Many of us have been complaining that the Democrats and Republicans have used the economic crisis as an excuse to spend wildly in the stimulus package — pushing our deficit to unprecedented levels. If you are looking for an example, you need to look no further than the “airport to nowhere” in Takotna — population 46. The village is slated to received $18.7 million for an airstrip — or over $400,000 per person. For that money, we could have simply moved them to their own beach house or their own village of Takotna.
What is particularly humorous is that some defenders insist that Takotna’s population can surge to as high as 61. That would come to roughly $300,000 a person. When former Governor Sarah Palin speaks of dangers of government handouts and subsidies, this must be what she is talking about.
The Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Alaska estimates that about $1.4 billion a year in state and federal government subsidies, purchases and wages goes to more than 200 remote villages in the Alaska. President Obama’s budget includes for example $42 million in plumbing contracts for remote villages.
Nobody actually knows how many people live in Takotna. Here is the official Alaskan description:
During the 2000 U.S. Census, total housing units numbered 49, and vacant housing units numbered 30. Vacant housing units used only seasonally numbered 9. U.S. Census data for Year 2000 showed 12 residents as employed. The unemployment rate at that time was 0 percent, although 58.62 percent of all adults were not in the work force. The median household income was $14,583, per capita income was $13,143, and 16.22 percent of residents were living below the poverty level.
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