Newsweek 'Thought Experiment': Why Not Cut Alaska Loose From the Union?

August 19th, 2010 3:42 PM

Back in September 2008, MSNBC's Chris Matthews floated a specious allegation that then-Governor Sarah Palin had ties to an advocate of Alaskan secession named Joe Vogler. Although the charge was roundly discredited, it was one of the many early attempts to smear Palin as a wacky extremist.

Two years later, it appears at least one writer for a liberal magazine thinks Alaskan secession would be a fun little topic to bat around the Web.

"Thought Experiment: Should Alaska Secede From the U.S.?" asked the headline for Daniel Stone's August 18 The Gaggle blog post at

August is slow around Washington, so we figured it’d be high time to toss around the idea of kicking Alaska out of the unionor the state leaving on its own accord.

The reason? Those darn Alaskans are too conservative, too critical of federal government intrusion, yet they are net recipients of federal aid from Washington spending:

A New York Times report from today points to the reason why: Alaskan politicians love to slam Washington for its over-the-top taxes, spending, and regulation of the state’s hefty reserves of natural resources. But when it comes to Washington giving back, Alaska is happy to take more money per capita than any other state. As of May, the Last Frontier, as it’s called, accepted $3,145 of stimulus funding per resident—money, mind you, that one of its senators and its sole member of Congress voted against. That's not to say all Alaska lawmakers turn up their noses at D.C., but with one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country7.9 percent, which is still high, but not as high as, say, Michigan at 13.1 percentthere's an implicit question of how much Alaska needs Uncle Sam, and how much Uncle Sam needs Alaska.

If the 49th state were to leave the union, the impact would be, at first, economically devastating, according to Gov. Sean Parnell. But over time, could Alaska, by taking control of its own regulation over oil and gas, open the state for new business, perhaps allowing it to boom in a way that, until now, Washington has apparently stifled?

Let’s hear what you think. Open forum below. 

This sudden academic interest in secession wouldn't have anything to do with Palin Derangement Syndrome on the part of the media, would it?