The Departure: A Conservative Exodus to Costa Rica?

Dallas Morning News columnist Rod Dreher may have to fly to Costa Rica if he wants to see some of his friends.

In one of his recent blogs, Dreher told of multiple people discussing potential moves to Costa Rica if things go downhill. These aren't people who are eager to join Paulville. Rather, these are normal, middle-class conservatives who are considering moving to Costa Rica if the country goes downhill under President Obama.

One of the commenters on Dreher's blog asked if this was not unlike liberals throwing a fit in 2004 and threatening to leave if Bush won. Not exactly. The left's threat was always more of a threat to hold its breath if it didn't get its way. The concerns of Dreher's friends seem to have little to do with the election and far more to do with the results of Obama's policies. So all this talk of leaving doesn't remind me of Alec Baldwin's threat to deprive our nation of his presence. Instead, it reminds me of a white Zimbabwean I recently met at a writer's conference. She spoke with a longing for home, a love of a place thousands of miles away that she could only picture in her memories. Zimbabwe is not a place  where one is able to prosper and thrive. At this time, many people wonder if the same thing could happen in America.

How legitimate is the concern? Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH), Obama's second choice to head up the Commerce Department, pronounced a single word this Sunday which ought to give us all pause. Bankrupt.

The End of Opportunity

Gregg's view that Obama's budget will bankrupt America is backed up by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, which finds Obama's scenario far too rosy and projects the debt will rise $2.3 trillion more than Obama projects, leading to deficits between four and five percent of the GDP for each of the next 10 years. By the end of 2019, America's debt will be more than 82% of  the GDP, a rate that Senator Gregg describes as in line with banana republics.

What this scenario introduces is a house of horrors atmosphere that would make the Joker cringe. When this current deflation ends, the full cost of inflationary spending will come home to roost with the potential for hyperinflation with an ever-increasing debt. If, as Gregg has said, the U.S. begins to run out of willing lenders, it will lead to back-breaking taxes and extremely painful cuts in government spending. The combination of high taxes and hyperinflation would lead to high poverty, possibly social unrest, civil war, and heightened risk of a foreign terrorist attack.

If such a scenario develops, will people leave the country? Yes. America is a country made up of people whose ancestors came here in search of opportunity for themselves and their families. As the opportunity to succeed vanishes, it's inevitable that some people will leave in search of places where they can achieve success, rather than spending the majority of their working time paying off wasteful politicians' credit cards.

Fantasy Country

Will America have to worry about losing its best and its brightest to Costa Rica? The Heritage Foundation suggests some more obvious choices in its 2009 Economic Freedom Index. Five English speaking -- or at the very least English friendly -- countries rank ahead of the United States (Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, Ireland, and New Zealand). Right behind the U.S. is Canada, Denmark, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and Chile. Should the U.S. continue its slouch towards socialism, all of these would be likely places for some of America's best and brightest to land in the event of economic collapse.