Puerto Rican Statehood?

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Puerto Rican Statehood?

Postby York99 » April 29th, 2010, 3:07 pm

Is anyone learned on this topic? Apparently there is another push for it with some House bills being discussed this week.

Obviously it's good for Democrats and bad for Republicans because the new Senators and Representatives will most likely be liberal-leaning Democrats. But what are the legit pros and cons of this?

My half-assed research has turned up nothing substantial other than what I mentioned above.

I'm in favor of it, but that's simply out of boredom.
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Postby kbadr » April 29th, 2010, 3:17 pm

This comes up every 10 years. So much so, that I learned about it in government in high school...and then again in college.

The basic story I've been told is that Puerto Rico has no real motivation to become a state. As they are, they get the protection of the United States, without 100% of the rules and regulations.

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Postby Aden » April 29th, 2010, 4:00 pm

Kareem is correct. Puerto Rico never votes to join the Union because there's nothing in it for them.
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Postby mpbrockman » April 29th, 2010, 4:13 pm

Actually Puerto Rico tilts surprisingly conservative - so I wouldn't automatically assume statehood would give us a couple of liberal Congresspeople.

The economic pros are: Tax money for infrastructure, incomes should rise to a level more in line with U.S. incomes, they'll also have more access to the U.S.'s trading partners.

The economic cons are: Prices will rise (again presumably commensurate with U.S. prices) whether the predicted rise in income will keep pace with the predicted rise in prices is an open question. Interest rates will probably rise as well.

Politically they'd have actual votes in Congress and in popular elections. Right now they simply have a non-voting observer in Congress. They'd also be on equal political footing with the other 50 states rather than the supposedly "diminished" status as a territory. Personally, I'm not sure I buy this last - it seems to me they have the best of both worlds.

Socially Puerto Rico is a seriously mixed bag. English is known by most to varying degrees, but most of the signs in San Juan are in Spanish. I'd imagine Arizona tourism wouldn't be high on their to-do list. Puerto Ricans often point to the bills that come up every so often in the U.S. trying to establish English as the U.S.'s "official language" as a reason to reject statehood. They worry about their unique cultural blend getting lost in the mix. They'd also lose their nation status with the IOC and other international athletic organizations as well as things like the Miss Universe pageant.

A majority of liberals in P.R. don't want statehood or even a continuation of commonwealth status. They want independence. In their view they've been under the thumb of first Spain and then the U.S. for too long and they believe they should be recognized as a sovereign nation. It's an interesting question as to whether their industry could keep them afloat should this occur.

Having spent some time there, I wouldn't think statehood would work out very well. My intellect says it would be a good deal for them economically (probably), but my gut is telling me that P.R. is sui generis and should stay that way. Were I Puerto Rican I would probably vote to continue commonwealth status while working to build the underpinnings of an eventual independent nation.

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Postby Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell » April 29th, 2010, 4:24 pm

i think it should be up to PR, and we should be willing to bring them in, let them go or maintain the status quo as they decide.

i will say, thought, that i'll be rather upset if Puerto Rico gets a voice in Congress before Washington, DC does... :P
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Postby York99 » April 30th, 2010, 9:37 am

mpbrockman wrote:Actually Puerto Rico tilts surprisingly conservative...


This makes sense, but I keep hearing the opposite. But if this is the case, then why are liberal groups seemingly pro Statehood and conservative ones against it? Or am I just not reading the right things?

One other argument I hear is that, since Puerto Ricans are in the US Military, then they should have Statehood (as if to say we're not being fair by not letting them in)?
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Postby York99 » April 30th, 2010, 9:39 am

mpbrockman wrote:They'd also lose their nation status... as well as things like the Miss Universe pageant.


Is this a legit concern that you've heard or are you just throwing something else on the pile? Because if it is a legit concern (and I sure hope it is), then I think Puerto Rico is just ridiculous enough to join our union.
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Postby York99 » April 30th, 2010, 9:41 am

the_reverend wrote:i will say, thought, that i'll be rather upset if Puerto Rico gets a voice in Congress before Washington, DC does... :P


That seems like another actual part of the argument. If PR gets statehood, then it pads the argument for DC to get some representation. And DC is definitely ridiculous enough to merit representation.
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Postby mpbrockman » April 30th, 2010, 9:49 am

York99 wrote:
mpbrockman wrote:They'd also lose their nation status... as well as things like the Miss Universe pageant.


