Happy Socialist Money Grab Day, Alaska!
It’s $878, if you’ve been wondering.
Alaska’s Permanent Fund Dividend check has been more, but it’s also been less.
Established in 1976, after oil was discovered on Alaska’s North Slope, the permanent fund dividend gives every Alaskan cash back from oil wealth. Alaska is unique in that the residents, not private land owners or the government, own the oil. Hence, every year investments made pay residents back. Some years are better than others, but every man, woman and child gets a check – this year on October 4.
The first dividend check was $1000. Last year’s check was $1174. We really had a banner year when ex-half-term super-dooper socialist governor Sarah Pain was in office. We got the biggest pfd check ever, at $2069 – PLUS another $1200 check from the gov to subsidize the high cost of energy. Do the math. It was a pretty awesome year.
All that is required to receive the check is to live in Alaska for a full calendar year, and fill out the appropriate paperwork which was due last March.
There are those who might waggle a finger and call Alaskans “moochers,” “parasites,” or even “freeloaders.” But the truth is, we’re really just good ol’ socialists. It’s called the “owner state” concept, which means the resources of the state are owned by the commons, and the Constitution of Alaska requires that they be developed in the best interest of the people.
The amount of investment earnings allocated to dividends is based on a five-year rolling average of Permanent Fund performance. Dropping from the average this year is 2007, a recent high-water mark in which the fund earned $3.4 billion in statutory net income, the realized gains used in calculating the dividend. Staying in is 2009, during the recession, when the fund recorded its first net loss in the statutory net income.
As I type this, the grumpy seniors at the next table over in my coffee spot are grumbling about the fund. “Get rid of the damn thing. Then every one of them with six kids would get the hell out. You watch how fast.”
But, in general, the sentiment for the beloved PFD is far more charitable. Depending on the economy and the individual, PFD checks will be spent for big screen TVs, tuition, heating fuel, snow machines, groceries, the newest electronic gadget, or tickets to Hawaii. We love us some free money here on the Last Frontier. Even those who gripe about it in theory don’t want to actually give up their own Alaskan “entitlement.” It is our oil, after all.
And don’t even dream of touching the system if you’re a politician. Start talking about tinkering with everyone’s yearly windfall, and watch the hackles rise on a lot of cold, cranky people – especially those who use the money for outrageously high heating fuel costs or gas in rural areas.