Saturday, February 26, 2011

Go Ahead: Make My Day

Cleve Loney had had enough. The taciturn Montana state legislator had sat quietly as Democrats criticized Republican legislation that, if passed, would nullify federal laws impacting gun ownership and law enforcement jurisdiction and would state with unadorned, down home common sense that global warming is good for business. Governor Brian Schweitzer described Republican plans as "toxic" and reminiscent of the Civil War. When House Minority Leader Jon Sesso questioned whether Montana politicians could wisely interpret the Constitution, Cleve Loney saw an opening. The quiet man gathered his thoughts (such as they are) and stood tall.

"I don't intend for us to secede from the Union," he said reassuringly. "But I will tell you," he added with sage if wildly wrong determination, "it is up to us. We are the people to decide."


I -- and I'm certain that President Obama, too -- will certainly sleep better knowing that an obscure Montana politician has decided not to rend the Union asunder. Yet, anyway. Of course, this issue was settled in blood some time ago, and neither Montana nor any other state has the right to unilaterally secede.

Part of me, though, says let them secede if they want to.  It would take less than a year for the whole country to discover just exactly how dependent Montana and everyone else is on the federal government. 

For starters, Montana would have to be self-sustaining: It has no port, and neither Canada nor the United States would recognize its status. So there will be no way for food and other imports to get in or for exports to get out.
There would be no Social Security or Medicare. The state that ranks 43rd in per capita income but is the 6th oldest in age would be on its own in terms of keeping its retirees housed, fed, and cared for.
There will be no federal support of the University of Montana or Montana State University. Tuition and fees would rise to such levels that the schools might as well close their doors, leaving a state in which less than 20% of its population has a bachelor's degree even worse off. In the process, the lovely college towns of Bozeman and Missoula would wither and die.
Montana does not have a medical school and, under the circumstances, the University of Washington would be unlikely to accept applicants from there. Moreover, health sciences programs tend to have a heavy dependency on federal grants.  Montana would quickly lose any semblance of being able to meet the health care needs of its people.
Montana receives $1.58 from the federal government for every $1.00 it contributes in taxes. The teabagger plan to address that 37% dropoff would make for interesting reading.
Equally interesting will be the plan to assume the responsibilities of the 21,000 federal employees in Montana, including national park rangers, biologists, forest management, and fish and wildlife specialists.
Go ahead, Montana -- secede. You'll make for a great object lesson.


Roy said...

Huh! I doubt that Mr. Loney gave the consequences much thought. Tea Party types never do.

Steven said...

I'm all for it! I'll help them pack. Any others? I heard Texas muttering about this once. Maybe they could leave. They do have a port or two so they might be in pretty good shape. Same with Louisiana and Mississippi. I love the possibilities! Maybe we should encourage all of the states that take more than they give to think about secession.

Foxessa said...

No more than last time could we allow control of the Mississippi and the Gulf to pass to the secessionists.

But if Montana and AZ seceeded it would be tempting to let them do it -- but they will make war on their neighbors, which was another reason for the preservation of the Union.

Love, c.