Feeling Safe in Your State?

The web site wallethub.com claims to offer information and advice on financial matters such as how to choose the best credit card for your purposes, calculators for mortgages, student loans, free credit reports and other consumer financial products. They recently published a report ranking the states according to their overall safety. The grading was based on five factors: 1) Personal & Residential Safety, 2) Financial Safety, 3) Road Safety, 4) Workplace Safety, and 5) Emergency Preparedness. States are ranked not just on inherent dangers, but also how effective the states are in dealing with them.

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A Modern Modest Proposal

Brexit – the United Kingdom’s referendum vote to leave the European Union – has inspired crackpot ideas for a “Calexit” – California going it alone, or various combinations of Blue States leaving the Union. Some Texans believe that state has the right to secede, and should. Some states tried that in 1861. If you took U.S. History in high school, you may remember how that turned out. And there is the State of Jefferson, convinced it will become the 51st state.

Writer Kevin Baker has decided it is time for the Blue States to secede. Not formally, but by letting the conservatives realize their dreams and let their Red-State constituents enjoy all that freedom from taxation and government oppression.

“For more than 80 years now, we—the residents of what some people like to call Blue America, but which I prefer to think of as the United States of We Pay Our Own Damn Way—have shelled out far more in federal tax monies than we took in. We have funded massive infrastructure projects in your rural counties, subsidized your schools and your power plants and your nursing homes, sent you entire industries, and simultaneously absorbed the most destitute, unskilled, and oppressed portions of your populations, white and black alike.

“All of which, it turns out, only left you more bitter, white, and alt-right than ever.

“So here’s my modest proposal: “You go your way, we go ours.

“We give up. You win. From now on, we’ll treat the animating ideal on which the United States was founded—out of many, one—as dead and buried. Federalism, true federalism, which you have vilified for the past century, is officially over, at least in spirit. You want to organize the nation around your cherished principle of states’ rights—the idea that pretty much everything except the U.S. military and paper currency and the national anthem should be decided at the local level? Fine. We won’t formally secede, in the Civil War sense of the word. We’ll still be a part of the United States, at least on paper. But we’ll turn our back on the federal government in every way we can, just like you’ve been urging everyone to do for years, and devote our hard-earned resources to building up our own cities and states. We’ll turn Blue America into a world-class incubator for progressive programs and policies, a laboratory for a guaranteed income and a high-speed public rail system and free public universities. We’ll focus on getting our own house in order, while yours falls into disrepair and ruin.”

Read his entire rant, published in the New Republic.

Taxation Without Representation

medicareWe have entered the “post-truth” era. Our country is partitioned into reds and blues. The Tea Party constituency is mostly identified with red states. In case you’ve forgotten, the Tea Party took its name as an acronym for “Taxed Enough already.” But it’s the blue states that bear the greater burden of taxation.

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