March 1, 2014

WALTER RUSSELL MEAD: Partitioning California Not As Crazy As It Sounds:

These are legitimate concerns, but we don’t think they’re enough to condemn the idea to the trash heap. For one, autonomy from the Bay Area cash cow might not be quite the disaster for California’s poorer regions that the Economist assumes; it’s primarily in poor regions that vast amounts of shale energy remains untapped. The costs of separation from the Bay Area tax spigot might be offset by the benefits of separation from Bay Area voters who insist that a wealth of brown jobs (as in North Dakota) aren’t worth the environmental threats of fracking.

No doubt water, pension liabilities and Democrats (who would let this happen over their dead bodies) pose seemingly insurmountable obstacles to partition. But this is a reform movement we hope gains steam over time. The competing interests and priorities of California’s unmanageable, schismatic population are bad for democracy and bad for Californians.