Thanks to Jed Wheeler
Depending on exchange rates, California has the fifth or sixth biggest economy on the planet, just ahead of France. With the advent of Brexit, we could soon be ahead of the UK. We are the single biggest contributor of revenue to the US federal government, yet what we get back in return is always much less than what we put in.
In 2012, California paid $292,563,574,000 to the federal government. What we got back in federal spending was $59 Billion less than what we put in.
That $59 Billion shortfall is 2/3 what our state budget was ($91.5 Billion) for 2012. That’s 2/3 of our state budget going directly to subsidize other states that receive up to $2 for every dollar they put in. This forces us to borrow against our future and incur debt to fill the gaps; the same gaps that those other states are filling with our taxes.
The US military budget in 2012 was $681 Billion, and again, California was the largest contributor with $57 Billion. If California were an independent nation, we could easily use that amount to pay for a military that would rival France or the UK.
But, as CaForIndependence notes, Californians are peaceful and not given to foreign policy quagmires or military adventurism. If we took an approach similar to Switzerland and spent 0.7% of our GDP on the military, we would have $13.7 Billion to defend ourselves and not threaten others. We would save $43.3 Billion. And when you add that to the $59 Billion we would save from not subsidizing other states, our problems with underfunded schools, infrastructure, and other debt problems would rapidly disappear.
This all boils down to the classic taxation vs representation problem that helped formed the USA in the first place. If Californians found their values strongly expressed in US national policy, then it wouldn’t be so infuriating that we go into debt paying so much to subsidize others. At least there would be a trade-off. But we have almost no voice. The values expressed in American policy are the exact opposite of ours. They are those of the plutocrats pulling the strings of a hopelessly corrupted legislature. We can no longer act as the silent piggy bank for oligarchs whose values are the antithesis of ours. We need to forge our own path now.