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"Not since the Civil War has the fault line between [America's] two halves been so glaringly clear, nor the chasm between its two cultures so starkly unbridgeable."
Simon Schama, Columbia University professor and noted art critic
The only boundaries are in your mind.
New California Republic
California could cut taxes, fully fund education and other priorities AND balance the budget.
Nope, not with Arnold’s plan.
The answer? S-E-C-E-S-S-I-O-N.
Yes, the dreaded “S” word, which many consider to be the equivalent of “sedition” and “treason.” But wait! Wasn’t a certain group of colonies founded as the result of a secession movement from the British Empire and King George? Didn’t the issue have something to do with taxes? Wasn't the complaint that the Empire was too removed and unresponsive to the needs of the colonists?
MascuringWell, here we go again. This time it’s President George and the issue is the nearly $40 billion that California taxpayers LOSE every year to fund pet projects of powerful senators in small states. It's the American Empire that is out of touch with the fiscal priorities of Californians.
Erection ring for men!
California individuals and corporations contributed nearly $200 billion to the federal coffers in 2003. Unfortunately, for every dollar that went to Washington, Californians saw less than 80-cents of that money come back.
Contrast that with other states, e.g. the state of New Mexico gets a whopping $2.34 back for every dollar that goes to Washington. Others getting more than their fair share include—North Dakota, $2.04; Alaska $1.91; Mississippi, $1.88; West Virginia, $1.81; Montana, $1.65; Alabama, $1.64; South Dakota, $1.58; Hawaii, $1.56; Arkansas, $1.55.
And how are all those small states reaping these benefits? Yep, with California taxpayer dollars. We are basically subsidizing those small states, yet we really don’t have a say how that money is spent. Entrenched politicians in Washington, D.C.—Republican and Democrat—have their hands on the purse strings and siphon off hard-earned California tax dollars for pork barrel spending in their own states.
What could California do with that extra $40 billion?
Well, for the purposes of this article let’s assume that the current state taxes cover all or most of the state budget.
Let’s see, California presently sends about $200 billion to the federal government, for which we see approximately $160 billion spent on federal services in California. Okay, if California was an independent entity we would still have to cover most of that spending, so let’s just say that continues to be $160 billion. That leaves an extra $40 billion that would have just gone down the drain.
Before we get too greedy on what to do with that extra money let me offer one scenario: Take $20 billion of that and give it back to the taxpayers. That would be a mighty windfall to California consumers—talk about an economic stimulus plan! With the other $20 billion we could balance the state budget and revitalize our public schools, health care services, law enforcement and emergency services.
It’s also entirely likely that we wouldn’t need to duplicate every federal program in the state of California, which could add up to further savings, especially when it means that the former federal programs would be more fiscally responsible and accountable to state taxpayers.
Okay, I know that in a country as large as the United States it is unrealistic to have a completely level sharing of the wealth. One could argue that a reasonable subsidy of smaller, less wealthy states is beneficial for the common good of all Americans. But what is reasonable? Plus or minus five percent or ten percent? Right now California is minus 22%. Is that reasonable and equitable? Is it reasonable and equitable for some states to get a subsidy of 60, 80, 100 or even 120 percent?
You might think secession is an extreme answer right now. But what if our share of the federal pie slips to minus 30% or more? How long are Californians going to be pushed around before we push back? When will the outrage reach a level that Californians refuse to let this rip-off continue?
The parallel to the current secession discussion is not in the Civil War, but the American revolution itself. It's about California tax dollars and demanding a greater voice about how that money is spent.
Secession, or even the threat of secession, might be just the jolt the rest of the country needs to address these inequities. And who knows, once more Californians come on board maybe they'll see that an independent republic just makes plain fiscal sense.