Invest in Alaska
It strikes us Alaska and Alaskans are missing a great opportunity to invest in, well, Alaska – for everybody’s benefit.
Instead of using the Permanent Fund as simply a way to partially underwrite government and pay Alaskans an annual dividend, why not set up a system allowing, on a voluntary basis, those eligible to receive the fund’s annual payout to invest in the fund.
Their dividends, and perhaps even other cash, then would be managed along with the fund’s corpus by the fund’s managers, who have done a superb job in growing the fund to a $65 billion powerhouse.
Such a change would put money back into the fund and allow ordinary Alaskans, who likely cannot afford the services of a professional money manager or stock broker, to get the benefit of having their investments mirror the fund, whose returns generally far outpace bank savings accounts.
The fund has had high points and low points over the years – the 25.6 percent return in 1985 to the 18 percent drop in market value in 2009 – but the fund has grown from $494 million in 1980 to today’s $65 billion.
If the Legislature were to use the statutory calculation for this year’s dividend – which would amount to about $3,000 for every eligible Alaskan – the fund would be paying out just over $2 billion in dividends. If only 10 percent of those dividends were reinvested in the fund by Alaskans, well, that ain’t chicken feed.
We suspect, especially among those setting up college funds or eyeing future retirement, such an investment-in-Alaska program would be popular.
Now, dividend recipients can check a box in the “Pick. Click. Give.” program and have their payout, or part of it, sent to various nonprofits. Why not add an “Invest” box for plowing money back into the fund corpus?
Why not allow Alaskans to invest in Alaska?