Sunday, September 30, 2012

Forget The Breakup Of The EU, How About The Breakup Of Spain?

When I listened to Mark Steyn's After America, I thought the breakup of the US was one of his crazier predictions. An example claim is that, given our current trajectories, why would Texas want to hang around to help absorb the fiscal collapse of Illinois and California? "Right, Mark," I thought. "That's really going to happen."

Now comes this.
The Catalan regional assembly approved a resolution on Thursday afternoon to hold a referendum on self-determination, as its general policy debate wound down to a close...

The resolution, which comes after the announcement that regional elections will be brought forward to November 25, reads: “The Catalan parliament affirms the necessity of the Catalan people to decide freely and democratically their collective future and calls on the [regional] government to hold a consultation first and foremost within the next legislature.”
Catalonia is one of Spain's wealthiest regions and it includes Barcelona. They have their own culture and their own language. They've always had an independent streak and right now, they aren't all that enthused about sticking around to watch the place fall to pieces.

Source.
It's a new wrinkle in the whole EU debt crisis. Will regions of indebted countries exit the Eurozone as separate entities while the parent nations try to cling to membership?

35 comments:

Doo Doo Econ said...

Spain had better start posting "you are here" signs with reference to Mecca.

larmijo Armijo said...

If the regions have the money and can defend themselves, yes! Texas could do it and most of us Texans would probably be OK with it, since we have oil and refineries, natural gas, the Texas National Guard and Texas Rangers, and really don't need Washington's money. You need to be able to protect yourself from the rest of the country you seceded from, because they will declare war with you to get your resources.

EDLD5352Andries said...

Texas is the only state in the union with the RIGHT to secede built into our constitution. AND, we'd be about the 8th largest economy in the world.

Anonymous said...

Texas does not have a right to secede. I don't know what has to be done to drive a wooden stake in the heart of this falsehood. If that were the case they wouldn't have been occupied by federal troops after the Civil War.

Lorne Russell said...

I wonder what would happen if a clear majority of Texas residents voted to secede and form their own country. How could anyone stop them? Invade?

Tony Allwright said...

Lorne Russell wonders "what would happen if a clear majority of Texas residents voted to secede and form their own country. How could anyone stop them? Invade?"

One word for Lorne: "BIAFRA"

Biafra was the only oil province of Nigeria when it tried to secede in 1967 as a means not to share its wealth with the rest of the country. Sound familiar?

But the Federal Government could not countenance this effective confiscation of what it saw as Federal wealth, so it invaded. A ghastly three-year famine-ravaged civil war ensued which killed a million people. Biafra lost and today is still part of the Federal Nigeria.

Why would you assume that 27m Texans could somehow resist 286m non-Texans who disagreed with secession and the associated confiscation of wealth?

Be very careful what you wish for, Lorne.

Mojo said...

I'd be all about Texas seceding as long as I could go with them, but a) that's not going to happen, and b) Tony has pretty much spelled out exactly what would happen if it did.

Jedi Master Ivyan said...

Okay, Texas has 27 million people. But how many guns? Texans are probably some of the best armed in the nation, I would think.

Mark Matis said...

For Tony Allwright, I would note that if FedGov decided to do as you state, they would find that NO Federal officer - or soldier for that matter, if the military was brought into the conflict on the side of the Federal Government - was safe ANYWHERE in the United States. Or do you doubt that there are a large number of Mere Citizens throughout the country who would side with Texas in such a situation, who are well armed, and who understand that you do NOT let the enemy set the terms of battle? Once the maggots attack, you make sure they realize the error of their ways...

Anonymous said...

If things got bad enough there could be some peaceful state successions but this is not 1860. The people in New York and California don’t want to send troops to countries that sponsor terrorist flying airplanes into American buildings. They just yawned when an American Ambassador was murdered in a terrorist attack. They sure as hell have no stomach for seeing their kids shot in Texas just because the people there want a peaceful and democratic divorce.

Unlike 1860 a modern succession movement would be absent a huge moral cause to rally people to fight for it, (the immorality of slavery). In fact, it would be the opposite this time because the states breaking away would have the moral high ground. They would be on the side of restoring freedom and fighting the latest incarnation of slavery (immoral modern socialism). US policy has actually been supportive of people seeking more freedom. In 2008 the US supported the breakaway state of Kosovo from Serbia and more recently the “freedom” movements of the Arab Spring. Freedom movements are celebrated these days in Washington D.C. so surely they wouldn’t be hypocritical and act differently to a domestic freedom movement. Right?

