How the conservative states can reassert their independence by a series of logical steps
(Note, April 15: a reader challenges an assumption underlying Robert B.’s proposal. He says that at present it’s mainly “blue” states that are net federal tax payers, and “red” states that are net receivers of federal funds. Therefore the “red” states are not in any position to impoverish the “blue” states by seceding from the Union and ceasing to pay federal taxes. However, the notion that “blue” states would be financially damaged by a “red” state secession is only a secondary possibility raised by Robert B. His main idea, as I understand it, is that the “red” states, regardless of whether they are net tax payers or net tax receivers, can free themselves from many federal controls by ceasing to accept federal monies, and that they should do this regardless of the pain that will be caused by the loss of federal dollars. Update: Robert has now replied
to the commenter’s criticism by expanding and clarifying his proposal.)
Related to our continuing discussion of Jeffersonian’s proposal for the division of the United States, Robert B. from Minnesota offers a creative plan for how the states can free themselves from federal power, mainly by refusing federal funding and the federal control that comes with it. This would result in bigger and bigger changes leading ultimately to secession, which would weaken the “blue” states as they would no longer be getting the federal tax dollars to maintain the welfare state. In sum: renewal of states’ financial and political independence, leading to secession, leading to the collapse of the liberal states. This in turn seems to imply (though Robert doesn’t state it) a possible reunification of a renewed United States, under a non-liberal, non-statist, constitutional order.
States, nullification and eventual secession
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by Robert B.
The year 1965 is the year that set in motion the final phase that we are now in. WIthout all of the federal laws and entitlements that came into being in that year, or are derived from those, there would be no modern left as we now know it. Federal funding is what has allowed them to progress the way they have—but the two most onerous bills were the 1965 Immigration Act and Johnson’s “Great Society”—effectively repealing those on the state level would do much to rid red states of the excess baggage of the left.
Separation based upon existing states or close to that will suffice—we cannot expect an overnight conservative utopia. States with a 60 percent or more majority can simply vote to scale back government programs. This would include rejecting Federal monies. A state need not accept Federal money for a given program—it is only if it does, that it must abide by Federal rules regarding such programs. States can, for instance, opt out of “No Child left Behind”—doing so means less federal education money, but it also means not having to implement it. The same is true of almost all social welfare programs. This includes “welfare,” “low income housing” as well as Medicaid.
In the short term, this will mean that one’s federal taxes go elsewhere (as they did in the antebellum South). However, long term, this means the inability of the left to function as it now does. It also means that most immigrants (who are net tax consumers) will not live there for long. There isn’t a single ghetto in this country that does not exist on welfare transfer payments. They will leave.
People who may have espoused liberal tendencies in the past, but are mostly “conservative,” will begin to see the advantages of living in a society that their grandparents and great-grandparents would have been comfortable in. They will also notice the “whys” as well. I have never seen it fail—you get people out of the inner city liberal utopia, and the first thing they notice is how much saner life is, how they are not having to constantly look over their shoulder or couch their conversations in Newspeak. They are free to enjoy being who they are without guilt. They do not hear the constant drumbeat of the need to take care of and worship the non-whites. They will, intuitively, understand why this is so—there will be no need to force anyone out of the new state nor will there be any need to force real “immigration reform.” Returning to the immigration rules of pre 1965 will be considered normal and natural.
Charity will have to take place on one’s church or synagogue. Down South, they readily acknowledge that their welfare subsidies are not enough to actually live on—that is the way they intend it to be. They do not want it to become a life long, generational sinecure. Removing all ability for someone to move to and live off the taxpayers is a good start. Refusing to publicly fund the “arts” bicycle paths, ethnic associations, legal aid, etc. will also help drive them out. In short, don’t fund anything that wasn’t funded in 1900.
As the situation becomes more untenable for the left in a given state, they will most likely cry out to the Feds to do something—and the Fed will try. One such enforcement may be to attempt the forced implementation by refusing all federal monies to the state, period. Such funds would include federal highway funds, S.S., Medicare, etc. That, then would be the time to propose and implement secession. [LA replies: this is a little confusing as you seem to be saying that the left would seek to block federal funds to the state, which is also what you are proposing.]
Once a new nation exists, it will be rather easy to force the blue states out of existence—simply because they will go bankrupt on their own. Actively seeking and getting their business to relocate will be an offensive measure. Economic warfare is the way to win the ultimate, long term battle.
Lastly, it was the mainstream media who changed the terminology here. In the beginning, the Republican states were the Blue States, it was only after a few elections that the obvious connection between Democrats and “red” became too obvious and the MSM swapped it around—so that now “red” equates with being a mean and angry Republican.
Robert B. writes:
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“This is a little confusing as you seem to be saying that the left would seek to block federal funds to the state, which is also what you are proposing.”
