Active 7 months, 3 weeks ago

The Idea of Secession Isn't Going Away

Secession is a four-letter word for the millions of Americans who have gone through the conventional educational pipeline that teaches them that the American state is indivisible and sacrosanct.

However, intellectually honest historians whose minds haven’t been warped by educational institutions know better than to dismiss secessionism as some nefarious activity that only treasonous Southerners of the Confederacy are capable of engaging in.

For all intents and purposes, the founding generation was secessionist. When they signed on to the Declaration of Independence, those who fomented the American Revolution were committed to liberating themselves from the grasp of the British Empire. Quite arguably the most important act of secession in human history, the revolutionaries' successful efforts to secede from British rule had the whole world awestruck.

More importantly, it cemented the idea of political separation in the American political consciousness. Before becoming a state, Vermont went the extra mile after the thirteen colonies declared their independence, breaking free from New York and Great Britain and establishing itself as an independent republic in 1777. It would remain that way until 1791, when it ratified the US Constitution and joined the union.

Even during the ratification of the Constitution, many states feared the idea of a government that would become excessively centralized. So they had secessionist backup plans in case things got out of hand. In the Politically Incorrect Guide to American History, Tom Woods touched on how the New York, Rhode Island, and Virginia “explicitly reserved during the ratification of the Constitution the right to withdraw from the Union should it become oppressive.”

Secession Attempts in the Early Days of the American Republic

Americans’ secessionist streak did not go away so easily after they extricated themselves from the dominion of their British overlords.

Secessionist talks grew stronger during the presidency of Thomas Jefferson. The Federalist Party, based in New England, was dismayed with having Jefferson as president and even more concerned about the ascendant Democratic-Republican Party. They viewed Jeffersonian Democrats as a political force that could potentially displace them thanks to the electoral advantages the Democratic-Republicans enjoyed in the South and the newly incorporated Western states.

Federalist apprehensions became even more palpable during James Madison’s presidency, when the US locked horns with the British Empire in the War of 1812. Many Northerners wanted to maintain peaceful relations with their British cousins and were not keen on bellicosity. As a consequence, New England members of the Federalist Party gathered during the Hartford Convention in 1814 to discuss the New England states’ relationship with the federal government, which sparked nationwide fears of secessionism in New England.

Although it did not materialize into a coherent separatist movement, the Hartford Convention did lead to the downfall of the Federalist Party due to their perception as engaging in treasonous behavior in the eyes of the Americans who were eager to resist the British invasion. Nevertheless, the Hartford Convention sowed the seeds for future secessionist movements....[   ]

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Insanely, It Is Costing San Francisco $5,000/Month For Each Homeless Tent

In the six "Safe Sleeping Villages" set up by the city of San Francisco during the pandemic, the cost of maintaining a single tent-camping spot is $5,000 per month, or $61,000 per year — more than it would cost to put each of these people in a market-rate apartment.

The insane costs of running these sleeping "villages," which only have space for a total of 262 tents spread across the six sites, makes one immediately think of the criticisms that are leveled against the Homeless Industrial Complex, as conservative commentators are eager to call it. The revelation of the pricetag for the tent program — $16.1 million for the year — came at a budget committee meeting on Wednesday, as the Chronicle reports, via Abigail Stewart-Kahn, the interim director of the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing.

Apparently, supervisors have been operating under the assumption that this program, like the hotel program for the homeless, would get covered by FEMA reimbursement. It turns out, it will not, though Stewart-Kahn said it does qualify as a group shelter.

The tent program, which has attracted its share of critics since the start of the pandemic, was a quick and dirty response to the need to shutter indoor shelters across the city to prevent COVID outbreaks. But the numbers behind are bound to spark further debate about how the city addresses homelessness, and how inefficient programs like this one are with money.

The cost boils down to $190 per tent per night, which includes 24-hour security, bathrooms, maintenance, and three meals per day. This is cheaper than the per-day cost for the hotel program, but the hotel program is getting 100% federal reimbursement. (Thanks, Biden.)

Also, the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing has committed to rehousing everyone as the come out of the hotel rooms — an enormous task, given that there are upwards of 2,000 people currently in the program.

Meanwhile, the tent program is giving temporary shelter to 314 people in 247 tents.

"I understand the motivation to create sleeping space during this COVID-19 crisis,” says Supervisor Ahsha Safaí, speaking to the Chronicle. "But we really need to dive deep to see if this a sustainable model... without any federal reimbursement."

Clearly it's not a sustainable model, even if $16.1 million is a drop in the bucket of the city's current $300 million (and rising) budget for homeless services. [ ... ]

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Democrats slip sneaky little rider into stimulus bill to forbid states from cutting taxes

The Democrats' $1.9-trillion stimulus bill is a monster of public spending with the prime aim of rewarding political cronies.  Free-spending blue cities and states get bailouts, along with unions with mismanaged gold-plated pensions for their members.  The losers are the savers and taxpayers.  That's because it won't be long before Argentina-style inflation and Europe-style taxes kick in to pay for these benefits to leftists.

The only hope is to grow the economy so that the debt can be paid, which is something Americans often know how to do.

But unlike other bills, this one contains a poison pill, to ensure that red states and cities inclined to cut taxes are stopped dead in their tracks.

Reason magazine's Eric Boehm has located and identified this slimy, sneaky little rider:

Buried within the $1.9 trillion emergency spending bill that Congress sent to President Joe Biden's desk on Wednesday is a provision that could effectively block states from cutting taxes if they accept federal bailout dollars.

That provision, added to the bill by the Senate last week, could put a halt to several states' plans to cut taxes this year as a way to stimulate economic growth following the COVID-19 pandemic. Depending on how the text is interpreted, the measure could also make it illegal for states to create new tax credit programs like the ones that have become a popular mechanism for expanding school choice. Critics say this expansion of federal control over state policymaking is murky at best, and potentially unconstitutional.

Darn right, it's unconstitutional.  If a state can't cut taxes, what exactly can it do? 

It amounts to a Democrat bid to not just shovel other people's money, but that little thing that comes with money, which is control.  Conditionality.  Power.  In exchange for passing this monopartisan spending bill, their aim is not just to bail out blue cities and states at the expense of red ones, but to make red cities and states as overtaxed and badly run as blue ones.

And don't think this isn't an issue.  Democrat-run blue states are hemorrhaging people.  The COVID lockdowns have cut the benefits of living in big blue cities by shutting down all economic and social activity and forcing workers into their homes.  A lot are realizing they don't need to work in giant cities anymore, so the crime and high taxes they pay are starting to matter. 

According to this January 2020 editorial in the Wall Street Journal:

Four states have lost population since 2010 including West Virginia (-3.3%), Illinois (-1.2%), Vermont (-0.3%) and Connecticut (-0.2%), but 10 experienced declines last year. New York was the biggest loser as a net 180,000 people left for better climes. Over the last decade New York has lost more of its population to other states (7.2%) than any other save Alaska (8%), followed by Illinois (6.8%), Connecticut (5.6%) and New Jersey (5.5%).

Hmmm, what do these states have in common? Large tax burdens and politically powerful public unions. Illinois’s property tax rates are the second highest in the country after New Jersey. The state lost $5.6 billion in adjusted gross income last year to other states, about twice as much as in 2012. Notably, income outflow hasn’t increased from Michigan or Wisconsin.

And when businesses and people flee these blue states, Democrats actually cheer....[    ]

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