Time for the 51st state?

Thidwick Party

Reflecting on the fact that Greenwich alone – 60,000 people in a population of 2.5 million –  provides 14% of Connecticut’s income tax revenue while getting nothing back, extrapolating that a bit – we’re talking $12,000 per capita – to figure that Fairfield County, with a little help from Avon and West Hartford provides 100% of that revenue source, makes me wonder exactly how much of the total state’s revenue we’re squeezed for. Real estate conveyance tax? It was called “the Gold Coast Tax” precisely because it was drafted to hit only Fairfield County homes – no where else did houses sell for its $500,000 threshold. When inflation took care of that Hartford didn’t repeal the tax on more lowly citizens but did triple it for us. Estate taxes? Again – designed especially for us.

Etc. The few productive towns in the southwestern corner of Connecticut are supporting the rest of an ungrateful state that refuses to cut its spending and instead insists that we just pay them more.

So the question is, why do we put up with this? Imagine a state comprised solely of Fairfield County towns burdened with perhaps a minimal flat tax to cover expenses and no other taxes. Is there any question that we would boom? Every productive person in New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts (and the state we left behind)  would flock here. As would corporations and businesses. We would soar, and Connecticut’s vultures would be left to tax themselves to support their spending.

Really: can you doubt that we’d be the best state in the Union  to live and work in, or that we could possibly fail? There’s no way.

I’d prefer seceding from the country itself, given the people who run it, but as I recall, the events of 1861-65 showed that was a tough way to go (although, ironically, ours would be a rebellion to end slavery, not preserve it). So okay, a fifty-first state it is. How to accomplish this?

Clearly we have to start a new political party and, in honor of both Teddy Roosevelt and Dr. Seuss, I suggest the name “Thidwicks”. You may recall Dr. Seuss’s story of Thidwick, the Big Hearted Moose who, after giving a couple of free-loaders a ride in his antlers, found himself burdened with lazy parasites and chased by hunters. The free-loaders refused to get off so that Thidwick could save his life, insisting that it was their right and his duty to carry them. He finally shakes off his antlers and escapes while the mooches end up stuffed and mounted over the Harvard Hunting Club’s fireplace. I read that story to all my children and, while Hartford’s legislatures will never understand it, I’d be willing to give them each a copy as a farewell gift.


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35 responses to “Time for the 51st state?

  1. Nathan Hale

    Now I remember why I started with Nathan Hale.

    Who will be King over us?

  2. Priapus

    King Raj has a nice ring to it.
    And the State house can be called “Raj Mahal”.

    • christopherfountain

      No, that would only happen if we emulated Hartford and recreated a corrupt government. Why would we want to do that? If structured so there is no power to steal, then the government couldn’t build anything beyond a modest modular.

  3. Anonymous

    Simpler solution: move one’s tax residency to Dallas
    NetJets and G550s allow one to quickly reach desired climate/topography/culture for play time
    CT weather sucks about as much as TX’s

    • christopherfountain

      Simpler, perhaps, but not as much fun. Can you imagine the terror a secessionist movement would strike into the dim, greedy brains up in Hartford?

  4. Buster Ball

    I just found out this morning that interest on mortgages above $1.1mm is not deductable from Federal income taxes. There’s another way the Man is sticking it to the wealthy. Although, I don’t really feel sorry for somebody dumb enough to over leverage themselves.

    • christopherfountain

      That’s quite true, Buster, which is why you’ll see so many mortgages in that amount (it may be $1.1 million – I forget). The smart folks aren’t going to leave money on the table but otherwise, why pay interest? We call these “tax mortgages”.

  5. Jack Martin

    The corrupt society we live in is the American people’s collective fault because they are just bystanders, as they do not act to protect that which is theirs.

  6. Greenwich Ex-Pat

    Looks like Vermont is thinking of the same thing, but probably for different reasons.


    Big news yesterday was how the Obama administration abruptly halted medivac flights from Haiti to Florida, because Gov Crist asked the key question “Who’s gonna pay?”. It seems the Feds were gonna stick Florida with the tab. When Crist asked for Fed money, the Feds shut down the flights.

  7. Anonymous

    Long live the Free Republic of Greenwich!

  8. Wiki Says...

    There have been 35 attempts at towns/counties yearning to secede from their state. I lived on Martha’s Vineyard in 1977 when the Statehood Support Committee was promoted. I haven’t read the whole Wiki article, but so far I haven’t seen an attempt that succeeded (or is that seceded?)

