Americans are fed up. They feel ignored by representatives more interested in corporate connections than the Constitution. They protest unelected agencies who spy on them and run their lives at home. They complain about the speaker of the house who refuses to follow the principles of his party.
they cry foul at a president using executive orders to force his agenda. They’re angry at lawmakers who aren’t listening even when they do answer their phones, and as taxpayers are overwhelmed with a bottomless pit of debt. Even state legislators and local officials are under fire for taking the bait from federal departments who now drive local school boards, electricity flow and personal healthcare.
Some just shrug their shoulders and say “What can you do?” A great many others, though, are engaging in the American tradition of migrating and removing themselves to areas of the country where they feel they have more control over their lives.
Not surprisingly, money is a prime motivator. Recent census data confirms movement from fiscally imploding states, such as Illinois, to ones with stronger stewardship. In 2012, the state had a net loss of 70,000 individuals out of 270,000 movers, the largest numbers (more than 20,000 each) to Missouri, Wisconsin, Indiana, Texas and Florida. That year, the Auditor General of Illinois reported a debt of more than $43 billion and according to insiders, the state bill payers complied with the constitutional mandate to balance the budget only by literally leaving unpaid bills in a drawer.
The state also had the second highest unemployment numbers in the country. Governor Pat Quinn’s recently announced “progressive” income tax, which would increase the amount of cash flowing from higher earning households into the state’s annual billion dollar obligations to Medicaid (Obamacare) and union pensions, could spur more migration. California, which managed to take the number one spot as “worst managed state” in a 2013 survey has a similar problem. Estimated Census figures put the number of migrating at around 566,000, with a net loss of 70,000 people, similar to Illinois.
Heading to New Hampshire
More than a few may be headed to New Hampshire. There, the Free State Project, has been working since 2003 to bring 20,000 libertarian-minded souls to the “Live Free or Die” state in order to affect public policy there. A decade ago the first organizers solicited votes from concerned citizens around the country interested in relocating to a state where they could establish a strong enough presence mathematically to cement and promote liberty principals. So far, more than 15,000 individuals have committed by name to move within five years of reaching the goal. With fewer than 5000 signatures left, the Free State Project website is already highlighting “Trigger the Move,” a reference to the day pledges top 20,000 and signatories are expected to begin packing.
There is also a movement to encourage liberty-minded Americans to relocate to what popular author and prepping blogmeister James, Wesley Rawles calls “The American Redoubt.” The term primarily encompasses conservative mountain states where population density is low and local regulations favor property and gun rights. Included in that list are Idaho, Utah, Montana, Wyoming and eastern portions of Oregon and Washington. The name references the hidden community of Galt’s Gulch, where industrial leaders lived after abandoning their corporate entities, in Atlas Shrugged, the novel by Soviet-born Ayn Rand. Californians seem to have gotten the word. More than 105,000 moved into those states, especially the neighboring ones, in 2012.
Interest in relocation has also been fueled by highly publicized moves of some popular voices in conservative and liberty media. Former Fox News channel personality Glenn Beck moved from New York City in 2011 to Dallas, where he set up his own subscription television concern. Florida pastor Chuck Baldwin garnered significant attention from like-minded Christians (and the Southern Poverty Law Center) in 2010 when he left his thriving ministry in Pensacola, and with his entire extended family moved to the hinterlands of Montana, citing deep worries over the future of the country. And radio and television talk show host, Sean Hannity looks as if he might make good on his threat to relocate in response to New York governor Andrew Cuomo’s recent public remarks that there was no place for “extreme conservatives” in the state. Hannity says he still has a child left to graduate high school, but has already listed one of his New York houses for sale.
Then there is the growing sentiment toward secession. Here, the thinking is: if the state isn’t listening to the people, then the people make their own state. The contemporary inclination to what used to be a 100-year old history lesson has increased significantly since 2009 when Governor Rick Perry teased “you never know what could happen,” in answer to a secession related question at a Texas political rally.
But there has been much more than talk in several states in recent months, primarily among rural counties wishing to part from the growing power of their urban centers. Several counties in northern California have been toying with the possibility in order to stop the drain on their resources from the southern part of the state, as have frustrated conservatives in northeastern Colorado. Very recently, news broke about a growing interest by upstate New York to split off from the city, which detractors say is dragging them down and siphoning off their prosperity. Same for promoters of “Western Maryland,” who have similar gripes. They may have an uphill battle; state legislatures must approve the split and none are expected to do so. New Hampshire stands alone as the only state where secession is permitted.
In a country of 320 million, a few hundred thousand folks heading for the hills isn’t much. Yet, enough in one place might make a difference and that’s exactly what the movers are hoping.