I noted these four points at the Downsize DC Foundation.
- In February, 2010, the Democratic-controlled Congress raised the debt ceiling to a level expected to be reached in the spring or summer of 2011 (This became the infamous Aug 2 deadline)
- When they lost the November elections, largely due to the anti-spending Tea Party, it was clear they would lose the power to raise the debt ceiling again
- They had the entire lame-duck session to raise the debt ceiling until 2013 or longer, or abolish it altogether
- They did not
I then explained that Republican behavior this year revealed an almost equal level of stupidity or cynicism, and wondered why we would want either group to make laws and spend our money.
It's getting to the point that I could be persuaded that the people would be better off without a federal government. I simply don't trust 99% of the members of Congress. If it's not their ethics I don't trust, than it's their ideology or their knowledge of economics.
Indeed, with the possible exception of a powerful navy, it is hard to think of what the federal government provides that the states or the people can't provide on their own -- including, for instance, their own currencies. And, why do we even need a powerful navy? Who's going to invade?
On the other hand, what would happen if the states become independent?
States that go "protectionist" and shut down trade and immigration with other states will fall into poverty, and their crime rates would skyrocket due to smuggling. Indeed, people and businesses in those states would migrate to states with fewer taxes, fewer regulations, and free trade. Even states with few natural resources can, like Hong Kong, become economically wealthy and industrially powerful.
Also, extradition agreements could function between states the same as they do now. Sports leagues could have teams in different independent states, just as they do now in different independent countries.
And most states couldn't afford to be anything but neutral on the world stage. They wouldn't have the money for offensive "humanitarian" and "pro-democracy" military operations. This means they would have fewer enemies and be safer from terrorism.
I also believe we'd have a much more civil society if the 50 states became independent. There are two reasons for this.
The first is that the federal government is obstructionist. Part of the reason - and it could be the main reason - that California's marijuana legalization proposition was narrowly defeated was fears about how the federal government would "retaliate" against such impudence, and some other states have had trouble passing medical marijuana legalization laws for the same reason. Indeed, the federal government has criminalized many activities that should be punished by the states, or aren't real crimes at all. If the Union was broken up, there'd be no federal War on Drugs, and hence no federal aid to states to fight it. And the end of the War on Drugs would be the end of, as John McWhorter put it, black "malaise."
The second reason why a breakup will lead to greater civility is that things won't bother us as much as they do now. Let's say that a city in Mexico or in Canada has a really stupid, offensive law. We may hear about it and disagree with it, but it doesn't really bother us that much. But when it happens in the United States, it indirectly becomes everybody's business.
That's because the federal government often sends "aid" to these state and local governments. They don't deserve it. Plus, the feds shell out Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other welfare payments to the people who voted for such laws, or voted for the idiotic or thuggish politicians who supported such laws. Why are such voters "entitled" to federal funds when they impose tyrannical laws on themselves? If I'm visiting a Canadian, I probably wouldn't even debate with him or her any Canadian laws I might find stupid. It's none of my business. When it happens in the United States, however, we have a Culture War on our hands.
The Culture War gets even bigger when federal money is spent directly on social welfare programs, whether administered by itself or by private agencies. The subsidies actually increase the costs of social services, and creates disputes over the morality of some services -- such as dispensing birth control devices. No federal government, no Culture War.
Breaking up the United States will mean I wouldn't care about the laws in another state any more than I care about the laws in other countries.
A breakup won't have to mean Americans must give up their concept of America as "our country." It would just mean a country without a formal, centralized government. There are plenty of small independent states in the world, and many do quite well. I see no reason not to add to 50 more to their number.