Here's a repost of something I wrote at DU back in 2005. The numbers are a bit dated but the principle remains the same:
Forget the jokes that the Right tells that we'd all be better off without California... at least they told these jokes when Grey Davis was in office. It's simply NOT true. But can a state the size of California EVER be fairly treated in an anti-democratic federal system such as we have in the US? What are the implications if it cannot be?
US federalism is a study in GROSS inequality. It's a system where individual citizens are given grossly disproportionate power in the federal government based merely on state residence. It was the nation's first affirmative action program. Yet those who are disenfranchised MUST pay the same level of taxes as their more fortunate countrymen. This gross inequality is most evident in comparing the political power of a citizen in California to one in Wyoming.
The 2000 Census reports California remains the most populous state
with 33,831,648 and Wyoming remains the least populated with
493,782.... 1/68 than that of California.
In the new apportionment scheme California gets 53 seats.... one seat for every 638,333 people...... Wyoming one seat for 49,3783. Sources below.
The Senate remains at 2 seats each.
In the Electoral College California gets 55 votes and Wyoming 3 votes.
If my math is correct, this breaks down as follows:
Remember that since citizens vote only for representatives of their DISTRICT.. not their state... each Wyoming resident has 20% more representation in the House of Representatives over any given citizen in California simply because they are guaranteed one seat but lack the population to make up a normal-sized congressional district.
Each Wyoming resident has 68.5 times more influence in the Senate over any given citizen in California. Each Wyoming resident has 3.7 times more influence in electing a President over any given citizen in California.
If we were to average this out... granted this is NOT a perfect exercise... each Wyoming resident has 24 TIMES more influence in the Federal government over any given citizen in California.... yet BOTH pay equal rates of federal taxes. Federalist theory purports that somehow the Great Compromise of the Constitutional Convention which created the House and Senate levels things out. The theory is that if the state of California has 53 seats in Congress and Wyoming has but one... then California has 53 times the power, at least in the House. But congressmen do NOT represent states... only the people in the districts who elect them. The federalist formula disenfranchises US citizens in large states and hands out power and privilege to US citizens in small states. The math above paints a more accurate picture. A natural side effect of this formula is it can create morally illegitimate minority government as we now have with the Bush Junta.
In decisions such as Reynolds v Simms, the USSC has proclaimed that "one person one vote" mean little when votes are not weighted the same. In this nation which claims equality under the law.... anyone see any evidence of this here except for taxation? This equality is illegal on the state and local levels but perfectly legal on the federal level under our anti-democratic Constitution.
FEDERAL TAXATION & SPENDING
One study at http://www.nemw.org/fedspend99.pdf (I hope it's still up)
http://www.nemw.org/fedspend99.pdf > reported for FY 99 that while the per capita federal tax burden in California and Wyoming are about the same.... $6841 and $6843 respectably, the average per capita federal spending on the people of Wyoming is $6080 while in California it's $5010. California gets back only about 89 cents on every federal tax dollar it contributes to the federal government. Given California's size... the numbers are quite large. If my math is correct
$6841 - 5010 = $1830.
$1830 X 33,831,648 = $61,911,915,840 billion net loss.
That means that
281,421,906 (total US population in 2000) - 33,831,648 = 247,590,258
US population excluding California.
247,590,258 / $61,911,915,840 = $250
California "contributes" on average $250 to every other US citizen.
California, if it were a nation would be the 5th or 6th biggest economy in the world. It has natural resources... ports... a well developed infrastructure... wealth... it could make it on its own. Despite what the rabid right thinks, we as a nation need California more than they need us. I'm unsure what the Constitutional hurdles are, but I believe that California should seriously consider seceding
from the Union.... NOT because I'd like to see the US break apart... but only to wake the rest of us up to the inherent inequalities of our federal system which is not just producing morally illegitimate government as we have seen in Election 2000... but is virtually reform proof and getting more so. Currently states representing only about 4% of the US population can theoretically block ALL reform to the US Constitution desired by the other 96%.