Could an American state secede?

Not after secession.

Which of those industries would stay? Do you really think that Lockheed Martin, for instance, would stay if the US government told them that they would no longer do business with them if they stayed in California?

There would be substantial economic incentive to leave California and quickly if they seceded. Think of how much hay these companies make by claiming to be US companies.

If your mom had balls she’d be your dad. There is no way that the United States would let California go with its best wishes (though God knows sometimes I wish they would). The relationship would be nothing if not acrimonious.

What are they going to? Put wheels on the factories and drive them to Nevada? The plants are in California and the workers are in California.

Maybe there’s a benefit to defense contractors, but for most industries it doesn’t make that much difference. Canada has a smaller economy than California and Canadian companies aren’t automatically crippled by not being “U.S. companies”.

If the rest of the United States is hostile then then question of secession for any state is moot. The U.S. military would quickly roll right over whatever armed forces the secessionists could scrape together.

The point is that California on its own is a viable economic unit in a way that Wyoming, for example, isn’t.

Yeah, because no companies move and nobody else in the country would accept a new factory with open arms and substantial economic concessions.

And that’s a crock too. There’s a reason that people put tags on stuff that say “Made in USA”. Do you really think that they would want to buy stuff made by the turncoats in California?

They wouldn’t have to. I’d bet you the GDP of California that they’d be crawling back and begging for readmission within 5 years.

Now. Not after secession. California might be able to limp through for a while, but they’d be back before the Governator would ever think of saying so.

Reread Texas v White. It implies that if a state wanted to seceed and Congress said OK, then everything would be legal.

I think a lot of California’s economy is dependent on it being part of the United States. For example, the defense companies in California - I’m sure the United States government would insist on dealing with American corporations rather than foreign Californian ones - so they would all pull out and relocate. Similar concerns would also affect California’s computer industries. I’m betting a lot of California’s entertainment companies would also pull out (the USA would still be a bigger market than California). And California’s agriculture is dependent on out-of-state water - there are already local complaints about this water going to California and if it became a foreign nation I’m betting the pipelines would be shut down. And then there would just be the general movement among the residents of California who would prefer to remain American citizens and would leave the state. Even with no hostility on the part of the United States, I’m betting California loses 75% of its economy in a secession.

Probably a silly question and I can’t think of any good reason why a state would wish to do so, but could a state potentially renounce statehood and remain part of the United States as a territory or something similar?

Again, I know it’s completely unlikely that any state would think doing so would be to their benefit, but I wonder what would happen.

California’s economy is larger than that of fairly significant economic powerhouses like Italy or Canada, neither of which seem to have any problems with credit.

As to FEMA, I would suggest that its record strongly indicates a state would probably get more value out of setting up its own emergency management department.

Taxes. Non-state residents don’t pay federal taxes. (Well, it’s actually more complicated than that. They do pay some federal taxes but not as much of them.)

As has been said many times already, their economy will be severely curtailed by the mass exodus of businesses and population. Your estimation of success is predicated on the current state of affairs remaining the same, which is a fantasy.

Yep. The 1989 earthquake caused $6 billion in damage, of which more than half was covered by the Federal government. But California can handle that simply by raising taxes, right?

No, I didn’t think so either.

In 1998, California paid $20 billion more to Washington than it got back.
Cite (pdf). I believe Pennsylvania is getting ripped off also - I know New York is.

Perhaps defense work would move. But maybe a deal would be worked out, since there would be major national security implications of a multi-year gap in production.

As for the computer industry, no change at all - except it will be easier to issue visas for foreign workers. Plenty of states have tried to set up silicon glens, bayous, and swamps, but it hasn’t ever worked. Being from the East, I like the snow, but if you think more than a handful of people here would move from “the best place on earth” to freeze their asses off in Pennsylvania, you’re out of your gourd. This will span political parties - the righties will like a smaller government and the lefties will like that the DoJ gestapo will no longer shut down medical marijuana clinics.

Not to mention, we get back all that federally owned land.

