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Old 05-23-2009, 07:42 PM   #1
BrianR
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Should California break up into smaller states?

from here and here

By Joe Weisenthal

The clock is ticking on California, which must slash its way out of a $21 billion deficit in order to stave off default (that is, if Uncle Sam doesn't extend the state a TARP bailout before then).

While the problem is serious, the state's uber-democratic system is broken beyond repair. It's truly a failed state, in the classic political science sense of the term. If it were its own country, the US would be consulting with the UN and NATO about establishing a presence and supervising elections.

So the state needs radical help, and a bailout will only make things worse.

But theoretically the state is salvageable, argues Breakingviews, if only because the state could both afford higher taxes and reduce state spending. Spending is far from bare-bones levels, and state employees are extremely well paid.

But Breakingviews actually proposes a much more radical solution, which is breaking California up into 4 distinct states (seriously). Think of it like good bank/bad bank, but for states.

Actually it's a little different. The idea is not that this will solve the state's financial problems, but that it will split it into four coherent political units, which would be:

* San Diego/Orange County/Inland Empire (socially conservative, Hispanic, heavily military)
* Greater LA (Hollywood and Hispanics, very liberal)
* San Francisco/Silicon Valley (Liberal, but very dynamic and market oriented)
* Central (Conservative, Kansas-like)

This is a political scientist's late night fantasy and doing this might actually solve some political problems, but in the end it wouldn't work.

The first state to go would be Greater LA. You see, the Hollywood liberal types may love to support government spending and immigration, but the moment the entire burden fell on them to support the rest of the population they'd scream bloody murder. You know they would. And it's probably a gloss-over to just say that the San Diego state would be solidly "conservative" just because there's a lot of military and socially conservative Hispanics there. There'd be huge public support tensions over spending and government safety nets.

Beyond that, national Republicans would never go for this, since you'd essentially be creating three new Democratic states (it sounds like Central would probably be Republican), giving Democrats permanent dominance in the US Senate.
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Last edited by BrianR; 05-23-2009 at 07:44 PM. Reason: added attrib
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Old 05-23-2009, 07:50 PM   #2
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Having lived in California, I can say that this isn't the first time such an idea has come up.
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Old 05-23-2009, 08:49 PM   #3
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True. El Paso, TX has been kicking around the idea to become part of New Mexico for a number of years now.
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Old 05-24-2009, 09:46 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianR View Post
While the problem is serious, the state's uber-democratic system is broken beyond repair. It's truly a failed state, in the classic political science sense of the term.
Which is where the solution lies. Address the problem - not break it up.

The problems are obvious, simple, and fixable. For example, the government was setup so that the Union Pacific could not use purchased politician to manipulate the government. But the legacy of that mistake has created current problems.

For example, a budget requires a 2/3rd majority to be passed. Spending requirements are routinely made without also providing funds for that mandated spending. Propositions require money to be spent but never provide funds. That leaves the legislature to provide funds without any income source.

A Bay Area Council has called for a Constitutional Convention to fix a government that does not work. The Governor concurs.

Meanwhile, biggest problem with American politics - that puts extremists in power - has apparently been eliminated in CA. Gerrymandering - shaping voting districts to empower the most wacko Democrats and Republicans - is reported changed. Therein lies the major CA problem. Either government works for the people - is moderates - or the government has the intelligence of George Jr - is extremist Democrats and Republicans. CA has elected too many extremists using a process where the elections are routinely decided in primaries.

Another solution is to run an election only between the two topmost vote getters - even if both are from the same party. Again, the problem is first and foremost traceable to those with a political agenda rather than in working for the people.

CA has a legacy of that problem - $21billion. Tax increases are inevitable. However CA has been here many times before and always managed to find a solution. The long term solution is to fix government. A short term solution requires funding for that $21billion deficient.
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Old 05-27-2009, 10:06 PM   #5
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"Should California break up into smaller states?"

Actually I have always thought more along the lines of letting it fall into the ocean.
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Old 05-27-2009, 10:38 PM   #6
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*cough*strike-slip-faults-don't-work-like-that*cough*
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Old 05-27-2009, 10:44 PM   #7
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Don't tell me it is going to grow?
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Old 05-28-2009, 10:11 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Bullitt View Post
*cough*strike-slip-faults-don't-work-like-that*cough*
Yea, but damm what a great thought it would be if only....
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Old 05-28-2009, 10:19 AM   #9
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Hey man, I LIVE in California
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Old 05-28-2009, 10:25 AM   #10
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Hey man, I LIVE in California
Quick!

Move. Ok, just move to the part that is not going to fall in the Atlantic.
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Old 05-28-2009, 01:54 PM   #11
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Don't tell me it is going to grow?
Nope, it's just slowly creeping north.. part of it anyway.


Quote:
Originally Posted by TheMercenary View Post
Yea, but damm what a great thought it would be if only....
Hell yeah, having a second coastline would be epic. Plus no more border jumpers.
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Old 05-28-2009, 02:06 PM   #12
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I don't know about breaking up but I would mind if it slid off into the ocean. I'd love to be closer to the beach.
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Old 06-03-2009, 08:50 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by TheMercenary View Post
Quick!

Move. Ok, just move to the part that is not going to fall in the Atlantic.
I tells ya, if California falls into the ATLANTIC, you've got bigger problems than the deficit!
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Old 06-03-2009, 08:59 PM   #14
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merc should probably write for the Beeb
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Old 06-07-2009, 08:16 PM   #15
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I tells ya, if California falls into the ATLANTIC, you've got bigger problems than the deficit!
Not really. I don't live there. And I never will.
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