Sarah Palin’s Alaska is a welfare state

There is no place in the United States more illustrative of cognitive dissonance — more rife with deep internal contradictions — than Sarah Palin’s Alaska. It’s a wonder that its residents heads don’t explode.
You know all about Alaska, right? You know that its citizens pride themselves on a fierce independence, an all-American self-reliance and a deep-seated resistance to the federal government. Palin considers Alaska a prime example of the “real America.”
However, despite all of that myth-making, Alaska is the nation’s most glaring example of a welfare state. Its citizens couldn’t make ends meet without federal and state largess. From The New York Times:

No place benefits more from federal largess than this state, where the Republican governor decries “intrusive” federal policies, officials sue to overturn the health care legislation and Senator Lisa Murkowski, a Republican, voted against the stimulus bill.

Although its unemployment rate sits at just 7.9 percent, about two percentage points below the national rate, Alaska has received $3,145 per capita in federal stimulus dollars, the most in the nation, according to figures compiled by Pro Publica, an investigative Web site. Nevada, by contrast, has an unemployment rate north of 14 percent and has received $1,034 per capita in recovery aid. Florida’s jobless rate is 11.4 percent, and the state has obtained $914 per capita. . .
Matanuska-Susitna Borough officials received about $111 million in federal stimulus, according to Pro Publica. There was $28 million for schools and $900,000 for a park-and-ride lot for commuters heading to Anchorage

(Wasillans have a practiced eye for federal dollars; when Ms. Palin was mayor, she hired a lobbying firm that reeled in $25 million in federal earmarks for a city of fewer than 7,000 residents.)

In addition, every Alaska resident gets a check from the state, just for living in Alaska:

It’s the season for Alaskans to be rewarded just for living here and this year’s take is extra sweet: $3,269, a record share of the state’s oil wealth combined with a special cash payout to help with stratospheric energy prices.

Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell announced Friday that every eligible man, woman and child will receive $2,069, thanks to dividend payments from the state’s oil royalty investment program distributed annually. On top of that, the checks will include another $1,200 from the state treasury to help offset soaring fuel prices.

According to GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who is likely to beat back a challenge from tea partier Joe Miller, Alaska isn’t going to take its hands out of the cookie jar any time soon. Murkowski won partly by stating — upfront and on the record — that she intends to keep trying to get earmarks for the state. From McClatchy:

The flow of federal money to Alaska played a key role in Murkowski’s re-election. Her Republican opponent in the U.S. Senate race, Joe Miller, called earmarks “the single most corrupting influence in Congress.” But throughout the campaign, she and Democrat Scott McAdams both said they would follow in the tradition of former Sen. Ted Stevens and continue to seek as much federal money for Alaska as possible.

“I think it is a mistake to suggest to the public that by taking this action somehow or another we are reducing the deficit, we are reducing spending,” she said last week in Washington . “It ties the hands of the legislative body. The Constitution says the power of the purse is with the legislative body. We are effectively handing that over to the executive branch. I think that’s misplaced and I don’t think we should be doing it. Again, it’s a message as opposed to really making a difference for the bottom line.”

As The New York Times points out:

In 1996, federal spending in Alaska was 38 percent above the national average. Thanks to the late Republican Senator Ted Stevens, who was Senate appropriations chief for several years, and to the military, which keeps expanding its bases here, Alaska’s share now is 71 percent higher than the national average.

Some of this owes to the expense of serving Alaska’s rural reaches. But much is bred in the bone. The federal government carved this young state out of the northern wilderness, and officials here learn to manipulate federal budget levers at a tender age.

On her new reality show, “Sarah Palin’s Alaska,” the former half-term governor is busy trying to prove herself a hardy outsdoorswoman and Mama Grizzly, even as some critics claim she doesn’t know how to shoot or fish. I don’t know about all that. She may be able to survive a month stranded in the wilderness with just a hatchet.
But I do know this: her state’s residents can’t survive without state and federal handouts.

255 comments Add your comment

granny godzilla

November 22nd, 2010
8:12 am

The red state ripoff

Not to mention red state teenage birth rates and divorxce rates….

Road Scholar

November 22nd, 2010
8:19 am

Maybe we should give Alaska what they ask for…No federal aid from that intrusive US government!

...

