My young friend who blogs at RightSided asked me to comment on this
painfully stupid exciting new petition drive to allow Texas to secede from the United States:
The petition is as follows:
WE PETITION THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO:
Peacefully grant the State of Texas to withdraw from the United States of America and create its own NEW government.
The US continues to suffer economic difficulties stemming from the federal government’s neglect to reform domestic and foreign spending. The citizens of the US suffer from blatant abuses of their rights such as the NDAA, the TSA, etc. Given that the state of Texas maintains a balanced budget and is the 15th largest economy in the world, it is practically feasible for Texas to withdraw from the union, and to do so would protect it’s [sic!] citizens’ standard of living and re-secure their rights and liberties in accordance with the original ideas and beliefs of our founding fathers which are no longer being reflected by the federal government.
Specifically, my young friend wanted to know whether I thought the good people who signed the petition — more than 30,000 strong — were racists or were motivated by the economic woes of America that are crushing hard-working, non-racist Texans.
First of all, this doesn’t matter. If you stopped reading now, I would understand why you made that choice. It’s because thirty thousand people is roughly the equivalent of no people at all. The population of Texas is twenty five and a half million.
Second of all, every single one of the people who signed might be really interested in the economic well-being of Texas and want to disassociate themselves from the failed economic policies of the federal government; in other words, from the wording of their brilliant petition, it might have nothing whatsoever to do with our current president or creeping socialism or shifting demographics that might mean things won’t always favor white men quite the way everything once did … and it might have everything to do with their distrust of government, broadly understood.
Thirdly, I’d be happy to see the petition amended so that these particular 30,000 people can secede and leave the perfectly reasonable Texans alone. It’s also interesting to note, if you actually look at the signatures, that a sizable group are not actually Texans … which means that a bunch of non-Texans also want Texas to leave.
Finally, the petition is all about finances and it focuses on the fact that Texas balances its budget while the U.S. does not. It would be interesting to see how well Texans fared without federal assistance. For example: From 2001-2009, “FEMA alone has sent $3.45 billion to Texas. $3,449,142,397 to be exact. That figure does not include funding from any other federal agencies (of which there is plenty), nor does it include funding for Hurricane Ike recovery.” [Source] More: “During the 2009 and 2010 award periods, the federal Department of Homeland Security through FEMA awarded $39,747,075 to Texas fire departments and state organizations for firefighting, through the Assistance to Firefighter Grants, Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grants, Fire Prevention and Safety Grants, and Fire Station Construction Grants. That dollar amount does not include complete data for two of the grant programs (FP&S and FSC) which have not yet provided their information for the 2010 grant application period. In 2009 those two grant programs gave a total of $4,339,014 to Texas.” [Source]
And, if we’re still thinking about balancing budgets, there’s also this: “A report released in April 2009 by the Federal Funds Information for States, a subscription service of the National Governors Association and the National Conference of State Legislatures that tracks the financial impact of federal actions on states. It estimated how much Recovery Act money each state would receive under about 40 major grant programs. Texas ($16.3 billion) ranked third, behind California ($27.1 billion) and New York ($21.7 billion). Another count for Texas comes from the state comptroller’s office, which tracks stimulus dollars coming into state agencies and public colleges and universities. As of July 11, 2010, $19.7 billion had been awarded, with $11.7 billion received. The Legislature appropriated $14.4 billion of the total for fiscal 2009, 2010 and 2011, according to the comptroller’s website.” [Source]
Oh, and this: ”More than $380 million in early grants and other aid from the federal health law have already gone to businesses and agencies in the Lone Star State, according to figures from the Department of Health and Human Services … Now, the state is waiting for final approval of a new waiver from federal Medicaid rules that could allow the state to draw down an additional $12 billion in funds from the federal government. And that’s before the main parts of the Affordable Care Act even kick in, bringing billions of dollars to Texas in extra Medicaid funds and subsidies to help people buy private coverage through a new health insurance exchange. If the law survives its upcoming review by the Supreme Court, its expansion of Medicaid alone could cost the federal government anywhere from $53 billion to $67 billion in aid to Texas by 2019, according to estimates from the nonpartisan Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.” [Source]
Perhaps the new country of Texas would just tax its citizens in order to compensate for the loss of these federal funds. Those citizens could afford it, after all, because they wouldn’t be paying federal income tax.
But Texans currently pay no state income tax at all … so I suspect it would be a rude awakening to secede from the United States because they don’t like their current economic situation and then find themselves paying the same amount in income tax in order to continue to balance their new country’s budget.
Or perhaps the new country of Texas will simply decide not to provide any services to its citizens:
No health care? Whose fault is that?!
Hurricane season? Hope you have lots of private insurance!
This way of thinking would suit the secessionists well, I presume, since they principally want to get away from the rest of the U.S. and its policy of spending money in an attempt to take care of those who are suffering without health care or in the wake of a natural disaster or in the face of a terrible economic recession.
So, in sum, to these few brilliant secessionists with their bold plans for an economic paradise free of the federal government and its thievery: You want out? Fare thee well! You have no idea what you’re talking about.