Sunday, November 21, 2004

States' rights: not just for dixiecrats anymore

Jim Holt argues in today's NY Times Magazine that the Blues may not have to secede or move to Canada:

"When George W. Bush was re-elected, people in some of the bluer states were so angry and sad that they talked of moving to Canada or seceding from the Union. How else, they felt, could they escape the intensifying red-state control of Washington? But there is a less drastic survival strategy available to liberals in the coastal and Great Lakes states, one that involves neither emigration nor civil war. It is based on the venerable doctrine of states' rights. And the oddity is that President Bush himself is determined to give the blue states a rather generous gift to help it succeed.

[The] doctrine of states' rights has had a varied career. But why resurrect it today? The reason is simple. There are big differences among the states, as the last election showed -- differences in their understanding of tolerance, in their attitude toward the role of religion in public life, in the value they place on education, conservation and scientific research. The more sovereignty each state has, the better it can pursue policies that are appropriate to the needs and preferences of its people.

One of the most striking differences among states is in their levels of wealth. Liberals tend to live in more economically productive states than conservatives. The top five states in per capita personal income (Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland and New York) all went to Kerry; the bottom five (Utah, New Mexico, West Virginia, Arkansas and Mississippi) all went to Bush. Since the blue states are generally richer than the red states, they must bear a greater portion of the federal tax burden. Most of them pay more to Washington than they receive, whereas most of the red states receive more than they pay. Some liberals in blue states must wonder exactly what they get in return for subsidizing the heartlanders, who are said to resent them.

Here is where President Bush is their friend. According to a recent Brookings Institution analysis, as much as two-thirds of the benefits from the income tax cuts he pushed through in his first term go to taxpayers making more than $100,000 a year. These well-off Americans tend to be concentrated around New York City, Boston, Seattle, San Francisco and other liberal enclaves. By contrast, relatively few of the benefits from the Bush tax cuts go to the Southern and Prairie states, where low-income working families with children are more the norm. At present, the Bush tax cuts are scheduled to expire by 2010. If the president succeeds in making them permanent, as he has vowed to do, it will mean lasting relief for the blue states. The money they had been sending to the red states could then be spent locally, according to their own liberal values -- say, on public schools (where they already spend more per pupil than the red states) or stem-cell research.

The more conservatives succeed in reducing the size and scope of the federal government, the more fiscal freedom the blue states will have to pursue their own idea of a just society.

Let me get this right. If the cons succeed in "starving the beast," I don't have to subsidize archaic farm subsidies and all the other pocket-picking programs the red states have been foisting off on the blues? And I get to live in a state where a well-financed government implements policies and programs that are in tune with my own values? Works for me. Maybe I've been all wrong about those guys.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

dr. bloor, or is it boor? oh, I get it-you're a liberal boor.
a holes like you can spend all day sunday whacking off to articles like this. Even with this so called states' tax relief there is still nothing left over from the military industrial share to make the slightest dent on society's ills.

But then again, you probably send your kids to private school anyway.

5:19 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

see web stats