State Report DE 1: Delaware Report
by Jan Helfeld
Jan Helfeld lives in Falls Church, VA in the Washington, DC metro area. He is an attorney and TV interviewer.
(See also Delaware Report #2.)
The rational conclusion from Jason Sorens' brilliant state comparison analysis is that Delaware is the best free state candidate. There is a reason why an objective analysis puts Delaware at the top of the heap. What is the point of studying, collecting and integrating all the relevant data necessary to make a determination on which is the best free state candidate, if the conclusion of this analysis is to be ignored? I therefore urge you to examine the state comparisons and all the relevant data that they integrate, so you can see for yourself.
Some of the highlights that make Delaware come up as the best free state candidate in the state comparison analysis are the following.
The most important factor to consider when trying to implement the free state project strategy is the voting population. The reason for this is obvious: the fewer the voters, the more impact the 20,000 liberators will have on the elections. If you look at the numbers carefully you will see that the states fall in the following voting population categories: Wyoming has the least amount of voters with 213,000, the next category includes Alaska, North Dakota, Vermont, South Dakota and Delaware with voting populations of between 288,000 and 328,000, the next category his Montana and Idaho with voting populations of between 411,000 and 488,000 and finally New Hampshire, New Mexico and Nevada with voting populations of between 567,000 and 606,000.
The main conclusion that can be derived from this voting population analysis is that Wyoming is definitely a candidate that should be examined carefully. Secondly, New Hampshire, New Mexico and Nevada simply have too many voters to be impacted decisively by a move of 20,000 liberators. Finally, if Wyoming is not ideal, then we should look carefully at the second category of Alaska, North Dakota, Vermont, South Dakota and Delaware. Of this second category, I think Delaware is the best for the reasons I will put forth in this report.
Delaware is ideal geographically, with ports and plenty of coastlines. It is the antithesis of a land locked state. There's no obstacle for trade with the rest of United States and or the world. This situation facilitates the potential for autonomy.
Importantly, Delaware is close and accessible to major population centers. It is a population hub. This is an often overlooked factor that would facilitate the movement to the state by the liberators and make the move more attractive because of the possibility of maintaining close contact with the people from where the liberators originally came. Furthermore, this proximity to major population centers (Philadelphia, Baltimore, southern New Jersey) would make it easier for other activists that do not move to help in the liberation of the free state - and helps us to get jobs in the early transition period.
Highest Income per Capita
Additionally, Delaware has the highest income per capita of any of the candidates, indeed of any state in the U.S. This is an important factor in many ways. First, the more money people make, the more money available for investment and therefore the more economic opportunities for the 20,000 liberators. Secondly, the more money people make, the more they are harmed by the redistribution of wealth policies of the federal and state government. Thus, it is logically in their self-interest to have lower taxes because taxes take disproportionately high amounts from wealthy people. Consequently, they are more likely to support tax reductions.
Dependence on the Federal Government
Of the current candidate states, only New Hampshire and Nevada are less dependent on the federal government than Delaware. As Sorens mentions in the data analysis, "Federal dependence is very important. Research indicates that regions that receive more from the central government in expenditures than they pay in taxes are less likely to seek fiscal autonomy or sovereignty. Regions that pay more than they get back are more likely to seek autonomy, because they have a genuine grievance against the central government. Having a state that is on net exploited by the central government would be a very important issue for us and would create a popular demand for real federalism. (It will also make it easier for us to reject federal funds when necessary.)"
Federal state and local spending as a percentage of state gross product
Only New Hampshire has less federal, state, and local spending as a percentage of gross state product than Delaware. Delaware's state and local spending is 6.3% compared to New Hampshire's 6.8%. These percentages are both far below the rest of the states and reflect a fundamental conclusion of the citizens, namely that the government should not take a high percentage of the citizen's income. This conclusion is instrumental for economic freedom and will make our job much easier.
If that is not enough to persuade you that Delaware is the ideal candidate here are a few other considerations that will help you reach the same conclusion.
A factor that was not included in the state comparison analysis was climate even though this factor will clearly impact on people's decision to move to and live in the free state candidate. If you look at the weather and climate report you'll see that Delaware has the best weather and climate of the states with under 330,000 voting populations.
For many people a key factor in determining whether a state is livable or not is the weather. The reason for this is obvious; the weather affects us constantly and can be an important hindrance to our enjoyment of life and the pursuit of our goals. Thus, rational people will take climate into consideration when deciding whether or not to move to a free state.
Delaware is relatively small. This makes proselytizing and activism in general easier than would be the case in a large state. 20,000 activists would have a great impact and would be able to canvass the entire state easily.
There's no problem with ballot access in Delaware. The Libertarian Party is a recognized party, and it is not necessary to waste time petitioning to put candidates on the ballot. This is a great time saver, permitting us to spend more time persuading Delaware citizens of the benefits of freedom.
The Political Situation
The state is more or less evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans, the Democrats having the present edge. This even division makes it easier for a third party to prevail.
The state is pro-business. There are more corporations incorporated in Delaware than any other state in the union because Delaware has the most favorable corporate laws. This is one example of its pro-business political structure.
The favorable business environment has created a solid manufacturing industry that assures the economy a good foundation. The unemployment is low, and the prospects for jobs are good.
Favorable Tax Legislation
The state does not tax social security or pension benefits. Also there are rebates on real estate and sewer taxes for senior citizens. This makes the state very attractive to retired people, a very good source of activists and prospective liberators.
One would expect that it is easier for retirees to move to a new state than it is for people in the middle of their careers. Along with the people that are just beginning their careers, retirees are a very good source that we should try to tap in our efforts to meet the critical mass of 20,000. Delaware is especially attractive to this group because of the favorable tax legislation, the climate and the easy access.
Federal Land Ownership
Only Maine has less federal land ownership than Delaware. This is one more obstacle that is absent in Delaware, but present in many other states.
When you take all the relevant information into consideration Delaware is the best choice. If you do not believe that Delaware is the best choice for the F.S.P., please feel free to debate me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
August 28, 2002
The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of the Free State Project, its Officers, or Directors.