffers from oppressive funding cuts.

No ones wants to pay taxes but we must accept financial responsibility for our own well-being. We must, like residents of every other state, pay some kind of tax. The only fair and reasonable, sustainable and responsible, solution is the institution of a broad-based progressive tax. It need not be an unbearable drain on our personal finances. It should not make life harder for those who struggle the most and it should not gratuitously favor those who are wealthy. But, it should, it must, support adequate, appropriate government services.We must remember and adhere to the founding principles of our nation...a government by the people and for the people.

Terri Robbins,
Ketchikan, AK

About: I am an Alaskan, born and bred, and a proud member of the Democratic Party.


Editor's Note:

The text of this letter was NOT edited by the SitNews Editor.


Received March 15, 2018 - Published March 18, 2018

Related Viewpoint:





Viewpoints - Opinion Letters:

Webmail Your Opinion Letter to the Editor


Representations of fact and opinions in letters are solely those of the author.
The opinions of the author do not represent the opinions of Sitnews.

E-mail your letters & opinions to
Your full name, city and state are required for letter publication.

Published letters become the property of SitNews.

SitNews ©2018
Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska

Articles & photographs that appear in SitNews may be protected by copyright and may not be reprinted without written permission from and payment of any required fees to the proper sources.

E-mail your news & photos to

Photographers choosing to submit photographs for publication to SitNews are in doing so granting their permission for publication and for archiving. SitNews does not sell photographs. All requests for purchasing a photograph will be emailed to the photographer.