The Blog

Palin Sitting Pretty

11:21 AM, Feb 17, 2009 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
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The AP headline says "Fallen oil prices a chink in Sarah Palin's armor." Huffington Post adapts that to read "Sarah Palin In Trouble As Oil Prices Fall: AP." The actual piece quotes Larry Sabato saying that tough economic times will limit the governor's ability to travel and Sen. Kim Elton, a Democrat "rumored to be up for a post in President Barack Obama's Interior department," saying Alaskans will look back fondly at the last two years as the state heads into a period of low oil prices and tougher times. Tucked away in the middle of the story:

The state has socked away $1 billion in an education fund for the next school year and education officials say another $1 billion is expected go into the fund this year for future use. More billions went into state savings as well, Palin said. "We're more prepared than other states because of the prudence there," Palin said recently. "We crossed that first hurdle."

The state currently has $6.6 billion in its constitutional budget reserve fund that it could tap into. A few billion dollars more also is available from other pockets, said Juneau economist Gregg Erickson, a longtime Alaska budget watcher. Given Alaska's robust reserves, the state is well-prepared to weather the next two years, Erickson said. As to how long reserves will last after that, there are too many factors involved to say for sure.

If only the country were as well prepared to weather the next two years as Palin's Alaska.