A Basic Income

Did you know that residents of Alaska receive money from the state government ever year? Yes, this red state with a strong sense of freedom and individuality hands out free money to the people who live there. Oh, and the state as a whole also receives way more money from the federal government than it pays in taxes. Beautiful place, but the politics there are kind of fucked-up.

Anyhow, the money that people get comes from a share of the profits made on investments which are paid for, as near as I can tell, by fees the oil drillers pay to the state. The logic goes that the oil is a state resource, so the people who live in the state should get some of the money when the oil is sold, and it’s also designed to provide, through wise investment, a fund for future generations who come along after the oil is gone. Not a bad idea, though I think it perhaps lacks ambition.

Switzerland is pondering a change to their laws that would provide every citizen with approximately $2,800 a month. Not for doing anything particularly special, but just because they’re Swiss.

I think this is an excellent idea, but what I would do is combine the Swiss plan with the Alaskan plan and make it a nationwide thing here in the USA. Let’s take part of the fees various logging, mining, oil, natural gas and other such companies pay to the government, spend, say, five years investing those fees and then start paying out the profits. A dividend, just like what people in Alaska get. Given that these are the natural resources of our country, and they won’t all last forever, doesn’t this seem like a reasonable thing?

Of course I understand that, at least at first, this wouldn’t be popular, and I’m sure the various companies who pay these fees will want to lobby against it, though I have no idea why. Why would they care how part of their fees would be spent? Giving everyone in this country a small share of the huge amounts of money made from digging, drilling or chopping up parts of this country seems reasonable to me.

I now await comments from all the red state types about how what Alaska does is good and noble and right and proper, and how this plan of mine, or the law the Swiss are pondering, would be nothing more than an evil Socialist handout.


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