New England independence

How do you feel about New England Independence?

  • Strongly in favor.

    Votes: 7 19.4%
  • Strongly against.

    Votes: 13 36.1%
  • Undecided.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Only as a last resort.

    Votes: 8 22.2%
  • Slightly in favor.

    Votes: 7 19.4%
  • Slightly against.

    Votes: 1 2.8%

  • Total voters
    36

stick n move

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With an effectively gridlocked and useless federal govt how do you feel about the prospect of an independent republic of new england, preferably with a parliamentary system of govt?

On top of the govt being effectively neutered is also the very real risk of a jan 6th part 2 in the future and whatever comes with that. If the federal govt is successfully overthrown the next time and whoever is at the head at the time is declared king (not a far fetched idea at all at this point) I could see a scenario where regions of the country break apart.

I think that it would be smart to at least start kicking the tires on what the next step would be if one or more of the worst case scenarios happens in the future.
 
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Brattle Loop

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With an effectively gridlocked and useless federal govt how do you feel about the prospect of an independent republic of new england, preferably with a parliamentary system of govt?
Leaving the "effectively gridlocked and useless federal government" element aside (it's somewhat inapt right after several sizeable federal actions, though it's absolutely applicable a lot of the time when the branches are held by different parties).

The idea itself isn't without its attractions...but with an enormous start-up problem. Britain's having problems as it is extracting themselves from a few decades' worth of European law and an economic union it was never quite as much a part of as the rest of the EU. (I.e. they at least didn't have to even ask what their post-separation currency situation would be, 'cause they never joined the Euro to begin with) With New England, we're talking a collection of states that have no meaningful experience of having been anything but an integrated part of a (much) larger economy in, what, centuries? Probably the best example of just how thorny that gets is Connecticut. In this hypothetical Republic of New England, if Connecticut is a part of it, suddenly all those jobs in New York City are in a different country. So either you get Brexit-or-worse-style impediments to commerce, or you need agreements on travel and open markets (and that goes for the rest of the remaining US in whatever form, albeit with less immediate geographic relevance). Then besides the considerable difficulties of managing the separation, you'd need, well, all the stuff that countries like to have, such as a military (maybe the amalgamated state national guards are enough), and, some kind of republic-level bureaucracy for, say, healthcare and welfare and infrastructure and education. So, uh, the practical reality of bringing a new republic like this into existence is, shall we say, daunting. (Something that the SNP in Scotland understands and doesn't like to talk about all that much.)

If we move into alternate history mode and ignore the real-world reasons why such a thing is extremely difficult and therefore unlikely to occur, and just consider the idea as if it sprang fully formed, there'd be some advantages. New England as a region is (not unlike other parts of the east, particularly the pre-revolution parts) divided into relatively small states, which can pose some problems. (See, for instance, New Hampshire's perpetual mooching off Boston's economic coattails and freeloading off MA and ME's Downeaster payments) Nearly half NE's population is in Massachusetts, about 70% is in only two states (MA and CT), the practical impact of which at present is that the smaller four are over-represented in Congress. (The disparity's quite small in the House, but two-thirds of the NE senators represent ~30% of the population.) A NE government would present opportunities to rectify some of these issues (though with an annoyingly-high chance of a 1787-style federalist/anti-federalist big/small argument).

It's an amusing thought exercise, but unlikely to occur absent utter calamity for a million reasons. If the motivating concern is gridlock and dysfunction, it's tempting to think that substituting a NE parliament for the US Congress would fix the problem, but that's not necessarily likely. A parliamentary system's advantages in implementing policies and avoiding gridlock only work when there's a sufficient majority for any given policy. There is a relative lack of veto points, meaning that you usually only have to get that majority once. (I.e., in the parliament, rather than needing to win the legislature, and the executive, separately, on separate cycles, but they can get atrociously gridlocked and useless if there isn't a functional parliamentary majority (see: May, Theresa or, if you're feeling masochistic, Israel's unending parade of elections). That in turn is a function of both the electoral system and political culture; a first-past-the-post parliament like in Britain tends to encourage a two (well, two-ish, these days) party (or, at least, two-coalition) system that usually lends itself well to achieving a majority...at the cost of them not really having a hang on how to manage hung parliaments. In, say, Germany, majorities basically never happen, but they're used to that and form coalitions well enough (though that type of proportional or multi-party system can contribute to factionalism and thus gridlock, such as in Israel). This is all relevant because we have no idea what a New England-level political culture would look like shorn of its relationship to the federal government, and the chosen electoral system would have an enormous impact. Depending on the system chosen, it's entirely possible to wind up with a parliament that's utterly gridlocked, only now without even the possibility of an imperial presidency to do something via executive action. So, it's not necessarily even the cure for the ails of the current federal government it might at first blush seem to be.

