Sometimes, I suspect that a century from now, representatives of the government of the rump remains of the United States of America will go to Salt Lake City to beg the Republic of Deseret for kinder terms on a loan to fund the continuing U.S. war on anything innovative or profitable. The American representatives will have to order chips and salsa before they’ll be served the 3.2 beer in which they’ll drown their sorrows over the progress of the negotiations. Their hosts will drive a hard bargain, still nursing resentment over long-gone dominance by D.C. Utah is already establishing the grounds for that future meeting. Like most westerners, Utahns are pissed about federal control of land and purse strings. Unlike most, though, they seem serious about reshaping that relationship.
In 2012, Utah passed the Transfer of Public Lands Act, essentially demanding that the federal government surrender the two-thirds of the state controlled by Washington, D.C. Other western states are considering similar measures, but Utah paved the way.
But Utah is preparing to go a step further and plans for a future that isn’t funded by federal largesse. The state passed a series of bills as part of a Financial Ready Utah movement. The problem, as the group backing the move explains, is that “More than 40 cents of every dollar the state of Utah spends comes from the federal government that borrows and/or prints more than 40 cents of every dollar it sends to Utah.” Since “The current fiscal trajectory of the federal government is unsustainable,” (a point agreed to by the Congressional Budget Office), Utahns foresee a day when whatever they want done will have to be paid by local funds.