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Thread: Statehood for Puerto Rico and DC?

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    Statehood for Puerto Rico and DC?

    List of states and territories of the United States by population

    The case for DC and Puerto Rico statehood - Vox: "Democrats need to get serious on statehood for DC and Puerto Rico -- Democrats for democracy!"
    In DC and Puerto Rico, roughly 4 million American citizens are denied representation in Congress. By any normal application of democratic principles, this is an outrage. But Democrats are oddly complacent about it, in part because fixing it might help them politically, and they’re worried that might seem unfair.
    That's like the stereotype of liberals as being so afraid of seeming partisan that they are unwilling to take their own side.

    DC and Puerto Rico share the long-ignored dream of statehood | TheHill
    Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico share the fundamental aspiration of statehood, although framed within different historical and constitutional contexts. Both jurisdictions are subject to the powers of Congress and have one non-voting member in the House of Representatives. There is also a broad recognition by the majority of the American citizens in each jurisdiction that the only way they can each achieve effective and politically meaningful representation in Congress is through statehood.

    On Jan. 3, congressional delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) introduced bill H.R. 51 to make Washington D.C. the 51st state. ... Press reports indicate that the bill has the support of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and is cosponsored by 155 congressmen, all Democrats.

    n the previous Congress, Puerto Rico’s Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González-Colón (R-P.R.) had also presented a statehood admission bill for Puerto Rico. This bill was stalled by the then Republican leadership in the House, notwithstanding their alleged support for statehood. González-Colón has stated that she will present the bill again in this new Congress, as well as promote the introduction of a similar bill in the Senate.
    I don't know if the Republicans are willing to support either bill. They'd likely denounce statehood for DC and PR as a Democratic power grab. We've already seen that happen on other issues: Mitch McConnell: making Election Day a federal holiday is a Democratic “power grab” - Vox, HR 1: McConnell calls House Democrats’ anti-corruption bill a “power grab” - Vox

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    These two articles start with "Thirty-seven times since the nation’s founding, we have added states to the union. The last time was in 1959, when two new states, Alaska and Hawaii, were admitted."

    Washington Monthly | The 52-State Strategy: The Case for D.C. - "D.C. statehood would be a boon for Democrats. But to make it happen, the party will have to get over its squeamishness about expanding its own power."
    Like so many of their progressive peers, advocates of statehood for the District of Columbia approached the November 2016 election with optimism. Common sense said that Hillary Clinton would win the White House; hope said that Clinton, who had promised to be a “vocal champion for D.C. statehood,” could be convinced to deliver the old dream of full congressional representation for the district. Advocates queued up a citywide referendum to register the overwhelming local support for the proposed State of New Columbia. “The whole theory was, we’d be all set to get statehood when the Democrats moved in,” says Walter Smith, executive director of DC Appleseed, a nonprofit that has argued for increased autonomy for the district.

    The moral case has never been enough, even now. But post-hurricane, moral and political imperatives are in rare alignment when it comes to Puerto Rico. As the Democratic Party dreams about retaking Congress and the White House in 2020, and considers what it should do with that power, it would be remiss to overlook statehood for Puerto Rico as an urgent, and ideologically consistent, priority. Puerto Ricans on the mainland lean strongly Democratic, and more than twice as many votes were cast on the island in the 2016 Democratic primary as in the Republican one. (Residents of U.S. territories get to vote in the primaries, even though they have no electoral votes.) Statehood could very possibly mean two more Democrats in the Senate, five more in the House, and seven more blue votes in the Electoral College. Democrats can correct the injustice of colonization, now more than a century running, and gain political traction at the same time.
    Washington Monthly | The 52-State Strategy: The Case for Puerto Rico - "Ending the island’s colonial status would right a historic wrong—and permanently change the political map."
    The moral case in favor of Puerto Rican statehood is so obvious that it’s hard to believe the current situation continues, essentially ignored by U.S. mainlanders. Since 1898, the United States has ruled the island as a colonial power. Puerto Ricans—all 3.3 million of them—are nominally American citizens, but have no representation in the federal government nor full constitutional protections. Unlike Washingtonians, Puerto Rico residents don’t even get to vote for president. “The Island,” as residents call it, is a colony in all but name, the possession of a country proud to tout its commitment to equality under the law but reluctant to honor it.

