Happy 50th, Alaska!

Happy 50th, Alaska!

Hard to believe, but Alaska has only been a member of this Union for 50 years, as of January 3, 2009. Granted, we purchased Alaska from the Russians in 1867 – you remember “Seward’s Folly” from Social Science class in high school, right? Well, that folly turned out to be evidence of Seward’s vision as to what Alaska could possibly add to this country. It’s funny, though, despite all that Alaska has to offer this country — oil and gas reserves, gold, abundant water supply, vast untapped green energy reserves, and beautiful, unspoiled wilderness — Alaska simply would not be able to stand on its own but for its being a member of the United States of America. When I first moved up here, I was amazed at how many people I heard complaining about taxes. There is no state income tax and no state sales tax. Here in Anchorage, there is no city sales tax. Add to that, Alaskans receive a check from the state each year from the Permanent Fund Dividend. Yet, they complain about taxes. Well, were it not for all of the hundreds of millions of dollars being pumped into this state by the federal government, Alaskans might actually have a reason to complain about taxes because they would really become intimate with a whole variety of taxes.

But, I digress. As part of the big celebration, the state threw a big shindig in downtown Anchorage, complete with a cauldron – not for casting spells but for photo ops – and a fireworks display featuring explosions from the top of three different buildings simultaneously.

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