November 22nd, 2010
8:21 am

Ms Tucker, I have often wondered about that. Why are people paid just to live in Alaska?

Call it like it is

November 22nd, 2010
8:24 am

And whats your point? The left doesnt want Palin, the right doesnt want her either. Are you going after the Tea Party? A copy and paste job of what everybody already knows. Well lets go see if Bookman did something entertaining today.

Paul

November 22nd, 2010
8:26 am

Interesting premise. Federal spending for economic stimulus is welfare. Given that, one can write just about anything as a conclusion.

Of course, you know in a ‘per person’ calculation the numerator is the dollars and the denominator is the population. So if you have the same amount of dollars going to one state that has nearly four times the population of another state, one can say, ‘golly! That state gets lots more per capita than the other state!”

And since, according to the US Census, Nevada has a population of 2.6 million while Alaska has a population of .7 million, and since, according to the Recovery dot gov website, Nevada was awarded $1.9 BILLION and created, 2,976 jobs, while Alaska was awarded $2.1 BILLION and created 3,634 jobs, it cost the taxpayers only $638,000 per each Nevada job while each Alaska job cost $578,000, the numbers show Sara Palin’s Alaska spends LESS per job than Sen Harry Reid’s Nevada.

Plus, Ms Tucker’s declared all those created jobs are really welfare. Quite an admission from a Progressive.

“Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell announced Friday that every eligible man, woman and child will receive $2,069, thanks to dividend payments from the state’s oil royalty investment program distributed annually.”

I can see why this would irritate a Progressive. After all, state resources belong to the state government and should be spent as the government bureaucracy decides, not returned to the people.

But federal spending is welfare. Given that Spkr Pelosi pronounced the initial Debt Reduction Commission’s heads recommendations as “Dead on Arrival” it’s no wonder Pres Obama had to appoint an independent commission to get around Democratic Congressional leaders who are dead set against cutting welfare.

Aquagirl

November 22nd, 2010
8:28 am

But….but, they’re not black or furriners! And we all know only those people are leeches! Guys like Nathan Deal can soak everyone dry while decrying “ghetto grandmas.” Cognitive dissonance at its finest.

Moderate Line

November 22nd, 2010
8:30 am

Although its unemployment rate sits at just 7.9 percent, about two percentage points below the national rate, Alaska has received $3,145 per capita in federal stimulus dollars, the
++++++++
The reason Alaska had such high spending for stimulus is because the projects had to be “shovel ready”. Little emphasis was place on effectiveness which would mean spending it in states with high unemployment..

Larry

November 22nd, 2010
8:35 am

Oh good, let’s bash Palin, it must be Monday and I have to write something. I know how we can stop all that federal money from flowing to Alaska, let’s provide an easy path for illegal aliens to get citizenship. That will fix everything because we all know that the root of all of our problems is denying them a path to citizenship. I spit out my tea yesterday morning when I read that! I hope you weren’t serious when you wrote that.

Road Scholar

November 22nd, 2010
8:39 am

Larry, I don’t see this as bashing Palin, but instead we bash folks that say one thing and do another. ie I don’t want socialist healthcare but keep you hands off my medicare!

Cowboy Bob

November 22nd, 2010
8:40 am

Your jealousy is really spiking today Mizzus Cynthia. Relax, vote for Bristol and watch the first two episodes of Sarah’s Alaska (we know you recorded them).

Moderate Line

November 22nd, 2010
8:43 am

Although its unemployment rate sits at just 7.9 percent, about two percentage points below the national rate, Alaska has received $3,145 per capita in federal stimulus dollars,
+++++++++
One of the biggest problems with this argument is the Federal government owns allot of Alaska so it’s normal spending in Alaska is very high. Since one of the goals of the stimulus project was to complete projects quickly my guess all federal agencies did was pull projects that were going to be completed in out years up. This also shows why stimulus spending falls short of dramatically stimulating the economy.

My guess is those states with a large number of federal facilties received a large amount of stimulus funding. Although I can see were this is may be called byporocisy I would see it as much fuzzier.

