“Once New Hampshire secedes, will we be able to travel to other states?”
This is certainly a legitimate question. Many people rightfully fear that once we cut ties to DC, they may not be able to travel to other states for work or pleasure. Of course, many New Hampshire citizens do work in Massachusetts, Maine, and Vermont. Many also travel to other states to see family or for vacations. If secession meant that citizens were trapped in New Hampshire forever or that it would be extremely difficult to travel to other states, it would certainly be a reason to support secession less or not at all.
While it is not possible to predict the future or guarantee any political outcome, we could be fairly certain of how interstate travel might play out once New Hampshire inevitably cuts ties with DC politicians. As with all interstate lines, both sides have the right to control the border. Let’s address New Hampshire and the union:
The state is increasingly run by libertarians, especially on issues involving borders. By the time secession occurs, the majority of the legislature and the electorate will likely be libertarian, at least on border issues. Over the past few decades, progressives have been growing bolder in their declarations that borders should not exist anywhere on Earth for any reason whatsoever. So, the progressives in the legislature would certainly endorse a totally open border policy with the union. If they believe that there should be no border separating the United states from Mexico or Canada, they would surely not want any border separating Vermont, Maine, and Massachusetts from New Hampshire. The Republicans in the legislature are governing more like libertarians each year, and most of them seem to be fairly liberal on border issues. Considering their support for free trade and prosperity, we could safely assume that they would not build a wall or implement strong immigration controls on New Hampshire’s borders. Once they mentioned that it would cost taxpayers money to do so, the ultra-frugal tax base would likely reject the proposal anyway. The moderates in the legislature also seem to be quite liberal on border policy. It seems unlikely that they would support strong immigraiton controls with union states either. In summary, there would be little to no appetite for blocking travel anywhere in the New Hampshire legislature.
The united states and DC are increasingly controlled by progressives. And one of the hallmarks of progressive ideology is the belief that borders are nothing more than a modern construct related to authoritarianism and racism, and that they should not exist. Most states are run by progressives, especially on border policies. Moderate Republicans in DC also support open borders, and they generally do not oppose Democrat policies. Centrists in both parties support open borders. The few conservatives in Congress who support moderate to strong border controls are diminishing in numbers and strength. And those conservatives would be unlikely to support policies that choke out the libertarian-conservatives state of New Hampshire. Blocking travel from New Hampshire would also mean blocking or severely restricting travel from the entire state of Maine, as well. It would be very difficult to imagine Congress blocking travel to and from Maine and New Hampshire. Considering that the federal government and nearly every state in the union has been increasingly supporting freedom of movement all over the world, blocking travel from New Hampshire would be hypocrisy so profound that even politicians would not likely endorse it.
What would daily life look like for residents of Manchester who commute to Boston every day for work?
There would likely be no restrictions from New Hampshire’s side of the border. And the progressives who run Massachusetts and Boston have made it clear that they do not believe in borders, so they could not possibly restrict the worker’s commute to and from work. It would be hard to imagine any restrictions for the Granite Stater. Traveling to Vermont or Maine would also likely be unrestricted. And traveling for pleasure would likely be as easy as traveling for work. While New Hampshire license plates would no longer be ‘united states’ plates, the most likely scenario would presume that the federal government and other states would respect the license of New Hampshire drivers, just like they do for drivers from Canada. Currently, drivers with licenses and plates from Ontario, Quebec, and all other Canadian provinces are able to drive around the united states without any issues, and vice versa.
Likewise, residents of the union states would be free to travel into New Hampshire as often as they desire. I could not imagine anyone stopping them. We are very welcoming, and we love when people visit our state, especially if they are spending money here.
“How would air travel be affected once New Hampshire is independent?”
Many Granite Staters rely on airline service to bring them to faraway destinations, whether for business or pleasure. Let’s explore how air travel might be affected by New Hampshire’s independence.
