The Daily Caller points out this Sean Hannity statement on secession:
On his Friday radio show, conservative talker and Fox News host Sean Hannity warned that the United States may fall apart if tax rates remain high.
“The states are now fighting and battling against their own federal government,” Hannity said. ”Same thing with individuals. If you live in a state like New York, New Jersey, California [or] one of these high-tax states [where] 60-plus cents of every dollar goes to taxes, you’ll say, ‘What the hell am I doing this for?’”
“A lot of people have told me that,” Hannity continued. “A lot of people are moving. … I noticed that Bobby Jindal moved to remove his state income tax. He’s not stupid. You know what’s going to happen in Louisiana? The same thing that is happening in Texas and Florida — their populations are soaring. They’re doing a lot better. State governments are fine. They’re surviving. They don’t have the property taxes they do in New York, which is obscene. In New York, you just pay and pay and pay and pay.”
States with lower taxes may soon decide they want to stop shouldering the burden of states with higher taxes, Hannity warned.
I don’t dispute that secession is appropriate – I’m actually for it. While I would prefer that we actually govern ourselves under a true federalist national model as the Founders intended, I’m beginning to believe that is going to be impossible. I agree with Mark Levin:
You know folks, I’ll be honest with you. I just told a friend of mine — even though I sit behind this microphone and I try to be civil and so forth — I can barely contain my fury about what’s going on in this country. I’m just being honest with you. I can barely contain it. I’m so frustrated by this tyranny, you have no idea. Now we can analyze it, we can intellectualize it, we can parse it and so forth and try to unravel it. But I’m just telling you, from an emotional point of view, it is just so damned infuriating to see the greatest country on the face of the earth run by a bunch of lilliputians, who are constantly attacking it from within.
I think think the catalyst, the spark that sets the whole shebang aflame and finally pushes this over the edge will be what comes of three things that I was thinking about when reading about Hannity’s statements:
- States with lower tax rates are going to draw greater populations and more revenue generating businesses,
- They are going to object to paying for the spending in the spendthrift states,
- Population and business shifts will deplete the tax base of states with entrenched governments, unfunded pension liabilities and powerful public sector unions, thereby exacerbating the problems in states like Illinois, New York and California.
I predict that the straw that finally breaks the camel’s back will be a lawsuit, one filed by a high tax state like California against states that have low or no state income or property tax rates because they are unfairly “pricing” their states, the effect of which is to rob the high tax states of the taxpayers necessary to support their respective state governments. If the burden is increased in one state by out-migration to another, that will be called “unfair” and I think these states will turn to the courts for a remedy.
There is a possibility that a governor or a state attorney general might try the invoke the Commerce Clause but I think it is more likely they would try to use the Fourteenth Amendment which states, in part:
No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Maybe, but if the courts agree that when one state with lower taxes draws a taxpayer away, it is equal to depriving the people of a bankrupt state of the “privileges” in that state associated with being a “citizen of the United States” and that based on the equal protection clause, all states must have “equivalent” tax rates to prevent taxpayers shopping low tax states.
This argument has already been used effectively in the federal takeover of education when it comes to programs offered and levels of funding. The Feds simply institute things like Title IX and you either comply or your funding goes away and you get sued. I think we will see an attempt before the end of Obama’s next to last term (if Jose Serrano gets his way) to apply the same technique to taxes. The debasement of the Tenth Amendment has already done damage, potentially irreparable damage, to state sovereignty – so I would not be surprised to see such a gambit attempted.
I see that Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal wants to raise taxes on the poor as a way of funding big tax cuts on the rich. He doesn’t put it that way explicitly, of course (“It’s time to…foster an environment where businesses want to invest and create good-paying jobs”), but it’s hardly buried in the fine print, either. Basically, he wants to increase the sales tax (which hits the poor and middle class heavily) in order to eliminate income and corporate taxes (which are paid largely by the well-off).
The battle lines are about to be drawn in a little more stark relief.
Mark my words, we are headed for a crisis of constitutional proportions and it will be started by a lawsuit.