By Columnist Charles Payne
On Wednesday, 1.5 million Catalonians formed a 250 mile human chain demanding independence. It was an amazing display of peaceful but harden resolve to finally break away from Spain which has more or less held the region hostage for centuries. While the roots for secession run deep into history, this is a movement that’s really comes to life only recently.
The reason is simple ... hard working people feel over-taxed, underrepresented and doomed in a system that rewards their neighbors for not working while taxing Catalonians. Protestors point out the region sends Madrid €16.0 billion more than it gets back in government spending. It’s not unlike rich states or even rich counties and towns in the United States.
Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, is an international hub of business, sports, and fun. Created by Charlemagne in the ninth century as a buffer between Muslim-controlled Spain and his Frankish empire, the city and later the surrounding region has always been stuck in the middle of power struggles.
Through it all, the people reinvented themselves and now they want freedom: economic freedom and freedom of self determination. The narrative around the world is attack the 1 percent, but the real causalities are successful people, not billionaires, but hard workers that sacrificed a lot, risked a lot and still keep at it to maintain and maybe edge even higher in life. They should be admired, but are scorned, which is fine until that envy is manifested into tax policy. It’s not just Catalonia, it’s Belgium, it’s Italy, it’s northern California.
Recently, a county in California voted to secede from the country and form its own perfect union. It’s maybe not a big deal because of its improbability, but it’s a mood sweeping the nation.
“The germ of a great, free, and independent empire on that side of our continent, and that liberty and self-government spreading from that as well as from this side, will insure their complete establishment over the whole.”
Thomas Jefferson congratulated John Jacob Astor for the creation of Fort Astoria. John Quincy Adams went on to call the Northwest region “the empire of Astoria” saying it was “destined by Divine Providence to be peopled by one nation” and later James Monroe chimed in that the entire region west of the Rockies would be an independent nation. This was the seeds of a proposed nation that would be called Cascadia and draw from British Columbia, Oregon, and parts of northern California, Idaho and Wyoming. Such a combination would cobble together 15 million people and produce a GDP of $675 billion.
A week ago, the governing board of Siskiyou county California voted 4-1 to secede, citing excessive regulations, restriction of right, and lack of representation, regionalism and the need for restoration of limited government. There are only 45,000 people in the county, which would have the same legal rights and representations as its former home of California with 38 million people. The county made the statement not unlike its kindred spirit in Catalonia; they’re working too hard, paying too much taxes and only getting grief from their neighbors whose appetite for government largess can’t be sated.
The 1 percent isn’t going to fade into the background. They’re not going out without a fight. A world without these people would be a disaster.