Low taxes are good, but a basic income is better, at least in Alaska. The Economic Security Project (ESP), a group backing efforts to collect data on unconditional cash stipends, recently commissioned a survey of 1,004 Alaskan voters to see how they felt about the Alaska Permanent Fund, a $60.1 billion state fund established in 1976 to collect revenue from Alaska’s oil and mineral leases. The money provides an annual stipend to Alaskans, as well as general revenue. Each October, the fund sends a dividend check to every Alaskan resident of up to $2,072 per person, or $8,288 for a family of four (it was reduced last year amid a budget crisis).
The survey by the ESP illustrates how a more robust basic income—a guaranteed minimum payment for all citizens—might play out in the rest of the country. Public support for the program has deepened in the last generation, despite the prospect of raising taxes . . .