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Map of Alaska, including eastern Russia
Sarah Palin can see Russia ... INSIDE HER HOUSE!
You might've missed it last week, but a writer named Jesse Meyerson at Rolling Stone wrote a jocular piece on reversing the gross income inequality we suffer from in this country today. He proposed five reforms:

1. Guaranteed work for everybody (such as the WPA during the Great Depression).

2. Universal basic income. That's exactly what that sounds like—free government money for everyone. It would be overt redistribution of wealth.

3. Taxing land, as opposed to taxing work, businesses and goods.

4. Collective ownership. Not by seizing warehouses and whatnot. But by buying the shares of publicly traded companies. That's called a Sovereign Wealth Fund.

5. More public state-owned banks. If it's good enough for conservative North Dakota, why not everyone else?

Read down the list, and you can see why conservatives would freak out. They already see communists under every bed. Getting them this close to what appears to be a modern-day variant can only induce severe palpitations.

But as Meyerson himself noted, two of these (two of the three most controversial, in fact) are already practiced by Alaska. Sarah Palin's Alaska.

There's this thing called the Alaska Permanent Fund, enshrined in the state Constitution. It's essentially free money to Alaska residents, paying out varying amounts depending on the returns of the fund. In 2008, it was over $3,000 per person. Last year, it was $900. And the source of the money? A sovereign wealth fund (#4 above)—an investment fund funded by oil revenues.

I won't pretend to fully embrace every single one of these items, at least not without further details, but the right-wing reaction has been hysterically hysterical. You'd think Janet Yellen was proposing this from her perch at the Fed. And ultimately, much of this has already been embraced by conservatives (see Alaska), or would advance conservative goals such as simplifying the tax code and eliminating corporate taxes.

So are conservative freedom fighters ready to do battle in Alaska to rid itself of such communistic vestiges as "redistribution of wealth" and "free money for residents" and "government-owned investment fund"? Will they march on North Dakota's people-owned bank? I'd pay into a sovereign wealth fund to see that happen!

Originally posted to kos on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 11:08 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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