http://www.vtcommons.org/blog/2009/01/2 ... t-untie-us
Vermont Commons is an excellent publication devoted to re-localization, peak oil implications for New England, and Vermont secession...in approximately that order. Most of the Vermont secession essays are hype and rhetoric, like any other "cause," but I was struck by this recent piece from Gaelan Brown, "What Would It Cost Vermont to "Untie" From the US?"
Most people don't realize that the idea of "peaceable secession" would mean that we negotiate with the Federal government to buy back our share of the national debt on a per-capita basis.
This is the same way that a corporate subsidiary of a larger enterprise could be bought-out by a private individual or group. It would mean an open negotiation toward a "win-win" scenario.
Right now the US per-capita debt, according to the "US National Debt Clock" at http://www.brillig.com/debt_clock/ , is $34,800 per person.
That means our state's portion of the National debt is roughly 623,900*$34,800= $21,212,600,000 (that's over $21 BILLION dollars).
Vermont's Gross State Product, according to StateMaster.com, is $22,114,000,000.
That means Vermont would need to borrow nearly the equivalent of our entire annual productive output to remove our share of the National debt obligation. Sounds like a lot, right? But if you put this on personal terms, in context of buying a long-term asset like a home, it's not so bad. If your household income is $85,000 per year and you buy a $200,000 house with 10% down-payment, you are borrowing an amount that is TWICE the sum of your annual household revenue.
I think Gaelan missed a couple boats here, especially since his next sentence is "So the most important question is: who would the Second Vermont Republic borrow that money from?" If your solution for escaping from debt slavery is taking on more debt, well...personally, I just see a problem there.
Second, and most interesting, is how radically optimistic his numbers are. Even the Comptroller General of the Us says "US Government Debt is an implicit mortgage of $175,000 for each American and more than $400,000 for each American household." (Source link) If Vermont is going to go the bribery route, we're digging a much bigger hole that Gaelan seems to realize.
Third and left completely unstated in Gaelan's article, is the inverse question: how much does is cost every state in the union for every single day they perpetuate the Federal Government? In terms of social costs, lost revenue, environmental damage, and massive debt?
Meanwhile, over in California, the state's counties are threatening a tax revolt. I'm glad to see those two words next to each other in US headlines, how about you?
California counties are considering forms of tax revolt after the state imposed a 30-day payment delay that could potentially become much longer under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s proposal to preserve cash.
The Riverside County Board of Supervisors has authorized staff to file a lawsuit, while elected officials in Colusa County decided to impose a 30-day delay on sending any taxes and fees it collects to the state after the state controller announced a delay in refunds to taxpayers, money for college tuition-assistance programs and payments to state vendors starting Feb. 1.
Schwarzenegger has proposed delaying the payments by as long as seven months, which Jim Wiltshire, deputy director of the California State Association of Counties, said could result in $3.5 billion in deferment to the state’s 58 counties.
“I just think we need to look at all our options,” said Don Knabe, a supervisor of Los Angeles County, which is also considering payment delays. “When they say deferred payments, they don’t say you can defer the services.”
The rift between state and county government comes amid growing frustration over the inability of Schwarzenegger and state lawmakers to reach a midyear budget agreement. The state is facing a budget deficit of $42 billion by June 2010, and the governor is battling state lawmakers who oppose possible tax hikes and labor leaders who have sued over imposed state worker furloughs in efforts to save money.
Most counties say their cash reserves can help them weather a 30-day delay, but many are concerned that an extended, monthslong holdup could force some county governments to shut down.