Mr_B

November 22nd, 2010
8:43 am

Just when you thought them stupid federal tax- and-spend librals couldn’t do anything dumber, they go and spend 600K for a lousy job AND THEN they leave all these free highways, bridges, firestations, parks and stuff just lyin’ around.

retired early

November 22nd, 2010
8:45 am

Paul
Pelosi did not say the recommendations were “dead on arrival”. That was the GOP. Nancy’s comment referred to SS and that those cuts were “not acceptable”.
BTW, from your long winded rationalization, Sarah, somehow, escapes the definition of a hypocrite.

Born with a tan.

November 22nd, 2010
8:47 am

I’m with Barbara Bush…. I too hope Sarah Palin stays in Alaska come 2012.

LeeH1

November 22nd, 2010
8:48 am

Let’s send all our welfare mothers and illegal aliens to Alaska! That will boost their population, and eliminate many of our problems.

Mr Right

November 22nd, 2010
8:49 am

But I do know this: her state’s residents can’t survive without state and federal handouts.

And how do you know that ?

lovelyliz

November 22nd, 2010
8:51 am

States Receiving Most in Federal Spending Per Dollar of Federal Taxes Paid:

1. D.C. ($6.17)
2. North Dakota ($2.03)
3. New Mexico ($1.89)
4. Mississippi ($1.84)
5. Alaska ($1.82)
6. West Virginia ($1.74)
7. Montana ($1.64)
8. Alabama ($1.61)
9. South Dakota ($1.59)
10. Arkansas ($1.53)

Jason

November 22nd, 2010
8:52 am

I occasionally browse ms. Tucker’s column and it appears she always simply quotes from another article, with a couple of her own lines thrown in. Am I missing something? I can go the NY Times if I want to read their work.

lovelyliz

November 22nd, 2010
8:52 am

States Receiving Least in Federal Spending Per Dollar of Federal Taxes Paid:

1. New Jersey ($0.62)
2. Connecticut ($0.64)
3. New Hampshire ($0.68)
4. Nevada ($0.73)
5. Illinois ($0.77)
6. Minnesota ($0.77)
7. Colorado ($0.79)
8. Massachusetts ($0.79)
9. California ($0.81)
10. New York ($0.81)

catlady

November 22nd, 2010
8:52 am

IT’S ONLY WELFARE IF IT GOES TO SOMEONE ELSE! If it comes to me, well, I earned it!

Mr Right

November 22nd, 2010
8:54 am

Run Sarah Run, like to see all the Libs foam out of their mouths!!

wright

November 22nd, 2010
8:54 am

Ms.Tucker, you should just be patient. According to Howard Dean, the Republican Party is the white party, which makes the Democratic Party the non-white party. According to the latest stats, whites are reproducing at a much lower rate than non-whites. Therefore, future voters will be predominantly non-white and Democratic. The party of entitlement will rule for centuries after the non-whites become the majority. Of course, it will not take centuries for the country to implode.

Keep up the good fight!

November 22nd, 2010
8:54 am

Its time we mend fences with our northernmost state……what, she built a fence how high? Can she still see Russia? Nevermind…

PeteC

November 22nd, 2010
8:55 am

I can’t stand Palin either, and I don’t know anyone who can. But this is some of the laziest cut-and-paste reporting I’ve ever seen. At least it’s referenced properly?!

Moderate Line

November 22nd, 2010
8:56 am

Road Scholar

November 22nd, 2010
8:39 am
Larry, I don’t see this as bashing Palin, but instead we bash folks that say one thing and do another. ie I don’t want socialist healthcare but keep you hands off my medicare!
++++++++++++++
This is comical. I am no supporter of Palin and can’t imagine the Democrats picking someone I would not vote for before her. However, let’s look at the post concerning “say one thing and do another”.

Most of the post is about how Alaska received the most stimulus funding. Since Sarah was governor of Alaska she is saying one thing and doing another. She had absolutely nothing to do with the passage of the stimulus bill. Also, Lisa Murkowski voted against the stimulus bill so she had very little to do with the spending on the stimulus bill so I am not sure how this is saying one thing and do another since she voted against it. She did not control the process by which stimulus projects were determined. Except where congress attached earmarks the executive branch does that just like any project.

I am quite confident you can find hypocrisy being committed by any politician but this is the weak argument.

