Strategy. Innovation. Brand.

Relegate the State – A Modest Proposal – 2

Back on track.

Back on track.

Yesterday, I introduced the idea of relegating failed states out of the United States. So, how would the system work?

First, we’d have to develop a definition of what “success” really means. Such a definition might include a number of metrics such as educational attainment, employment, crime rates, justice system, health care, life expectancy and, perhaps, a citizen satisfaction index. It might also include some fairness metrics, aiming to understand how minorities fare within the state. It should also include a freedom index that measures how much citizens can do as they please.

There are probably many other metrics to include in the mix. Ultimately, we roll them all into a complex formula and calculate a number. Frankly, it’s not all that different from calculating a quarterback efficiency rating: a lot of stuff goes in, one number comes out.

We then rank the states and allow them to work on improvements. At the end of a decade, we relegate the bottom five – the least successful states. They are granted their independence and are no longer states within the United States.

The relegated states are, in a sense, liberated as well. They no longer need to worry about regulations emanating from Washington. They’re free to behave as they choose. Of course, they no longer receive subsidies from Washington, either.

The system allows for promotion as well as relegation. At the end of each decade, states that had been relegated could choose to apply for re-admission. We would need to develop rules and procedures to determine if they would be re-admitted and how they would be re-integrated. Fortunately, we have at least 20 years to work on the problem.

Ideally, the system would allow non-traditional states to apply for “promotion” as well. With Alaska and Hawaii, we’ve shown that states do not need to be contiguous. Let’s imagine that Wales wants to become a state within the United States. The city of Aberystwyth, Wales is actually much closer to Washington, D.C. than Honolulu is – so distance shouldn’t be a problem. If they can pass the success metrics, I’d be happy to have Wales join our union.

Like any other system, the devil is in the details. Working out the definition of success will take time. (On the other hand, identifying moocher states is quite easy). Plus, we would have to work out all the mechanisms of entry and exit. We could learn a lot from the experience of the European Union.

Despite the obstacles, I think this is a system that would appeal to many Americans precisely because it promotes American virtues, including:

Competition – states will actually have to compete with each other rather than lolling around on government welfare.

Responsibility and accountability – if you don’t do the work, you don’t get the benefits.

Incentives – states, for the first time, have the incentive to improve themselves.

Lower taxes — if giver states no longer have to support moocher states, we can significantly lower taxes.

Freedom – states are free to choose whether they stay or go. To leave the union, all they have to do is continue to fail.

It’s an all-American scheme that will reduce taxes while promoting the well being of our citizens. Let’s get started.

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