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Palin’s Alaska Offers Cold Comfort

The campaign over, Sarah Palin returns to an Alaska feeling the chill of the sharp drop in the price of oil. As Terry Keenan writes in the New York Post, while much of the developed world is cheering cheaper gas at the pumps, oil exporters like Alaska and Russia are facing economic mayhem and a fiscal nightmare. “Remember Palin's boast on the campaign trail that she gave every Alaskan an extra $1,200 in pocket money this summer?” asks Keenan. “Well, that and her balanced budget all goes away when oil is priced where it is today. [It is currently $57 a barrel.] Not only does Alaska have less revenue to tax, its cut goes down, too. Right now, the state's cut on a barrel of crude coming out of Prudhoe Bay is only about 25 percent, compared with a 41 percent take when oil was at $120. Budget experts estimate that oil needs to be in the mid-$70s for the Alaska state budget to break even.” Not the most promising territory from which to launch a sound money presidential bid in 2012.