Monday, March 26, 2012

Artur Mas wants to be like Massachusetts

I think people in Catalunya confuse the fact that in English, a state isn’t necessarily a sovereign state, but can also mean something more akin to a province. So when Catalans hear the “United States of America”, they think it’s some kind of loose federation, like Switzerland. In reality, Spain is much more federal than the United States has been since at least the 1930s. Spain is like 17 little countries, all duplicating the same services, each with their own TV network (there was an article in the Economist a while back remarking that at a summit Zapatero had more reporters following him than Obama. Doubtlessly every one of the 17 networks sent their own TV crew.), health service, school system, etc.

Then Artur starts talking out of his ass and saying how Catalunya could be like Massachusetts in the United States of Europe. I’m sure he’d be shocked to find that according to the Tax Foundation, Massachusetts only gets back 82 cents for every dollar sent to Washington DC.

It’s nice to see how he thinks that Catalunya will be at the forefront of research and technology, but given a general unwillingness to invest in primary and secondary education, it’s hard to see where these researchers are going to come from, especially now that they have the requirement for university professors to know Catalan in order to get tenure.

Now Mas even wants to create his own IRS, which I’m sure scares the crap out of any multinational that was still thinking of setting up in Catalunya. I mean seriously, if you had a choice between Barcelona and Madrid, you almost can’t responsibly chose Barcelona anymore if there’s no long term certainty about sovereignty and taxation.

Finally, I hope Artur Mas learned about the last time a US State tried to separate. There was that little experiment called the US Civil War, and it didn’t go so well for the states that thought they could just leave.


Anonymous said...

According to the document that you cite, every person in Massachusetts loses $1319 a year on average due to redistribution of wealth between states. In Catalonia, the situation is much worse. If we are to believe the 8.4% of GDP figure that the Gov. of Catalonia claims to be the region's fiscal annual outflow, that is €2191 per person per year (~$2921 per year).

Jeremy Holland said...

Who knows if is really 8.4% of GDP? I read a study where the amount was calculated at 0.4%. Percentages are easy to manipulate. Of course even if we were to take the 8.4% at face value it pales in comparison to the 204% of the GDP Minnesota lost to the Federal Government in 2009