Gm

November 22nd, 2010
8:56 am

Palin is the number 1 hypocrite in America, yet these idiots are making the Palins filthy rich. She goes around speaking against gov, she never mention that 75% of the people live in Alaska work for the gov.
She is just another example how easy conservatives can be pimp by frauds like Palin, Rush Limbaugh who at nite are laughing all the way to the bank, pretending to be one of them.

Zzz

November 22nd, 2010
8:58 am

Last time I looked….Sarah Palin wasn`t the Governor of Alaska anymore !!! Slow day today at the Journal ?

SmittyATL

November 22nd, 2010
8:59 am

So, Cynthia, are you saying that government handouts are a bad thing? I thought you loved it when the government redistributed wealth to those it deems worthy. Do Alaska’s citizens deserve federal assistance less than other states’ citizens because you don’t like their former governor’s politics?

lovelyliz

November 22nd, 2010
8:59 am

Actually Mr Right some of Sarah Palin’s biggest “suporters” are Democrats. They are praying with all their might that she gets the GOP presidential nod for 2012 and does for their chances what she did in 2008.

Cynthia, you need to do your research, honey..

November 22nd, 2010
8:59 am

I spend a couple of weeks each year in Alaska. When I saw the title of this article, I had a pretty good sense of why it was written. Ms. Tucker despises Sarah Palin and wants to condemn her by condemning her state. I’m not a big Palin fan either, but Tucker is simply off base on several of her assumptions. With a smaller population than most states, ANY project is going to cost more on a per capita basis, just as it would cost less in a highly populated state like California. The nation needs access to Alaska’s resources, so roads and airports must be built. No choice there. As to the issue of residents being paid a check each year, that is a state constitution mandated dividend check paid from a fund supported by oil taxes, not a welfare check. Generally speaking, the only Alaskans that I see who are of a welfare state mindset are the native Alaskan Indians, Their work ethic and dependence on government funding is very similar to that of much of the black community here. If Cynthia can get her crowd to stop committing crimes, taking drugs, and to work, I’ll get the Tlinget and Haida bums in SE Alaska to do the same.

Paul

November 22nd, 2010
9:00 am

retired early

So if someone makes you an offer and you say it’s “not acceptable” does that mean it’s still got life in its present form?

“In a statement, the California Democrat described the ideas from President Obama’s panel on debts and deficits as “simply unacceptable.” The California lawmaker was reacting to initial commission proposals that include increases in the retirement age, tax reform and cuts in defense spending.” (Copyright 2010 by VERTEXNews/Newsroom Solutions)

From Time: “So it was the speed and resolve with which Nancy Pelosi attacked the overall proposal that was most surprising.”

My earlier post took issue with the “fun with numbers” approach and the definitions of various types of federal spending as welfare.

Mr Right

November 22nd, 2010
9:02 am

Gm

November 22nd, 2010
8:56 am

I take it you don’t like conservatives !!

ButtHead

November 22nd, 2010
9:03 am

Funny how liberals look at how much “federal money” every state gets, first of all it is NOT federal money it is the states money the federal government took. And they hate to give it back unless they need to bribe somebody for a vote. Better yet how come you liberal loser forgot about the Nebraska $300 million vote buying? Oh that’s right you only remember when it is a GOP’er. Selective memory for the left is a way of life…

Matt B

November 22nd, 2010
9:03 am

The people of Alaska own their land in the state. This is the reason the resident’s share in the profit of the oil business. This is not welfare or a government handout. Cynthia Tucker needs to keep her attention focused on her own state’s failings. Her stats are seriously flawed, and some information is terribly misleading. If I wrote an article with as much copy and paste, I would recieve a failing grade. This article is a failure.

Road Scholar

November 22nd, 2010
9:05 am

“In 1996, federal spending in Alaska was 38 percent above the national average. Thanks to the late Republican Senator Ted Stevens, who was Senate appropriations chief for several years, and to the military, which keeps expanding its bases here, Alaska’s share now is 71 percent higher than the national average.”

Moderate Line: I wasn’t refering to the stimulus; I was refering to yearly money that is sent to Alaska!

ctucker

November 22nd, 2010
9:06 am

Matt B@9:03, Do you own all of Georgia? If oil were discovered in a state preserve, would that entitle you to a government check?

ctucker

November 22nd, 2010
9:07 am

ButtHead@9:03, Funny how you defend that. Alaskans are getting back much more money in taxes than they paid in.

