SHOULD CALIFORNIA SECEDE?

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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.

POLITICAL POWER

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%.

SOURCES

http://www.census.gov/population/cen2000/tab04.txt

http://www.census.gov/population/cen2000/tab01.txt

originally posted at http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=104x1199976

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Pierpont
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Comments

Yes please secede so the other states can stop bailing you out from your bankruptcy caused by you're excessive liberal programs.

Commonsense461
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Jul. 2, 2012 8:48 am

I recently heard Ahnuld's economic adviser during a radio interview (he might have a book out and maybe Thom ought to have him on). But much like I've said in the past about California's problems he said the problem was from both sides of the aisles and people not recognizing the boom that was going and that booms are usually followed by busts. So both sides spend freely probably because they thought if they didn't constituents, who aren't know for their common sense, would be asking why not and not re-elect them.

California isn't unique in this. It happens in other states too. BTW, the Democrat governor of Montana, who Thom had on recently, keeps an eye on reckless spending. He says if he doesn't the Republicans there would spend, spend, spend.

And I also believe that the people of the US would be better off it it were broken up into about 9 countries by geographical boundaries. That way the needs of each region would be better served.

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captbebops
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Quote Never having anything intelligent to say Commonsense461, pretending not to be CC:

Yes please secede so the other states can stop bailing you out from your bankruptcy caused by you're excessive liberal programs.

Gee CC, if California wasn't donating perhaps $250 to every other person in the US... especially those lazy folks on the dole in those RED states, California might not have the problems it does.

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Hmm... I've often thought about this question over the last decade, which is reflected in my handle here I've used for so long. Too bad that I'm now in Oregon. I also wondered what might happen if you were to get California, Oregon, and Washington to all band together and secede and perhaps become a part of Canada or become a new country like "Cascadia" as has been proposed here, which is reflected in my new handle on DU since moving to Oregon (Cascadiance):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cascadia_(independence_movement)

Though perhaps include Southern California here. Then what's left of the U.S. would have to either go through Cascadia, Canada or Mexico that many of them hate to get any access to Pacific Ocean ports.

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calipendence
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Quote Pierpont:
Quote Never having anything intelligent to say Commonsense461, pretending not to be CC:

Yes please secede so the other states can stop bailing you out from your bankruptcy caused by you're excessive liberal programs.

Gee CC, if California wasn't donating perhaps $250 to every other person in the US... especially those lazy folks on the dole in those RED states, California might not have the problems it does.

I don't know who you think I am but what I am saying is just basic logic the towns spend in to bankruptcy and go to the county then county goes to state and when the statDarin's bankrupt where do you think the money comes that keeps it afloat. http://articles.businessinsider.com/2010-02-28/markets/29989672_1_california-tax-system-state-level

Commonsense461
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Quote Commonsense461:
Quote Pierpont:
Quote Never having anything intelligent to say Commonsense461, pretending not to be CC:

Yes please secede so the other states can stop bailing you out from your bankruptcy caused by you're excessive liberal programs.

Gee CC, if California wasn't donating perhaps $250 to every other person in the US... especially those lazy folks on the dole in those RED states, California might not have the problems it does.

I don't know who you think I am but what I am saying is just basic logic the towns spend in to bankruptcy and go to the county then county goes to state and when the statDarin's bankrupt where do you think the money comes that keeps it afloat.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YlVDGmjz7eM#t=2m57s

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LysanderSpooner
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Quote Commonsense461:I don't know who you think I am but what I am saying is just basic logic the towns spend in to bankruptcy and go to the county then county goes to state and when the statDarin's bankrupt where do you think the money comes that keeps it afloat. http://articles.businessinsider.com/2010-02-28/markets/29989672_1_california-tax-system-state-level

Who the hell was even talking about towns? You DO know what a "state" is, right?

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I say let them secede. than we can invade them and empire build as the imperial bastards they claim we are.

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May. 22, 2012 2:21 pm

Yes and I know that their is no dicsipline of failure if a state Over promises in services and they go bankrupt the federal government will not let them go bankrupt.

Commonsense461
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CA may never succeed again.

DynoDon
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Quote Commonsense461:

Yes and I know that their is no dicsipline of failure if a state Over promises in services and they go bankrupt the federal government will not let them go bankrupt.

If all you can do is evade questions why the hell are you even here? Oh, that's right so you can spew your right wing talking points.

Your point is.. dare I say idiotic. California's current problems have NOTHING to do with the points I made in the first post to this thread. Even if Cal had NO budget problems, it would STILL be treated poorly in our federal system. So if you can't address the issues in a thread, please spare us your evasion and spew.

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I don't accept your premise they just got 68 billion for light rail from the Feds they are treate just fine!

Commonsense461
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Quote Commonsense461:

I don't accept your premise they just got 68 billion for light rail from the Feds they are treate just fine!

