Why California’s Silly Secession Scheme Can’t Succeed
(Kurt Schlichter, Townhall)
America’s dopey adolescent California is sulking because Hillary lost, so now it’s talking big about moving out of Mom’s house. According to one local bison, who presumably speaks for much of the proggy herd, the rest of America is unworthy of the Golden State’s glorious presence anyway.
I’m a resident of California, and I say, “Great – pack your crap and get out.” As tempting as it is to keep you in the Union as a cautionary example of what happens when liberals run everything, the pain you would suffer running away from home would be so overwhelming that it might even teach you hapless denizens of this ridiculous state a much-needed lesson. So, go for it.
Now, I’ve previously explored the whole idea of America breaking up both here in Townhall and in my new novel People’s Republic, which features the M4-oriented hero infiltrating blue America and finding Venezuela without the charm (This spring, look for its even more proactive prequel Indian Country). But now that the local nimrods seem to be at least semi-serious about putting the question of whether the Golden State should stay or go on the 2018 ballot, perhaps this is as good a time as any to do something that liberals really, truly hate.
Let’s confront them with facts by walking through how their stupid secession idea would actually work in the real world.
Now, let’s assume the separation would be peaceful. It would have to be – I’m thinking that the declining number of the kind of people who pick up rifles still living here would not be psyched to die so San Franciscans can ensure that illegal alien hobos are able to defecate on the street unmolested and that people who misgender via their pronoun use can be incarcerated. The typical California social justice warrior would make a poor warrior warrior. It would have to be an amicable divorce. So, California is an independent country with about 40,000,000 people. What now?
Well, let’s talk about food. Where’s it going to come from? The Central Valley is a remarkably fertile area. All sorts of stuff will grow there – except, it doesn’t anymore because California has decided to stop stockpiling water and has prioritized flushing what water it does have out into the sea for the benefit of bait fish. The California water system was sufficient when we had 20 million folks, but decades ago we stopped building dams and reservoirs because of Gaia or something. So, to eat, California would need to change its priorities from tadpoles to people, or become a net importer of food.
Oh, and that Colorado River water that quenches LA’s thirst? Yeah, the United States is probably going to need that. But you can still get some of that H2O – in the form of food grown in the USA that you now have to import. Except grapes. We have lots of grapes. Can’t make bread with them though.
And then there’s fossil fuels. We know you want to go green because of your bizarre weather panic religion, but that’s a lot of infrastructure to build (and, as we will see, you’re going to be short on cash), so for now you’re stuck with dino juice. Since you’ve pretty much banned fracking and limited oil production (and I bet you’ll be shutting down those rigs off the Santa Barbara coast because rich libs hate looking at them), you’ll need to import oil. A lot of oil. The good news is the USA will have plenty to sell you.
In fact, the USA will have plenty of everything to sell you since you’ve largely driven manufacturing out of California with your regulations and taxes. Who makes cars in California? Well, Tesla, sort of – except its big new battery plant is in Nevada. And generating power? The USA will be happy to oblige since your climate change scam laws will essentially require you to outsource your greenhouse gas emissions – and the USA will be delighted to let you pay it for the privilege.
But hey, California still has entertainment and technology! Except much of the entertainment industry has already been driven out of SoCal by costs and regulations – wonder why the credits on all the TV shows you watch tell you they are filmed in Vancouver, Georgia, New Mexico, or somewhere other than Hollywood? Even the porn industry is hitting and quitting Cali! But you still have the tech companies that are stubbornly clinging to California; I hear Twitter is doing great. Oh, right. And those companies hire what – a few thousand genderfluids named Kaden? They may make rich punks richer, but other than that, nada. Well, perhaps you can still partially offset your stunning trade deficit with exports of karma and synergy.
Let’s talk spending. Don’t think California gets to just leave behind its >10% share of the $20 trillion dollar Obama-enhanced national debt. Here’s an invoice for $2 trillion. And we already talked about the California military – with >10% of the population, will it pick up 10% of the current $582.7BN defense budget? That’s $58BN on top of the current $167BN budget – ouch. Now, California might be tempted to free ride on the more martial USA, but that is going to engender some bad blood. Do you really want to tick off the people who feed and fuel and defend you?
