PROGRESSIVE VOICES -Just a few hours after President (and for this, Lord, we are thankful!) Obama won the 2012 election, people in several states declared their wish to take their marbles and go home. To secede from the United States and go it on their own.
All fine and dandy if you’re preaching to your own choir; it makes you feel good and shows the whole world that you won’t be pushed around by liberal thugs, East Coast elites, or dead voters (the zombies who come back from the grave to vote Democratic and then eat your brains).
However, a lot of the secession folks give the impression that they haven’t thought the idea through too far. Money, for instance. Like with any new enterprise, there will be some startup costs involved, and some cash flow issues.
Take Texas, for example; one of the first and loudest in the group. It is in a better position than some of the other states planning this noisy retreat (notice a lot of the former Confederate states in this horde?). It’s a donor state, which means it pays in a bit more to the Feds than it gets back. It also has a pretty decent economy, built on agriculture, energy, manufacturing, and tourism.
A couple of howevers, in fact.
For example, securing the borders. Texas has twelve Interstate Highways running through it. Each of these would have to be secured at both ends with customs and immigration facilities. There is also a gaggle of smaller roads to deal with. Texas also has nearly four hundred airports; same issue with customs and immigration.
All to be paid for in Texas money?
And there will be a cash flow problem. Money from the Feds comes back to the states in a lot of ways, including grants to state and local governments, salaries and wages, direct payments to individuals (Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, Veterans’ benefits, education assistance, unemployment), and payments to native populations.
A lot of the Texas manufacturing is in aerospace and defense; and those would be relocated back to the USA pretty quickly, so there goes that money.
Likewise, the payrolls and upkeep for the fifteen military bases, which would likewise be relocated back to the United States.
Energy and agriculture would now be exports from Texas to the United States, and they have a whole different set of rules for foreign countries.
And, let’s not forget NASA. The Johnson Space Center in Houston couldn’t be in a foreign country, so it would have to be relocated. Oklahoma might be a good choice for this. It seems to have a lot of land that can be had at a reasonable price.
But this right here should be a big reason for Texans to reconsider leaving us. Because over the years Houston has become so much a part of the culture that hearing the voice from space saying, “Enid, do you copy?” just doesn’t ring the same.
But if we can’t talk you out of it; if you’re bound and determined to leave, then a quick word with the recipient states like Tennessee, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Over the years the US taxpayers have put tens of billions of dollars into your states more than you sent to Washington.
And we’d appreciate your settling the tab before you leave.
(John MacMurray is a retired La Habra teacher and former Democratic candidate for State Assembly. He blogs at LAProgressive.com where this column was first posted.)