When a company becomes too big, it sometimes splits into multiple pieces -- voluntarily or under external pressure. Remember the AT&T monopoly?
Now we have four major telephone operators -- and AT&T is one of them. The others are Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile. A new structure for a new era. There isn't necessarily any inherent or eternal magic behind the number four. It just works, for now, as a reasonable market equilibrium, given the broader technological and practical circumstances. It's enough competition, but without lack of scale.
As it turns out, our country is acutely in need of another split into four -- and that is the Federal Government itself. Our internal tensions are reaching a boiling point.
No matter who wins each of the two primaries (on the Republican side, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz contending; Hillary Clinton and Bernie sanders for the Democrats), and then the general election, there will be people who are devastated. The common ground we had until a decade ago is lost. The country split ideologically into two some time between 2004 and 2008, the original dividing line being the Iraq war and then the 2008 election.
This boiling point a decade ago has now reached another dimension altogether, almost like nuclear fission -- and that's the realization that a division of the country into two, while an improvement, will not be enough for a new equilibrium. An alternative to the one United States is no longer enough. People want a more personalized alternative.
And that number is now four.
The new American political civil war has spread from just Republican versus Democrat. It's now a civil war each within the two parties. Sanders' troops can't stand Clinton and visa versa. Cruz loathes Trump, and their supporters are literally on a path to a fist fight at this summer's convention in Cleveland.
Yet, almost nobody seems to be asking what appears to be the obvious question: Why should any of these four distinct groups of people be forced to live under another's rule? Why should Clinton's supporters have to live under President Cruz? Why should Trump's supporters have to live under President Sanders?
It makes no more sense than forcing everyone back to the AT&T monopoly.
Let's apply some basic math here: Germany is Europe's largest country with 80 million people. The U.S. is 320 million people. Germany multiplied by four is 320 million. If the U.S. is divided into four countries of approximately equal size, each new country would be approximately the same size as Europe's largest. It fits so well, it's almost poetic.
Now, 80 million is plenty big enough. France and the U.K. are around 65 million each, and it's all down from there.
No doubt, the U.S. Federal government has become too big to manage itself effectively. We haven't the faintest idea what most government bureaucracies do. But it's not even about the lack of efficiency or accountability, resulting from an organization governing 320 million people. It's about the fairness of it all -- or rather, the lack of fairness. It's a diverse country, with diverse opinions -- and yet, we are supposed to have to live under wildly opposing political views.
Why not let a thousand flowers bloom? Or at least, four of them? Here are the four countries that would initially emerge from my modest proposal to split the current United States of America into four countries:
The Country of Trump
Skyscrapers, Fifth Avenue and The Wall would be paved in gold. Building permits would be issued on the spot. Actually, there wouldn't be any building permits -- just start building whatever you want, wherever you want. Did George Washington have to file a building permit to create Mt. Vernon? I didn't think so. Case closed.
The Country of Hillary
This corner of the current United States would be kept together with as little change as possible, save for the bank accounts belonging to The Clinton Foundation. That entity would be the Clinton Republic's fastest growth engine. Heroic adjustments to government policy include an increase in the Medicare tax by 0.1%, offset by a higher mortgage interest deduction to the tune of $235 per year, most of which would be spent on higher accounting expenses.
The Country of Cruz
In a time machine back to 1912, the only contact the average Cruz citizen would have with its government would be going to the Post Office, which would be like going to the Lenin Mausoleum on an annual school civics trip. The Heartland would look like a mix between Little House on the Prairie and an Amish village -- but with large pickup trucks, lots of rifles and $0.35 per gallon gasoline.
The Country of Bernie
Berniestan would be a simple place. One kind of shampoo, one kind of bread (every other Tuesday only, one loaf per family), one kind of one-bedroom apartment, electricity two days a week, and a ban on privately owned automobiles. On the upside, everyone would be equal, except for those working in the Bremlin, who would be issued special facilities for the party elite.
The Time Has Come
America is careening quickly into the ditch of another civil war. The only option now is between what will be a nasty and violent split, and an amicable separation into multiple entities. A logical number is anywhere between two and fifty, but the composition of this year's Presidential election affords us with a better option -- four. One for each political vision, all of whom are incompatible with each other.
Incompatible policies and irreconcilable differences do not co-exist peacefully for too long. Ask Yugoslavia 1994 and Syria 2014. We can do better. Pre-empt the clash and split peacefully.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held TK positions in the stocks mentioned.