We want to rid ourselves first of those programs from which the Left gets its financial support from the Feds. While Highway Funding can certainly be used to buy jobs/votes, it is infrastructure maintenance. Medicare and Social Security have been paid for by most recipients, but it has become a new kind of welfare for immigrants as well as those who have reached their time limits on welfare. Thus, one would want to keep the medicare and Social Security payments for those who earned them and cut-off those who did not. This in turn would invoke much hostility from the Left and the Feds.
It is indeed inferred that, in the long run, we could take back a lot of present day America through economic absorption over time.
Carl Simpson writes:
Seeing the ongoing discussion here caused me to wonder if your “Separationism” strategy for dealing with Islam could be adapted to deal with liberalism—especially in those states with substantial numbers of liberals. I happen to live in a very blue state (Illinois) whose blueness is largely due to the enormous urban area in its northeast corner (Chicago). Most places downstate are much more “red” in their attitudes about things like immigration, gun control, etc. There are a fair number of places where the urban tail wags the state dog to one degree or another—this state being one of the more extreme examples. I wonder if it would be possible to have contiguous counties in certain states secede from the state—as happened with West Virginia’s split from Virginia in the civil war.
Ron K. writes:
The talk by Robert B. and other readers about the “red” states starving the “blue” ones runs headlong into a brick wall which I’m surprised was missed by an otherwise perceptive New Yorker: namely, that the “conservative” South and “libertarian” West are the ones living off the taxes of the “socialist” coasts.
The figures are here and here.
Robert, my Minnesota neighbor, might consider that our state paid more per capita to Washington in 2005 than any other except Delaware and Connecticut. In 2007 we got back 72¢ on the dollar, worse than all but Connecticut, New Jersey, Nevada and New Hampshire.
We’re already pursuing his strategy—what do we have to show for it?
(Or you? New York is the fifth-most generous and the ninth-most abused.)
Yes, part of this is explained simply by those who contribute in, say, Michigan, then collect in Florida, as well as the children of Californians and New Englanders stationed in Texas. But you can bet that Social Security, Medicare, and military bases are not going to be cut in any populist tax rebellion. Indeed, that’s what they were designed to prevent!
P.S. Many of the most anti-tax states today were at the head of the line to ratify the 16th Amendment a century ago. What goes around, comes around. I don’t hear too many of them blaming grandpappy.
I’m a little confused here. How is Minnesota pursuing Robert’s strategy? I thought that Robert’s strategy is that a net-paying state like Minnesota STOP paying taxes. Unless you’re considering Minnesota “blue” and saying that this blue state already is a net payer, and therefore is not in a positon to be “starved out” by a net receiver in the South or West. I think you made your comment a little more complicated than it needed to be.
Ron K. replies:
I probably should have said “halfway to” or “better-placed for” Robert’s strategy.
But his basic assumption is wrong—it’s the richer, “bluer” states which are carrying the others’ tax burden.
Here’s a page with historical data.
New Mexico was the champion moocher for 25 years running, and poor New Jersey almost as possessive of the bottom rank, though in recent years challenged by Connecticut. Alaska went from a net loser in the Reagan years to near the top today.
Patrick F. writes:
If a state didn’t receive federal funds, is there a way the state could withold a similar amount of federal revenue collected within its borders? I suppose not. [LA replies: I think the commenter means, “If a state weren’t a net giver of federal funds…”]
The only scenario, then, by which the Federal government could be defunded would be if creditor nations—like China and Saudi Arabia—quit buying Treasury bills. The overabundance of dollars, and our massive, constant trade and budget deficits increase the pressure on them to dump the dollar. That’s all I can foresee that would stop the behemoth.
BTW, I too always found calling left-leaning states “blue” and conservative states “red” Orwellian. I always reverse the titles, and then explain why. The extra trouble is worth it, to stand up to the mind control.
Robert B. writes:
Ron K. is mistaken here.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at April 14, 2010 01:04 PM | Send
The idea is not to starve Blue states by not paying Federal taxes—the Feds will simply come and get you and throw you in jail. The idea is to decline to participate in Federal programs in order to remove Federal control over a given state. As a result of a state following such a policy, the freeloading leftists will leave for “bluer pastures.” This, in turn, will lower demands on the state to provide its “half” of the government expenditures. This is part of revoking all that has come to pass in the last fifty years—affirmative action quotas, hiring quotas, lending quotas, etc, etc.
Economic warfare begins when the state moves to nullify federal taxes based on its own lack of use of them. From nullification we move to secession—what is the point of being in a nation when you no longer derive any benefit from it—and thus ceasing to pay any federal taxes at all. In the process the state will be imposing far lower taxes on businesses—that is when the warfare really begins. Just as corporations have relocated out of high tax states like Minnesota (such as 3M which celebrated the closing of its last St. Paul plant last year with an actual party) to Texas or China or Indonesia, so too will businesses relocate to the newly independent states or rather the new nation that they formo. As the old nation loses its ability to raise tax high income earners (and the new nation should have no tax treaties with the old), it will lose any ability to repay loans except by imitating the Weimar Republic paying off the loans with worthless scrip.