Hey Einstein, since when does getting aid have ANYTHING to do with the concept of morally legitimate government?

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I would suggest Northern California, Oregon and Washington. As to the idea that California is getting an unfair portion of transportation aid. I assume we pay a large amount of federal taxes in this state to the federal government, and given that the war machine is more unpopular here than elsewhere, I would suggest that money is likely just our fair share of the pie

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I assume we know the electoral college was created by the 12th amendment in 1804 and is not a foundational document. Something I had not noticed in the past is that if neither of the major party candidates wins an electoral majority and the election goes to the house of representatives, it is a majority of states who decided the issue. In othe words the each state would have one representative vote as opposed to a vote of all the house members. And considering the likelyhood of a major third party challenge in 16 we might want to be looking at this more closely.

Also I am not following too closely here but I assume we are making a distinction between the electoral college and the amendment process. Both are losers in my brownshirted opinion. I do support states rights, but I do not support small states have a large say in the federal discussion. In other words if we can limit federal power in general I say good, but when we do have remaining issues decided by the federal authority I see no reason to grant small states undue power in that process

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Quote Semi permeable memebrain:As to the idea that California is getting an unfair portion of transportation aid.
LOL, 68 billion! ROTF In the ENTIRE Stimulus bill there was only 144 billion for ALL the states. But our little math wiz claims Cal got 68 billion just for light rail? No wonder he thinks they're spoiled. Guess they don't teach decimal points to the home-schooled...

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Quote Semi permeable memebrain:I assume we know the electoral college was created by the 12th amendment in 1804 and is not a foundational document.
The EC was part of the original Constitution... Article 2, section 1. It was changed because the original formula gave the vice presidency to the second vote getter: "In every Case, after the Choice of the President, the Person having the greatest Number of Votes of the Electors shall be the Vice President." It was unworkable. Imagine Obama with McCain as the veep!

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Pierpont
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Quote Semi permeable memebrain:I do support states rights, but I do not support small states have a large say in the federal discussion. In other words if we can limit federal power in general I say good, but when we do have remaining issues decided by the federal authority I see no reason to grant small states undue power in that process

The problem with US federalism is "states rights" are not just described in the tenth amendment but include state suffrage which is represented in the Constitution itself though a series of antidemocratic vote weighting/dilution schemes which grants SOME citizens, based on their choice of state residence, bigger votes than other citizens. This is the nation's first affirmative action program which we might think conservatives might object to... but in fact they embrace.

Even if stripped of the right of state suffrage in the federal government, states could still have rights under the tenth for internal governance.

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Quote Pierpont:
Quote Commonsense461:

I don't accept your premise they just got 68 billion for light rail from the Feds they are treate just fine!

Hey Einstein, since when does getting aid have ANYTHING to do with the concept of morally legitimate government?

That we have funelled billions into ca especially Pelosis distract.

Commonsense461
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The track going to be 400+ miles long. It's going to be in lots of districts, including a lot of GOP counties in cowbell country.

chilidog
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[]

Commonsense461
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Quote chilidog:

The track going to be 400+ miles long. It's going to be in lots of districts, including a lot of GOP counties in cowbell country.

yes but if you don't thing there are astriking of ca politicians that aren't going to gain money off this deal your crazy. using tax money to expand your wealth is immoral!

Commonsense461
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Quote Commonsense461:
Quote Pierpont:
Quote Commonsense461:I don't accept your premise they just got 68 billion for light rail from the Feds they are treate just fine!

Hey Einstein, since when does getting aid have ANYTHING to do with the concept of morally legitimate government?

That we have funelled billions into ca especially Pelosis distract.

Thanks for AGAIN proving you're absolutely CLUELESS about the concept of morally legitimate government. THIS DISCUSSION IS NOT ABOUT MONEY BUT THE INEQUALITY OF REPRESENTATION BETWEEN CITIZENS OF DIFFERENT STATES.

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CA shouldn't secede. It should just split into 2 states so they can get 2 more senators. It's unfair for CA to have the same # of senators as Montana.

DynoDon
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Jun. 29, 2012 9:24 am

It's not "light rail" that is getting funding, it's "high speed rail."

California has been a very corrupt state since it's inception. Ever wonder why the state capital is in out-of-the-way Sacramento? That's because some rich guy paid for it to be there.

Former San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom who is now Lt. Governor says the amount of corruption in government is unbelievable.

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OMG, do you suppose the culture of corruption has gone that far? Read the history of 19th Century rail infrastructure finance and weep. There are no big payoff left in land, but there will be real estate values impacted by the infrastructure. Some of it may even be owned by Democrats.

