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Alaska Bolstered Its Economy and Curbed Inequality—By Paying Everyone Thousands in Oil Dividends Every Year


#1

Alaska Bolstered Its Economy and Curbed Inequality—By Paying Everyone Thousands in Oil Dividends Every Year

There’s long been a notion that, because money is a prerequisite for survival and security, everyone should be assured some income just for being alive. The notion has been advanced by liberals such as James Tobin, John Kenneth Galbraith, and George McGovern, and by conservatives like Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, and Richard Nixon. It’s embedded in the board game Monopoly, in which all players get equal payments when they pass Go. And yet, with one exception, Americans have been unable to agree on any plan that guarantees some income to everyone.


#2

i happen to have picked up a free copy just yesterday of All That We Share, edited by Jay Walljasper including contributions from Peter Barnes, about the commons in myriad forms, looking forward to reading it. Thanks for your efforts. We certainly have our backs to the wall with the rampant metastasizing privatization and looting of everything. Here's to the common heritage of all.


#3

I read this piece twice to try to understand how the benefits claimed in the next to last paragraph would so naturally occur. It seems that distributing a royalty to state citizens for oil production on the North Slope would sustain support for continued oil extraction, and not lead to citizens supporting efforts to address climate change (we should leave it in the ground, etc.)

Using the current shale gas boom here as a further example: my hands-on experience with this new industry here in the Upper Ohio Valley is that the ones most non-plussed by the boom are those that don't own property to be leased or the gas rights have been previously severed from the surface tracts they own. I'm all for distributing the common wealth being extracted from under our feet - I've concluded that the gas produced by this new technology was not anticipated by the law and that previous gas rights, leases, etc should not apply to this new "estate." Many issues here at common law and would be interested to see comments from attorneys versed in property law.

Many articles on CD of late have correctly and forcefully stated that the consumerist driven capitalist system is not amenable to tweeks and should be replaced. This article proposes that giving fossil fuel royalties will stimulate our stagnant consumer demand. Is this what we really want?

I will also learn about the organization mentioned above to try to gain a better understanding of the logic behind those ideas stated above.


#4

Agree - when it is more and more (hopefully) becoming accepted that the "oil (should be left) in the soil" and the "coal in the hole" - it seems a bit perverse to tie folks welfare to digging, drilling it all up ... Actually i think this policy is more designed to get popular support for such destructive activities, just as, e.g., tying our retirement benefits to the success of the stock market has kept us from clamping down on its destructive activity - when one of the major ways we equate how "well" the economy, and by inference, "we", is/are doing with how well the stock market is doing ...

Not to mention which how do you define "common resources" to be equally shared, by whom - how do you think those Alaskans would react if they were told that the dividends from what they consider their "common resource" were to be divided up among the whole US population ...

Another "brilliant idea" that, IMO, fails (or a more colorful term ...) when one thinks about the implications


#5

A: Spot-on observation about the stock market. Also there was willful disbelief by mortgagers, both savvy and naïve, wrt the unrealistic "values" of property leading up to the collapse. Those values weren't really there, and many refused to believe that was the case. Surely some small part of millions of brains were screaming at their owners that something's not right here. Looked like easy money, another benny of our successful economy (sic.)


#6

Much depends on how issues are labeled as to whether they're palatable to voters. The author claims that Alaska's permanent fund is not taxation which is simply playing with words. It derives from payments (taxes) made by oil companies given licenses to extract oil in Alaska. I'm a proponent of massive tax hikes (since we have the lowest income taxes since the 1940s and our infrastructure is crumbling) so I'm not arguing against such payouts at all -- but just pointing out that our aversion to anything called "taxes" is bordering on the childish as civilization depends on taxation and there's nothing inherently bad about taxes or "government programs" - each should be judged on its own merits. Alot of folks in Alaska claim to be libertarian, against "big" government and taxation as "socialism" but protest loudly at an attempts to cut Alaska's wonderfully generous public benefits which would be called socialism anyplace else.


#7

Taxing fossil fuels (instead of subsidizing them) would be an excellent way not only to generate revenue but to reduce consumption and production of fossil fuels. We'd have think of some other way(s) to generate revenue after we've switched to renewables but for the short-term, it sounds like an excellent idea.


#8

Please! why does everyone refuse to see the wood in the trees?
There is one, and only one, cause of all our economic woes. During the early 1900's our stupid/corrupt politicians signed away our Sovereign "rights" , that allowed us to print and issue our own interest free, debt free money; and since then we have all become "debt slaves". Our rights to print and issue our own money out of thin air were ceded to private banking Corporations, thus now, we borrow all our money from them, and they simply print it out of thin air, and charge us interest for the privilege. Given the nature of our economic cycles, the booms and busts, it is virtually impossible for us ever to repay all such debts, especially since, when they print our borrowings, they do not also print the money to cover the interest repayments. This particular economic consequence was recorded centuries ago in the well known fable about the boy who possessed a goose that laid "golden" eggs; he sold the goose for a paltry sum and forever thereafter he was destitute.