    The devastation of Hurricanes Irma and Maria made clear, for those not yet aware, that the problem is not merely philosophical; it is literally a matter of life and death. We’ll never know the exact toll, but a recent Harvard University study estimates that nearly 5,000 Puerto Ricans died either during Maria or as a direct result in the months after the storm. Many, perhaps most, of these deaths were preventable. The federal response to the storms was minimal. The Trump administration did less for Puerto Rico than the U.S. did for Haiti after its disastrous earthquake. With no political power, Puerto Ricans are left to rely on the goodwill of American leaders, often in short supply.
    Statehood for D.C. Too? | Puerto Rico 51st -- "A new ad running in Puerto Rico argues for statehood for Washington, D.C. — but not for Puerto Rico." -- "About PR51st: The Puerto Rico Statehood Council created PR51st to advance the goal of achieving equality for the people of Puerto Rico through statehood."

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    List of states and territories of the United States by population

    Puerto Rico's population of 3.2 million people is 0.5 of the mean of 6.5m and 0.7 of the median of 4.6m.

    DC's population of 702 thousand is way down there, but more populous than the two least populous states, Vermont and Wyoming at 626 and 578 thousand.

    History of the flags of the United States shows rectangular-grid arrangements of the stars in the blue star rectangle for past, present, and possible future flags. Flag of the United States contains those and some alternate arrangements, like circles and pentagrams.

    The present flag has a nice staggered rectangular grid, and some past flags have had pure or staggered rectangular grids. Some proposed future flags for 51, 52, and 53 states also have such grids. Here goes:
    • 13 = 3*3 + 2*2
    • 15 = 3*3 + 2*3
    • 20 = 4*5
    • 24 = 4*6
    • 28 = 4*7
    • 30 = 5*6
    • 35 = 5*7
    • 45 = 3*8 + 3*7
    • 48 = 6*8
    • 49 = 4*7 + 3*7
    • 50 = 5*6 + 4*5
    • 51 = 3*9 + 3*8
    • 52 = 4*7 + 4*6
    • 53 = 4*8 + 3*7

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    There was Puerto Rican nationalist terrorism in past years. Statehood could bring a resurgence o. A naval base in the best was a sore point.

    Too much to summarize search on puerto rican nationalists terrorism

    There have been referendums.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puerto_Rico

    PR is essentially a welfare state. There have been multiple bailouts and defaults. A lot of money went into the small island, and apparently none of it got spent on infrastructure and hurricane readiness. The sugar market is not what it once was.

    There have been tax incentives for business investment form the mainland.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/03/n...erto-rico.html

    After Closing of Navy Base, Hard Times in Puerto Rico

    CEIBA, P.R., April 2 (AP) - With her fidgeting baby on her lap, Gloria Reyes counts the few dollars in the cash register as only two customers sit in her family's restaurant. Nearby, this town's once-bustling streets are nearly empty on a sunny afternoon.

    "We're barely hanging in," Ms. Reyes said. "I've lost three-quarters of my business since the Navy and the Americans left."

    A year after the Navy left Roosevelt Roads Naval Station, taking with it 6,000 jobs and an estimated $300 million annually, Ceiba is struggling as businesses close, unemployment rises and residents leave the town of 18,000.

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    I wouldn't mind Puerto Rico being a state, but if DC wants senators that badly they should become the city of Washington in the State of Maryland.

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    It has been said generally in the past the democrats want PR as a state, they assume it would be a solid democratic vote.

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    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puerto...ionalist_Party

    The Puerto Rico Nationalist Party (Spanish: Partido Nacionalista de Puerto Rico, PNPR) is a Puerto Rican political party which was founded on September 17, 1922, in San Juan, Puerto Rico.[1] Its primary goal was to work for Puerto Rico's independence. The Party's selection in 1930 of Pedro Albizu Campos as its president brought a radical change to the organization and its tactics.

    In the 1930s, intimidation, repression and persecution of Party members by the government, then headed by a U.S. president-appointed governor, led to the assassination of two government officials, the attempted assassination of a federal judge in Puerto Rico, and the Rio Piedras and Ponce massacres. Under the leadership of Albizu Campos, the party abandoned the electoral process in favor of direct armed conflict as means to gain independence from the United States.

    By the late 1940s, a more US-friendly party, the Popular Democratic Party of Puerto Rico, had gained an overwhelming number of seats in the legislature and, in 1948, it passed "Puerto Rico's Gag Law", which attempted to suppress the Nationalist Party and similar opposition. The Puerto Rican police arrested many Nationalist Party members under this law, some of whom were sentenced to lengthy prison terms. With a new political status pending for Puerto Rico as a Commonwealth, Albizu Campos ordered armed uprisings in several Puerto Rican towns to occur on October 30, 1950. In an related effort, two Nationalists also attempted to assassinate US President Harry S. Truman on November 1, 1950, in an effort to call international attention to issues related to Puerto Rico's political status, but the attempt failed. The last major armed event by the Nationalists occurred in 1954 at the US House of Representatives when four party members shot and wounded five Congressmen.

