Delevarophobia: (IPA: /ˈdɛləvɛərofəʊbi.ə/) “The hatred of the U.S. State of Delaware.”
I am a Delevarophobe and proud. Why dislike one of the smallest (and—as they will incessantly remind you—the first!) U.S. states? The reasons are legion.
Delaware is named after Thomas West, the Baron de la Warr, known for his time as a governor of Virginia Colony, during which he adapted tactics previously utilized to crush Irish resistance to British rule toward crushing the Powhattan Indians. Though located in the Mid-Atlantic region, having little agricultural utility for slavery, and even freeing slaves gradually through manumission until in 1860 over 90% of the black population were freemen, Delaware strongly resisted the legal abolition of slavery to the point where it rejected the 13th Amendment in 1865 (it was subsequently passed by the state, in 1901!). Segregation in public schools was literally written into the state constitution until overturned by Brown v. Board of Education, of which one portion of the case originated in Delaware.
For such a small state to be competitive, a strategy of low taxation and lax laws were devised to attract businesses. Much like the Cayman Islands, Delaware does not tax profits of corporations made outside the state nor does it require a physical presence of corporations registered in the state. As such, today more than half of American corporations and more than 60% of Fortune 500 companies are incorporated in the state. Furthermore, taking advantage of permissive financial laws, numerous banks have made Delaware their home, with “$2.6 trillion in deposits from non-resident corporations and individuals in 2007” in the state according to the Tax Justice Network. Additionally, Tax Justice has declared Delaware “the most secretive financial jurisdiction,” beating out the traditional favorite, Switzerland. Unlike its European counterparts Switzerland and Luxembourg, Delaware has escaped condemnation as a tax haven by the G20 through its status as a subnational entity of the most powerful country in the world. To further promote itself to potential customers—I mean, "residents"—the state levies low income taxes on residents and no sales tax, advertising itself as “The Home of Tax Free Shopping.”
In 1802, a refugee from revolutionary France who ended up in Delaware, Éleuthère Irénée du Pont de Nemours, founded his namesake corporation, E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company. Better known as DuPont, the company in the nineteenth century established a monopoly over the production of gunpowder and explosives until parts of the company were split off under the Sherman Antitrust Act. Since then, the firm has remained an enormously powerful chemical corporation and is to this day the top private employer in Delaware. That the state is still effectively a plantation of the DuPont chemical company would not itself be such a large problem if DuPont were not the biggest polluter in the nation, nor if it were not the original synthesizer of CFCs, which severely damaged the ozone layer. Additionally, the du Pont family—in charge of the firm for over two centuries—is also filled with disreputable characters: T. Coleman du Pont was a corrupt Republican politician implicated in the Teapot Dome scandal and Irénée du Pont was accused of funding the Business Plot, a planned coup d’état to overthrow President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Delaware’s low taxes may be nice for its citizens, but the state is thus forced to find alternative means of funding in order to pass the costs of governing onto others. Take for example the 11.2 mile Delaware section of Interstate 95, run by the state as the Delaware Turnpike. Motorists attempting to get from Maryland to New Jersey or vice-versa must pay $4.00 for the privilege of passing through the state of Delaware, at a rate of 35.7¢ per mile. Though (thankfully) this is avoidable, it remains ridiculous that such a fee exists at all; arguably the most expensive toll road in the United States per mile, it seems that the Delaware Turnpike's only purpose is to force out-of-staters to pay as much in tribute to Delaware as possible.
But what can we properly informed Delevarophobes do? For starters, skip the toll on the Delaware Turnpike, so that out-of-staters are not subsidizing Delaware's irresponsibly low taxes. Secondly, avoid the siren song of tax free shopping—it’s as meaningless as “duty free” shopping in airports as far as I’m concerned. Thirdly, don’t do business with a bank that shields its usurious behavior and arbitrarily increasing interest rates behind Delaware state law—join a credit union or local bank. It is high time time we divested capital from “The Corporate Capital.” Delevarophobes of America, unite!