I can't believe that discontent is so high that there's secession talk.
What's startling is that this is coming from the usual suspects — armed "militia men" running around in the woods and hills of some back country state. It's coming from the Governor of Texas:
Texas Gov. Rick Perry isn't ruling out the possibility his state may one day secede from the nation.
Speaking to an energetic and angry tea party crowd in Austin Wednesday evening, the Lone Star State governor suggested secession may happen in the future should the federal government not change its fiscal polices.
"There's a lot of different scenarios," Perry told the rally, according to the Associated Press. "We've got a great union. There's absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that. But Texas is a very unique place, and we're a pretty independent lot to boot."
Perry also said: "Texas is a unique place. When we came into the Union in 1845, one of the issues was that we would be able to leave if we decided to do that." (Actually, that's not true and it's sad that the governor of Texas doesn't know his own history. Texas came into the union with the ability to divide into five states, not withdraw. And after seceding during the Civil War, Texas was allowed to re-enter the union after ratifying the 13th Amendment.)
Now, on the one hand, we all know what this is about. Perry is a politician and he was pandering to an anti-Washington crowd. Plus, Texas has always had that "don't mess with Texas" swagger, which I always find annoying. It's Perry's political rhetoric, and it doesn't stand scrutiny in light of Perry's political reality:
Governor Rick Perry, less than a week ago: Governor Perry Calls FEMA To Assist With Wildfires
Governor Rick Perry, last month: Governor Perry Calls For 1,000 Troops To Be Sent To Border
Governor Rick Perry, five months ago: Governor Perry Requests 18 Month Extension Of Federal Aid For Ike Debris Removal
But still, secession talk is now on the table. And I, for one, am happy to let Texas go.
- No more crazy Texas billionaires and politicians undermining America. The swift-boaters, much of the money to finance Reagan's contra war, Karl Rove, the Bushes…all Texas.
- 34 fewer Republican electoral votes, meaning either that no Republican would ever win a presidential election again… at least not unless he's extremely moderate.
- Illegal Mexican immigrants sneaking over the border? Not our problem anymore. Texas will have to build that ridiculously expensive wall themselves.
- Texas's monopoly on school textbooks will end. Most school textbooks in the USA are made in Texas, and the Texas legislature is always trying to mandate what goes in them (creationism, etc.)
- It would be an economic boon to other states. NASA and Texas-based defense firms that contract with the United States could no longer be in Texas (a foreign country), so they would have to relocate to the upper 49. That's a huge jobs program.
- America will no longer be obligated to play for social security, Medicare, etc. of Texans. Less for them, more for us.
Of course, for all the bluster and Texas swagger, I think Texans who choose to remain in a seceded Texas will soon find that they face the same problems they face now. Plus a host of new ones that the federal government would normally help with. (What's your intended social security system, oh, Republic of Texas?)
And they'll do fine for a while, sitting as they are on huge oil and gas reserves. But as America goes green and uses alternative energies more and more, Texas is going to find itself a veritable wasteland of useless resources. (Except, of course, the only things taht come out of Texas — steers and queers — as the saying goes).
Again, a lot of talk without having thought things through.
Besides, it's never going to happen.
UPDATE: For shits and grins, a foreign policy expert at Foreign Policy tells us what would happen to Texas if it seceded. Pay attention, haven't-thought-it-through crowd:
So what would Texas look like as a foreign country?
It would be the world's thirteenth largest economy — bigger than South Korea, Sweden, and Saudi Arabia. But its worth would crater precipitously, after NAFTA rejected it and the United States slapped it with an embargo that would make Cuba look like a free-trade zone. Indeed, Texas would quick become the next North Korea, relying on foreign aid due to its insistence on relying on itself.
On the foreign policy front, a seceded Texas would suffer for deserting the world superpower. Obama wouldn't look kindly on secessionists, and would send in the military to tamp down rebellion. If Texas miraculously managed to hold its borders, Obama would not establish relations with the country — though he might send a special rapporteur. (We nominate Kinky Friedman.)
So, Texas would need to court Mexico and Central American nations as a trading partners and protectors. Those very nations would also pose a host of problems for Texas. President Perry might find friends in anti-U.S. nations like Venezuela and Cuba, but their socialist politics would rankle the libertarian nation.
And Texas would become a conduit for drugs moving north to the United States from Mexico, maybe even becoming a narco-state. It would need to invest heavily in its own military and policing force to stop drug violence within its borders — taking away valuable resources from, oh, feeding its people, fending off U.S. border incursions, and improving its standing in the world.
In short: the state of Texas would rapidly become direly impoverished, would need to be heavily armed, and would be wracked with existential domestic and foreign policy threats. It would probably make our failed states list in short order. Probably better to pay the damn taxes.