The Plank

Perfidious Delaware


Last night I drove home from northern New Jersey to Washington and it went smoothly enough except that, as customarily happens on such journeys, we hit a wall of traffic halfway through. What was the cause of it? Delaware. Yes, Delaware, that sinkhole of inequity and greed. Delaware, that backward, corrupt parasite state. Delaware, the great underappreciated scandal of modern American life.

Those of us who do not live in Delaware are robbed blind by those who do in numerous ways. Probably the most consequential of those is its lax corporate governance laws, which are designed to attract as many businesses as possible to formally incorporate in that fetid state, shareholder interests be damned. But the most visible is surely its usurious turnpike. On a per mile basis, Delaware charges drivers a rate four times higher than its neighbors to pass through its otherwise inconsequential little strip of pavement. Worse still, its tollbooths are small and inefficient. So even if you have E-Z pass, you will be backed up for miles on end, a cost that for most drivers is far dearer than even the inflated toll fee.

It so happens that the very day of my latest forced detainment in Delaware coincided with Joe Biden's announcement that he plans to run for president. Biden, of course, represents Delaware in the Senate. To me this is an insurmountable taint.

Now, I suppose it's possible that Biden secretly opposes the foul political culture of his state but has held his tongue in order to protect his, and his state's, self-interest. But if we are to consider him as a presidential candidate, he must offer some sign that he would represent the rest of America, not just the one loathsome little bloodsucking tick of a state that has nurtured him.

There is one sign he could make that make that would be unmistakable. Mr. Biden, tear down this tollbooth!

--Jonathan Chait

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