02 October 2009

A Modest Proposal

From the relatively safe confines of México, I continue to read about the alarming and frightening developments in the state of California. My heart goes out to my acquaintances there. It is one catastrophe after another, sometimes natural, sometimes man-made, sometimes both. In many instances you cannot really tell whether the latest catastrophe at hand is natural or man-made or what. I would like to stop reading about it and avert my eyes. But it is like a train wreck. I cannot take my eyes away.

I am not well-enough informed about California. Is that state truly governable as it is currently set up? It is broke and broken. Some say that it is a failed state already. I do not know. It sure looks like it could go the way of Somalia, however, if current trends continue. It reminds me of Yugoslavia, a country that was constituted of several different countries held together only by Marshall Tito. Sure enough, Yugoslavia ultimately blew up with a big bang after Marshall Tito was gone. I surely would hate to see something like that happen in California.

Perhaps a more peaceful way of reconstituting California into something more manageable would be for northern California to secede from the state. This could of course be accomplished democratically by a popular referendum, Proposition 798, say. I do not pretend to know where the line should be drawn. It could be called the Newsom/Villaraigosa Line after the mayors of San Francisco and Los Angeles respectively. A friend of mine suggested that it could be called the Marijuana/Cocaine Line, which I thought was a joke at first. Then I stated thinking seriously about all this.

North California, would be the new fifty-first state.

So that still leaves us with a California. If anyone has a suggestion as to what to do about that California, I would surely love to hear it. My own idea is set out here. I suppose the obvious first step would be to change its name to South California in the interests of consistency given the fact that there is a North and South Dakota and a North and South Carolina. Have I forgotten any other norths and souths?

I do not know whether México would take South California back. It is interesting to speculate as to what the outcome in South California would be on the referendum question of whether or not to ask México. Proposition 799, say. There is a big Hispanic vote there. Of course the rest of the United States would have to agree if the outcome were “Resolved: Yes! Let's ask México if it would agree to take South California back.” But that might not be a big problem in the minds of the ordinary citizenry in the rest of the United States up there.

Even if South California were to become a part of México again, the movies and trendy bric-a-brac would still be available from there. The only slight downside would be that one would need a passport to get to Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm, and Santa Anita racetrack from the states—those states up there. Not a huge problem. The mileage would still be the same.

What does this have to do with the natural catastrophes in southern California that I mentioned above? The fires. The mudslides? The earthquakes and all? Psychologically, Mexicans handle those things better than Americans. Down here you kinda take all that in stride. If a mess results, you just clean it up tomorrow. Americans in South California would find this laid back approach so much better from the emotional wear and tear standpoint.

Of course nobody, not even the Mexicans, enjoy casualties. But here you just hold a high mass, party down on the Day of the Dead every year, and wash the grief out of your system with a little tequila.

However, you say, that is a very big economy simply to hand over to México. It is a very big economy, but look at the collateral benefits in doing that. It would provide jobs in México that would keep Mexicans from illegally crossing that border up there looking for them. The jobs created by the necessary initial cleanup of South California alone, when it first gets here, would number in the thousands. Keeping Mexicans in México seems to be a paramount issue for many Americans. In fact many are in such a dither that I am sure they have come to the point where they would accept the fact that you have to give something to get something.

The wisdom in giving up the economy of South California in return for keeping Mexicans in México seems self-evident to me. Savings resulting from solving the “immigration crisis” with all the money spent on it would almost be worth it alone. Additionally, in one fell swoop worried Americans would be rid of all the illegal Mexicans who live in South California at no additional cost, which can only make them happy, too. Those Mexicans would magically become legal again--in México--but still be available for the scut work that other citizens do not want to do. Most of the illegal Mexicans in the rest of the Unites States would gladly and voluntarily go back to México where they are not treated like scum if there were jobs there. Hell, the economics of all this can be worked out. There are so many brilliant economists in the United States who can perform miracles. They will sort it out.

And what with the North American Free Trade Agreement, what difference does it make where we put South California as long as it stays in North America?

I have selfish reasons for trying to think this through so carefully. I love San Diego and would therefore love to have it down here in México with me. I wanted to reveal that bias. Nevertheless, I do not see how anyone can argue with my logic either. I need to call Lou Dobbs about this. Is he still ranting about the “immigration crisis,” or has he moved on to something else?

By the way, North California would then drop back to being the fiftieth state, but I like that round number better. I say that the name be left as North California.

Tear this fence down, Mr. Obama!

Here is the frosting on the cake. You would be sending the big market for cocaine into México. Is not that beautiful? Cocaine would no longer need to be shipped across the border into the United States. The rest of Latin America would simply sell its cocaine to the new citizens of the Estado de California del Sur in México. No more expensive “War on Drugs” up there in the U.S. Talk about savings!

The “War on Drugs” would no longer be necessary as long as the remaining United States legalizes marijuana, a benign substance that everybody seems to love up there, even the folks in Kentucky. Think about the potential tax revenue for federal, state, and local governments in the United States that could be generated from that! You would certainly get no argument from the general citizenry of North California. Only the growers would argue, but a little subsidy of some sort for them to make up for the drop in prices should solve that problem.

Now México may not chose to legalize cocaine, but it might if the United States were no longer looking over its shoulder. I have no idea how that would pan out, but I would surely think that the Mexican government would wish to be able to tax a legalized market of that size in the new Estado de California del Sur. The cartels would go legal, clean up, and the leaders would become prominent citizens in this country. Just like Joseph Kennedy, Sr., and the other bootleggers after the repeal of prohibition.

But regardless of how that is handled, the fact that there would be a lot of cocaine being bought and blown in the Estado de California del Sur would not bother anybody in México a bit. Mexicans are different than Americans. They really do not care what you do on your own time.

The rub is this. México could not afford to add a whole bunch of new citizens who demand very significant government services but balk at funding those services with tax revenue. But again, there are brilliant economists in the United States who would gladly help México sort this part out. They certainly have not been shy in the past about offering suggestions to Latin American countries about how to handle their economies.

The compromise that might solve this problem is an agreement in advance between México and South California that cocaine will be legalized in México and that taxes in the new Estado de California del Sur will always remain low with one exception. Sales taxes on and revenue stamps for that legalized cocaine will be a bit steep, but the cocaine will not be cut. The Mexican Department of Agriculture will see to that. Pure white snow. Of course, the citizens of South California would also have to agree in advance to give up that popular referendum shit. You cannot allow citizens who are popped all the time to have something like that available to them at the drop of a hat. But still, it would be a win/win/win situation for everyone involved.

What am I overlooking?


mister anchovy said...

Steve for President!

John said...

You haven't explained what would happen with Ah-nold. I guess he would have to learn Spanish. Hmmm...Spanish with an Austrian accent, now that is an interesting thought.
You will like this one better: Central City 76, Olin 13. A veritable juggernaut, your home town!

Ruth said...

So then where would Socal get water? And Nocal get money?

Señor Steve said...

Heaven forbid, mr. anchovy!

Hahahahahaha. Keep those scores rolling in, John. You still look at those in the newspaper every morning as ever and always, I presume.

Oh, that's how it works, Ruth?

I was hoping you would take this with good humor, and obviously, you did.