Stop me if you’ve heard this one before….An article proposes some doable progressive goals — guaranteed jobs, universal basic incomes, sovereign wealth funds, state banks, and a land tax. A bunch of libertarians — Radley Balko, Charles W. Cooke (never heard of him before but he seems to be big on twitter), and Nicky G — lampoon the goals as the impossible dreams of dirty hippies.
Turns out Sarah Palin’s Alaska has a big sovereign wealth fund:
In 1976, Republican Governor Jay Hammond started Alaska’s sovereign wealth fund (SWF), which has come to be called the Alaska Permanent Fund. The way it works is Alaska has a big pile of money that it uses to buy up the means of production (sometimes called stocks and bonds). Those investments yield returns and revenue for the state. Right now, Alaska plows that revenue into its universal basic income (UBI) program, which is called the Permanent Fund Dividend. The way it works is the state sends a check to every single Alaskan each year. Last year, it was $900, but in better years, it has been as high as $2000. For a family of four, that’s a $3,600 and $8,000 income boost respectively.
The Alaska communist story gets more interesting than that though. The way Alaska builds the principal of the fund is in line with another of Myerson’s proposals: take back the land. You see, the oil wealth in Alaska happened to reside underneath public land. Instead of doing the red-blooded American thing and just giving all of that natural wealth that nobody creates away to oil companies, Alaska held on to its ownership and collects royalties from the oil. Those royalties are plowed into its SWF. So what you have in Alaska is a state that is leveraging publicly-owned natural resources to build a SWF that pays out a UBI. Or as conservatives on twitter call it: a communist hellscape.
The reasonoids and WaPo editorial board types can scream like stuck pigs all they want, the simple fact is that many left-wing populist economic policies are both popular and possible. Not liking the policies is one thing, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but it’s a lie to pretend they can’t be done or that REAL AMERICANS hate them.