The remedy for our problems is simple; we abrogate any agreement previously made, reclaim our Sovereign "rights" to print and issue our own debt free interest free money.

This will enable us to stop income-taxing of individuals; we may pay everyone that needs it a social wage, based on a break even computation, this will eliminate poverty and deprivation; those in receipt of the Social wage will be encouraged into employment, without loss of this Social wage, and to work for any employer for additional income, mutually agreed between them. this gives control of work and income to the "workman". Employers will gain a workforce of people willing to accept much lower wages than previously paid, thus making the employer production cost significantly lower; plus, the employer no longer collects taxes for the Government. The employer Corporation/business will pay tax annually as usual. The collection of V.A.T. or G.S.T., consumer taxes will cease.

All Government expenditures will be provided by the planned issue of our own debt free interest free money using legislation approved by Parliament. Health, Education, University courses, Infrastructure of all kinds, etc. etc.

Provided that all of these expenditures are actually "spent" into circulation they will not create inflation; inflation will occur, for instance, when too much money chases too few "goods". The Government must own and run it's own Bank, just like the original Commonwealth Bank. No Private Bank or Corporation will be permitted to create money, under any guise; our financial system will revert to one of "sound " money. Sound money is that which turns around sound borrowing and lending, controlled by being liquid cash, backed by the ownership of assets, and strict criteria keeping them in balance; borrowing and lending outside of these criteria, characterised as "high risk", will be permitted between parties willing to accept such risk, and then, only when it involves their own wholly owned assets.

Interest rates in the private sector will be set by the private sector. The floating exchange rate will be converted into "fixed" rates decided by Government, and as decided between Sovereign Nations and embodied in trade agreements. Our currency will not be traded on "Exchanges", our Nation will be immunised against the manipulated predations of the "Market".

The foregoing explains the broad brush strokes involved, but in summary we would have a Nation with little or no foreign debt, a Nation whose domestic economy sits on a solid unshakeable base, a Nation better able to compete in the wider World, a Nation without poverty whose peoples are empowered to think and work for themselves, a Nation rescued from the avarice of the "Money Lenders", and above all, a Government able to be free and Independent, instead of being owned by Corporate money and influence. This is named "The Universal Economy" because it will operate anywhere.

For those who doubt the efficacy of this proposal, I suggest they study the United States example. The clever banking Corporations engineered the U.S. dollar to be the Worlds reserve currency. Ever since the U.S. has been printing money out of thin air, the only Nation to do so, now they have military bases in more than one hundred and seven Nations, they have engineered regime change and wars in countless Nations, and recently have printed trillions of dollars, called quantitative easing, and poured it into foreign banks and financial Institutions trying to prevent the next meltdown; but it is not working because their printed money was not spent into circulation, instead it inflated the prices of shares and real estate, the bust cometh.


#9

If it was feasible to pass such a measure in the lower 48, you wouldn't need to do this. It would be done with income tax policy better.

The problem with the Alaska scheme is that it is not so innocent as the article perceives. The North Slope region is a lot of money for the few and it has a tremendous environmental impact on a fragile landscape. This is just a payoff to be sure that no effective opposition to Alaska resource extraction can occur. And, one should note that you can hardly fill up and buy a loaf of bread on a thousand dollars in Alaska. Indeed, life is so equal in Alaska that native youth are all killing themselves. The idea that this does anything toward equality in Alaska is over determined. There is an enormous level of poverty in the state.


#10

A 3% annual tax on the $20 trillion in wealth held by the wealthiest 0.1% (who hold 22% of total U.S. personal wealth, up from 7% in 1980) would be enough for about $2,600 per year for every citizen aged 18 and older (about 230 million of them). Make that $4,000 total with a 20% minimum tariff also (the revenues paid out)......assuming imports fell from $2.4 trillion to $1.6 trillion after the tariff as we again produced more of what we consume - more employed and at higher wages as a result of a tighter labor market.


#11

The government retains the right to coin money in the Constitution. The only way the Constitution can be changed is through amendment that is ratified by 3/4 of the states. Congress cannot legally "sign" away anything in the Constitution. In reality Congress does it all the time as in the "War Powers Act" and then pretends that the emperor has a new suit. The Federal Reserve is also unconstitutional yet the power structure pretends and acts as if it is real. The Banksters pulled a magic trick and most have been fooled. Coining is stamping or printing on metal so the idea that printing money is different than coining money and therefore not Constitutionally reserved (no pun) to the Federal Government is a major feat of legerdemain. If the President sub contracted the responsibility to be "Commander and Chief" of the military the people of the United States would be outraged. Oh wait, he did and they weren't.
You are correct that no entity real or legal needs to be taxed and no debt needs to be created to provide every person a basic income. The treasury could just wire the money (electronic bits) into their account or as is being done in Ecuador down loaded into their cell phone. Ecuador can do that because it has a govt. owned central bank that creates dollars out of thin air just like Chase does only without the interest.


#13

Considering all the intellectuals in America with thoughts similar or in some way like those in this article, it makes one wonder why almost zero made it to Congress or the White House.