It's not too hard to do, and it's one of this country's dirtiest little secrets.
It's called the Alaska Permanent Fund, set up in the 1970s. Simply move to Alaska for a year, and either spend about half of the year working or vacationing in Alaska, or be outside of Alaska in the military, merchant marines, or studying fulltime. In return, you'll get as much as $2100 a year... and climbing, since it's pegged to the price of oil that flows out of the state.
And if that doesn't sound tempting enough, here's the kicker... the dividends are tied to the price of oil, so as oil becomes increasingly more scarce and goes up sharply in price, your payments go up too! It's like a permanent hedge against inflation!
Of course, Alaska knows that lots of "Alaskans" take advantage of the obvious loopholes, and work in other states much of the time. But that's *ALSO* to the benefit of Alaska, because they pay tax on that money -- usually made in Washington or other west coast states -- back in Alaska! Indeed, several of the Alaskan stars of "Deadliest Catch" live in both Alaska and back in Washington.
How widespread is this practice? Well, last year in Alaska, they reported over $3M worth of fraudulent claims for the Alaska Permanent Fund. That translates into about 2000 known "Alaskans" who didn't visit often enough... about 1/300th of the state population. It doesn't even touch upon all those Alaskans who did visit often enough, but don't really live in Alaska.
If the Alaska Permanent Fund and Alaska's low tax rates aren't a nice enough perk, consider also that Alaska is one of those states which gets far more money from the Federal Government than it pays in taxes, and that Governor Palin recently gave Alaskans a one-time windfall profit tax on Alaskan oil of an additional $1200 a year, because she felt that oil companies could afford to pay Alaskans more this year for home heating. So, for this year alone, that's potentially $3300 from Alaska oil to every Alaskan... whether they actually live in Alaska or not. Not to mention that Alaska has lower taxes due to their high oil revenues, and the fact that the average Alaskan receives $1.84 of federal spending for every dollar that they pay in taxes, which ranks them 3rd in the nation.
So, what would Governor Palin would think about Barack Obama's plan for a windfall profits tax on high oil revenues, which would give everyone a rebate, especially when her windfall profits tax gave Alaskans a considerably larger rebate, per person? After all, McCain was vehemently against taxing windfall profits... even if he initially supported the idea. It makes you wonder what changed his mind.
No wonder people in the other 48 states look at Alaska with surprise, when they're willing to support drilling anywhere that oil can be found, whether they work for the oil industry or not. (Gee... I wonder why?!)
What it comes down to is that Big Oil is willing to bribe / be extorted by Alaskans for their support on drilling. They just don't want to extend the same courtesy to the rest of us.
So, what does this mean to you, as a person who's not an Alaskan, should Sarah Palin get elected and become president one day? For if Sarah Palin makes it to the White House, she will still return to Alaska one day. And when she does, she will be judged by her fellow Alaskans by what she did for them while she was there...
Well, let's just say it's not in the best interest of Sarah Palin or any of her home state supporters and business interests to see you paying less at the pumps, or to heat your house in winter.
Her supporter's dream scenario -- that of record oil profits and higher oil, gold, and commodities prices -- is our nightmare.