(And that's not surprising. We get gridlock because there's a million veto points in the US system. If we had a parliamentary system, federally, we wouldn't magically see cooperation. We'd just see wild swings in policy, because the problem is that the parties are polarized, albeit not equally. I suspect a new New England parliament would, for a time, have a strong Democratic-metropolitan majority which could get quite a lot of things done very efficiently...with little recourse for anyone in the region less than pleased by that. That's a good thing if you share those policy preferences, it doesn't necessarily make it something to be wished for. )
 

Arlington

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If New England wants (but we don’t, apparently) we can do all kids of cool things like the Northeast Corridor, ranked choice voting, and no dailight savings time. Talking about coordination is fruitful.

Secession talk is probably wasteful or harmful (another reason to fight over cultural issues)
 

Scott

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The only reason I would consider it is because we export money and get very little say in how it is spent. However Brattleloop's post explains that that it not so easy and may not work
 

Plen-T-Pak

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The dividing line will show up where economic ties are weakest, therefore drawing the line at New England is arbitrary. If we're having some alt history fun then throw in all areas that are part of the economies of the cities of the Northeast Corridor... and extend the green line to Albany.
 

393b40

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It's not really worth entertaining. We'd still be very tied to the US economically and culturally and we'd lose a ton of businesses that need or want to be in the US not in some upstart republic with a potentially unstable government. Also no more federal dollars, the need to invest in defense, and probably a drain of people that for whatever reason prefer to be US Citizens.
 

KCasiglio

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Not sure if this is what inspired the thread but certainly a funny coincidence. The New United States of New England

As Woodard says in the article, a breakup of the US would be disastrous for a litany of reasons. In such an event though I think a broader northeastern union is more likely, why would we not want integration with the rest of the NE corridor from NoVA on up?

Also no more federal dollars
Northern New England is dependent on federal dollars, but most of the Northeast sends out more than they get. Without crunching the numbers myself I'm pretty sure MA/CT/RI/NY/NJ can more than cover whatever NH/VT/ME are getting right now.
 

393b40

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Northern New England is dependent on federal dollars, but most of the Northeast sends out more than they get. Without crunching the numbers myself I'm pretty sure MA/CT/RI/NY/NJ can more than cover whatever NH/VT/ME are getting right now.
1. This assumes you maintain the same tax base before secession. You won't. There will be a both an exodus of businesses and people before this happens. The real number you have to work with is what is left which is unpredictable but I guarantee will be much smaller than what it is today. Big business hates instability and uncertainty, they will all leave.
2. You're going to need to spend billions on defense, even a small defense such as basically a coast guard is going to be expensive. You're likely going to need more than that though because rebellions are a real thing you need to be able to deal with as well.
3. You will need to spin up new agencies to deal with a number of problems that were previously run by the US, for example, tax enforcement, immigration, etc. Each of these cost big dollars to operate.

The dollars will get soaked up real quick and the economy will shrink. The quality of life of the average New Englander would plummet.
 

