Alaska Would Be More at Home in Russia by Steven Pearlstein
The timing couldn't be better. The market value of Alaska's 4.5 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, plus the gas, timber and copper, are at or near all-time highs, while Russia is flush with $50 billion in petrodollars it doesn't know how to invest. And with the Kremlin still smarting about losing all those unpronounceable republics, Alaska would be just the sort of strategic acquisition to appeal to President Putin's imperial instincts.
Alaska: Meeting of the Frontiers (LC).
Think what we could save.
Big time red staters, 61% of Alaskan voters pulled the lever for Bush in '04, a fact that helped convince the Pearlstein to write an article last January called: Red States Make a Mockery Of Self-Reliance. (He says, "this rank hypocrisy might be laughable but for the fact that the fleecing of the blue states has increased markedly over the past decade as Republicans tightened their hold on Washington.")
Not surprisingly, the federal govenment gives more to Alaska than it gets back in taxes. In '92, which seems to be the most recent year for which data are available, Alaska taxpayers got $1.91 in federal funds for every $1.00 they sent to Washington.
Source: Tax Foundation, Tax Data on Alaska
An article in USA Today says that every Alaskan receives $1,150 in "earmark" funding for in-state projects. That's 25 times what the average American gets.
Source: Alaska thanks you, By Nick Jans
Some facts from an article on the budget for fiscal year 2006 in Reason.com:
Nobody made out on the highway bill quite like the state of Alaska and its ravenous political class. Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, bragged to his constituents that the transportation bill (which Young loves so much he named it after his wife) was "stuffed like a turkey" with handouts for his state, and he was not exaggerating. The $721 million in tundra spending includes: a $2 23 million "bridge to "nowhere," connecting the 8,900-person town of Ketchikan to an airport on Gravina Island, whose population is 50; a $200 million bridge connecting Anchorage to a rural port so insignificant even the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce tried to block the project; and $15 million in seed money for a 68-mile, $284 million access road to Juneau. (This last one is opposed by not only the Environmental Protection Agency but a majority of the area's residents.)
According to the Washington Post, when a fellow Republican tried to redirect money from the bridges to Katrina relief, Senator Ted Stevens shouted "I don't kid people. If the Senate decides to discriminate against our state . I will resign from this body."
Senator Stevens didn't just work his way into one of the largest earmarking totals among all states, he ran away with first place in the national earmarks-per-capita sweepstakes. Every Alaskan "earned" $694 and change, just on earmarks, in defense alone. The ranking Democrat on the committee, Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI) finished second to Stevens by sending home $383 in earmark funding for every Hawaiian.