Let’s face it. We’re a deeply divided country. You can make a case, I guess, that it’s not the American people who disagree on just about everything; it’s the politicians. And there’s no question that the two parties “disagree profoundly on a vision of government,” as an editorial in the Wall Street Journal puts it.
But we’re the ones who send gladiators to Washington to fight our battles. They’re just doing what we supposedly want. And the so-called supercommittee’s failure to come to an agreement on deficit reduction is just the latest piece of evidence indicating how polarized we are.
Some of us want smaller government and lower taxes. Others don’t want the government to touch their entitlements and want the “rich” to pick up the tab. Some think we’re on an unsustainable path to economic collapse. Others think we can pretty much go on this way forever. Each side thinks the other side is intransigent. And we don’t like each other very much, either.
What to do? Well, let’s imagine that Congress gets together long enough to put a referendum before the American people. And the question we’d have to vote on is this: Would you be willing to split this nation in two: a Blue State America and a Red State America; a liberal America and a conservative America; each with the ability to write its own laws and its own rules? Each side could put in place all the pieces to fit its vision of what America should be.
We could divide the country in several ways. All the land east of the Mississippi River could be Blue America; all the land to the west could be Red America. Or we could divide the country north and south; the north could be Blue America and the south could be Red America. Think of it as the Civil War without the war.
People could move to whatever country they wanted to live in. We can work out the pesky details about selling and buying houses and finding jobs later.
Under this plan, Americans and their elected officials would no longer have profoundly different visions of what their country should be. In Blue America they could vote for all the entitlements they want and raise taxes to 40 percent, or 100 percent if that’s what they want. What they do is their business. In Red America they could cut taxes along with the size of government, deep six all sorts of red tape, and let the free market do its thing.
So here’s my question: After a few years (at most), which America do you think would be thriving — the one with big government and high taxes or the one with low taxes and small government? Which America would be a dynamic economic force producing a high standard of living for its citizens and which would look like Greece?
It’ll never happen you say. And, of course, you’re right. But we can accomplish the same goal in a more mundane way. How about we hold an election. We could do it in November 2012. About 40 percent of Americans say they’re conservatives and about 20 percent say they’re liberal. If they decide to vote that way for a change, we may finally stop the crazy train that, as of the moment, is speeding its way to Greece.