KCasiglio

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The dollars will get soaked up real quick and the economy will shrink. The quality of life of the average New Englander would plummet.
No disagreement with your overall point, would definitely be a disaster. Don’t understand why you think concentrating more government spending locally would soak up money from the economy rather than be stimulating though? Again I dont disagree that it wouldn’t make up for the likely population loss (though now we’re gaming out how this got initiated which is fraught)
 

stick n move

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1. This assumes you maintain the same tax base before secession. You won't. There will be a both an exodus of businesses and people before this happens. The real number you have to work with is what is left which is unpredictable but I guarantee will be much smaller than what it is today. Big business hates instability and uncertainty, they will all leave.
2. You're going to need to spend billions on defense, even a small defense such as basically a coast guard is going to be expensive. You're likely going to need more than that though because rebellions are a real thing you need to be able to deal with as well.
3. You will need to spin up new agencies to deal with a number of problems that were previously run by the US, for example, tax enforcement, immigration, etc. Each of these cost big dollars to operate.

The dollars will get soaked up real quick and the economy will shrink. The quality of life of the average New Englander would plummet.
Every country has to do this its not specific to new england. Dozens of other small countries manage to do all of these things just fine. A country like Norway is massive and only has 1/3rd the population that new england has, but they make it work. They also are not a part of the EU, but are right on the periphery like NE would be to the us. Im not saying it would be easy, but its definitely possible as dozens of other countries have shown.
 

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Has anyone on this thread suggested annexation to Canada as an option? One where we become a new Province instead of a whole new country?

It’d simplify the questions like having to build an army and currency completely from scratch.
 

Brattle Loop

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Has anyone on this thread suggested annexation to Canada as an option? One where we become a new Province instead of a whole new country?

It’d simplify the questions like having to build an army and currency completely from scratch.
Would simplify matters greatly (albeit at a cost of reducing New England's autonomy). On the other hand, I don't know that Canada would be terribly thrilled about the prospect. New England's population is somewhere close to 40% of all of Canada's, and roughly equivalent to Ontario, meaning that all the existing provinces would stand to see their political influence and representation significantly diluted, which some of them (looking at you in particular Quebec) probably wouldn't be wild about.
 

Blackbird

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Would simplify matters greatly (albeit at a cost of reducing New England's autonomy). On the other hand, I don't know that Canada would be terribly thrilled about the prospect. New England's population is somewhere close to 40% of all of Canada's, and roughly equivalent to Ontario, meaning that all the existing provinces would stand to see their political influence and representation significantly diluted, which some of them (looking at you in particular Quebec) probably wouldn't be wild about.
Fair point.

I counter that New England shares a lot historically, culturally, and demographically with Quebec and Atlantic Canada. There’s a chance that the eastern provinces are excited by the prospect of pulling influence away from Ontario and points west.
 

Brattle Loop

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I counter that New England shares a lot historically, culturally, and demographically with Quebec and Atlantic Canada. There’s a chance that the eastern provinces are excited by the prospect of pulling influence away from Ontario and points west.
Atlantic Canada, possibly. Quebec, looking at the prospect of another Ontario-sized population of anglophones, I kind of think won't love it. (Though, offer them a trade: Quebec can go off on its own like they occasionally threaten, and NE will take their place /s. If a different selling point is needed, one can always point out that New England has a hockey team that's actually won the Stanley Cup this century 🙃 )
 
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Has anyone on this thread suggested annexation to Canada as an option? One where we become a new Province instead of a whole new country?

It’d simplify the questions like having to build an army and currency completely from scratch.

More likely the Maritime provinces would look to leave Canada and join up with the New England states. They are already somewhat cut off from much of Canada with the French speaking province of Quebec separating them.
 

Ruairi

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Leaving the "effectively gridlocked and useless federal government" element aside (it's somewhat inapt right after several sizeable federal actions, though it's absolutely applicable a lot of the time when the branches are held by different parties).

The idea itself isn't without its attractions...but with an enormous start-up problem. Britain's having problems as it is extracting themselves from a few decades' worth of European law and an economic union it was never quite as much a part of as the rest of the EU. (I.e. they at least didn't have to even ask what their post-separation currency situation would be, 'cause they never joined the Euro to begin with) With New England, we're talking a collection of states that have no meaningful experience of having been anything but an integrated part of a (much) larger economy in, what, centuries? Probably the best example of just how thorny that gets is Connecticut. In this hypothetical Republic of New England, if Connecticut is a part of it, suddenly all those jobs in New York City are in a different country. So either you get Brexit-or-worse-style impediments to commerce, or you need agreements on travel and open markets (and that goes for the rest of the remaining US in whatever form, albeit with less immediate geographic relevance). Then besides the considerable difficulties of managing the separation, you'd need, well, all the stuff that countries like to have, such as a military (maybe the amalgamated state national guards are enough), and, some kind of republic-level bureaucracy for, say, healthcare and welfare and infrastructure and education. So, uh, the practical reality of bringing a new republic like this into existence is, shall we say, daunting. (Something that the SNP in Scotland understands and doesn't like to talk about all that much.)

