About Those Secession Petitions
There’s been a bit of buzz of late about the fact that people in several states have filed petitions to secede from the Union. There shouldn’t be.
WaPo (“Secession petitions filed on White House Web site“):
From states across the country, Americans have filed petitions on the White House Web site seeking to secede from the union and form new state governments.
While most of the petitions come from states that supported Mitt Romney in last week’s election, a few swing states and even the deep blue Northeast are represented.
Petitions have been filed for Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.
Most of the petitions have a few thousand signatures; many signers appear to be from other states. Under the “We the People” program, launched last year, the White House willrespond to any petition that receives 25,000 or more signatures within 30 days. Anyone over the age of 13 can create a petition. Previous popular petitions demanded the White House beer recipe (success) and marijuana legalization (no success).
The petitions from Louisiana and Texas, however, are approaching the threshold for a response. They were the first two states represented, followed by Alabama. Petitioners only have to put a first name and last initial on the site.
Dana Milbank (“The Confederacy of Takers“) finds it all amusing:
If Obama were serious about being a good steward of the nation’s finances, he’d let them.
It would be excellent financial news for those of us left behind if Obama were to grant a number of the rebel states their wish “to withdraw from the United States and create [their] own NEW government” (the petitions emphasize “new” by capitalizing it).
Red states receive, on average, far more from the federal government in expenditures than they pay in taxes. The balance is the opposite in blue states. The secession petitions, therefore, give the opportunity to create what would be, in a fiscal sense, a far more perfect union.
Among those states with large numbers of petitioners asking out: Louisiana (more than 28,000 signatures at midday Tuesday), which gets about $1.45 in federal largess for every $1 it pays in taxes; Alabama (more than 20,000 signatures), which takes $1.71 for every $1 it puts in; South Carolina (26,000), which takes $1.38 for its dollar; and Missouri (22,000), which takes $1.29 for its dollar.
But this is all rather silly.We don’t take online polls seriously, recognizing that they’re not representative. Why are we pretending that these “petitions” are meaningful? t’s quite probable that a large number of these “signatures” are some combination of a lark and the same yahoos signing multiple times.
Even if the quoted numbers were actually genuine residents of the states in question, though, the numbers are absurdly small. Louisiana has 4.6 million residents; 28,000 signatures represents 0.6 percent of them. Alabama has 4.8 million residents; 20,000 is 0.4 percent of that.