Irreconcilable Differences: Let's Divide America in Two

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- From the fiscal cliff to gun rights, from divisive social issues tomandatory health care insurance -- America is more divided between redand blue than even the 1860s. We are a nation that is trying tocompromise between driving on the right side of the road or on theleft side such as in the British Empire and Japan.

In this chaotic mix of trying to drive a little bit on the right sideof the road and a little bit on the left, there is not only almostzero economic growth and legislative stalemate, but also eternalstrife ahead. Each side will not yield, and the result will continueto be societal unhappiness and massive waste of productivity.Gridlock defined.

The creation of America in the 1770s was about freedom of choice. Theoptions to mankind were to be expanded from a few monarchies inEurope to a new form of a country on the other side of the AtlanticOcean. This birth of freedom ignited the greatest expansion ofeconomic activity, standards of living and average biologicallongevity in history.

In those colonial days, however, the U.S. population was less than 1% ofwhat it is today. The U.S. population has increased more than 100-foldin 236 years. We often wonder why small countries with only 10 million or 30million people can exhibit so different social characteristics thanthe U.S. Well, one of those reasons is that they are so relativelysmall -- 10 million or 30 million people isn't 300 million.

Trying to keep 300 million people of widely different ideologicalbeliefs together under an umbrella of ideological rigidity only lastsso long. We saw this with our Cold War adversary the USSR, which in1991 dissolved into a broad set of republics.

Considering the current fundamental disagreements about taxes,government spending, regulation, government deficits and debts plusall the other socio-cultural issues, one can make the argument that wenow have the following three options in the years ahead:
  1. Hold hands in continuing economic paralysis, leading to theultimate bankruptcy and hyperinflation. No balanced budget ultimatelyresults in the government printing the difference. Withhyperinflation comes the total societal collapse, such as in Germanyin the 1920s.
  2. Civil War. Yeah, another one. Irreconcilable differences withoutdivorce can result in spousal abuse. Witness what happened inYugoslavia in the 1990s and in Syria today.
  3. Amicable divorce. This is what happened to, for example,Czechoslovakia in the early 1990s. Two countries emerged without ashot being fired and they have both seen increasing relativeprosperity to varying degrees. It's a success story.

Any fourth "option" is a pure fantasy and product of utopian wishfulthinking. Each side of the political divide may believe that it willprevail forever, suppressing the other side into a compliant andirrelevant minority. History does not speak well to this kind ofprospect.

So what is America to do? It is clear to me that America needs to besplit up, into at least two countries. At over 300 million people,the conglomerate has become one that business schools would use as acase study for unlocking the value by divestitures. Any corporationwith over 300 million people is probably way too big, with massiveinefficiencies and lack of management accountability.

Each side of the political divide should welcome this prospect withopen arms. No longer would they have to wait two, four, six or eight years -- orpotentially even more -- to turn the political cycle to theirfavored direction. You would have the choice: Driving on the rightside of the road, or on the left. No more wild compromises wherethere is a mixed-side driving environment, politically speaking.

The political left, in particular, ought to welcome this amicableAmerican divorce.

You have all seen the charts and maps in recent years, frequentlycirculated on the social networks, illustrating how the "blue" states(New York, California, Illinois, et al.) allegedly subsidize the "red"states (Utah, Alabama, Texas, et al.). I have my doubts about themethodology behind this math, but at least the liberals tend tocirculate this as the truth so it must be true.

If this is indeed what the left seriously believes, then it shouldn'tpossibly object to dividing the United States into two. The onlything worse for 150 million liberals than having 150 millionconservatives around is having to subsidize these 150 millionconservatives. In a rational liberal's mind, spinning off these vastswaths of Neanderthals into its own conservative asylum shouldtherefore solve all problems, right?

If the liberals are right, and the society they create is indeedbetter for everyone, all the smart people would flock to the "red"states, where there would be a strong liberal majority to implementwhatever Nirvana they have in mind. Why should they risk a RepublicanPresident and a potential Republican Senate getting elected in 2016 toupset this path to liberal prosperity?

We just had an election cementing divided government -- for now. Theliberals have the White House and the Senate and the conservativeshave the House and most governorships. The country has been within afew short percentage points from 50-50 for 20 years now, and on mostelection years before then as well.

With our governmental bodies almost equally divided from year to year,we lurch from just under 50% of the population being unhappy anddepressed for two-four-eight years, to another just-under 50% of the populationbeing unhappy and depressed for the next two-four-eight years. Imagine theloss of productivity that follows from this anger and strife, all thebrain cycles lost into the ether of political conflict and razor-sharplosses.

If America divided into two, both sides would get their way. Therewould be no losers. People could focus on working and living theirlives. It would be like having the cake and eating it too. How couldanybody without dictatorial ambitions possibly oppose this?

President Obama, of all people, ought to love it. As the liberal darling of thequarter-century, perhaps half-century, of the blue states, he couldprobably be elected ruler for life. Or if not elected, probably notface meaningful opposition if he decided to just stay in power on hisown. Golf and Air Force One forever? C'mon, you know you want it!

As I was writing this article in various stages over the last fewmonths, someone sent me this specific map and proposal for how topractically implement the separation treaty into the two new Americas.

Look at the map. Does anyone else have a better way for how to makethis happen? Let me know. And let the rest of America know. It'sthe best way forward.

Our differences are irreconcilable, and cliff is ahead. It's time foran amicable national divorce.

At the time of publication the author had no position in any of the stocks mentioned.

This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

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