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The (Fewer) Stars and Stripes Forever!

2006-07-05 23:25:44.040821+00 by petronius 6 comments

As the hangover from barbeque and fireworks winds down, a fun link from the 1970's: In 1973 a geographer proposed reducing the number of US States to 38. His idea was to break up the big ones like Texas into smaller bits and consolidate the smaller ones. His new map creates states that make more sense economically and perhaps culturally. For instance, Chicago becomes the capital of Dearborn, made up of chunks from Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan. This area is a pretty unified economic region, and breaks the heavily populated urbanites of Chicago off from their farmland brethren in Downstate Illinios. Southern and Northern California splits into two other states.

The idea seems to be that by reducing the number of state governments we get the same amount of administration for about 20% less money. It is intriguing that tiny New Hampshire has the same number of government departments as vast Texas. i don't like all the names, tho. Any better ideas?

[ related topics: Invention and Design Food Pyrotechnics Maps and Mapping Economics ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2006-07-06 01:00:17.715437+00 by: Dan Lyke

High quality flags would also be cheaper to manufacture, because there'd be less stars to sew on.

In some ways, this is an argument towards more federal government, the supposition being that large swaths of state government are run by managers who have at least 20% under-utilization, but who are necessary in any hierarchy tree. Somehow that feels like there are oversimplifications in that model...

#Comment Re: made: 2006-07-06 01:04:28.566883+00 by: meuon

That's why some academicians stay in academia, they are clueless. Getting such changes actually made in our sociopolitical landscape is laughable.

I can see consolodating some of the N.E. States, but with the population densities in the NE, they may be more efficient the way they are.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-07-06 01:17:30.687275+00 by: Dan Lyke

And us Northern Californians would love to kick LA free, but gerrymandering the rest of the state would actually give about 3 resulting regions.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-07-06 06:36:56.49455+00 by: Mars Saxman

It's an interesting little idea, but I'd rather see the divisions incorporate ecological boundaries. Running the boundary between the new "El Dorado" and "Bonneville" states right down the middle of range & basin country would be just as absurd as failing to make the lower half of the California/Nevada border follow the spine of the Sierra, and splitting the Columbia River basin between "Cascade" and "Bitterroot" is just as silly as dividing it between Washington and Oregon.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-07-06 20:52:45.384331+00 by: petronius

Another difficulty with this plan is what to do with the thousands of state employees suddenly put out of work. I envision hordes of ragged highway inspectors hanging out in empty lots, passing paper bags with bottles of cheap Tokay and harassing decent folk by putting up fake road construction sites.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-07-06 21:02:27.077121+00 by: Dan Lyke

Awww, Mars, I was rather looking forward to Bonneville employees having to drive a hundred or two miles out of their way to get to sites in the former Nevada...

While we may have excess highway inspectors, I doubt that this would put 'em out of work. Rather this would unemploy assorted legislators and governors. Frankly, in most cases, it's probably cheaper to have them preying on the populace from a place where they're automatically under some press scrutiny.