    After Albizu Campos's death in 1965, the party dissolved into factions and members joined other parties, but some continue to follow the party's ideals in one form or another, often informally or ad hoc, to this day.[2]

    Recent events[edit]

    Although less active, the Nationalist Party continues to exist as an organization and an ideology. It also has somewhat of a "chapter" in New York City. The New York Junta is an autonomous organ of the party that recognizes, and is recognized by, the National Junta in Puerto Rico.[36]

    In 2006 and in representation of the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party, Jose Castillo spoke before the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization and said that the Nationalist Party "had appeared in the past to denounce colonialism in Puerto Rico and hoped the Special Committee would show its commitment to the island's struggle for self-determination, so that it could join the United Nations in its own right ... The Special Committee and its resolutions on Puerto Rico were indispensable instruments." Castillo "called upon the United States Government to assure the Puerto Rican people of their right to self-determination and human rights and immediately cease the persecution, arrests, and murders perpetrated against independence fighters. Vieques peace activists must be freed immediately, and the FBI's electronic surveillance and continued harassment of independence fighters must be stopped. The United States must also end its actions against basic human rights while fully implementing the United Nations resolution calling for a constituent assembly to begin decolonization." Castillo added that "Puerto Rico had its own national identity ... Since its 1898 invasion, the United States had tried to destroy the nationality of Puerto Rican people. It kept Puerto Rico in isolation, maintaining it as private corporation from which it earned billions a year ... exploitation had made foreigners richer and the Puerto Rican people poorer. The fact that Puerto Rico was the last territory in the world could not be hidden. Violation of rights there would cease only once it was a free and independent nation. The United States must provide compensation for what it had done to Puerto Rico's land and people."[37]

    In 2013 the Puerto Rico Nationalist Party made a public demonstration of their pro-Independence commitment by protesting a speech from the Governor of Puerto Rico.[38]

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    https://www.voanews.com/a/puerto-ric...e/4374623.html

    SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO —
    Puerto Rico's chief of staff and three other government officials are facing accusations of undue influence.

    The U.S. territory's justice secretary said Wednesday there's enough evidence to submit a case to special independent prosecutors who investigate government corruption. Among those being investigated are Chief of Staff William Villafane, Associate Secretary to the Interior Ministry Itza Garcia, water and sewer company vice president Yoniel Arroyo, and Administration for the Sustenance of Minors manager Waleska Maldonado.

    Villafane did not immediately return a message for comment. Garcia, Arroyo and Maldonado could not be immediately contacted.

    The case already forced a judge to resign after those accused allegedly discussed what kind of rulings he should issue in a WhatsApp group called `Coffeebreak.' The judge also resigned as president of the island's state election commission

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/...id/1668745002/

    FBI agents raided municipal offices in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Tuesday, seizing documents and digital records as part of an investigation into fraud allegations related to the city government.

    Special agent in charge Douglas Leff said federal investigators are also looking into potential obstruction of the investigation. According to Leff, agents believe documents tied to the reported irregularities in the city's purchasing procedures might have been taken from the building or falsified.

    At least 20 agents, mostly unarmed, entered the building carrying briefcases, cameras, electronic equipment and coffee, Puerto Rican news agency El Nuevo Día reported. The raid was focused on the offices of San Juan's Purchasing Division.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Harvestdancer View Post
    I wouldn't mind Puerto Rico being a state, but if DC wants senators that badly they should become the city of Washington in the State of Maryland.
    This makes sense.

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    PR does not appear able to mange itself. In the face of increasing hurricane risjk and severity the question is wheter or not the population on the island is sustainable.

    Sounds a bit like Venezuela, spending more than revenues to support social programs.

    There is about 4 million people.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puerto...nt-debt_crisis

    The Puerto Rican government-debt crisis is a financial crisis affecting the government of Puerto Rico.[a] The crisis traces back its history to 1973 when the government began to spend more than what it collected. To cover that imbalance, the government issued bonds rather than adjust its budget. That practice continued for four decades until 2014 when three major credit agencies downgraded several bonds issues by Puerto Rico to "junk status" after the government was unable to demonstrate that it would be able to pay its debt. The downgrading, in turn, prevented the government from selling more bonds in the open market. Unable to obtain the funding to cover its budget imbalance, the government began using its savings to pay its debt while warning that those savings would eventually exhaust and that it would thus eventually be unable to pay its debt. To prevent such scenario, the United States Congress enacted a law known as PROMESA, which appointed an oversight board with ultimate control over the commonwealth's budget. As the PROMESA board began to exert that control, the government sought to increase revenues and reduce its expenses by increasing taxes while curtailing public services and reducing worker's benefits. Those measures further compounded the crisis by provoking social distrust and unpleasantness in the general population.