Now, those 40 million California citizens are also going to be expecting their Social Security and Medicare and government federal pensions and all the rest of the goodies they think they’ve earned. Guess who gets to scratch that itch? Let’s not forget California’s own existing bond and pension debt – the rest of America won’t be around to help you with that. Plus, the all-Democrat legislature is going to be hard-pressed to turn down any deadbeat constituency looking for a handout, and a third of America’s deadbeats live in California now. It’s already well on its way to becoming America’s dead weight.
Not wanting to be oppressive to people who shouldn’t be there in the first place, California is going to want to legalize all the zillions of illegals currently living here. And when it does, since immigration laws are racist or something, more uninvited folks will be showing up as California becomes Mexico’s Spare Bedroom. Even if it keeps all the income taxes its residents pay to the feds now, California is still going to have to come up with a lot more dough. Sure, an independent California can run a deficit, but after Greece, who is going to lend tens of billions to Sacramento – except at crushingly high interest rates?
So taxes get to go up. California’s income tax on the wealthiest (who aren’t actually that wealthy when you realize a shack a couple miles from the beach costs $1 million plus) is something like 11%. The current top federal rate is about 39% (with no state tax deduction anymore!), so assuming that dough goes to Uncle Moonbeam, you are at a 50% rate before local taxes and without considering payroll/self-employment taxes. That’s still not enough to pay for California’s progressive utopia.
Taxes need to rise. Of course, the really rich can suck it up (or, more likely, shelter their income), and the poor don’t pay income taxes anyway. So that leaves the already depleted middle class to pick up the tab. But the few remaining middle class Californians are more likely to pick up and leave – after all, plenty of their pals from California are in Austin already and at least there they can afford a house outside the ghetto. Guys like me – a lawyer who prospers because of the state’s idiotic regulatory regime – will milk this Cal until it’s dry and then take off to sunny, low-tax Florida with our loot. So, California will become, even more than it already is, a place consisting of a few really rich people and a lot of poor ones. Not really a recipe for long term stability and prosperity – sure you want to forgo an army?
And then there are the substantive changes the extreme lefties left in charge would make. Bathroom antics and mandatory cake baking are just the beginning. Does anyone think a California unrestrained by the Constitution will retain unchanged any of the liberties enumerated in the Bill of Rights? Think of an independent California as a giant college campus that is a country – who in Sacramento will resist the inevitable call to criminalize “hate speech” and “racism” and “sexism?” Of course, those words simply mean anything progressives dislike – look for censors in the form of “Bias Review Commissions” and the like scrutinizing every word you utter.
Freedom of religion? Come on. Do you think they won’t legislate the content of religious teachings? You’ve met liberals, right? They’re aching to destroy the alternate pole of power that religion represents. Watch “hate churches” – by which they mean ones that actually follow Jesus’s teachings – get stripped of their tax exemptions. The bankruptcies and tax sales that follow will not be bugs – they will be features.
And as for the Second Amendment – don’t make me laugh. Crime will run rampant (hell, it already is) because the left sees criminality as a valid expression of oppressed peoples, and opposition to it as pure bigotry. But fear not – the rich will still be safe behind their walls and armed guards. Everyone else? Too bad, so sad.
But for all the big talk, California will never try to secede. It’s dumb, but not that dumb. The clowns in Sacramento fully understand that the folly and foolishness that flourishes on the left coast is an indulgence of, and made possible only by, the patience of better Americans in the rest of the country. California is just lucky that Mom has so much patience with its nonsense, and that she will let it keep crashing on the futon down in the basement in the likely vain hope that someday it will get its stuff together and grow the hell up.
Kurt Schlichter (Twitter: @KurtSchlichter), Senior Columnist for Townhall.com, was personally recruited to write conservative commentary by Andrew Breitbart. He is a name partner at a growing Los Angeles trial law firm, a retired Army Infantry colonel with a masters in Strategic Studies from the United States Army War College, and a former stand-up comic.