When the Royal Dutch Shell Kulluk rig got stuck on the rocky shores of Alaska on New Yearís Eve, the people of that state paid close attention. Not just because they worried about the potential for another environmental disaster in their backyard, but because they pay close to attention to their stateís oil industry in general since they each make a lot of money off of it.
Alaska is unique in that it has something called the Alaska Permanent Fund. Believing that all residents of the state should profit off the resources that are naturally below their feet, Alaska takes the money that big oil corporations pay them in oil leases and royalties, invests that money, and then distributes the returns on those investments to each and every resident of the state.
It works out to between $1,000 and $2,000 dollars for every man, woman, and child in Alaska every single year. So if youíre a husband and wife with two kids, you could earn as much as $8,000 at the end of the year Ė and thatís not pocket change for a working family trying to make it by during the Great Republican Recession.
Thanks to this supplemental income to each resident of Alaska, the state enjoys the third highest median income in the nation, and is also the second most equal state in the nation.
Itís a system that works, and itís been embraced by both Democrats and Republicans Ė even Sarah Palin.