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July 20, 2009

Where Will We Go When America Becomes Like Everywhere Else?


I immigrated to America because it was supposed to be special. And it is. Few nations have sincerely grown on the basis that God grants every human being freedom and basic rights, and that as a matter of convenience, the people will delegate only some of their powers to achieve legitimately communal functions such as building roads, enforcing contracts, resisting crime and fighting off foreign threats.


As true and obvious as such a principle should be, it is sadly rare and unique in the modern world. It is therefore no surprise that America’s distinctive non-interference with God-given rights has attracted many millions of immigrants from around the world, and that its capitalist system has allowed it to become the most prosperous and powerful country in the world.


Yet what is astounding is that, instead of continuing on the track that has made America flourish to an unprecedented extent, the people have been electing governments that rewrite contracts instead of enforcing them, that tax the people to a degree beyond the wildest imagination of the founding fathers, and that design enormous social experiments as instruments that can be used to infringe on individual rights and freedoms. In other words, through their politicians, Americans are trying to make America like every other country in the world.


Does it not strike them that America is a nation of immigrants precisely because just about every other country has been getting it wrong in just about every era? And if America becomes like those countries, where are we, immigrants and descendents of immigrants who escaped those other countries, supposed to go next?


The fact is that big government of every flavor is available just about everywhere else in the world for Americans who so embrace it. The socialists can collectively enjoy mediocrity in Europe, and the theocrats can have a blast in the Middle East. The communists can reap the fruits of their ideology in North Korea, and the monarchists still have reliable options around the globe.


But where would the rest of us, who actually wish to retain the freedoms given to us by God, and who are willing to work hard in exchange for rewards without government interference, end up if America went the way of the rest of the world? There is nowhere else.


Now America has had the blessing of being divided into relatively self-governing states, a rare luxury that has allowed Americans to vote with their feet by abandoning weary states with big, intrusive governments, and embracing the prosperous states most loyal to small government ideals. This movement has been an incredible source of checks and balances among the states.


Researchers have found that between 1998 and 2007, more than 1,100 people moved from the nine highest income-tax states (the bluest of states) mostly to the nine tax-haven states every single day. This movement is consistent with the fact that the recipient group of states created 89 percent more jobs and 32 percent faster personal income growth during that period. Indeed, those states that have the highest taxes now also face the biggest budget gaps due to the exodus of their tax base (see California, New York, etc.).


Assuming that ACORN does not “help out” too much with the 2010 census, Americans’ embrace of small-government states will be reflected by the reapportionment of congressional seats. At this point, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, and Utah are expected to gain one seat, Florida one or two seats, Arizona two seats, and Texas, with its pro-growth policies and rejection of nanny statism, four seats. That makes for five solidly red states and two swing states.


On the other hand, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania are each expected to lose one seat, and Ohio two. All of these were blue states in 2008, with the exception of Missouri (which went red by roughly 0.001 percent of the vote), and Louisiana, which has endured a serious loss of population due to Hurricane Katrina.


Those who move include people in all economic brackets – the “rich” take their money and their job creation with them, and those they employ follow.


But when the federal government attempts to erase all differences between the states through massive federal taxes and spending, Americans’ ability to choose among 50 laboratories becomes decreasingly feasible. What’s the point of moving between states if you will face the same exact taxes and policies in each?


And this is what the federal government is doing. It is eliminating our choices within the U.S. by giving us one giant central government that we cannot escape. We’ve already established that foreign countries are out of the question. So when America descends to their level, where will we go?


Texas Governor Rick Perry has already hinted at secession, and the libertarian movement, through the Free State Project, is already coalescing in New Hampshire to give our founders’ vision one last stand. One can only hope that it won’t get to that– but it’s not looking so bright.

© 2009 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.


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