Recently Governor Rick Perry rattled the cages in Washington when he suggested that Texas might at some point be so disgusted with Washington’s repeated violations of the United States Constitution that they might want to secede from the union. It stems from the one amendment to the Constitution that gets the least attention – the Tenth Amendment.
The Tenth Amendment enumerates the rights of the states and the people. Specifically it states that the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. Shortly after Virginia ratified the Constitution back in 1788, New York and Rhode Island made similar claims to their ratification document.
On June 26, 1788, Virginia’s elected delegates met to ratify the Constitution. In their ratification document, they said, “The People of Virginia declare and make known that the powers granted under the Constitution being derived from the People of the United States may be resumed by them whensoever the same shall be perverted to their injury or oppression and that every power not granted thereby remains with them and at their will.”
The original states made it clear that if the federal government exceeded the delegated rights, they had the right to implement their rights. If every state did not think it had the right to secede, there never would have been a union. Thomas Jefferson said, “Whensoever the General Government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force.”
On April 15, 2009, at a Tea Party in Texas, Governor Rick Perry said, “I believe that our federal government has become oppressive in its size, its intrusion into the lives of our citizens, and its interference with the affairs of the state. That is why I am here today to express my unwavering support for efforts all across our country to reaffirm the states’ rights affirmed by the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.”
It will be up to the legal scholars and practicing attorneys to determine if reaffirming the Tenth Amendment will lead to secession by Texas, which has a very long history of being independent – both before and since inclusion into the United States of America. If it were to happen, what would it mean to the United States, Texas and the citizens of both?
First of all, if there truly was a nation called Texas run under the principles of the original Constitution and a remainder of the United States moving in the direction it is currently headed, there would a massive immigration to the new state of Texas. Assuming Texas would accept the large immigration movement from other U.S. states, there would be a construction and real estate boom in Texas like the world has never seen before.
Despite melt-your-sidewalk hot summers in most of the state, people would want to move there in droves. The air condiitioning business would be another growth industry. For those who think there is just too much desert land in the state of Texas, one only has to look at what the nation of Israel has done with sand. Israel has done it without any natural resources; Texas has oil.
Within a very few years, Texas would become what the new burgeoning country of the American colonies were to England some 220 years ago. Once Texas and the United States worked out the conditions for secession, no doubt the contiguous state of Oklahoma and the nearby states of Kansas, Wyoming and Nebraska would join in.
Imagine once again living in a country that endorsed free enterprise. Responsibility would again rule supreme over entitlement. Freedom of speech would be reinstated – even on college campuses. No one would trifle with the Second Amendment. Immigration laws would be enforced; amnesty would be offered to former citizens of the old United States, but not to those who invade the country illegally.
Comparing the direction the United States is going with the re-infusion of constitutional values of the New Republic of Texas, it would not be many decades before the United States closely resembles the current stagnating European Union while Texas would resemble the United States that followed the Reagan Revolution where we experienced a quarter of century of economic progress (1982-2007).
In foreign affairs, we could initiate a new world body of Free and Democratic Countries United (FDCU). Countries that endorse freedom, democracy and free enterprise could join. Initial countries might include Ireland, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Switzerland, Poland, and Texas. If the old United States later returns to the principles of freedom and free enterprise, they might be considered eligible for admittance.
Assuming former states of the old United States joined the New Republic of Texas, they would probably be low-crime states with strong illegal immigration rules, so substantially fewer tax dollars would have to be allocated to crime prevention. One of the first goals of the new country would be to become energy independent within 10 years. The new country would work closely with the French in having them show Texas how to get 80% of their energy from nuclear power.
On the military front, Texas would create an alliance with Israel, promising to support them in exchange for their training the Texas military how to deal with terrorists. Much like what happened with Great Britain, once the dust settled, the old United States would undoubtedly be willing to protect its former subjects.
On the fiscal front, Texas would pass as their first piece of legislation that there never will be an Internal Revenue Service. The Texas Fair Tax would be implemented immediately. The Fair Tax is a comprehensive tax plan that replaces all federal income and payroll-based taxes with an integrated approach including a progressive national retail sales tax, a prebate to ensure no American pays federal taxes on spending for housing, food, schooling or medical care. Since the New Republic of Texas would be working from the original United States Constitution, the 16th Amendment would be immediately repealed.
There would be no Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Labor, Education, Agriculture, Health and Human Services, or Energy. Initial federal government spending would be mandated at no more than 50% the current rate of the old United States government. A balanced budget would be mandated. The president would have a line-item veto.
Current Social Security would be phased-out over a 30-year period. Those currently age 60 or over would not be impacted. The Retirement age would be gradually raised to age 70 for those between 50 and 59. Those on Social Security would no longer pay into the Social Security System – no matter how much they earned.
Social Security would be replaced by a mandated 401k Type system where the federal government would match contributions of workers up to 5% of their pay. Anything beyond that is optional. The Estate Tax exemption would immediately be raised to $10 million ($20 million for a married couple) – increased annually by the CPI. The tax on estates over the exemption amount would be a flat 25%.
There would be a federal system for those declared mentally ill or disabled where they would be guaranteed a social service minimum income. Those who are able-bodied will work in government-sponsored workfare programs. These jobs would be for the common welfare – cleaning up cities and roads, janitorial work in government facilities, assisting at the Departments of Motor Vehicles, etc.
Medical care would be handled on a four tier basis: Those currently covered under an employee-based PPO system, those currently covered under an employee-based HMO system, those currently covered under individually-insured health plans, and government clinics. Due to the elimination of the various departments of government, there would be plenty of facilities available for health care clinics. Doctors, nurses and technicians would be hired by the federal government to cover those who do not have one of the three insurance plans above.
K-12 education would be mandated. Truancy would be enforced. Government schools would be supplemented by charter schools and voucher programs, setting up a system of competition in the school system. Technology would dominate the educational system, and home schooling would skyrocket. Education would once again be about students instead of teachers and administrators.
No corporation nor union would be allowed to contribute to a politician or any political cause. No company nor labor union would be allowed to encourage political support for a cause or issue. No company nor labor union would be allowed to encourage its employees to demonstrate on behalf of a candidate or political cause.
It wouldn’t be long before the New Republic of Texas had a GDP per capita of 10-30% higher than the old United States. The only problem is that Texas may not have enough land to house all of the people desirous of moving to this new country.