Keeping Our Votes In The Electoral College
There was great joy among elected officials in the commonwealth of Massachusetts last week.
The cause for celebration?
The latest census count means the state will not have to give up yet another congressional seat and electoral vote.
I say “another” because the Bay State’s electoral clout has been in steep decline forever.
We get to keep our nine seats and 11 electoral votes. Whoopee!
The Good ol’ Days Of 16 Electoral Votes
When I was a kid, back in the ‘50s, we had 14 members of the House and 16 electoral votes. Life was good. The state was a springboard to the presidency, as the election of John F. Kennedy proved in 1960.
Ever since — I am thinking of Mike Dukakis, John Kerry, Mitt Romney, and Elizabeth Warren — using Massachusetts as a springboard has ended up more of a swan dive into an empty pool.
When Massacusetts Was On Top
Of course, back in 1818, Massachusetts had 22 electoral votes out of a total of just 235 (there has been electoral inflation since, with the number finally fixed at 535). Massachusetts was in the driver’s seat.
But then someone got the bright idea of giving up the district of Maine, allowing it to become a separate state. Overnight, we dropped to nine. This was done to allow Missouri to enter the Union as a slave state — a lose-lose situation if ever there was one.
People like Secretary of State William F. Galvin told us that it is “good news” to not have lost a congressional seat.
Who Celebrates A Tie?
Really? Are we so accustomed to losing that we now celebrate a tie? (My Dad, a Notre Dame alum, used to say, “A tie is like kissing your sister.” We never asked the obvious follow-up question.)
To be fair, Massachusetts did grow over the decade by 7.4%.
The real problem is that other states are growing faster.
Texas, Colorado, and Florida gained seats.
Sure, some of this was due to immigration. But a lot of it has to do with a baby gap.
MA Needs More Votes: Calling All Babies
Massachusetts needs more babies. We have fallen below replacement rate. Utah is producing offspring at three times the rate we can manage. Even Idaho is ahead of us — and do you really want another member of Congress from Idaho? We need to pull up our socks — or, more to the point, remove them — if we are to close this gap.
I have given this a lot of thought. I come from a family of six. And while we six were not exactly prolific, we did manage to replace ourselves, collectively producing six.
But there it ended. Not a single grandchild. Zero. Zip. Naught.
I did a root-cause analysis to figure out the underlying impediment.
The Pets Standing In Our Way
The answer? Pets!
Dogs and cats are keeping birthrates low among millennials.
Virtually all of our offspring have gone the pet route — and they treat them like, well, children. Except that pets are far less work and far more grateful.
Think about it.
Pets Are Easy To Housebreak
A dog or cat can be housebroken in a matter of weeks. A baby? You’re talking more than a year.
A dog or cat never goes through the “terrible teens.” You never have to explain the facts of life to them. You don’t have to take them to T-ball and gush when they get a “participation” trophy.
Pets Don’t Go To College
Dogs and cats also have no interest in going to B.C., B.U., Harvard, or Tufts — so you save $240,000 right there. And, of course, there’s none of that childbirth stuff, a moment where women express their true feelings about their partners.
So here is a real made-in-Massachusetts solution: taxes! Tax pets the way you would a yacht or any other luxury item. And I don’t mean something inconsequential — $5,000 per pet per year would do the trick.
Then put that money into a Bay State Baby Bonus program. Five thousand dollars per baby per year. Hear that sound? Boom!
By 2030, the problem would be solved. Take that, Utah and Montana! And America, get ready for Seth Moulton to test out his new springboard.