Why A National Divorce Would Ruin The Red States
A brief imagining of the Red States left to their own devices.
Marjorie Taylor Greene has recently suggested America split into two countries, an idea endorsed and encouraged by plenty of conservatives including Sean Hannity.
What a perfectly thoughtless idea to cleave the country into a Red States of America (RSA) and Blue States of America (BSA).
Right off the bat, Red States would plunge into fiscal chaos after haphazardly abandoning government programs and social spending following the last century of disproportionately benefiting from federal tax redistribution courtesy of higher-taxing Blue States.
RSA citizens, skewed toward exurban and rural living, are much more likely to depend on welfare as well as federal subsidies for energy, farming, transportation, healthcare, and much more expensive postal services. Without federal spending, rural hospitals will have to close, farmers will lose the insurance and market stabilization that keeps them out of bankruptcy and limits their global competition, and private shipping companies will dramatically raise prices without USPS competition. The Social Darwinist approach to public policy the RSA will finally be able to legislate into law without federal mandates or safety nets will thrust Red States into a deep depression that Republican proposals to end the minimum wage, bring back child labor, kill unions, and privatize every former federal service will exacerbate.
One of the few federal responsibilities conservatives approve of, border security, would also become a huge mess. The Red States would have to hand over huge sums of money to Texas to provide their own border security with Mexico, and, presumably, finally build the wall. How will that jive with the new RSA’s low-tax ideology, or its extremist approach to states’ rights to veto any and all collectivist actions?
The easiest and likeliest border policies for the RSA to adopt would be to suspend global rules on refugee rights, institute rules promoting cruelty, brutality and amorality for deterrence; and demagogue their Southern neighbors for political gain with their inevitable “Red States First” ideology. Maybe the RSA would even conduct military strikes in Mexico like Donald Trump and other Republicans have endorsed.
The stickiest mess of a national divorce would of course be the allocation of military assets and stockpiles, which was ultimately the catalyst of the Civil War when the South decided to steal Federal military property at Fort Sumter. A second civil war might go similarly to the first, with the Northern-based urban liberals eventually winning a war of attrition thanks to greater capacity for manufacturing, transportation, bureaucratic organization, reason, and international sympathies. For the sake of this article, though, let’s assume the breakup is amicable and warless.
The divorce would be an economic mess that liberal cities would recover from much faster. The vast majority of any state’s economic strength and wealth comes from its urban centers, which electorally and intellectually are blue islands even in the Reddest states with big seas of sparse, low-populated land. If whole Red states secede with their cities locked inside, a mass exodus would follow of millions of city-dwelling liberals moving to the closest Blue States to escape the burgeoning Christo-fascist dystopia of Marjorie Taylor Greene’s dreams and the legislative agendas of governors such as Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott.
Red States might finally understand that the cities they love to hate actually serve as their primary economic engines once the inevitable brain drain quickly turns the downtowns of their regional hubs into ghost towns. Following that would be big regional disruptions in manufacturing and processing of the rural lands’ resources and products, as well as a cataclysmic crash in the Red States’ housing markets. Corporations in these dying urban centers will want to relocate to stay profitable, and discover that the Blue State grass is greener.
Some industries will thrive thanks to immediate RSA initiatives to cut taxes, ban unionization, and slash regulations willy-nilly, but the sudden decline in wages, employer benefits, workplace safety, and labor rights will drastically increase economic inequality and decrease standards of living throughout the Red States. This will slowly push many politically apathetic citizens in the RSA toward emigrating to the BSA.
Meanwhile, the Blue States of America will experience dramatically less societal disruption on account of migration to their cities still humming along. Food shortages from abandoned Blue State farms will be easier to deal with than entire regional economic hubs in Red States going dark, particularly because of how much economic growth will be stimulated from cities’ epic influx of liberals from the Red States. The BSA will also be much more willing to temporarily raises taxes to solve the disruptions, and will accept greater federal power to more methodically ensure an easier transition to its new post-breakup reality.
Coupled with conservatives’ perennially abrasive national ethos on foreign policy that blames its societal problems on “globalists,” free trade, and international cooperation, the RSA economic relationships with dynamic democratic nations, will wither as they pursue agreements and alliances with ideologically sympathetic autocratic states. Like Trump ripping up every trade deal Obama worked on, the RSA will not eagerly seek entrance to internationalist associations still dominated by the Blue States and its Western European allies, such as the United Nations, NATO, NAFTA, AUKUS, Five Eyes, etc.
