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Sarah Palin’s Alaska – As Compared To Other Alaskans’ Alaska

So I was watching “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” the other day, for the same reason I force myself to listen to hours of right-wing talk radio daily – it’s best to get all points of view. I found that if I could just look at the pictures and not listen to or see Sarah Palin, it’s a fantastic show and will do great things for the Alaska State Tourism Bureau. (Hmmmm, the state Palin governed has a Bureau. Isn’t that socialism?)

I make no apologies for the fact that I have a hard time just listening to the physical qualities of her voice. Even if she was the most beautiful woman in the world and every word she uttered was in complete agreement with my ideology, I still couldn’t listen to her for long. But I digress.

Here’s what really struck me about the show. Palin takes great pains to present herself as a political outsider, a rogue, a maverick, an average everyday soccer mom who is sticking up for people just like “us”. I was watching the episode in which the former governor bags and “dresses” here own caribou. And I remember thinking that I had checked into a hunting trip in Alaska a few years back and it was quite expensive. So I did a little checking. As it turns out, the soccer mom was on a guided hunt that would cost the rest of us a minimum of $10,000. Bush plane sight seeing trips? Well, they can be as low as $200 per person, but a more likely cost is well over $1,000. Salmon fishing trip? They go for about $500, but the Palins were probably using Papa Grizzlie’s highly valuable and highly sought after Alaska commercial fishing license. Climbing in Denali without resources provided by TLC? About $5,000.

I thought, maybe, just maybe, Sarah Palin’s Alaska isn’t the Alaska that most Alaskans experience. I do not begrudge anyone their wealth, and the Palins’ wealth pales in comparison to Mitt Romney’s $500 million net worth. However, I do take issue with the Palins trying to pass themselves off as “one of us” and therefore more qualified to govern in our stead. Here are a few examples:

  • The average household income in Alaska is about $67,000. Sarah Palin earns a minimum of $12 million these days. It’s hard to say for sure as she rather drags her feet when disclosing financial issues and her showbiz lifestyle makes for a constantly changing income. In 2008, when she burst onto the national scene, her household income was about $250,000 and their net worth was about $1.2 million – not nearly the cushy $12 mill she rakes in these days. But even then, it was five times the average median household income in her home town of Wasilla.
  • The average home price in Alaska is about $270,000. Sarah’s main abode on the lake in Wasilla (the one next to the creepy busybody lamestream media reporter) is assessed at more than twice that figure and is worth more than three times the average home in Wasilla. Oh, and don’t forget the two large cabins sitting on 25 acres near Denali National Park. The cabins “the size of large homes” complete with “garage-workshop and a sauna.” Local real estate broker Claus Steigler compared the cabins to others listed at $229,000 each.
  • In fact, Alaska has the 7th highest percentage of residents who rent, due to the higher than average cost of living and housing, with 34% of Alaskans living in rentals.
  • The Palins own at least one small plane, two boats and multiple personal watercraft.
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