    • christopherfountain

      Well, I’m just warming up to the subject – reading the state constitution would seem like the next step – but there’s always the Nancy Reagan approach: just say no to the tax man. An unlikely prospect – those with the most to lose would just leave the state – but fun? You bet. Revolution for the hell of it. Ah, how I miss Abbie Hoffman.

  9. reason

    To whom much is given, much is expected.

    Its all a question of what is the level where people are not pissed to pay taxes.

    • christopherfountain

      How about, those who produce nothing deserve nothing? I have no particular problem supporting, say Bridgeport – that city could come with us and it too would flourish in a low-tax, minimum regulation environment. Its success would serve as a rebuke to the liberals we leave behind.
      What bothers me is the unending demand for more from Hartford and its union. Cut our pay? Never! Raise taxes instead. Trim our numbers? Never! We doubled the number of state workers since imposing the income tax, we’ve quadrupled our state spending in the past twenty years,all while the population stayed static. And the response to a billion dollar deficit, projected to swell to $9 billion in the next two years, is, not a dime in cuts – tax Fairfield County more. Time to leave.

  10. Retired IB'er

    Wiki Says,

    Don’t forget that little thing called the “Civil War”.

    While one could argue it, too, didn’t succeed (or, ha, ha secede) it did for a period of time and sure made a mess of things!

    No question in my mind that the state of American politics is so broken, and so corrupt, that it may very well take a Civil War Redux to bring the current beast down and be replaced with a “kinder, gentler, simpler” one.

    Or we could all just wait for the Chinese to takeover… another potentially viable plan based upon our current trajectory.

  11. Daniel

    The same thing is happening in California. Sacramento is out of control. But so are all the county and local governments.

  12. Wiki Says...

    The decibel level of discontent in our Nation is deafening…round two would have to be called The Uncivil War since we have forgotten how to have meaningful discourse.

    re leaving Fairfield County: we have many retiree friends who have fled to Essex, Lyme, etc, Middlesex County – great homes, a sixteenth of the property tax bill, still accessible to city by train (although not easy or short)….I’m not sure where I would go if I fled. The Caymans come to mind first.

  13. New to OG

    This is so disappointing! My husband, baby and I just moved to a rental in OG from manhattan and are looking to purchase our first home. In trying to learn more about the community we started going to First Presbyterian of Greenwich and this morning was a fantastic service put on by the high schoolers of Greenwich about what they do to give back. Amazing work with Head Start and mission trips to Honduras, these kids are so involved, not with money but in giving their time. We felt so inspired that this was a great town to raise our 9 month old baby girl. I came home and checked this site, which i do daily for info on real estate, and came across this post and the comments. My husband and I stopped in our tracks and are now fearing “is this what the older people in the community are thinking, is this what they are going to teach our child?” Can we really settle here and raise her in this environment that has no compassion at all? This was just so disheartening to read.

    • christopherfountain

      Oh, cheer up – you can always move back to the city, with its 12 1/2% tax and feel warm all over. But I don’t believe I can be called heartless – I do object, however to being the guy with a neon “chump” sign flashing over his head, which is how Hartford treats Greenwich. And there are of plenty of people still here who want to pay 60% of their income to various government entities, so don’t fret, you’re in good, if diminishing, company.

      You may find – or not – that as that baby grows, and you’re faced with the prospect of coming up with a few hundred thousand dollars to pay her way through college, that you aren’t quite so generous to the good citizens of, say, Naugatuck and their own children’s needs and re-think what exactly the definition of “rich fat cat” is. But if not, God bless you. Welcome to the permanent middle class.

  14. Cat in the Hat

    CF- Who says middle class is a permanent invention, far less a class?

    It only came into existence in the 20th century, and is in danger of permanent extinction.

    • christopherfountain

      Cat – middle class is very much not a 20th Century term. I don’t have the inclination to research it right now but it came up in Germany, I believe, when a merchant class developed that was different than serfs and yet not land-owning lords. When cities developed, the middle class became even more prominent and eventually, came to cause all sorts of trouble – they demanded rights, like the rule of law, sanctity of contracts, recognition of property rights, etc., thus driving aristocrats and communists like Marx crazy. It’s been war against us ever since.

  15. Cat in the Hat

    You refer to the proletariat, no doubt.

