Before we continue on our separation journey, let us examine two points certain to make their appearance: Social Security and the National Debt.
Social Security and Medicare are contracts between the American people and the government. Would not Americans living in departing states be forfeiting their entitlement? It comes down to how the separation is negotiated.
Rick Perry accurately explained the quandary in the first presidential debate of 2012, calling Social Security a "Ponzi scheme." In reality, we are paying as we go. There is no "lockbox" full of cash that we all tap into, even though the program was initially positioned this way.
To facilitate, it will be necessary to continue printing money and making the payments. There have been various proposals over the years. But this has been a touchy issue for politicians. Deferring the discussion to a later time has been the option of preference.
Probably the most popular position would be as follows: "The money was paid into the program in good faith. It was a contract between the government and the taxpayer. That contract would remain in force, regardless of the disposition of the taxpayer."
To simplify, imagine a 63-year-old opting for retirement in Quito, Ecuador. He could expect to receive his entitlement because he paid in to it. It is, in effect, his! That he chooses to reside outside of the country is irrelevant.
There would need to be a cut-off age, perhaps 45 or 50. In all likelihood it would scaled down with younger recipients, such as a 45-year-old receiving less than a 55-year-old.
The existing national debt would fall under the same lines. It would be divided on a equally proportionate basis. In other words, if the separation is confined to half the existing population, or 160 million people, then half of the current twenty-trillion in debt would be assumed.
Many of the departing states will hold huge mineral resources. Nevada and Alaska for instance, are largely owned by the federal government. These resources would subsequently become property of the new republic. A revenue sharing plan, similar to the existing Alaska model, would be implemented for citizens 65 and older.
There is also the question of "what about the federal pensions?" Would the same rule for Social Security apply?"
This thorny consideration best illustrates the reason why so many are ready to separate! For years many of the public sector workers have been afforded much greater benefits when compared to their private sector counterparts. In addition to superior health care programs, they were granted pensions, while the private sector employed 401ks. When the 2008 melt down came, 401k accounts were often lost. Promised pensions remained intact.
There would be disagreements regarding the "extent" of the new republic's responsibility. It's probable that obligations to former federal employees would be honored." This would definitely include military entitlements.
The traditional argument has been that poor states like Kentucky and West Virginia receive "two dollars for every dollar" sent to Washington. In the New Republic, both states would be allowed to take advantage of their vast mineral resources. Overnight, they would be transformed from "ward of the federal government," to "the new Saudi Arabias."
Consumer debt that crossed boundaries is an equally tricky topic. It would be "all but a certainty" that the new republic would defer the matter to the individual creditor and debtor.
Let us finish the map!
Indiana, followed by Ohio would join hands with coal rich Kentucky and West Virginia. The ten, southwestern counties of Pennsylvania are likely to petition to join West Virginia and the five departing Maryland counties.
According to Colin Woodard's map, these mineral rich, Pennsylvania counties are classified "Greater Appalachia," along with all of the Maryland and West Virginia counties. Allegheny County(Pittsburgh) might not relish the thought of a foreign country, literally on it's doorstep. Look for a petition that could keep all of Pennsylvania, west of the Susquehanna, together.
Central and Southern Illinois are comprised exclusively of Greater "Appalachia." Probably half of Ohio and three-fourths of Indiana are the same. These numbers are almost certainly sufficient to bring the "Midlands" into the departure.
In following Woodard's map, the Midlands makes a giant semi-circle, beginning in New Jersey. The semi-circle extends as far west as New Mexico and Colorado, then doubles back through the Dakotas, Manitoba and Ontario. The latter was originally settled by "Scotch-Irish," and later German immigrants who entered the continent through New Jersey.
Are we suggesting that Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin would continue their alignment with the Northeast? Probably! Woodard's map puts all three states in "Yankeedom," joining New York State, New England, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward island. We must keep in mind that these three, Great Lakes states were heavily settled by Scandinavians. History reflects that Denmark and Sweden have always gravitated more to a "nanny state" approach.
Smart money would suggest that New York City and Northern New Jersey, classified by Woodward as "New Netherlands" would join Yankeedom, as well as Eastern Pennsylvania, South Jersey, New Castle County, Delaware and what was left of Maryland. The disposition of Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia would be uncertain. Puerto Rico's addition brings the population of this robust, sea faring nation to 82 million.
Chicago's history would suggest that it would join it northern neighbor states. Yet, the vote to dissolve will take place in Springfield. Odds are good that it might opt to join it's neighbors to the east, south and west. Especially, if they were afforded their own individual state!