Is this a legit concern that you've heard or are you just throwing something else on the pile? Because if it is a legit concern (and I sure hope it is), then I think Puerto Rico is just ridiculous enough to join our union.


Actually a concern I've heard voiced. Their ladies have won it twice this decade and more often than any other country except the USA and (I think) Brazil. They're quite proud of this.

EDIT: Oops, looked it up - Venezuela, not Brazil.
Last edited by mpbrockman on April 30th, 2010, 9:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby mpbrockman » April 30th, 2010, 9:56 am

York99 wrote:
mpbrockman wrote:Actually Puerto Rico tilts surprisingly conservative...


This makes sense, but I keep hearing the opposite. But if this is the case, then why are liberal groups seemingly pro Statehood and conservative ones against it? Or am I just not reading the right things?


Wait, are you talking about lib/con groups in the U.S. or in P.R.?

York99 wrote:One other argument I hear is that, since Puerto Ricans are in the US Military, then they should have Statehood (as if to say we're not being fair by not letting them in)?


This makes sense, but isn't one I ever heard. I'm not sure that's really much of an argument, though, since their commonwealth status affords them U.S. military protection anyhow. Plus, P.R. members of the U.S. military are afforded the benefits of such (G.I. Bill etc.).
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Postby York99 » April 30th, 2010, 11:22 pm

mpbrockman wrote:
York99 wrote:
mpbrockman wrote:Actually Puerto Rico tilts surprisingly conservative...


This makes sense, but I keep hearing the opposite. But if this is the case, then why are liberal groups seemingly pro Statehood and conservative ones against it? Or am I just not reading the right things?


Wait, are you talking about lib/con groups in the U.S. or in P.R.?


In the U.S.
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Postby mpbrockman » May 1st, 2010, 1:15 am

York99 wrote:
mpbrockman wrote:
York99 wrote:
mpbrockman wrote:Actually Puerto Rico tilts surprisingly conservative...


This makes sense, but I keep hearing the opposite. But if this is the case, then why are liberal groups seemingly pro Statehood and conservative ones against it? Or am I just not reading the right things?


Wait, are you talking about lib/con groups in the U.S. or in P.R.?


In the U.S.


I do not know, other than to generalize that conservatives generally like to maintain the status quo and liberals generally go out of their way to be inclusive; but that's not really a very good answer. I'll dig around and see what I can learn. Let me know if you run across any interesting reading.
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Postby mpbrockman » May 1st, 2010, 3:31 am

OK - I've done a little reading and nothing lines up. The Heritage Foundation blasts it as pure vote-grabbing by Obama and Co. (they seems to assume that P.R.'s reps would be Democrats). HuffPost has an article by an actual Puerto Rican entitled "Puerto Rico - The Next Red State?". This article points out that much of P.R.'s current leadership is conservative, and measures against gay marriage and abortion receive much popular support.

I'm not finding an intellectual middle ground here. There's a lot of pure bullshit flowing from both sides, the race card is getting played in disconcerting ways and what the people of P.R. want rarely appears to be the issue under discussion. It's more about the Obama admin's "power grab" or "those racist Republicans".

There are valid concerns about the cost of bringing P.R.'s infrastructure up to U.S. standards. Especially when half the U.S.'s own infrastructure isn't up to U.S. standards. But the GOP doesn't seem focused on this - rather they seem focused on distorting the actual content of the bill. This makes me suspicious. So does the fact that Glenn Beck labels this as a "Marxist's daydream".

More as I learn. Interesting stuff.
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Postby Lifestiller420a » May 21st, 2011, 7:05 am

Good write up keep it up, i will be one of your regular readers.
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Postby mpbrockman » May 21st, 2011, 9:35 am

Lifestiller420a wrote:Good write up keep it up, i will be one of your regular readers.


Always nice when someone joins the discussion in a timely manner.
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