Due to an ongoing health crisis in the family, blogging will be 'on and off' as time and circumstances permit for the foreseeable future. I also beg your indulgence if I am slow in responding to emails. New posts will appear below this notice.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Confederacy of Takers

President Obama’s opponents have unwittingly come up with a brilliant plan to avoid the “fiscal cliff.” They want to secede from the union.

If Obama were serious about being a good steward of the nation’s finances, he’d let them.

The White House, in one of those astro-turf efforts that make people feel warm about small-d democracy, launched a “We the People” program on its Web site last year, allowing Americans to petition their government for a redress of grievances. Any petition that receives 25,000 or more signatures within 30 days is promised a response (though not necessarily a favorable one) from the Obama administration.

And so a large number of patriotic Americans, mostly from states won by Mitt Romney last week, have petitioned the White House to let them secede. They should be careful about what they wish for. It would be excellent financial news for those of us left behind if Obama were to grant a number of the rebel states their wish “to withdraw from the United States and create [their] own NEW government” (the petitions emphasize “new” by capitalizing it).
Read the rest here.

26 comments:

The Anti-Gnostic said...

There is much irony in a paper headquartered in Washington D.C. complaining about transfer payments.

A clearer understanding of the issues would be gained by a breakdown of the transfer payments and the demographics of the recipients. In any event, Dana Wilbanks has actually proven the secessionists' point: the current structure and funding of the federal government is unjust and uneconomic. The country's founders had good reasons for proscribing a federal tax on income.

Anonymous said...

Anti-gnostic-you've made a brilliant incoherent statement!


"Yet would-be rebels from the red states should keep in mind during the coming budget battle that those who are most ardent about cutting government spending tend to come from parts of the country that most rely on it."

Yes. It's so unjust. The demographics show this...all those red states with undeserving
poor, mainly those with skin colors that show mental/moral inferiority, ( obvious from the history of the major red states- you know, slaves and brown people and indians- such inferior people).

Better that those deserving rich keep their money.


Stephen said...

Why not? That's the ultimate lever against dictatorship by Washington. It doesn't preclude dictatorship by Austin for Texans, but then that wouldn't be the problem of the other 49 now, would it?
Unless you are a busybody too. The west was won to avoid eastern busybodies. Now that there's no more west, you've got this scenario.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

The states Dana Milbanks is so upset about do have substantial numbers of poor blacks which would skew the numbers toward welfare. But also, my impression is there are more military bases in the red states than in the blue states. As I said, it would be helpful to know some particulars.

John (Ad Orientem) said...

Stephen
The problem is that secession is not being invoked, and has never been in this country, as a remedy for dictatorship. It is being advocated as a form of election nullification. We don't like the result so we are picking up our marbles and quitting.

Secession has never been anything other than code for anarchism.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

John - People have been picking up their marbles and going their separate ways since Father Abraham. Countries, governments, nations--they all come and go: Norway and Sweden, Czech and Slovakia, Yugoslavia, the Soviet Union, Eritrea and Ethiopia, Ireland and Britain, the US and Britain, and on and on.

The US is not the End Of History, particularly when its government implements policies that can have no other result than to polarize large numbers of people. Frankly, more thought should be devoted to how the eventual break-up can be managed peacably.

Stephen said...

By law, the very first act of every Congress every year is the renewal of the treaty that binds the "State of Texas" to these "United States". It'd be very interesting if that was not performed for some reason.

John (Ad Orientem) said...

Stephen
I am dumfounded by some of your posts and have no idea where you are getting these absurd ideas from. But I would suggest that you might want to stop taking your news from World Nut Daily and Free Republic as a good starting point.

Here are a few facts...
1. Texas has no right to secede. No such right was included in its admission to the Union. None, zero, zilch.
2. The United States Supreme Court formally addressed the issue in 1869 when it ruled that Texas had never lawfully left the Union and that no state had the authority to do so. See Texas v White (1869)
3. Texas is NOT a sovereign republic confederated with the United States and there is no annual renewal of any treaty between the United Sates and Texas.

John (Ad Orientem) said...

AG
Dissolution of the Union is not impossible. But it cannot be done unilaterally by any one or group of states. It would require the consent of all or enough to ratify a constitutional amendment to that end.

John (Ad Orientem) said...

Stephen
My last comment to you was snarky and rather insulting. I apologize.

Anonymous said...

Well, Texas was a "republic" before being admitted as a U.S. state. Of course, the Texas "revolution" occurred because Mexico banned slavery, ( ironic perhaps considering the status of Indians in Mexico). The Anglo settlers revolted in the name of "freedom" but that "freedom" was that of owning slaves.
The batlle of the Alamo became iconic in Texas history, not for democratic freedom, but for the right of owning slaves but don't tell Anglo Texans that.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

John - secession, like union, is just a power equation. If, for example, southern Californians decide they'd prefer to be Mexicans and the rest of the US lacks the will or the firepower to stop them, then that's what will happen. Again, borders shift, governments rise and fall, countries come and go.

