January 9, 2013

"Swimming in surpluses."

Morning Examiner: The Republican surpluses | WashingtonExaminer.com:

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the federal government posted a $293 billion deficit in the first fiscal quarter of 2013, setting the Obama administration up for a record fifth-year of trillion dollar deficits. But while the fiscal condition of the Democratically controlled federal government is still atrocious, Republican controlled states are now swimming in surpluses.

Thanks to a Republican governor committed to developing its natural resources, not punishing entrepreneurs who do, Texas legislators are facing an $8.8 billion surplus over the next two years. To the east, Republican governors Bill Haslam of Tennessee and Rick Scott of Florida have also turned recession deficits into budget surpluses. Moving north, Michigan’s Gov. Rick Snyder, Iowa’s Gov. Terry Brandstad, and Indiana’s out-going-Gov. Mitch Daniels, also can now all boast surpluses in the hundreds of millions of dollars. All of these governors managed to turn their state’s fiscal situation around through spending cuts, not tax hikes. Now their budgets are in the black and their economies are growing.

Things do not look as good in Democrat-controlled states. Illinois, who massively raised taxes on the rich, still has a $5.9 billion stack of unpaid bills. California, who also raised taxes on the rich, was supposed to post a small surplus this year. But tax collections are coming in at 10.8 percent below budget projections. As a result, the state is now projected to be $1.9 billion in the red by the end of this fiscal year....

No comment needed. Except that rich people are the one thing that poor people need most...

Posted by John Weidner at January 9, 2013 9:01 PM
Comments

This is the perfect time for the red states to secede from the blue. Which means it won't be done. A republic was never meant to govern such a big country. The fact that it's lasted 200 years shows how remarkable the American experiment is (and soon was).

Posted by: David at January 10, 2013 12:28 AM

If current trends continue we will eventually be running the planet. So it would behove us to tweak our model so it scales better.

The founders wisely chose Federalism, but actually they just assumed that most governance would happen more locally than that. We should be thinking Swiss Cantons and Communes...

Posted by: John Weidner at January 10, 2013 11:00 AM

David,

As John points out, we're not a unitary state (like Great Britain) and we were never intended to be one. It's only with the rise of Progressive ideology in this country since the turn of the century (1900) that we've had an elite try to turn our decentralized federal structure into Leviathan.

Turn the clock back to 1880, and stand back-- we'd take over the planet in a couple of generations.

Posted by: Hale Adams at January 10, 2013 4:36 PM

Hale Adams wrote-
we're not a unitary state (like Great Britain) and we were never intended to be one.
I keep telling people this -- that the federal government, by nature and by design, has no natural constituency -- and people keep telling me I'm crazy.

Posted by: Terry at January 10, 2013 11:33 PM

Terry,

Part of the problem is that, as former Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton put it years ago, "The states lost too much after 1865."

One symptom of this is that, prior to the Civil War, "United States" was a plural noun: "The United States are...." After the Civil War, "United States" became a singular noun: "The United States is...."

Another symptom is that, especially after the turn of the century, our grandparents and great-grandparents saw themselves as Americans first and Pennsylvanians or Floridians or Idahoans second. That's not necessarily a bad thing, especially in the face of European powers (such as Imperial Germany) that had ambitions to world domination. But that tendency to be Americans first played right into the hands of the Progressives and their ambitions to make us all interchangeable cogs in a Leviathan machine-like society. I suppose that was inevitable, given the economic forces at work, forces that favored the mass over the individual.

I think, and I hope, the pendulum is swinging back the other way. "Mass" this and "mass" that can only take one so far, as the Soviets found out to their chagrin, impoverishment, and ultimate destruction. Improved communications and decentralized methods of production are placing more and more economic power in the hands of the "little guy", and it is to be hoped that political power will follow economic power.

Of course, that would put our "progressive" would-be masters out of business (not to mention that it would make us wonder why we ever let them be our masters in the first place), so expect the coming changes to be fought tooth-and-nail by those whose positions and rice-bowls are threatened by those changes.

My two cents' worth, as usual.

Posted by: Hale Adams at January 11, 2013 8:04 PM

One of the "ah ha" moments of my youth, though it took a long while to really sink in, was a piece in American Heritage, I think, about the american flag. The author pointed out that if you went back to, say, the time of Lincoln, you would find that Americans loved our flag, but saw nothing wrong with it being treated light-heartedly, orused in tawdry advertising, as was common.

That was very different from the things I was taught as a Boy Scout, the complex rules for handling and displaying our flag with reverence.

Where did the "reverence" idea come from? From around the year 1900. Tied to Progressives, Teddy Roosevelt, the Great White Fleet, envy of Imperial powers... you know.

And the Boy Scout movement itself was part of that package.

Posted by: John Weidner at January 12, 2013 7:51 AM

If you haven't read it, this piece from National Affairs on the 1912 election,The Saviors of the Constitution is exactly the thing.

I meant to blog it, but seem to have failed to do so. Maybe soon.

Posted by: John Weidner at January 12, 2013 8:49 AM

Thanks for the thoughtful reply, Hale Adams.
I have an idea that the United States is much stronger than the DC-centric media gives us credit for. We have an immense amount of wealth in this country in the form of natural resources and an educated and economically creative population. The feds won't allow us to use it, in part because they don't need a growing economy to pay their bills the way the states do.
I think that many people on the left would be surprised to learn that the states created the federal government, and the states can constitutionally dissolve the federal government.

Posted by: Terry at January 12, 2013 2:10 PM

"Another symptom is that, especially after the turn of the century, our grandparents and great-grandparents saw themselves as Americans first and Pennsylvanians or Floridians or Idahoans second."

Not a symptom but the underlying fundamental reality itself.
The nation is defined as the object of love.
It is not a matter of laws but of psychology.

"If current trends continue we will eventually be running the planet"
If the current trends continue, India would have 100 billion people in a couple of centuries.

Posted by: Bisaal at January 20, 2013 9:43 PM
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