I understand frustration with Donald Trump. But over the past six months, in California and elsewhere, I’ve heard about Calexit. That’s nuts. In this video I lay out the many reasons an attempt at California secession makes no sense at all. Leaving aside the impossibility of getting Washington, DC to let California go, the economic proposition just doesn’t make sense. Let me know what you think of the video!
Video Transcript after the jump…
Hey there, today I’m going to be beating up on a really dumb idea, but friends of mine have mentioned it to me seriously, so It’s worth covering here. I’m talking about Calexit, the idea that California should secede from the United States of America.
This appeals to a lot of progressive people. They rightly point out that if California were independent, it would be somewhere between the fifth and eighth largest economy in the world. Some parts of urban California feel like a different country already, with different regulations, different attitudes and different ways of life. After the election of Donald Trump, which California voted against 62% to 32%, it’s not surprising that some Californians are looking for the exit.
But the exit isn’t really there. I applaud the moves towards federalism in New York and California. It’s great to see more left-wing types re-discover the constitution and realize that their state governments have real power against a central government they hate. But the idea of California Secession is flatly ridiculous. Leaving aside the fact that it’s been established for over 150 years that the US government won’t let states go, an independent California just isn’t viable. Here’s why…
1. California Needs The US Defense Industry.
We all know California for Hollywood and Silicon Valley. That stuff is sexy, but it’s US government money, and Defense spending in particular that built the state, and military money still plays a huge part in keeping it going. San Diego in particular is unimaginable without the US Navy, but all of Southern California has a lot to do with the defense industry. How do you think the fabled So Cal Real Estate market would do if you subtracted a couple million soldiers and workers in related industries? There’s also a lot more military and intelligence community money floating around Silicon Valley than anybody wants to acknowledge. Without the Pentagon California’s economy would be seriously damaged, but that’s just the beginning.
2. California’s tech industry needs Washington, DC
There’s a whole field of government law called Anti-Trust, or competition law, and it’s designed to prevent monopolies. Companies like Google and Facebook, that lead California’s non-defense economy, have outpaced the development of anti-trust law. The laws are designed for an industrial economy, not a post-industrial one. That will not be true forever. In recent months the EU has gotten a bit more aggressive with Google. But it can’t get too aggressive. Because at the end of the day, the US market and US goodwill is too important to Europe. The EU and the US will chip away at the margins of these companies, but the US government doesn’t want to kill the golden goose, and the rest of the world doesn’t want to piss off the US government. MICROSOCT ANTI-TRUST That ends the day California goes independent. Amazon and Microsoft will still be US companies and they will team up with Washington, DC to move most of Silicon Valley to Seattle, or maybe just destroy it. The rest of the world would be delighted to participate in this feeding frenzy. Many countries have beefed up their competition law in recent decades.
3. California’s power comes from being part of the US.
Washington, DC is important for Hollywood as well. California’s ability to access world markets follows from the fact that the world needs access to the US market. China lets in 30-odd Hollywood movies every year, and those few movies are very important to the film industry’s bottom line. China would let in far fewer Hollywood films if California could only offer a market of 42 million in return rather than a market of 320 million. This holds true for pretty much everything California produces. California economic success comes from being attached the United States, the largest market in the world. California may be our main hub for innovation, but it needs the rest of the US just as much as the rest of the US needs it.
I could go on. There’s also the fact that while progressives may have the numbers in California they don’t have the land.
Graphic. The rednecks still own a lot of that natural beauty Californians never shut up about.
But I don’t really have to go into that. The next time someone mentions Calexit at the bar, you can tell them just how ridiculous that idea is. California is nothing without the US, and the US is an infinitely better place with California in it.
Thanks for watching, please subscribe, and if you want to keep in touch with me outside of the googleplex, I’d suggest following me on twitter or signing up for my e-mail list…