Skip to main Content

Economist: Alaska purchase hasn't paid off for US

  • Author:
  • Updated: September 29, 2016
  • Published November 6, 2009

Link: Newswise The U.S. paid Russia $7.2 million in gold for Alaska in 1867 -- less than 2 cents an acre. Screamin' deal, right? Wrong, says University of Iowa economist David Barker, who suggests the investment hasn't been worth it for U.S taxpayers. "Cash flow from Alaska to the federal government since 1867 has certainly exceeded the initial purchase price, but this fact is not sufficient to demonstrate the purchase was a sound financial investment," writes Barker. The feds have spent so much money on infrastructure and governing in Alaska over the past 142 years that any financial benefits the territory and state contributed to the U.S. have been vastly overrun by expenses. Barker concedes he hasn't put a value on Alaska's excellent scenery.

Local news matters.

Support independent, local journalism in Alaska.