Expect the RSA to instead pursue novel alliances with Hungary, Brazil, and even Russian (contemporary Republicans’ enduring guilty pleasure dictatorship) along with other far-right wannabe dictators interested in backsliding from democracy they can bond with ideologically. Do not expect the RSA’s “Red States First” agenda to be successful with tariffs, trade wars, exploitation, and boycotts of all the countries the RSA will deem “Woke.”
With disinterest in complex, multilateral trade deals will come plummeting capacity for value-added economic power. Rather than expensively preserving their dying metropolitan centers, the RSA’s slashed regulations will create a boom in raw resources and fossil fuels in once federally protected lands and seas. This will be the easy economic route, and the RSA will soon become a fossil fuel behemoth with cheap labor suffering in a race to the bottom in wages as it reverses the current federally-subsidized transition into green energy. It will be easy but stupid given that much of the rest of the world is quickly adopting the green revolution, and extremely profitable in the short-term for energy corporations who will no doubt “capture” the RSA government with the unfettered free speech corporate money RSA legislators and justices will allow.
The combination of low taxes and ended welfare would immediately plunge Red States’ lower class citizens into poverty. Debts both personal and medical would increase along with bankruptcies, homelessness, and child poverty. Gutting Social Security and Medicare would force millions of the elderly back to work. College students would lose all their federal grants and loans, and attendance would plummet. Education in general will collapse, as conservatives today want to defund public schools, abolish the Department of Education, and enact political vengeance against universities, imagine what they’ll do if their government turns extremely conservative.
Steep inequalities between the RSA and BSA in health, education, and general economic mobility would result, with Shit Life Syndrome plaguing the RSA like a pandemic as drug use, suicides, and crime skyrocket. All of the above effects would further pummel economic capacity, degrade communities, and increase emigration. Red States would essentially be forcing themselves to figure out the hard way why the current US federal government’s safety nets were created in the first place. And, like any totalitarian-leaning government, I’d bet $10 that the Red States would eventually feel compelled to build a northern wall or fence to keep their citizens from escaping to the happier, richer, more liberal, and more democratic BSA.
On an environmental level, the Red States could finally follow through on their long desired plans to gut the EPA and slash environmental regulations as recklessly as they want. Expect Red States to suffer many more train derailments, oil spills, environmental dead zones, the return of acid rain and flammable rivers, an influx of pollution-related cancers and diseases, worse quality food, and poisoned water supplies as states and cities stop mandating the water is drinkable.
Red States would similarly cut regulations on workplace safety, abolish OSHA, and protect corporations from lawsuits. Over time, the RSA would experience disproportionate deaths on the job, and maimed and disabled workers would be thrust into bankruptcy and homelessness.
With their cherished small government ethos, Red States would find little relief from natural disasters. Without federal relief or government-subsidized insurance programs for hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, the Gulf Coast will be unable to build back after hurricanes, and the states in Tornado Alley would be similarly abandoned. The Red States will blame the Blue States if they’re not sufficiently charitable after disasters, and likely endure chronic energy problems if they adopt the Texas approach to independent and privatized energy grids.
Public bridges, railways, highways, airports and other public infrastructure would quickly be privatized, and RSA citizens would be preyed on with steeper, more ubiquitous tolls and fees throughout their daily lives. Any continuing budget problems following the sell-off of federal agencies and services due to unintended consequences of their reckless tax cuts will be solved with regressive taxes. Perhaps a 30% sales tax to make up for abolishing income taxes, as has been proposed recently by the GOP? It will be great for the rich, but further hold back the RSA’s per capita wealth and base level standard of living.
Denying the clear advantages evident in the BSA government and political ideology, the Red States would start blaming all their societal problems on the Blue States (they already do this), and start itching for military conflict as the only means to distract their citizens from how horribly the secession will turn out.
Despite writing most of this article as if it was possible to have an amicable divorce, it would not be.
Thanks for your eyeballs!
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Well said. Those calling for a national divorce seem to have forgotten what the federal teat provides for them. From mail to energy grids. Now, they are saying they'd like their own states, but keep sending the money they are accustomed to. That doesn't seem fair XD