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September 15, 2014

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.

I haven’t decided what I’ll do with my check this year. I’m probably in the groceries and heating bills category. But, whatever you do with your yearly bonus for living in this great state, do try to spend most of it locally, so that our wealth supports our economy.

Comments

comments

Comments
18 Responses to “Happy Socialist Money Grab Day, Alaska!”
  1. The way southcentral weather is going, this year’s PFD won’t be adequate to repair the roof damages from the Nth windstorm to blow through. WC hopes everyone in southcentral is safe. It sure beats WC how anyone can live in a climate like that.

    Alaska Pi: the problem with not applying for a PFD is that the system gives your money to the great unwashed rednecks in our state, resulting in yet another dead snow machine in your neighbor’s yard. After a lot of ruminating, WC has decided the best course is to apply and then donate the entire pumpkin to your favorite charities. Refusing to participate only worsens the situation; donating to a charity actually subverts it.

    /WC

    • Alaska Pi says:

      I respect and agree with your views and take on many, many issues here in Alaska WC but I disagree here

      Two things -
      Part of the “it is complicated for me” does turn round thinking about where the system sends the money which would be mine should I choose to apply. As it also goes to relatives, friends , and neighbors who benefit nicely from a fuller pantry, some breathing room on heating fuel costs, a chance for their kids to get some higher education and the like, I made myself let go of the irritation I feel about the dead snow machine in the yard , vote for Don Young, and burp and fart and curse about the gubmint routine of many of my neighbors
      I think you are correct about the subverting the system /donating thing and know a number of folks who do that, However, as my deductions do not exceed the standard deduction and I am already familiar with the added income tax my ANC dividends require me to pay , quite frankly, I am not ready to poke a stick in my own eye to poke one in the eye of a system I disagree with .
      And actually, in the form of what-one-person-can-do , this tilting at the PFD dealie has worked out ok I think, for me. I do not advocate it as a general method nor do I worry about other peoples’ decisions on the matter
      My work puts me in constant contact with quite a few of what you called the great unwashed rednecks in our state. I have ended up in the rather peculiar position over time of being known as the “clean” commie socialist liberal. Some vote now who never did before and they vote as moderates – having spent hours and hours sorting out their real positions on things arguing with Pi.
      So, you work from inside, I’ll work from outside.

  2. Sonia says:

    LIVE HERE. Then say we don’t EARN that check every year. Dumb asses.

    • John says:

      I have lived here a long time. I still live here. I did nothing to earn any of the PFD checks I have received.
      Of course, I live in Anchorage. Maybe if I lived off the road system I would think differently, but I suspect not.

      • Nicole says:

        We need to get used to the idea that we don’t have to work to earn every cent. Just simply for being owners of the state, we deserve it. Ask yourself, do landlords work to get their rental? No. Landlords could have inherited their houses, and citizens have inherited this country.

  3. Alaska Pi says:

    thanks AKM :-)
    I laugh about this every year because truly socialist Pi doesn’t sign up for the PFD but has to listen to the same cranky folks you did today also too.
    I’m hoping it is enough this year to truly help with groceries and heating fuel, for some to sock away for kids’education, for folks to indulge themselves in some fun hoolibob like a TV or a computer, make a payment on something they’ve gotten a bit behind on.
    Have fun neighbors and please, please vote this year.
    25% and change in turnout for the state primary stunk-
    respectfully,
    Pi

    • Zyxomma says:

      Is there some special reason you don’t sign up for the PFD? You’re so eminently qualified for it!

      • slipstream says:

        And you could always sign up for the PFD and then donate your proceeds to slipstream.

      • Alaska Pi says:

        It is complicated for me, Zyx
        Multiple reasons I don’t sign up – not the least of which is a sort of Dona Quixote dealie ( or perhaps a Lady Pellinore-ish questing thing) to do with oil politics here, combined with frustration that too many folks who can fill out a form every year to get dollars cannot be bothered to vote to fill jobs whose responsibilities include deciding how the other side of the oil money is spent, the non-PFD money.
        You hear a lot of engaged and active Alaskans here at MF, from AKM, Shannyn, Linda, and guest contributors to neighbors/residents . They take “ownership” seriously. I respect and admire them.
        They meet their responsibilities and obligations as “owners” as well as accept the benefits.
        I know a number of folks who donate all or portions of their PFDs to charities and causes which benefit neighbors and the polity in general
        If you spend any time on the ground here or read the comments sections of oil tax and mining stories you will/would meet an all too common type who raise their heads and howl when they think the PFD might be threatened but spend the rest of their time telling roadless Alaska to shut up or move. As roughly 85% of the state’s wealth flows from rural Alaska I find that type of attitude disgusting and unacceptable. I can’t count the number of times in conversation those folks tell me I should give my PFD back if I have such “commie” and such like attitudes and STFU and listen when I tell them I refuse to take the PFD :-) so- maybe in the end- for me- it is a device to change conversation with political adversaries…
        I did promise myself that I would fully rethink and revisit the whole thing when all rural communities had/have sanitary sewer and safe drinking water. I realize now I won’t live long enough to see that.

        .

        • mike from iowa says:

          State of Ioway requires(finally) all new rural land purchases-those with residences-upgrade their septic systems. They are all required to have a leach field. No more open sewage lines running to creeks or road ditches. They are still putting in rural water lines in my county. For as long as Iowa has been settled and farmed,not all farms have access to clean,potable water,yet.So called civilization isn’t all that civilized. Promise all us “pups” we can come celebrate the 500th anniverary of rwnj free America with you.

  4. zyggy says:

    yay for all you Alaskan socialists. =) Or should I say all Alaskans are socialists? hmmmmm

  5. John says:

    No 47% here. In Alaska, we all are dependent on government hand outs, and proud of it. We loved the pork Ted Stevens brought in. We applauded Governor Palin when she liberally handed out tax revenue to us. We were appalled when Governor Murkowski did away with the longevity bonus and decreed that only people who needed help could get state assistance. And we will demonize anyone who tries to take away our permenant fund money. After all, how can we live our independent, individualistic lifestyle if the government doesn’t pay for it?

  6. WasillaLefty says:

    Since Alaska is an “owner state” why do Alaskans only get dividends from oil? Why don’t we also get dividends from coal, copper, gold, lumber, etc.? Anyone know why?

    • John says:

      We do. Constitution Article 9, Section 15 says:
      At least twenty-five per cent of all mineral lease rentals, royalties, royalty sale proceeds, federal mineral revenue sharing payments and bonuses received by the State shall be placed in a permanent fund, the principal of which shall be used only for those income-producing investments specifically designated by law as eligible for permanent fund investments. All income from the permanent fund shall be deposited in the general fund unless otherwise provided by law.

      But oil pays the most into this.

  7. slipstream says:

    The Romney is all about self-sufficiency and not taking government handouts.

    So obviously every Alaskan who votes for Romney in November will give back the Permanent Fund Dividend he or she received in October. And will never again file for a dividend.

    Nah . . . didn’t think so.

  8. mike from iowa says:

    Read about this yesterday. Dividends were down because of poor investment returns. Just think how much better returns will be if gumball Parnell gets to give two billion per year back to the oil companies. If cutting taxes increases revenues,lower investments sure enough ought to produce higher returns.

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  1. [...] ‘ It’s $878, if you’ve been wondering.[W]e’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 AK [...]



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