If we move into alternate history mode and ignore the real-world reasons why such a thing is extremely difficult and therefore unlikely to occur, and just consider the idea as if it sprang fully formed, there'd be some advantages. New England as a region is (not unlike other parts of the east, particularly the pre-revolution parts) divided into relatively small states, which can pose some problems. (See, for instance, New Hampshire's perpetual mooching off Boston's economic coattails and freeloading off MA and ME's Downeaster payments) Nearly half NE's population is in Massachusetts, about 70% is in only two states (MA and CT), the practical impact of which at present is that the smaller four are over-represented in Congress. (The disparity's quite small in the House, but two-thirds of the NE senators represent ~30% of the population.) A NE government would present opportunities to rectify some of these issues (though with an annoyingly-high chance of a 1787-style federalist/anti-federalist big/small argument).

It's an amusing thought exercise, but unlikely to occur absent utter calamity for a million reasons. If the motivating concern is gridlock and dysfunction, it's tempting to think that substituting a NE parliament for the US Congress would fix the problem, but that's not necessarily likely. A parliamentary system's advantages in implementing policies and avoiding gridlock only work when there's a sufficient majority for any given policy. There is a relative lack of veto points, meaning that you usually only have to get that majority once. (I.e., in the parliament, rather than needing to win the legislature, and the executive, separately, on separate cycles, but they can get atrociously gridlocked and useless if there isn't a functional parliamentary majority (see: May, Theresa or, if you're feeling masochistic, Israel's unending parade of elections). That in turn is a function of both the electoral system and political culture; a first-past-the-post parliament like in Britain tends to encourage a two (well, two-ish, these days) party (or, at least, two-coalition) system that usually lends itself well to achieving a majority...at the cost of them not really having a hang on how to manage hung parliaments. In, say, Germany, majorities basically never happen, but they're used to that and form coalitions well enough (though that type of proportional or multi-party system can contribute to factionalism and thus gridlock, such as in Israel). This is all relevant because we have no idea what a New England-level political culture would look like shorn of its relationship to the federal government, and the chosen electoral system would have an enormous impact. Depending on the system chosen, it's entirely possible to wind up with a parliament that's utterly gridlocked, only now without even the possibility of an imperial presidency to do something via executive action. So, it's not necessarily even the cure for the ails of the current federal government it might at first blush seem to be.

(And that's not surprising. We get gridlock because there's a million veto points in the US system. If we had a parliamentary system, federally, we wouldn't magically see cooperation. We'd just see wild swings in policy, because the problem is that the parties are polarized, albeit not equally. I suspect a new New England parliament would, for a time, have a strong Democratic-metropolitan majority which could get quite a lot of things done very efficiently...with little recourse for anyone in the region less than pleased by that. That's a good thing if you share those policy preferences, it doesn't necessarily make it something to be wished for. )
Interesting post.
If it ever were to happen, I think Brexit is a really good road map for what not to do.
It might be possible to remain part of the US trading block and use the Dollar while keeping open borders.
Basically New England becomes the equivalent of a Euro using EU member state.
This way New England gains far more sovereignty without severing all ties.
The vast majority of taxes would go to New England while a smaller percentage would still go to DC
New England would eventually join NATO.

I think the biggest lesson would be in setting out any parameters for a referendum. 50% plus 1 seems like a recipe for disaster.

I'd also argue that the SNP have definitely talked about how an independent Scotland would run.
Holyrood is already far more devolved than any US state and rejoining the EU and adopting the Euro would be a given.
 

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