Firstly, it is important to understand that very little will be noticeably different when traveling on an airline from a traveler’s perspective. If you have a favorite air carrier, such as Southwest or Delta, you will still be able to use your well-earned miles and travel on those airlines. In New Hampshire, we have two large airports that offer airline service, Manchester Regional, and Pease Air Force Base, both of which offer tickets from a selection of a dozen or so airlines. In this case, nothing would be different when you purchase your ticket, so long as these airlines still serve these airports. If you have ever flown internationally, you understand the process, and it is pretty simple.
History tells us that less regulation on airlines results in greater competition and a decrease in ticket prices. Before the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978, the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) controlled how the airlines operated. “Under the Civil Aeronautics Board system, routes were supposed to be awarded among the existing carriers based on the perceived needs of the communities and cities requiring service . . . This [control] produced a system that was not designed to be cost-efficient, but it was stable.”
Since routes had to be approved by the Civil Aeronautics Board, very few, if any, were ever approved. The other issue was that the Civil Aeronautics Board set fares and rates too high for many average citizens to afford. The initial shake-up and talk of deregulation began in the early 1970s with economist Alfred Kahn. Kahn’s background as an economist echoes his understanding that we should view the airlines in a business structure, rather than as a public utility to be centrally controlled by DC politicians. He figured that if we broke up the airline industry structure, new airlines would emerge, which would, in turn, lower the fares and increase competition. Before the Act even passed, Kahn attacked regulation of the airlines in order to create something as close to total deregulation as the existing law would permit . . . “we’re going to get the airline eggs so scrambled that no one was ever going to be able to unscramble them.”
Today, the united states offers the Open Skies Agreement for international airlines, which would take effect flying from the union to New Hampshire. According to the US Department of State, ‘Open Skies’ agreements are bilateral air service agreements the federal government negotiates with other countries to provide rights for airlines to offer international air services. They are pro-consumer, pro-competition, and pro-growth, and include reciprocal obligations to eliminate government interference in commercial airline decisions about routes, capacity, and pricing. This effect reduces overall consumer pricing while maintaining efficiency and facilitating economic growth. Negotiating between international routes becomes more straightforward with Open Skies agreements.
George W. Bush organized the Department of Homeland Security, which led to the creation of our beloved Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Anyone who has flown on a commercial airline knows the pains of the “new and improved” airport security and the long lines and bodily violations that go with it. Before September 11, 2001 and the creation of the TSA, security generally involved a metal detector, and your family and friends were allowed to enter the gate area to see you off. Gone are the days of saying goodbye without having your personal space violated by these agents and machines and your water bottle or nail clipper taken hostage. It is interesting to note that airports are not required to hire the national TSA. Our airports could employ their own security companies or system if they prefer. However, the government taxes us for the TSA anyway, so utilizing their security service is the financially wise decision.
When Joe Biden took office in 2020, he made it mandatory that anyone on federal property wears a mask due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This mandate is still in effect two years later, which means anyone at an airport within the union must adhere to this rule. Unfortunately, it is primarily the airlines that enforce the mask rules, so it is unlikely that the independence of New Hampshire would have much effect on this ruling. On the other hand, if there were domestic travel within the Republic of New Hampshire, the mask mandate would no longer apply. We can assume the same would be true if vaccination were a prerequisite to travel by air in the united states.
Once New Hampshire elects to leave the union, its economy and society in general will become dramatically freer. This would allow for innovation at a scale not seen in generations. Without federal taxes and regulations, Granite Staters may even create a new form of travel. Unlike the governments of California and the union, individuals in New Hampshire may build a private high-speed train system that improves interstate travel into and out of the state. When free people are allowed to innovate, only good things happen, because the free market only rewards the best ideas. We could not possibly know what interstate travel would look like in a free and independent state of New Hampshire. And that is the point. Central planning does not work. Not from DC, and not from the New Hampshire government. We do know this for certain. Instead of a few politicians or enforcers creating policies, we must allow individuals to experiment and we must allow the invisible hand of the free market to choose the best innovations while weeding out the worst. In all likelihood, every aspect of interstate travel would improve drastically in every way once New Hampshire exits the union and leaves from under the control of DC politicians.
*Katie Guello contributed to this article