Thursday, June 24th, 2010
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
SHOULD THE FEDS MAKE LOUISIANA A PROTECTORATE?
Roseanne Roseannadanna summed it up pretty well in trying to make sense out of the trials and tribulations of Louisiana. "Well, it just goes to show you, it's always something.” Now we are hearing cries that Louisiana is unable to take care of all its problems, and should be treated differently than other states in the U.S. Make it a protectorate of the federal government. And you know what? Maybe that ain’t too bad of an idea.
The proposal took legs early this week when nationally syndicated columnist Froma Harrop, who is an editor for the Providence Journal, broached the idea in print. “Louisiana has had more than its share of tragedies in recent years, and some, such as hurricane Katrina, could be deemed an act of nature. But whatever the cause, every calamity that befalls Louisiana is made worse by a corrupt civic nature. A protectorate could provide the structure of government people need.”
England, Scotland, and Ireland were all protectorates at one time. There is a major move on in Europe today to take Greece under a European protectorate. In Great Britain, a debate is taking place as to whether the Falkland Islands, presently under the wing of the British, should be cut loose as a protectorate and join up with neighboring Argentina.
But in most of these past and present instances, the so called protectorate was receiving much more in financial aid from their respective overseers than the country or state being protected was contributing. Not so in Louisiana. Yes, you will read about all the federal dollars that has been flowing into the Bayou State, particularly post Katrina. But whatever federal sums have been allocated is a drop in the bucket when you add up the massive mineral resources that have been drained from the state.
When it comes to receiving federal dollars in other areas, Louisiana often gets the short end of the stick. Louisiana taxpayers subsidize numerous programs that proportionately benefit other parts of the country significantly more. Here are a few examples:
Federal highway funds. A federal gas tax is charged on every gallon of gasoline that goes into a national highway fund to build highways. For years, a formula has been used to distribute the money that has worked against Louisiana. For every dollar we send to Washington, Louisiana taxpayers are getting a little more that ninety cents back. California receives $1.30 back for every dollar they send in, as is the same for most of the states along the east coast. Louisiana taxpayers are subsidizing roads and bicycle trails throughout California, New York and many other states. A report released last week pointing out the Louisiana is tremendously underfunded in its effort to improve the quality of our roads. One big reason is that the state is paying substantially more into the federal pot that it is getting out.
Louisiana receives federal reimbursement to nursing homes that take care of the poor under the Medicaid program. But the formula works dramatically against Louisiana nursing homes. Where patients in New York nursing homes receive reimbursement of $175.00 a day, the same patient in Louisiana only receives $79.00 a day. Some states are receiving four times what Louisiana gets. Alaska, for example, receives $317.00 per day for Medicaid patient reimbursement. Louisiana has the lowest reimbursement amount in the country.
So maybe the east coast columnist is right. Louisiana might be much better off if it did become a protectorate. There is ample support throughout the country for states considering the option of becoming independent. Just this week, a national Rasmussen poll found that 28% of Americans believe it is at least somewhat likely that some states will try to leave the United States and form an independent country over the next 25 years or so.
How about this! Louisiana becomes an independent protectorate of the U.S., with Washington providing all the international protection like they do for Canada and Mexico. Sure the U.S. can continue to use the port of New Orleans (largest port in the nation), as well as Baton Rouge (third largest in tonnage) and Lake Charles (5th largest in tonnage), but of course there would be fees similar to those charged in other international ports. The oil and gas would continue to flow to the rest of the country, but with adequate severance and processing fees for the quite reasonable sum of five to seven billion dollars (much less than the importation charges the country is paying OPEC countries now.) No more groveling for a small share of offshore oil payouts.
Mississippi might also want to join in the protectorate effort. The two states might even agree to create a “coastal nation of Louisissippi.” The French would be appalled, but who cares.
So who is going to run this new protectorate? The test , knows how to get results? Walking the walk rather than talking the talk. There really are only two candidates for the job. One is former Army General Russell Honore.’ He’s the “John Wayne dude” who blew into New Orleans post Katrina and took charge of the disastrous recovery efforts. He lives in Baton Rouge and seems to be well rested and ready. And right in contention is New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton. Now he does know how to get the job done.
The Ambassador to Washington? The “Ragin Cajun,” James Carville is the man to demand fair respect for the Bayou State in the nation’s capitol. Also an easy choice is the treasury secretary. New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson is, hands down, the best guy to go after the foreign aid. He is Louisiana’s greatest robber baron, having talked the Louisiana Legislature out of over $500 million dollars. Remember that no other NFL team has received a penny from their respective states. He’s definitely the man to go after and handle the money.
The state flag would be a combination of black, purple and gold. And of course native born Randy Newman should write the national anthem. Froma Harrop’s column called Louisiana the best run state in the Caribbean. Maybe she’s right, and we should give it a try. Protect Louisiana’s borders and let it keep all its minerals. If you look at the numbers, I have a hunch that any redneck or Cajun would jump at such a deal.
"There is growing sentiment throughout the North in favor of letting the Gulf States go.”
The New York Times (March 21, 1861)
Peace and Justice
Jim Brown’s syndicated column appears each week in numerous newspapers and websites throughout the South. You can read all is past columns and see continuing updates at www.jimbrownla.com. You can also hear Jim’s nationally syndicated radio show each Sunday morning from 9 am till 11:00 am central time on the Genesis Radio Network, with a live stream at http://www.jimbrownusa.com.