It’s hard to single out the most delicious example of the post-Trump liberal freak out, but the din about California secession has to rank high on the list. Among other obvious things, California provided Hillary Clinton with her entire margin of victory in the popular vote—without California, Trump wins the popular vote in the other 49 states handily. (Without California and the five boroughs of New York City, Trump’s popular vote victory starts to approach a landslide.)
California certainly is out of step with the rest of the nation (especially the fact that, with about 13 percent of the nation’s population, it has over 20 percent of the nation’s total welfare caseload. Progressive government that works!) Last week in Washington I ran into California’s GOP party chairman, Jim Brulte, who is trying to rebuild the GOP from the ground up, working to elect Republicans to local offices around the state with some success. But he admitted that California must now be regarded as a center-left state (at best). I asked Jim if he thought Proposition 13 would still pass today? He admitted, “I’m not sure.”
There’s talk of a ballot initiative to propel the idea of California’s secession. I’m all for it. If California left the union, Republicans would essentially run the nation forever. Like South Carolina, et al. in 1860, California can’t secede of it own will; it will require the consent of the other 49 states, either through Constitutional amendment or an act of Congress (I’m not at all clear on this question, but haven’t had time to study the matter closely).
Quite aside from the constitutional question, I wonder whether the secessionist hotheads have pondered a few basic questions:
- The other 49 states will not consent to California seceding unless California assumes its proportionate share of the national debt. Are Californians up for assuming roughly $2.5 trillion in sovereign debt? And just how would that debt be transferred? Will the foreign holders of U.S. sovereign debt accept a swap for California’s obligation? Which leads to the next question.
- Will California have its own currency and central bank? Or will it use the dollar? Or peg the California Peso to the dollar somehow? (By the way, if you’ve ever driven into California, you know that it has border inspection stations for agriculture in place, so the infrastructure for trade and border control is already in place! (/sarc alert)
- Will California maintain its own army, navy and air force? If so, I imagine the other 49 states will want California to pay for the federal military bases and equipment that it wants to keep for itself—add another $1 trillion to the secession tab. They could skip this expense by having a mutual defense treaty with the U.S. Or perhaps they’ll enter into a mutual defense treaty with Mexico. (More /sarc alert.)
But hey, California, we’re constantly told, is the sixth largest economy in the world. Should be easy, no? On second thought, I’ll bet some California liberals will reconsider, and come up with a slogan like, “Stronger Together.” Oh, wait. . .