According to Woodard's map, the north side of Chicago is considered, "Yankeedom." So are the counties north of parallel 41. The same would hold true of the northeastern part of Ohio, historically known as the "Western Reserve."
With the entire lower Midwest intact, the new republic's population has swelled to 235 million souls. This is easily larger than any country in Europe!
Three small but impressive neighbors, beginning with Cascadia, population 13 million would join the "new" United States.
The three remaining Californias, West, North and Silicon valley total 23 million. It is possible that Hawaii might split, joining the new Pacific nation.
Quebec, Newfoundland, Labrador and Baffin Island would form a French speaking nation of nine million.
Thus, we now have five North American nations!
The largely "Yankeedom" Northeast could continue it's experiment with Socialism, stressing climate change awareness, nation building and secular globalism.
Cascadia could become the "Netherlands of the West." With it's mild climate, scenic beauty and highly skilled work force, a technology mecca is clearly on the horizon. Approximately the size of Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas combined, socially liberal Cascadia would attract intellectuals from all parts of the world.
The remaining Californias might ultimately be reminiscent of the popular Matt Damon movie, "Elysium." Google it! You'll quickly get the picture!
Without question, there would be many Americans who might want to settle outside of their present locale. The decision for admission would be left up to the individual nation.
There would be dissenters. Yankeedom" and the "Left Coast" have both cultural and ideological ties. Over the years, they have exerted control over "flyover America." Together their cumulative population would be 110 million; less than half of the part of the country they have largely controlled.
A good number of Cascadia residents are California "refugees." A union with the more populous California states would not be an attractive prospect!
While social security and pension questions might be difficult, the defense spending determination could prove relatively easy. The "flyover America" states have historically been more prone to support defense spending initiatives.
Selling these states on creating new and improved weaponry would be as easy as selling universal health care difficult! It could be anticipated that firearms manufacturers in the Northeast will be flocking south and west. Renewed interest in the space program is a given. Expect to see numerous public-private ventures emerge, the objective "to further explore and develop the Moon, Mars and beyond!"
The "new" United States of America would include 48 states and two territories. There would be a new focus on the 10th amendment. The constitution would be similar to our existing constitution. Absent however, would be both the 16th and 17th amendments. The 14th amendment's "birthright citizenship" would be defined, as well as the question of Congressional representation made up by "citizens" and not "persons."
Additions to the constitution would include a "sanctity of marriage amendment," and an "English language amendment." There would be a third new amendment mandating a single six-year Presidential term, twelve-year-terms for Congressmen and Senators and 18-year terms for Federal Judges, including Supreme Court Justices."
There would be an urgency to reduce the size, scope and cost of the federal government. This would translate to elimination of the Education, Energy and Commerce departments. Since there would be no Dodd-Franke, there would be no Consumer Finance Protection Bureau.
Obamacare would be left behind, replaced by a market based health care system that would encourage competition. The E.P.A. would be more reminiscent of 1975, when it mainly served as an information outlet.
The mere wealth of the "new" United States of America would be mind boggling! Finally freed from Yankee and Left Coast inspired regulations, the nation would forge ahead to unfathomed prosperity. A new confidence, based on attracting global "customers" would replace the notion that the "world is flat."
An experienced chief executive such as Rick Perry would be ideal for a nation deep in agricultural and mineral resources. Fifteen years as Texas' Governor will have prepared him well for the task at hand! The new republic would assume it's role as "the world's supermarket and filling station," encouraging local entrepreneurship.
Due primarily to it's emphasis on creating the world's most powerful military and navy, all overseas bases would fall into the new republic hands via osmosis. This would include all Hawaiian islands, except the big island.
The "new" America will represent freedom and prosperity for independent minded, God fearing Americans. There rests a measure of chance and risk taking in the souls of every one of it's residents. Obviously this America would not be for every American!
The Northeastern America would encompass 22 states and about 82 million citizens. These souls are more group minded and welcome a large, central government to bring ease to their lives. They carry strong principles with the emphasis on the collective. An affordable, government inspired health care system tops their wish list.
Each "America" would present different advantages and disadvantages. Over time, the like minded would find the other. In the end everyone would be happier!
There would be an additional bonus that would come with separation. Each America would have it's own media outlets, conforming to the "no foreign ownership" standard in place today. It would be business as usual for ABC, CBS and NBC. But, their universe would be confined to the Northeast. The other four Americas would have their own national broadcast media outlets.
In short, a "peaceful separation." However unlikely, it is important to remember that the alternative would be an "unpeaceful separation," or an attempt at one...