We now have one million people who have signed petitions for their state to secede from the Union.  We fought a war over secession 150 years ago; my side won.  The South has never really forgotten.

A half century ago, LBJ got the Civil Rights Act through the Congress.  I can still remember my mother telling me that there was “cloture” (end of debate), while I wondered what cloture meant.  It changed the US, and the South has been Republican since. That has cost us dearly: 6 years of Nixon (28,000 American deaths in Vietnam under his “secret plan to end the war, Watergate), 8 under Reagan (terror attack in Lebanon, Lockerbie, Iran-Contra, first known President with Alzheimer’s), and George W. Bush (9/11, 2 unpaid for wars, polarized country, Guantanamo, Patriot Act….)

When Nixon-Agnew were running the country, until each of them had to resign separately, there were a lot of bumper stickers that said, “America, Love it or Leave.”  I can’t remember when I last saw one of those.

Without doubt, had McCain-Palin won in 2008, my wife and I would have emigrated to Canada. We wouldn’t have talked about secession, because it is treasonous.  We had a choice, and Canada would have been viable.  It is a very different place from America, but I like Canada, have traveled it extensively, having spent 2 years of my life there.

I’m not sure why people are so upset, except that we have a black president that was elected to change things, and he has tried to do that.  Change is admittedly difficult.  Health care reform was incredibly polarizing, although many who complained about it were getting government benefits through Medicare or were military retirees.

Fact is, we have over 300 million people in this country, and at least 50 million don’t have insurance. The other day, my wife had some blood work drawn, and the man in front of her needed 16 tests.  Cost:  $2000.  Insurance?  None.  As the ESPN commentators say, “Come on, Man!”  How often is this scene repeated daily?  How often do people come into the ED and don’t have money, yet rack up five figure costs?  This remains the biggest cause of bankruptcy in the US.  Nice that you have yours, but what about the others?  Should they just die, untreated?  Is this America?  Is this how we solve medical costs in this country?  Let people die?  Come on, Man!

Back to the secessionists.  Eleven states have reached the 25,000 signature level for a White House response.  Eight of the 11 have had major hurricane damage in the past decade, the rest get major tornado damage every year.  Some get both.  We saw what Hurricane Sandy did to New Jersey, not a poor state.  Chris Christie, the Republican governor, who two weeks earlier had lambasted the President, praised him.  Governor Christie knew that New Jersey could not rebuild without the federal government’s help.  So to the secessionists:  If a Cat 5 hits Houston, another Katrina floods New Orleans, or an EF5 takes out Nashville or Montgomery, exactly what are you going to do, pass the hat?  Come on, Man!  Do you have any concept of how much a billion dollars’ damage is?   Let’s assume $20 billion, and divide it by say 5 million people in the state.  That is $4000 for every person in the state.  So, if you have a family with three kids, you owe $25,000.  If you aren’t employed, that is too bad.  You owe $25,000.  But the single mother with no income and 3 kids, because the man left her owes $20,000, and she isn’t going to pay.  What are you going to do?  Come on, Man!

Median health care costs are about $15,000 per year per family.  You will no longer have insurance.  Of course, if you have a bad accident, get the wrong virus, rupture an important vessel, your costs have just skyrocketed.  If you are younger, they may not; if you are over 65, they are likely to be more.  Your new state-country will need first responders, have to educate people, protect against crime, and maintain infrastructure.  Do you think that will be free?

Let’s look at how taxes were divvied up from 1990-2009.

                  Federal aid minus taxes paid

The 11 states                                            + $400 billion

New York, NJ, Illinois (alone)         – $2,400 billion

Number of blue states in top 10 for receiving less                9 

Number of blue states in bottom 10 for receiving more       4

In other words, the states with the most secessionists are getting MORE from the federal government than they are paying.  Two of them are Florida and Ohio, which are barely Democratic.  All the others were members of the once Confederacy.

I’ve known that for decades.  Growing up in New York State, which alone is $1 trillion in the hole to the feds in the past two decades, I heard often how the national parks and forests were paid for in large part by people on the east coast, many of whom would never see these places.  Then again, we believed in the Union and a strong country.

When my side lost elections, I whined, too, and I said that the country was wrong.  But I never said we should secede.  I would have simply moved to Canada.  I would have taken the advice to “Leave,” but I would have only affected myself.  The secessionists want to affect the others in their state who might not want to leave.  These people have rights, too.  Many of them get Medicare, SSI, and FEMA help, the last under Mr. Obama  again worth something.  The secessionists would hurt more people, poor people, who would no longer get the benefits that the federal government provides.

If you want to leave, then go.  You have that right.  But don’t insist others have to go with you.  Grow up, too; try to make the country you currently live in better.  It’s easier than making a brand new country. Quebec learned that.  Oh, Quebec is in Eastern Canada.


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