Water might be an issue, but you think Arizona wouldn’t send water for money?
Nevada would probably join us - their economy would shut down without Californians going to Vegas.

Wrongo. Less than half the annual balance of payments deficit. Try again.

The “power problems” were artificially created by out of state enterprises. It has nothing to do with California, except possibly as punishment for voting against Bush.

And blue states in general are carrying the red states on their backs.

They can claim that no matter where their factories are. Big companies are transnational; they have no loyalty to America or anywhere else.
As for all the arguments about how California needs water, trade, whatever from the US; of course. But that’s no different that saying that the US army could keep it from seceding. No state is going to secede unless it’s permitted to, in which case there’s no reason to expect such measures; either the parting is amicable, or the Federal Government is far weaker than it is now.

The rest of the U.S. would be a lot more screwed than California if California seceded. Look around your house. Where is all of that crap made? China, Taiwan, Japan and other Asian countries. How does all that crap get into the U.S.? The port of Los Angeles and the port of Long Beach, the 1st and 2nd most important ports in the United States.

It has been said many times, but only by you. Tell us exactly how much the economy would be hurt and how many people would leave. You’re just making all this stuff up. Maybe the economy would suffer a bit, or maybe it would get better. We really have no way of knowing. But economic catastrophy? I don’t see why.

Why not? The CA state budget right now is about $100B. We could raise taxes by 3% without any problem at all if we weren’t paying any federal taxes. In fact, we’d probably end up doubling our taxes at least since most people pay much more to the feds than to their states.

Eh… try 8th and 14th in terms of tonnage. And I suspect we’d be far worse off without Houston or S. Louisiana (2nd and 1st largest in terms of tonnage, and Houston is #1 in foreign trade)

I suspect a lot of the business would shift north to Oregon and Washington ports, especially Portland, Tacoma, and Seattle, that already do plenty of trade (export and import) with Asia. It wouldn’t be an ideal situation at first, since the ports are smaller than their Californian counterparts, but then, how much of what California imports is for Californian use, rather than for other states?

It depends on how you rank them. If you go by container volume LA and Long Beach are 1 and two link. I suspect the difference in volume vs tonnage has to do with oil.

I’d imagine a lot of it is for import further into the U.S. Looking up the cite for bump, I notice that Oakland is #6 in container volume. I can’t imagine CA got the 1st, 2nd, and 6th largest ports just through internal consumption.

Since all the taxes currently paid by Californians to Washington, D.C. would presumably be available to be sent to Sacramento, then yes, they could. Californians probably pay, by my wild estimate, about Do you really think rich, full-of-income-tax-cows California gets more out of the federal government than it pours in? California has 11% of the population but pays about 17% of all the income tax.

California is one of the states that’s supporting the poor states. A state like Alabama or Wyoming would be in serious trouble if they left; a rich, pay-more-than-they-get-out-of-the-union state like California would be far more able to survive. There would be initial economic disruption but you’re living in fantasyworld if you think the state would just die; it’s nutty. Eventually good economic sense will win out.

I’m not for a minute advocating that they leave, just saying it could be done.

I’ve done a boatload of research on this, for reasons too complex to go into now, and what I found out was that there is no actual law against secession. In fact, the U.S. government simply does not consider it a plausible scenario. I have one communication from “the Pentagon” that says there is no plan to quell an armed insurrection within the United States.

What if a bloc of states wanted to secede? Say Washington, Oregon, California and (what the hell) Idaho. If there were any doubt that California could survive on its own, surely such a bloc would have no problem.

What complexities would this introduce vs. the original scenario? Would the states be granted individual permission to secede, or would it be possible that Washington would be negotiating with a nascent rival government (headed by Reichskanzellor Ah-nold)? Or does it all depend on the fantasy scenario?

I didn’t mean to imply at all that it was just internal consumption- I was wondering if anyone had the figures on shipping with a California destination versus further import distribution. It’s a huge state whether you look at physical size, population, or economy, so it seems that a large part of the shipping is for internal consumption. Maybe not the majority, but certainly enough that much less shipping would have to be transferred to Oregon and Washington.