Palin's Alaska: Funded by Oil Profits Tax | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Palin's Alaska: Funded by Oil Profits Tax

If Sarah Palin gets past this press cycle and remains the Vice Presidential nominee on the GOP ticket, there might be one interesting item from her brief tenure as governor of Alaska that would be worthy of discussion on the national stage -- her state's windfall profit sharing from oil leases. It turns out that every person who has lived in Alaska for over a year gets a $3,200 payout from the government thanks to taxes on oil companies; a family as large as Palin's would receive over $22,000 a year.

Sure, you'd be hard pressed to live off that. (Some might try.) But who wouldn't mind that scratch just because you live in an oil-rich state?

No wonder she is popular with voters in a state whose residents pay no income or sales taxes but are blessed with state coffers rolling in cash at a time when all other states are suffering. Indeed, when the oil companies pay more taxes to the state of Alaska, they get to write that off against their federal tax obligation, leaving the rest of us to make up the shortfall.

But wouldn't it be -- I don't know -- communism to take money from the oil companies and give it to citizens? Not according to Governor Palin. When John McCain says that she "took on" the oil companies as governor, what he means is just that -- she raised taxes on oil companies.

But what happens when Senator Barack Obama recommends a windfall tax on oil company profits? McCain attacks him, saying, "If that plan sounds familiar, it's because that was President Carter's big idea, too. ... I'm all for recycling, but it's better applied to paper and plastic than to the failed policies of the 1970s," McCain said in the excerpts.

Well, Mr. McCain, it's also Sarah Palin's version of "reform" and "maverick-ness".

Meanwhile...uh...Governor Barbour? How come we don't get checks, too? Governor Palin gives checks. She's cooler than you.

Maybe that's why you're not the Veep nominee.

Previous Comments

ID
135068
Comment

More coverage of Palin, this time from Bloomberg, prior to the Veep nod, which points out exactly how she raised taxes on oil companies. (It also seems a little creepily enamored of her former beauty queen status.) By definition, incidentally, Alaska's system is socialism. The government owns and regulates the means of production and distribution. Palin herself doesn't consider it socialism, but that's because she's confusing socialism (which is an economic system) with democracy (which is a political system). Instead, she should have compared socialism with capitalism, which is not the way the oil leases work in Alaska. ``We have a democratic government in Alaska, a representative form of government here in America, where we would never take over from industry,'' Palin says. ``But we have the right to demand that provisions in leases are adhered to.''

Author
Todd Stauffer
Date
2008-09-03T17:22:11-06:00
ID
135095
Comment

By definition, incidentally, Alaska's system is socialism. The government owns and regulates the means of production and distribution. Which oil company does the State of Alaska have even partial ownership of? You might call Palin placing higher taxes on the oil companies (I suppose this is controlling the company profit margin, in a sense), but I don't know if this actually falls under socialism (which, IIRC, is actual government title to the company and means of production).

Author
Philip
Date
2008-09-03T22:43:53-06:00
ID
135119
Comment

Socialism does not always include state ownership of all parts of the process; just production and distribution. The state of Alaska owns the pipelines and the oil fields, Philip, and leases them to the oil companies. The state also restricts their profits through taxation. I'm not sure if you can find a better example of owning and regulating the means of production and distribution.

Author
Ronni_Mott
Date
2008-09-04T09:06:54-06:00
ID
135122
Comment

Why do you think the oil companies are asking for more LEASES for off shore drilling? Because they cannot buy the offshore waters --- those waters are public property! The same thing goes on in some of our national forests. They are leased our to lumber companies who harvest the timber. "Socialism", "welfare" and "affirmative action" are just words that the wealthy use to scare "hard working Americans" into voting against their actual interests in favor of the wealthiest five percent who will implement more tax breaks for themselves while poor people (white, hispanic and black) continue to pay taxes on necessities like food.

Author
FreeClif
Date
2008-09-04T09:17:12-06:00
ID
135124
Comment

Folks, be sure to see Adam's very good story this week about the myths of drilling. The public needs to know the reality of drilling, and they're not getting it from candidates who want to "drill, baby, drill!"

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-09-04T09:24:13-06:00
ID
135134
Comment

"Socialism", "welfare" and "affirmative action" are just words that the wealthy use to scare "hard working Americans" into voting against their actual interests in favor of the wealthiest five percent who will implement more tax breaks for themselves while poor people (white, hispanic and black) continue to pay taxes on necessities like food. Just to clarify, Whitley, none of those terms scare me; I agree with your assessment. What I find really frightening is the trend to privatize everything, including government itself. It seems that the Republican party doesn't really want to downsize government from a spending viewpoint, they just don't want to take any responsibility for people, preferring instead to hand that messy aspect off to private business. And Big Business has no mandate to care for anything other than their bottom line, which leaves the majority of people swinging in the breeze.

Author
Ronni_Mott
Date
2008-09-04T09:54:40-06:00
ID
135219
Comment

One of the self-fulfilling prophecies of the republican right is the inferiority of government compared to private enterprise. They put incompetent cronies in government, cut government budgets for staff and administration, hog-tie regulators looking out for the environment and other public safety issues, increase incentives for big business, out-source plum contracts to more cronies who are in business, and take political contributions from big business with both fists in return for earmarks and more plum contracts. It is a rigged game and the American people are not gonna get fooled again. Examples? See government contracting in Iraq, FEMA's performance in Katrina, and talk to any long-term government employee. There are really too many to name.

Author
gwilly
Date
2008-09-04T14:31:55-06:00
ID
135221
Comment

By the way, although it may not sound like it, I am not against business, big or small. I am against commandeering public funds for private benefit. Democrats do it, too, Republicans just have refined the art tremendously in the last 8 years.

Author
gwilly
Date
2008-09-04T14:37:53-06:00
ID
135247
Comment

Which oil company does the State of Alaska have even partial ownership of? You might call Palin placing higher taxes on the oil companies (I suppose this is controlling the company profit margin, in a sense), but I don't know if this actually falls under socialism (which, IIRC, is actual government title to the company and means of production). Not exactly...the government doesn’t have to hold title to a "company" in order for its arrangement to be socialism; in this case, the state owns and leases access to the resources -- not to mention the means of distribution, in this case a pipeline -- and then re-distributes wealth from the oil companies that harvest that resource to the people of the state of Alaska. (People get so used to making socialism a boogeyman idea that they forget we do it fairly frequently, even here...often to the benefit of publicly traded companies.) And, by the way, I don't think that's necessarily *wrong* at all. I think in some ways it makes sense to return those dollars to the people of the state of Alaska. But when the spoils are distributed in the form of a "legacy" payment, it becomes a very interesting burr in the Republican saddle of taxing large corporations. Do those taxes ultimately show in higher prices? Fewer jobs? Or is it a-ok because the person who came up with this income redistribution scheme has a "R" behind her name? But my broader point is simply...Palin "reformed" this system by squeezing the oil companies for a bigger cut. For that, McCain lauds her as a maverick. But when Obama bring up the notion of taxing windfall profits for oil companies, McCain relies on the specter of Carter (I'd encourage him to say "Nixon," but I quibble) and the "policies of the 1970s." Or...the policies of Alaska in 2008?

Author
Todd Stauffer
Date
2008-09-04T16:40:31-06:00

Thanks to all our new JFP VIPs!

COVID-19 has closed down the main sources of the JFP's revenue -- concerts, festivals, fundraisers, restaurants and bars. If everyone reading this article gives $5 or more, we should be able to continue publishing through the crisis. Please pay what you can to keep us reporting and publishing.

Comments

Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

comments powered by Disqus