In Alaska, everyone is allowed to have their cake and eat it too. And it's a mighty expensive cake. Today's New York Times takes a few jabs at the "Last Frontier", calling the state out on its rejection of big government, while at the same time raking in piles of money thrown at them by that same government.
According to Pro Publica, Alaska received more federal stimulus money per capita than any other state - $3,145 to be exact. In comparison, Oregon, which had an unemployment rate of 11.4 percent as of May, received only $1,244 per capita.
As the New York Times says in today's article, Alaska has always been a state of contradictions.
“There’s all this verbiage that says we’re the frontier, rough and ready,” says Victor Fischer [who helped write the state constitution], lithe and sardonic in his mid-80s. “The Feds paid for everything, but the conflict runs through our history.”
Before Alaska was granted statehood in 1959, Alaska was sustained by timber, fishing and federal construction dollars until oil was discovered.
Even as conservatives in the state decry the spending by the government, no one seems to want to turn down the hand that feeds them. For every $1 that Alaska gives to the federal government in taxes, it receives $5.76, according to Carl Gatto, a Republican lawmaker. That's a lot of cake.
Get the best of the Mercury each week in your inbox!