Lorne Russell said...

Tony Allwright said "Be very careful what you wish for,Lorne"

I didn't wish for anything Tony. I just asked a question.

As a Canadian I am familiar with succession, the Province of Quebec having voted on just that in 1980 and 1995. In 1995 Federalists won by only 50.6% of the vote.

Mark Matis said...

To add to my post and follow on to that of Anonymous at 4:24 AM, they might also want to worry about the Rules of Engagement used by those attempting to retake Texas. "Waco Rules" will result in the same across the REST of the US as well. It would NOT be just "their kids shot in Texas" but their entire families as targets WHEREVER and WHENEVER...

tim eisele said...

Before Texans get too wrapped up in wailing about how put-upon they are by the Federal government, they might want to look at this page.

Summary: Any two Midwestern states pay as much federal taxes as Texas, and for most of them their net taxes are considerably higher than for Texas because less money flows back to them from the federal government. New York pays about 50% more in gross taxes, and almost three times as much in net taxes. California is more or less on par with Texas as far as net taxes.

Texas is no more put-upon than anybody else. And starting a civil war over it would be a spectacularly bad idea all around. I see millions of deaths, lots and lots of economic downside, and pretty much zero advantage for anybody.

Mark Matis said...

Then get your Chimp in control, tim eisele, or get ready to face the consequences. This is NOT just about "taxes".

Anonymous said...

Mark Matis, I was thinking that the organ grinder should keep his monkey on a short chain.

Frank Hilliard said...

For more on Texas and the second American civil war, here's a post for you.

tim eisele said...

Mark Matis:

"This is NOT just about "taxes"."

Hm. So tell me, what is it about? And maybe you could explain what you mean by "my chimp"? Please be specific.

K T Cat said...

Insulting Tim is not OK.

Anonymous said...

I think the red line for Texas and other "red" states will be when California demands federal tax dollars to pay its huge and growing debts.

K T Cat said...

Tim, I think the whole "who gets the Federal tax money" thing is really murky and I wouldn't rely on anyone's data. For example, the cost of regulations are impossible to quantify and I would argue that free market states like Texas are paying way more than they would if they weren't complying with Federal mandates they wouldn't impose on themselves.

Maybe that's what was meant by more than just taxes.

Here on this blog, the fascism angle is something I'm more convinced of every day. One of the features of fascism is ever greater Federal control of everything. I don't know about Texas, but I would bet that Oklahoma would do away with huge swaths of the Federal Register.

tim eisele said...

OK, it's possible that's what he meant (although that "chimp" crack makes me suspect he, personally, has other issues). I still don't buy that as being a case of punishing Texas more than anyone else, though. We all still have the same problems with the regulations, regardless of where we might hypothetically go if they were somehow removed.

And I am almost 100% sure that, even with a completely peaceful secession, Texas would quickly find themselves short of water with relatively expensive oil on the wrong side of a trade barrier, and end up with an economy more along the lines of Mexico than what they have now.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Eisele,

The Krugman thesis - that red states pay less and get more for their tax dollar - is based largely on comparing apples and oranges.

NY and CA pay more in taxes because their costs of living and doing business are higher. Your vote against progressive taxation is duly noted, though.

Red states - including but hardly limited to Texas - "get a lot of money back" in the form of federal lands and military bases. An Air Force base may mean billions of dollars of tax money "coming into" a state, but it's not registered in the form of lazy rednecks cashing EBT cards at the trailer park.

It's more complicated than that, of course - and by that, I mean for both of our cases.

Raised.by.wolves said...

States do indeed have the right to secede. The Constitution says how to get in, but not how to get out, meaning that right is reserved to the states under the 10th Amendment. The Civil War did not change that, and in fact reinforced it. All of the southern states had to be readmitted to the Union, proving that they had, indeed, as a legal matter left the Union by way of secession. All the Civil War proved is that the federal government, should it wish to do so, could force states back into line, or at least try. That, actually, was probably the illegal act.

buwaya said...

If Texas were to really go it would most likely take quite a number of other other states with it, including most of those that border it. That takes care of any water problems that can be solved in that way.

Texas oil and gas is no more expensive to produce than any other US production, and would likely be much cheaper without the US regulatory overhead. This would be a strong argument for the secession of Louisiana as well, just to start.