I don't know which constitutional provision you think makes the federal union compulsory into perpetuity but whichever it may be, it's just paper. I'm sure the USSR had all sorts of legal documents declaring its union.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
John (Ad Orientem) said...

No personal attacks please. Stick to the issues.

Anonymous said...

These petitions have quite a few signatures from people who don't even live in these states. I hardly think they should be taken as representative of people who live in or run these states.

John (Ad Orientem) said...

These petitions are a joke.

Anonymous said...

"Of course, the Texas "revolution" occurred because Mexico banned slavery"

This is speculative history; there is very little evidence to support this, and the Texas Declaration of Independence of 1836 does not mention slavery.

ochlophobist said...

Irregardless of military bases, Southern red states still suck up a disproportionate amount of so called "entitlement programs." This was noted a great deal throughout this election cycle (ie http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/12/us/even-critics-of-safety-net-increasingly-depend-on-it.html )

And yes, there are a lot of blacks (relatively speaking) in most Southern red states. And yes, the vast majority of those blacks vote Dem. That the poorest counties in, say, Mississippi (I'll use MS as an example as I live quite close and it has 17,664 signatures as of right now, a higher % of state population than the TX petition, and it has the fever swamp charm of misspelling the word government in the opening line of the petition: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/peacefully-grant-state-mississippi-withdraw-united-states-america-and-create-its-own-new-governmen/9M9rdL8n) vote dem is neither here nor there, sure they do, but a lot of Mississippi counties that would be dirt poor relatively speaking if in MN or NY vote GOP. A much higher % of whites in MS are on public aid than in other states, and it is those poor and non-union working class whites that cause MS to give its electoral votes to the GOP in general elections. The state is run horribly in the manner that is typical of fever swamp GOP govts, and the legislature is generally hell bent on either destroying safety net programs, defunding them as much as possible, or when forced to run them by the feds, running them as poorly as possible. Plus you have the social omnishambles leftovers of slavery. The fact is that the rest of the country has to fence the poor people of Mississippi in part because of the crappy social and political conditions in Mississippi which have done nothing to address Mississippi poverty as well as widespread ignorance in the state (ie at the women's hospital I worked at for a spell in Memphis, we had to routinely tell white and black pregnant women from MS not to eat clay when pregnant, as this is quite common there). And anyone who thinks that an independent Mississippi will result in less poverty in Mississippi or a better social and economic climate in Mississippi is in la la land.

Phil said...

All of which is irrelevant. 17,000-odd signatures in a state of 3 million (if they all even live in MS - it's an internet petition)? Almost 3 times as many people will show up at the lowest-attended stadium in the NFL this weekend.

I also like this bit of delusion: "The state is run horribly in the manner that is typical of fever swamp GOP govts..." Like California, Illinois, and New York, for example, versus the real fiscal disaster areas of Virginia or Indiana.

Nobody is seceding.

ochlophobist said...

That California, Illinois, and New York have fiscal crises and corruption scandals has no bearing on the accuracy of the assertion that the state of MS is run horribly in the manner that is typical of fever swamp GOP govts.

I've lived in New England, grew up in Ohio and spent my 20s in Minnesota, and now have spent the last 10 years in Memphis. Anyone who would prefer typical Mississippi governance to that typical in New York or Illinois is insane. Bap fiscal and corruption problems are one thing. A state government mostly run by people who despise 40% of the state population and who despise govt in principle is very much a different thing, and a political ideology which reflects well the near third world banana republic status of the state. No doubt the sort of droll folks who view Hayek as an inspiration would come to the defense of places like Mississippi. Hayek himself was rather fond of Pinochet back in the day.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

Och - the point is not that anybody should "come to the defense" of Mississippi. Rather, the point is that if Mississipi has made its bed, then perforce, Mississippi will have to lie in it.

ochlophobist said...

Anti-G,

Point taken. And for the record, in my magical political fairy universe wherein the impossible happens, I support the secession of Southern red states along these lines: http://www.amazon.com/Better-Off-Without-Manifesto-Secession/dp/1451616651

I just want it to happen after I move back to Wisconsin next year.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

LOL. Wisconsin is whiter than Augusta National.

ochlophobist said...

Other than Milwaukee, yes.

After ten years of living in Memphis, I have earned my right to live among fair people again.

Visibilium said...

In comparing competing harms, I'd take Pinochet over Allende.

Anonymous said...

"In comparing competing harms, I'd take Pinochet over Allende."

That's acceptable, of course, if you weren't one of those Chileans in the sports stadiums.

Fascinating how democracy can vanish when it's inconvenient.