Mr Right

November 22nd, 2010
9:07 am

lovelyliz

November 22nd, 2010
8:59 am

And if she does run you will have the liberal media throwing truck loads of mud like they do to any conservative woman that runs for office !

ctucker

November 22nd, 2010
9:08 am

Cynthia’s research@8:59, Please explain how that’s different from welfare. Because it’s in the state constitution?

carlosgvv

November 22nd, 2010
9:08 am

I would not accuse Sarah Palin of cognitive dissonance as she probably dosen’t have the slightest idea what that means. She’s probably a little fuzzy on what hypocrite means too.

ctucker

November 22nd, 2010
9:09 am

Yes, lovelyliz@8:52, So true.

ctucker

November 22nd, 2010
9:09 am

Jason@8:52, I do hope you’re reading the NYT. It’s a great source of news.

Larry

November 22nd, 2010
9:10 am

Road scholar

?????????????????????????????????
When did healthcare & medicare get introduced in the discussion.

Ms Tucker threw Palin’s name in at the end for some reason. I don’t believe she was in office long enough to be the source of all of the largesse CT thows out there, in fact Palin was probably in diapers or just a glint in her daddy’s eye when the state negotiated those contracts with the oil companies and one of the biggest beneficiaries of those payments has been the native population. And what an absurd idea the state had, to negotiate a contract with big business that flows directly to the citizens. Why think of all the ways the state could spend that money. They could have put it in a trust fund for their retirement (oh yeah, trust funds work, look at SS). Maybe the state realized back then that if they didn’t distribute it, they, the state, would have become dependant on it or would have used it in some expansion of government that the population back then did not need. Where would SS today be if the fed’s had honored the trust fund?

vicki

November 22nd, 2010
9:10 am

My daughter just moved to Alaska from Atlanta, and at 23, she is in awe of the state and their people. No body expects “something for nothing”. And everybody helps everyone out – not with money, but with time and effort. The refund the poeple will receive is from the oil revenue that is generated there – no government hand out.

Kati

November 22nd, 2010
9:10 am

Where on earth did you get that figure for our dividend this year?? You’re actually citing the dividend and fuel cost “bonus” (the only time we ever received such a thing) from when Sarah Palin was still governor in 08. This year’s dividend was $1,280. If you can’ get that very well published fact right I have serious doubts about the rest of your claims in this article.

And to answer someone else’s question about why we get “paid to live here.” When the state began leasing land to oil companies they set up a “permanent fund” and invested some of the oil revenue money in it and continues to do so each year. The idea behind it is that if we’re going to be hooking up the oil companies with our land and resources than Alaskan residents should be getting a cut of the revenue as well. I think it’s a flawed system, personally, but it always does make for a happy 1st week in October!

AU83

November 22nd, 2010
9:10 am

Tucker’s Atlanta is a welfare city.

Mr Right

November 22nd, 2010
9:11 am

ctucker

November 22nd, 2010
9:07 am

ButtHead@9:03, Funny how you defend that. Alaskans are getting back much more money in taxes than they paid in.

Shhh CT, you better be quiet or you might not have many people left in Atlanta.

Good Grief

November 22nd, 2010
9:11 am

In the past on this blog I have seen many conservatives slammed for not using facts, and merely stating opinion. I guess today, then, is Liberal Opinion Day, with statements like “Palin is the number 1 hypocrite in America” and “But I do know this: her state’s residents can’t survive without state and federal handouts.” There is no fact to these statements, but they are flung out there without regard. Well done.

@ Matt B at 9:03

November 22nd, 2010
9:11 am

Great point, but Tucker isn’t going to focus on Georgia’s substantial problems. Any kind of investigation would show that most of the REAL problems Georgia faces are rooted in the black community. Sure, there are problems with the white culture, but the celebration of the gangster lifestyle, pervasive drug use, avoidance of work, dependence on welfare, dependence on government housing, the lack of fathers being involved with their offspring, exceptionally poor leadership, and a culture of mismanagement (APS and Clayton County, anyone?) are all issues that the black community needs to face and solve. Too bad Cynthia isn’t willing to ruffle any of her folk’s feathers. Easier to beat up on Alaska, I guess….

Van Jones

November 22nd, 2010
9:14 am

So Sarah owns Alaska?