  16. Yankee


    “But perhaps it is possible for towns and cities in Fairfield County to form a political entity and disassociate from the rest of Connecticut. After all, for this, precedent is on our side: West Virginia seceded from Virginia during the Civil War.

    “Our county has about one-quarter of the total population of the state and includes five of the nine most populous cities, including Bridgeport, the largest. Yet we pay, by a variety of measures, for about half of Connecticut’s budget. For some of our wealthier towns the disparity is even greater: Greenwich, Stamford, Fairfield, New Canaan, and Westport combine to pay for 25 percent of the whole state budget despite having about 8 percent of the population.

    “Fairfield County is only about 10 percent of the total land area of Connecticut but even as a separate state it wouldn’t be too small: It would be about half the size of Rhode Island or about ten times the size of Washington, D.C.”

  17. Nathan Hale

    It would be useful to remember how Connecticut became a colony in the first place.

    And that we used to own Ohio too.

  18. Arouet

    CF, in your historical narrative, what movement spawns those key-playing communists, and how did they accumulate so much leverage over the middle class?

    • christopherfountain

      Envy and greed. As the Russians say, “better I have no cow than my neighbor has two.” As old as Cain and Abel.

  19. Anonymous

    To New in OG:
    If you want to impose your self-righteous moralizing upon the rest of us, then leave.
    Read William Graham Sumner’s Forgotten Man, or Amity Schlaes modern reprise. We don’t need the smugly self-righteous deciding for us that enforced government confiscations to fund their pet causes is right.
    You social-cause-nazis can go home to the Upper West Side now.

  20. Greenwich Gal

    Dear New to OG;
    Fret not, this is a mostly libertarian, “right of Genghis Khan” type of blog and by all means does not represent ALL of Greenwich. I mean I am a somewhat moderate republican and have been called a communist by this crowd! But CF and his fellow bloggers are very entertaining and have a vital and very real point of view, many of which I happen to agree with. Greenwich should not be subsidizing the state to the extent that it is.
    Anywho – First Presby., by the way, is a fine church with a very active membership in the community. The congregation practically runs the school board and many charities in Greenwich. You will find like minded, compassionate members there – Republican and Democrat alike, trying to make the world and the community a better place. Welcome to town.

    • christopherfountain

      Plenty of good churches in town with spiritual, compassionate people, completely unlike me, New, so don’t get scared. Trinity is one of my favorites, but First Congo, right around the corner from The First Presby has many great people, including Pal Nancy, and Stanwich has an interesting mixture of people who seem to think they’re God’s gift to man and those who understand that they’re the recipients and beneficiaries of God’s gifts. But GG’s correct – this blog tends to be a little bit to the right of Genghis and his grandfather (?) Atilla. But we’re libertarian, not animists.

  21. Oust new to OG

    If the new reader in OG wants to be so loving to her fellow inhabitants, why doesn’t she start by paying her way for a service delivered and utilised by herself on a daily basis? Leave a paypal number, why don’t you? I wish you would.
    Can’t you start banning irritating readers, even if they are ‘religious’? I suspect that she goes to Church to ‘show’ her face, you know the type. A true Christian wouldn’t judge your thought processes on these matters.

  22. FF

    To the lady who thinks that these grumps speak for this Town where I, too, raise my pre-teen children:

    Only when their investment accounts are down. In good times they just think its funny

  23. Sanjay Bigglesworth

    The motto for the newly christened state of Fairfield. “We produce nothing of economic value, and we’re proud of it.”

    • christopherfountain

      Well if we produce nothing of value here surely the rest of Connecticut can do without our teat.

  24. My rant

    From 1994-2006, during a period of tremendous GDP expansion and corporate earnings growth in America, the salaries of the bottom 10% of wage earners rose just 3%. During this same 12-year period, the top 10% of wage earners had an average increase of 52%, the top 1% an average increase of 86%, and the top .1% an average increase of 112% —– pretty startling. But it’s even more alarming when you look at this disparity in terms of dollars. After 12 years, the $30,000 earner (3% increase) grossed just $900 extra (not enough for a 42″ VIZIO flatscreen in 2006). The $500,000 earner (112% increase) went up another $560,000 gross! Does a comparison of the “net” income of these two earners change the argument in any material way? Obviously no.

    The rich are asked to pick up an increasing share of the tax burden because their incomes continue to ACCELERATE away from the working class.