The Two New England Towers

towers

A separation is fast approaching. A great schism looms on the horizon, threatening to split a region in twain. Sooner or later, New England is coming apart.

Most people probably think of New England as a single, semi-homogenous area, all centered around Boston. When the denizens of the great, free western parts of the United States rant and rave about everything that’s wrong with America today, they point to New England. They point to high taxes and high cost of living. They point to crowded cities full of crime. They point to smothering government regulations on anything and everything.

And they’re right. And wrong. Such gross generalizations would be appropriate for half of New England, but completely inappropriate for the other half. The two sides of this region, the less-inhabited Arcadia to the north and the major population centers in the south, can be like night and day. We could go back and forth all day long with state-to-state comparisons across the whole region, but why not embrace a flair for the dramatics and cut right to Massachusetts vs. New Hampshire?

New Hampshire is relatively sparsely populated, while Massachusetts lives up to the steretype of overcrowded New England, having over five times the population density. With the aforementioned density comes a higher crime rate, which is around three times that of its northern neighbor. To top it all off, Boston’s notoriously-high cost of living contrasts sharply with Manchester a mere stone’s throw away, which managed to top Forbes’ list of cheapest cities to live. We’re clearly not talking about the same animal here.

Where the contrast between the two really shows is in their opposing philosophies of governance. On top of federal taxes, Massachusetts has a sales tax and state income tax rate of 6.25% and 5.25%, respectively. New Hampshire’s rates, respectively, are 0% and 0%. Prospective Mass. gun owners must navigate through a morass of laws, permits, and regulations in order to purchase, possess, and bear any arms. Go right across the border and you can buy a gun from a friend and immediately thereafter display it in public with pride, all without Johnny Law hindering your peaceful gun-toting exuberance. Finally, on public service, Massachusetts boasts 160 state representatives (one for about 40,000 people), paid almost $60,000 a year each. New Hampshire’s 400 state reps (one per approximately 3,200 citizens), on the other hand, are each paid a comically-low $100 per year.

We could go on and on, but the point stands: we’re clearly not talking about the same New England. Denizens of the free Arcadian north have been trying to make this case for years. The Free State Project in particular has even compiled a list of reasons why New Hampshire is far superior to its southern neighbors, especially in the domain of a free and independent society. Massachusetts, on the other hand, gets stuck with the gleefully mocking Free Lunch Project. The whole affair ressembles bickering siblings living under the same roof; siblings who could be well-served to move out and go their separate ways.

The face-off between the two New England towers will happen sooner or later, and it would be wise to adjust accordingly now. The Arcadians will go their separate way, free from Boston’s grasp. And it will be a welcome divorce.

Joël Valenzuela
Joël Valenzuela
Editor at The Desert Lynx
Joël Valenzuela is the editor of The Desert Lynx. He is also the founder of the Rights Brigade, a mover for the Free State Project, and a martial art instructor.
  • Some truth to it, but a little oversimplified. Most of NH wealth comes from jobs in Boston (Most of the population of NH is in the south, within Massachusetts commuter access). And NH has very high property taxes, road tolls, etc. Those commuting to NH to avoid income tax face 1) gasoline and auto expenses, 2) higher property taxes, and some other losses (like mortgage protection).

    Still, you are correct, they do wind up ahead, if slightly. But if you recruit 20,000 more people to move to NH, that savings could disappear. Housing costs will go up. At a certain point, it would make sense, (based on the demand created by the Free State Project’s 20K incoming home buyers), to sell one’s house in NH because demand has increased. If you can get an extra $30K or 10% on your home, you can deposit it and earn enough interest income to make the difference in MA. Oh, and the person who paid 10% more for your old NH house, based on the increased demand from 19,999 other re-locators, will be paying higher property taxes (on the additional $30K they paid).

    Home ownership and commuting are two of the biggest living expenses – far bigger than the difference in the income tax. I think you are best off moving to NH and not telling anyone, keep it your secret. Real estate doesn’t reduce with larger scale.

    • LynxFreeorDie

      Of course, it’s a bit simplified for the sake of making the point that the region isn’t all that homogenous. And while I’d initially agree that all those people moving to NH would have an impact on cost of living, the kind of people who will be moving will be dead-set on making sure the state remains everything it is, and more. If (when) the Free State Project is successful, the gap between NH and MA will only grow. Mark my words.

  • Bob Robertson

    One of those comical happenings are the large numbers of people from Mass who move to southern NH, as you say just a stone’s throw away, because of the lower taxes and regulations.

    All well and good, but then they VOTE for the govt crap they think they want, and act surprised when their taxes go up.

    • LynxFreeorDie

      At some point, though, I believe the culture of the region will change so that immigrants come in knowing what they’re going to find. Like none of those immigrants to the U.S. from the former U.S.S.R. came looking to commie the place up.

  • Well, of course the U.S.S.R. spies did… 😉

  • Michael Pelletier

    The crime rate has nothing to do with “population density,” but with the fact that self-defense is criminalized and the tools of self-defense are banned. As attorney general Martha Coakley said after a man stabbing a doctor to death was shot by an armed citizen, “All I’m saying is that…we really try and discourage people from self-help.”

    http://michellemalkin.com/2008/07/16/report-father-charged-for-defending-4-year-old-from-molestation/

    • I would say it probably has something to do with both. My inclination is towards the right to self-defense approach, but large urban metro areas do tend to have higher crime regardless.