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The amazing true socialist miracle of the Alaska Permanent Fund
Every resident gets a check just for being alive, and it really, really works.
By Dylan Matthews | @dylanmatt | email@example.com | Feb 13, 2018, 2:20pm EST
Alaska Gov. Bill Walker announcing the amount of the
2016 Alaska Permanent Fund dividend. Gov. Bill Walker
The idea of a universal basic income — a check sent out by the government to every American, no strings attached, just for being alive — is sometimes decried as un-American, as a way for people to get money they didn’t work for.
But America contains one of the few places the policy has been tried at scale: Alaska.
The Alaska Permanent Fund is a state-owned investment fund established using oil revenues. It has, since 1982, paid out an annual dividend to every man, woman, and child living in Alaska. In 2015, with oil prices high, the dividend totaled $2,072 per person, or $8,288 for a family of four. By 2017, it had been cut down to $1,100 due to money being diverted to other purposes; in cheaper gas years, it can dip into the $800 to $900 range.
That’s not a living wage by any means, and it arguably doesn’t satisfy the “basic” requirement of “universal basic income.” But it’s a truly universal cash transfer program, the only one of its kind to be implemented in the United States, and it almost always offers families enough to eliminate desperate $2-a-day cash poverty.
Decades of conservative critics have decried cash programs like Aid to Families With Dependent Children or Social Security Disability Insurance, as vigor-sapping, soul-deadening subsidies for moochers, economic disasters that stunt growth and encourage sloth.
So economists Damon Jones of UChicago and Ioana Marinescu of UPenn decided to figure out if Alaska’s cash payments were discouraging Alaskans from working. Their conclusion: not really. They find that “the dividend had no effect on employment” overall.
In other words: Alaska has figured out a way to use its oil wealth to give all its residents cash for free and wipe out extreme poverty — and it doesn’t appear to be harming its economy in the process.
Cash transfers didn’t lead to fewer working Alaskans
The challenge, in evaluating the effects of Alaska’s cash payments, is finding a baseline to which to compare the state’s outcomes. You can’t just compare Alaska after the policy was implemented in 1982 to Alaska before that, as there are plenty of other differences between the Alaskan economy in, say, 1981 versus 1983 (the US was in recession in 1981, for instance). And there’s no state that’s otherwise identical to Alaska that didn’t enact the policy to use as a baseline. Alaska is, as any resident will tell you, its own beast.
So Jones and Marinescu employ what’s known in the social sciences as a “synthetic control” method. Basically, they combine a number of other states whose patterns of employment, part-time work, and related statistics roughly match Alaska’s in the years before the policy was enacted. None of the states alone is a good comparison, but if you combine them carefully, you can come up with a “synthetic Alaska” for comparison.
Here’s how employment rate — the share of people currently at work, as a share of the overall population — evolved in Alaska versus synthetic Alaska, before and after 1982: ...
The rest: ☞ https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics ... enue-study
“Bah humbug!” --Scooter
I'm sure that'll work well in Los Angeles or San Francisco.
No, we DON'T need to impeach Trump when you can't even post ONE letter of text from the "Mueller Report", you pathetic 0bama suck-up