California could do well again if it returned to its pre-Howard Jarvis revenue policies. There could be free college education too. That was a great pay-off investment that Uncle Ronnie trashed. Nothing the GOPimps have ever promised for the economy has ever come true. Everything we were warned about has. Where was the theory to be tested when it had been done before with the same results. Going back to Mark Hanna and the Gilded Age is Karl Rove's dream. There is no mystery to be solved, only crimes to be stopped.

Cascadia is an intriguing idea as we deal with the deep regional divides and disparate opinions about America and "the Constitution." I think we do need to redraw our maps and governing bodies to reflect basic concerns like water. Rivers no longer make good sense as borders because water is too precious to subject to conflicting jurisdictions rather than to cooperating 'states.' Mountain ridges that define catchment basins are great dividing lines.

The bigger problem is that we cannot avoid the continental unity regional states would share. Having smaller states or "countries" may help give local power more role and reduce the abstraction and distance of "representation," but the macro must be served. This makes the question of 'secession' less than absolute. If the question is where we draw intelligent regional boundaries for a "Cascadia," do we have internal units as well? How many and how small, and what does that mean about the larger State?

Then we get to whether Cascadia is part of the continental federalism or we are talking about foreign relations with Kansas/Great Plains, for example. Do we share a currency and become the American Union, or does it go farther than that in bonds and symbiosis? Are we essentially linked rather than divided as a "nation?" My point is that talk of secession is political rhetoric with little substance possible. Pointing out that California would be a rich country on its own, or that Oregon and Washington have the Columbia River and great wines other Americans might want to drink ought to be obvious. America needs the West Coast more than these states now "need" the donation receiving "red" tax rebel South. And, the sockeye run this year has been very tasty.

drc2
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Apr. 26, 2012 11:15 am

Quote Pierpont:FEDERAL TAXATION & SPENDING

One study at http://www.nemw.org/fedspend99.pdf (I hope it's still up)

That source is gone... here are numbers for 2005

http://www.nemw.org/images/taxburdrank.pdf

According to this study... California was getting back 80% of what it sent to Washington in federal taxes. More recent numbers won't reflect the historical trends since revenues from states have plummeted during the recession and federal government is spending over a trillion more than it take in.

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Pierpont
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Quote DynoDon:

CA may never succeed again.

Location, Location, Location.

California probably has the greatest real estate in the world.

The only problem it has is limited water.

And earthquakes.

People that can be successful will always prefer to be here.

chilidog
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Limited water more in SoCal which is why we in NoCal would rather see the state split in two as they have different needs than we do. Earthquakes? Yeah, actually there should not be a city where San Francisco is. Maybe just a port and miles of one story warehouses. Anything else is crazy.

But yes people DO want to live here because of the weather though it has been a bit tweaky lately. While the rest of the country was baking we actually had some rather moderate summer weather except for a few days this last week (back to the low 80s now).

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captbebops
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Quote captbebops:Limited water more in SoCal which is why we in NoCal would rather see the state split in two as they have different needs than we do. Earthquakes? Yeah, actually there should not be a city where San Francisco is. Maybe just a port and miles of one story warehouses. Anything else is crazy.
My original point wasn't that California WOULD secede, but that threatening secession might be the ONLY way to ever break a reform-proof federal system that is antidemocratic. California is unique of all the states in that its citizens are the most disenfranchised by US federalism AND it's big enough to make it on its own… so the secession threat would be credible… as opposed to landlocked Oklahoma threatening secession.

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Feb. 29, 2012 1:19 pm

We're mentally masturbating pretty furiously here, here's an idea: California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas all secede and make a confederation with Mexico. We absorb 100 million Chinese and Indian immigrants and that's a formidable nation.

This is probably what's going to happen anyway in the next 100 years (Mexico will be admitted to the USA.)

chilidog
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

If Mexico could get it's act together it could profit a lot more from tourism and a lot of people moving there because of a tropical climate. It's too much of a "serf" state which breeds the kind of crime it is having.

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captbebops
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So does anyone have any ideas how to reform an anti-democratic and reform-proof system of government?

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Pierpont
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Feb. 29, 2012 1:19 pm

Violent revolution?

Commonsense461
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Jul. 2, 2012 8:48 am

There is the San Andreas Fault to decide the issue for once and for all.

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leighmf
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Maybe some wealthy leftists can pool their money and create some manufactured communities like Disney did with "Celebration," in places like Montana and Wyoming, and get maybe 300,000 democratic voters in those states.

chilidog
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Quote chilidog:

Maybe some wealthy leftists can pool their money and create some manufactured communities like Disney did with "Celebration," in places like Montana and Wyoming, and get maybe 300,000 democratic voters in those states.

Tinkering with, or trying to manipulate the existing federalist system won't reform it. It's like the 75 Star scheme to create 25 new states by dividing existing ones. I think one simple step is to change the amendment process so instead of 3/4 of the states an amendment can be ratified with states containing a supermajority of the population.

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