    In August 2018, the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico reported the Commonwealth had $74 billion in bond debt and $49 billion in unfunded pension liabilities as of May 2017, according to a debt investigation report.[2...


    Cessation of federal subsidies[edit]

    For much of the 20th century Puerto Rico was subject to favorable tax laws from the US federal government, which essentially acted to subsidize the island's economy. In 1996, US President Bill Clinton signed legislation phasing out important parts of the favorable federal tax code over a ten-year period ending in 2006.[21][22] The end of the subsidies led to companies fleeing the island which itself subsequently led to tax shortfalls. At first, the Puerto Rican government tried to make up for the shortfall by issuing bonds. The government was able to issue an unusually large number of bonds, due to dubious underwriting from financial institutions such as Spain's Santander Bank, UBS, Barclays, Morgan Stanley, and Citigroup.[23][24][25][26] Eventually the debt burden became so great that the island was unable to pay interest on the bonds it had issued.

    Mismanagement and disparity[edit]

    Some newspapers, such as El Vocero, have stated that the main problem is local government inefficiency rather than lack of funds.[k][l] As an example, the Department of Treasury of Puerto Rico is incapable of collecting 44% of the Puerto Rico Sales and Use Tax (or about $900 million), did not match what taxpayers reported to the department with the income reported by the taxpayer's employer through Form W-2s, and did not collect payments owed to the department by taxpayers that submitted tax returns without their corresponding payments.[m][29][30] The treasury department also tends to publish its comprehensive annual financial reports (CAFRs) late, sometimes 15 months after a fiscal year ends, while the government as a whole constantly fails to comply with its continuing disclosure obligations on a timely basis.[31][n] Furthermore, the government's accounting, payroll and fiscal oversight information systems and processes also have deficiencies that significantly affect its ability to forecast expenditures.[o]

    Similarly, salaries for government employees tend to be quite disparate when compared to the private sector and other positions within the government itself. For example, a public teacher's base salary starts at $24,000 while a legislative advisor starts at $74,000. The government has also been unable to set up a system based on meritocracy, with many employees, particularly executives and administrators, simply lacking the competencies required to perform their jobs.[p][q]

    There are 78 municipalities of Puerto Rico, which budget $2.2 billion a year, with mayors' salaries alone costing $4.8 million.[34] Thirty-six of these have a budget deficit, putting 46% of the municipalities in financial stress.[35] Each municipality’s elected legislature, usually including 1,000 to 1,500 members, receive per diems and expense money.[34] Just like the central government, the municipalities would issue debt through the Puerto Rico Municipal Financing Agency to stabilize its finances rather than make adjustments. In total, the combined debt carried by the municipalities of Puerto Rico account for $3.8 billion or about 5.5% of Puerto Rico's outstanding debt.[r][s]

    During the New Deal, appointed Governor Rexford Tugwell created the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority by nationalizing the island’s private utilities.[16] The state monopoly provides free electricity to local governments, which prompted the Mayor of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, to build an ice-skating rink.[16] PREPA, which uses oil-fired power plants, has had opaque purchasing practices, and has resisted wind and solar power projects, has a debt of $9 billion.[16]

    PREPA has had poor bill collection practices, with FTI Consulting estimating that the utility had improperly given away $420 million of electricity and that the island's governments were $300 million delinquent in payments.[16] In 2012, the Puerto Rico Ports Authority was forced to sell the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport to private buyers after PREPA threatened to cut off power over unpaid bills.[16] In 2014, the Puerto Rico Energy Commission was established.[16]

    Disparity in federal social funding[edit]

    More than 60% of Puerto Rico's population receives Medicare or Medicaid services, with about 40% enrolled in Mi Salud, the Puerto Rican Medicaid program.[37] There is a significant disparity in federal funding for these programs when compared to the 50 states, a situation started by Congress in 1968 when it placed a cap on Medicaid funding for United States territories.[37] This has led to a situation where Puerto Rico might typically receive $373 million in federal funding a year, while, for instance, Mississippi receives $3.6 billion.[37] Not only does this situation lead to an exodus of underpaid health care workers to the mainland, but the disparity has had a major impact on the finances of Puerto Rico.[37]

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