Cogito Patris

Random Thoughts for Random People

State Secrets

It has been absolutely nuts the past few weeks.  Not only have I started working on a cool new project at work, I have also been working on a Morgan Family web site, projected release date is somewhere between December/2008 and December 2099.

Anyway, I have been thinking again.  Always a dangerous prospect.  Anyway, I was thinking about the United States.  Not the country, the actual states.  Why do we have states? 

The founding fathers had an idea about a weakened national government that was only really in place to settle arguments between states, and provide a unifying front for external nations.  Prior to Lincoln, that is exactly what the United States of America was.  Not “One Nation…”, but a loose conglomeration.

But for 7 score and 5 years, the United States has been a unified nation, with state governments simply providing a layer of government.

That brings me to my point.  The driving laws are essentially identical nation wide.  Yet we have 50 different state trooper organizations and 50 different DMVs.  The taxes are pretty close to each other in each state, yet there are 50 different state tax organizations.  Each of these has some overhead.  Combining states would eliminate some of this overhead…leading to a more effective use of our tax dollars.

However, I am not advocating eliminating all states.  States do have a purpose.  California and Virginia are good examples of what I mean.  California is a forward-looking state that is almost always the first to implement any wide-sweeping social reform.  In IT, we call this a beta release.  A trial run of new software to see if it works or not.  Virginia is more of a wait-and-see state.  They gauge the results from other states, and adapts the changes that they feel are improvements.  Having a mixture is probably a good idea.

So, here is my plan:

Staying the same:

  • Alaska – 663,661
  • Hawaii – 1,275,194
  • California – 36,132,147
  • Texas – 22,859,968

These constitute the largest states, and the states that are not a contiguous.

Now, we start combining some stuff:

  • Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa (Illiminnowiscowa – ILL) – 26,398,705
  • Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska (Wyodaknebidawashorigomon – WASH) – 15,974,272
  • Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah (Colariznevutnewmex – COL) – 17,417,245
  • Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas and Louisiana (Kanoklarkmisslou – KAN) – 19,395,663
  • Indiana, Ohio, Michigan (Indohmich – IND) – 27,856,875
  • New York, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut (Newmassrhoconvermhampyor – NEW) – 33,494,354
  • New Jersey, DC, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania (Jerdelmapenn – JER) – 28,141,974
  • Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina (Carolikenvergitenn – CAR) – 32,459,010
  • Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi (Georgalaflorimiss – GEO) – 34,341,336

The New US

By the constitution, the Senate takes 2 representatives from each state.  That would reduce the size of the senate from 100 to 26.  A much more manageable size.  The House has 435 members right now.  That is much more than was originally intended.  The house was supposed to be based on population.  The original total was for 65, divided by the original 13 colonies.  Although I didn’t plan on it, the Combined states happen to add to 13.  So, we can reduce the number of representatives to 65.  Hawaii and Alaska would each have one representatives.  The others would also be based on population, per the Constitution.

State Population # Reps # Senators
California 36,132,147 8 2
Georgalaflorimiss 34,341,336 7 2
Newmassrhoconvermhampyor 33,494,354 7 2
Carolikenvergitenn 32,459,010 7 2
Jerdelmapenn 28,141,974 6 2
Indohmich 27,856,875 6 2
26,398,705 6 2
Texas 22,859,968 5 2
Kanoklarkmisslou 19,395,663 4 2
Colariznevutnewmex 17,417,245 4 2
Wyodaknebidawashhorigomon 15,974,272 3 2
Hawaii 1,275,194 1 2
Alaska 663,661 1 2
Total 296,410,404 65 26

That would reduce the number of people in the government.  The founding fathers wanted deadlock in the house and senate.  They wanted that to make it difficult to pass legislation unless it was important.  But I think we have gone too far in that direction.  A little smaller would allow for some bold decisions to be made.  It would also have the unfortunate result of making Reps and Senators more important, but maybe that will get more people to the polls on non-presidential election days.

As usual with my wild theories, there are some major problems.  California has a lot of power in the current setup.  They would continue to be powerful in the new system, but not quite as powerful.  Getting California to agree to give up power to reduce government might be difficult.  And it would be difficult to make these changes without the approval of California.

Also there are states that are way outside the “norm”.  New Hampshire is proud to be odd, having no state taxes to speak of.  How would they do merging with the high-tax states like New York and Massachusetts?

I also like the idea of a recombining of Virginia and West Virginia, but I’m not sure if West Virginia would like it (nor, for that matter would Virginia like it).  But even when states are philosophically similar, there can still only be one state government and state capitol.  So, which one?

I doubt that this could ever happen in my lifetime, but it makes sense to me.


February 19, 2008 - Posted by | Thoughts on Politics, Wild Theory

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