November 07, 2010

So Long, Texas!

As Inspector Clouseau told us in "A Shot in the Dark," science is hopeless without facts (or "fects," as Peter Sellers would have it). So is every field of organized thinking, including the pointless drivel of the amateur blogger. One must aspire.

Thus, in the wake of a continuing series of American disasters, including Tuesday's elections, one must consider the fects as we move forward if we are to be guided in our thinking in a serious and productive way. Among these fects, I take great solace in the recent announcement, apparently serious, that Texas may withdraw from Medicaid. Their reasoning, if such it can be called, is that Obamacare will require them to add many new people to the state-run medical rolls beginning in 2014, when health care reform really kicks in. For those of you unaware of how it works, aside from a few gimmicky palliatives about who can be dropped from coverage under private plans, this is what Obamacare is: A large expansion of eligibility for Medicaid at the state level, achieved by defining eligibility more broadly. That's all that Congress could come up with, but you're not surprised, are you? Did you expect something useful?

Texas doesn't want that. Texas prides itself on having no income tax, on its independence, and on its plain cussedness. I say: more power. If the eyes of Texas are upon us, ours should also be on Texas. Texas believes it can close its large budget deficit, and avoid a lot of trouble, if it tells Washington to stick Obamacare where the sun don't shine. I like this development, but not because I favor forcing poor people to go without medical care. That inhumane policy I leave entirely to the Lone Star State.

What I like is that this sort of thing is obviously the beginning of the break-up of the USA. Texas is a big and populous state: second in land mass (and wait till the ice melts! yee-haw!) and with 24 million people. Lots of influential politicians come from Texas, or act like they do (George W. Bush, e.g.). Governor Rick Perry is essentially a secessionist, and he's very popular in Texas, not only, obviously, for his high-school-senior-1973 hair. No one outside Texas is going to argue long and hard if Texas decides to leave. Hey, it's their call. They've been a country before, they can be one again. I, for one, would not bother applying for a visa to visit there. Been there, done that. I can't imagine that Washington, D.C. would mount an invasion to force them back into the Union. We did that between 1861-1865, and where did it really get us? They're still unhappy, still resentful. They still want out. You can't make somebody love you.

The beauty of Texas secession is that it sets a precedent, and a painless one. The departure of California, on the other hand, would cause a great deal of consternation elsewhere in the United States. We grow half the country's food. The Midwest "breadbasket" is essentially a corn field. California grows everything else. We'll still sell it to you, though. Just don't try to pay for it with "dollars." Pay for it with trade, with manufactured goods that we need, such as...such as...okay, we'll get back to you on things you make that we need. See, we have these ports, and they look toward the Far East...

Texas has that same disparity in money shipped to Washington versus money received from the Feds as does the Golden State. It's a losing proposition. California has about 33 million people, about half the size of France, yet we have a larger economy than the Frogs. (We're more productive because we don't have nearly as much fun.) Our population is in the same general range of Spain (which has 40 million). Texas is about the size of Romania, and Romania is a weird place, just like Texas.

In fact, in general the populations of the European nations suggest that the USA, at 330 million, is w-a-a-a-y too large to be efficient and governable. Germany is the largest country, at 82 million. We could have four countries the size of Germany, or eight the size of Spain. Or 65 the size of Denmark, where the quality of life is supposedly the highest on Earth. See what I mean?

This could really be the happiest outcome of what happened on Tuesday. We just put ourselves out of our neverending misery. We are NOT going to work things out or avert collapse. We all know that. So let's be smart, for once. 65 countries working at different solutions almost guarantee that someone will come up with a workable program. And so much more diverse and interesting. Who cares, really, if John Boehner is orange, or if Lindsey Graham is trying to convince the rednecks of South Carolina that he's not gay by bombing Iran? Or if David Vitter likes hookers and wearing diapers? Haven't we already done all that?

Creative disintegration: an idea whose time has come. If Texas leaves, California will soon follow, and who could argue with our rejoinder: you let those guys leave. What makes them so special? I mean to say.