As for comparisons of tax burdens and collections, etc., note that within the US income is reported within the state of residence even if the economic activity that produces that income occurs elsewhere. So the head offices for most major corporations are in places like New York, and the people who make the capital gains and collect the dividends tend to live in places like California and New York.

If we were dealing with foreign income accounting the distribution of taxable income would be very different. The secessionists would be taxing portions of the income now being reported in California, New York and Delaware for example.

As for actual civil war, it seems to me that the social makeup of the personnel of the US Armed forces and the reserves and the various National Guards, would make them a very unreliable instrument for the Federal government. This is compounded by basing and other factors as well. I foresee a voluntary breakup of the Armed Forces heavily favoring the secessionists, with even the remainder being sympathetic to secession and unwilling to prevent it.

Anonymous said...

". I foresee a voluntary breakup of the Armed Forces heavily favoring the secessionists, with even the remainder being sympathetic to secession and unwilling to prevent it."

Remember - a Texan is eight times as likely per capita to serve in the military as a New Yorker (according to Robert Kaplan), and that New Yorker is probably a blue-collar kid from Staten Island who has no urge to die for George Soros, Hollywood and the Hamptons' future.

If things get so bad parts start breaking off this country, at least part of the problem will be that morale has gotten so bad people are *not* willing to fight for what the US has become.

K T Cat said...

Buwaya and the last anon make a good point. It looks like red states are the source of most of our military personnel. A civil war would not work out well for the blue states.

amltrojan said...

If Catalan sets up as an independent nation, the most important implication requiring investigation is this: What happens to FC Barcelona, which dominates Spain's La Liga? Does FC Barcelona all of the sudden dominate a "La Lliga" of Catalan minnows? Does it mean there will be no more "clasicos" with Real Madrid unless they face each other in the Champions League? I am dying for answers here!!!

Anonymous said...

Anyone that thinks that a seccesionist action by Texas would result in the use of Federal force is off their rocker. There would be much wailing and moaning, but there would be no use of force in an attempt to bring that state back into the union.

Think about it for a moment... do you think that lefties have a single leader with the moral fortitude to try and force the continuance of the Union?

The only reason the civil war became a war was because of Lincoln's resolve. Had an Al Gore been president in 1865, the Confederacy would have walked away...maybe there'd be hard feelings, but that would be it.

Anonymous said...

Are you kidding? We apologize to killers in the Midwest... :-) ignore Iran marching to become a nuclear power... No one will have the stomach to invade Texas... Which I believe has nukes in its territory as well.

buwaya said...

Other factors to compare to the previous acts of secession, strategically speaking -

- The current regular and reserve military is enormous compared to that of 1860. Back then the vast majority of both the troops and their officers were civilians. These days the opinions of serving and reserve soldiers are now very significant

- In 1860 the industrial base for supplying war was overwhelmingly in the North, and was owned and operated by people sympathetic to the Union. This is largely flipped these days. The industrial resources for war - and for all basic civilian goods like food, metals and fuel - are not only concentrated in potential secessionist states, but even in "blue" states are not just owned but staffed by people who would be unsympathetic to an anti-secessionist federal government. This even extends to logistic channels like roads and railways, power systems, fuel supplies and distribution, etc. It seems unlikely that a Federal government fighting a secession would be able to supply war, and would probably be uncompetitive in the "sinews of war".

K T Cat said...

FC Barcelona! Ha! They'd be a spent force. Their players would recognize the end had come and the best would all relocate to Newcastle, bringing about a new era of total domination for the Magpies.

Well, I can dream, can't I?

:-)

PacRim Jim said...

Secession by Texas might be their only recourse. The heartland of America would join them, leaving the bicoastal parasites to beggar each other.

Anonymous said...

" tim eisele said...
Before Texans get too wrapped up in wailing about how put-upon they are by the Federal government, they might want to look at this page."

I think that the idea of federalism escapes you. The Feds take the money, but give it back with a whole bunch of strings attached on how the money money must be spent (and often include strings on how other state money must be spent), and the states are supposed to be grateful because the net amount coming into the state is the same as going out? Are state governments merely meant to be a vessel of implementation of federal diktat?

David T. said...

At long last, independence for the Kingdom of Aragon! That union with Castille... just a bad move.

Anonymous said...

If worst comes to worst, and the
2nd Republic of Texas leads the
other solvent states out of the
Union, rest assured that it will
also lead the effort to rebuild
the Reunited States, after the
current Federal and failed State
governments have been consumed by their client citizens, and the riots, plagues, and famines have
run their course.