After making a legitimate criticism of Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad’s defense of wind power tax credits, Josh Barro of Bloomberg View suggests that we strip Iowa of its statehood and restore its territorial status.
Though I want Iowa to remain a state, I have a closely related suggestion: the New York city borough of Queens, Barro’s home, has been a reliable source of resistance to various proposals to impose a coherent system of tolls for the East River crossings from Brooklyn and Queens to Manhattan, in part because Queens has a relatively large number of automobile owners who are keen on retaining the option of driving into the central business district toll-free. To those of us who favor a congestion charge, this has been immensely frustrating. And so I propose that we abolish the borough of Queens and disenfranchise its voters in all matters pertaining to municipal and state government. There will be compensation for this seemingly draconian measure: this lawless borderland will become home to casinos, UFC arenas, and other unsavory entertainments, thus generating revenue for the various local mafias that will emerge to fill the power vacuum.
Over time, it is safe to assume that Brooklyn and Nassau County will seize large swathes of territory on their respective borders, in which puppet governments will be installed and settlements established (“New Brooklyn” and “West Nassau”). Eventually, the pitched block-to-block street battles will subside and something like civil peace will be reestablished. When that does happen, however, the bedraggled survivors of the ravaged lands formerly known as Queens will understand the importance of road pricing.