Apparently a billionaire venture capitalist (so you know whatever he wants must be a Great Idea) named Timothy Draper has a plan to turn California from one state into six states. In fact, he’s just announced that he has collected enough signatures to get the measure onto the 2016 ballot as a referendum. If you hadn’t heard of his plucky proposal, that’s probably because it has no chance of actually coming to fruition, seeing as how the referendum has little chance of passing, and how even if it did the US Constitution says you can only split a state into two or more states by legislation, not referendum, and how even if he somehow got the California legislature to pass this wacky thing there’s no way it would ever pass the US Congress, which must also approve of such a measure according to that damn Constitution thingy.
But anyway, what’s put this particular bee up this particular billionaire’s butt?
Draper argues that the plan would dispense with the lumbering state bureaucracy, create “more competition and less monopolistic power,” and allow each state to create a new constitution from scratch. “People would be closer to their government. It will be their government. Right now they feel distant,” he told New York Magazine’s Kevin Roose.
Well that seems nice. I mean, it’s nice to be closer to your government and have more influence, right? Gosh, have I been wrong about billionaires all this time? Maybe they really do have our best interests at hea–
Yet the plan’s most dramatic implications would be for wealth distribution and inequality. The proposed new state of Silicon Valley (where Draper lives) would become the richest state in the nation, while the new state of Central California would be the poorest, according to a report by the state legislative analyst’s office.
Oh, OK. Rich guy tired of paying for stuff that helps poor people. I’d call this a “dog bites man” story except that even “dog bites man” is a bigger surprise twist than “rich dude hates poors.” But Draper says that the poor folks in central CA really love his idea to make them even poorer:
It’s interesting, the way it’s coming out is that the people in Central California, and the people in Jefferson, who would be the poorest states, are the ones who are the most enthusiastic supporter of Six Californias. They are the have-nots under the current regime.
I’m sure they are the have-nots under the current regime. The solution for that is to elect a new regime that will boost social services to the poor even if it means inconveniencing billionaire venture capitalists a tiny bit. What Draper is proposing is just a gated community with Congressional representation.