What if Puerto Rico becomes part of an already existing state?

by on September 27, 2017 at 12:15 am in Current Affairs, Law, Political Science | Permalink

That is a Twitter suggestion, and I believe this option warrants serious consideration.

The obvious candidate would be New York State, and of course New York could be given more federal funds to ease the fiscal burden.  The state would have more representatives in the House, but there would be no gain of two Democratic Senators for Puerto Rico, which might limit opposition from the Republican Party.  Puerto Rico also might be given some special dispensations regarding the Spanish language and some other cultural markers.

I am not sure how Puerto Rico would feel about such an arrangement at this point, but under many alternative arrangements a big chunk of the island’s population simply empties out, and much of it to New York at that.

On the other hand, Puerto Rico + Alberta could make 52…sorry Monique!

Addendum: As for the shorter run, here is one report of relevance:

While the federal government continues to calculate a damage estimate, responders deployed to the region are focused on logistics like getting food and water to millions of people who remain without power as temperatures hit 90 degrees and humidity hovers above 70 percent.

The administration contends that much of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands is so damaged that officials can’t even begin damage assessment, meaning the federal government may not know for weeks how many roads, buildings or power lines will need to be rebuilt.

“The issue is not paying for any of this,” the administration source said. “It’s like: Paying for what?”

Here is the power supply, before and after the storm.  I’ve seen informal reports that over 40 percent of the island does not currently have usable drinking water.  Or what about people who need medications or dialysis?  Here are some photos.

1 Anon7 September 27, 2017 at 12:27 am

So, has it come to this? Going from one corrupt, incompetent government to one slightly less corrupt, incompetent government (Mercatus ranks NY #39 in fiscal health)?

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2 Anon7 September 27, 2017 at 12:41 am
3 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ September 27, 2017 at 8:21 am

So you’re saying it is a good fit ..

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4 Art Deco September 27, 2017 at 9:30 am

The state legislature is unedifying, Gov. Cuomo is repellent, the best governor in a generation (David Patterson) had a 17% approval rating when he left office, and the state’s political class have an affection for business-opportunities-for-insiders patronage mills. That having been said:

1. New York has just about the most actuarially sound public sector pension system in the country.

2. At one time (and I believe still) the median lapse of time from charge to verdict for a felony tried in front of a petty jury was 13 months. Complicated cases against the Cosa Nostra take New York courts less time to process than Arizona took to process a straightforward murder case (Jodi Arias).

3. Except for the effects of the residuum of rent control and the like, you’d be hard put to find a top-tier city in this country with a higher quality-of-life than NYC. Seattle, perhaps.

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5 joshua September 27, 2017 at 10:33 am

I would love to see more discussion about NYC. Everybody wants to talk about ‘liberal’ Chicago’s violent crime problems. Nobody wants to talk about ‘liberal’ NYC’s persistent record lows, the significantly decreasing trend of which has persisted through Republican, independent, and democratic administrations…

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6 MMK September 27, 2017 at 11:27 am

They’ve had good police commissioners.

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7 maxwell davis September 28, 2017 at 8:43 am

they have good social services generally. per research done by the freakonomics guys, police only have a marginal impact on crime statistics

8 JonFraz September 28, 2017 at 1:02 pm

It’s also increasingly too expensive for poor folk (the ones most prone to street crime) to live in NYC.

9 Careless September 28, 2017 at 12:49 am

Nobody wants to talk about that? We inhabit very different bubbles.

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10 Mark Brophy September 27, 2017 at 12:14 pm

Puerto Rico should be an independent country with population greater than Jamaica. Trump and millions of others are indifferent to them because their culture is very different.

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11 napoleon sansomite September 27, 2017 at 12:46 am

This is indeed a tragedy a farewell a “shattered” island project. Clearly the friends of the African Colonization Society have risen once again. Francis Scott Key and James Madison both knew of Mehroh, who squalled the Surat on his jail cell in North Carolina. Clearly the white man’s burden is alive and well, but you forgot the casual tales of violence sold in the south, or perhaps you remember. You cannot throw up a bullet unless you at an earlier time passed a kidney stone.

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12 Brett September 27, 2017 at 1:01 am

We could split one of the bigger conservative states up for balance. East and West Texas? North and South Florida?

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13 Thor September 27, 2017 at 2:50 am

Your split a State by fiat scheme reminds me of East and West Pakistan. How’s that turn out anyway?

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14 Pshrnk September 27, 2017 at 10:17 am

Better for West.

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15 Art Deco September 27, 2017 at 12:09 pm

East and West Pakistan were ethnically distinct and separated by thousands of miles of Indian territory. It made perfect sense to split the country up; both components had large populations.

As for California, it’s a demographic behemoth. You could reconstitute it as a four-part confederation with adjustable intramural boundaries. You’d elect U.S. Senators statewide and have some joint commissions on higher education and water rights, but let the components live separate lives otherwise. Ditto Texas, Florida, New York, Illinois (with some qualifications), Pennsylvania &c.

If you respect certain settlement patterns, the cleavage is not arbitrary. California breaks naturally into four pieces (Greater Los Angeles, Bay Area, Northern (incl Sacramento) and Southern (incl. San Diego)), Texas into 4-6 (Greater Houston, South (incl San Antonio), southeast (incl. Austin), and North (splitting off Greater Dallas optional), Florida into four (Greater Miami, Gulf coast (incl. Tampa/St. Petersburg), Atlantic coast (incl Orlando), and north (incl Jacksonville). New York into two (Upstate and Downstate), Illinois into two (Greater Chicago and the remainder), Pennsylvania into two (Greater Philadelphia and the remainder, or East v. West), Ohio into three (Cincinnati zone, Columbus zone, Cleveland zone).

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16 Brett September 27, 2017 at 1:33 pm

I thought about California, but if you’re splitting a state so that there’s a probable-Republican state to counteract the probable-Democratic entry of Puerto Rico, California is probably not the state you want to split. You’ll end up with two or more successor states that all lean Democratic, whereas with a West and East Texas split you’d still probably have two Republican states.

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17 Art Deco September 27, 2017 at 3:16 pm

I’m not suggesting anything with reference to Puerto Rico and the suggestion above would not effect the balance of congressional representation at all. They would have two senators.

18 Thor September 27, 2017 at 4:04 pm

Agreed. And the binding agent of Islam was never going to be enough to yoke these two geography (etc.) separate entities together. Animosity towards India wasn’t good enough either.

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19 Mark Brophy September 27, 2017 at 12:16 pm

Maine was split from Massachusetts and it worked well for both states for 200 years.

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20 JonFraz September 27, 2017 at 1:43 pm

Maine was split from Massachusetts in order to balance Missouri entering the Union as a slave state. Last I knew there isn’t a particularly huge amount of hostility between Maine and Massachusetts.

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21 So Much For Subtlety September 27, 2017 at 3:09 am

The one calling out for Reform is California. Why not split it in three? At least one part might vote Republican.

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22 Mark Brophy September 27, 2017 at 12:17 pm

California should be ejected from the Union. It would be easier to pass Republican legislation if they were gone and Californians wouldn’t be able to blame Trump for their problems.

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23 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ September 27, 2017 at 8:24 am

It would certainly be anti-complacent to shake up state boundaries. And pro-democracy as a bonus.

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24 Ian September 27, 2017 at 1:22 am

Or, relatedly, would a state be able to annex Puerto Rico without Congressional approval? Would seem to violate the Property Clause of the US Constitution, but don’t know if it’s ever been litigated.

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25 Alan September 27, 2017 at 7:11 am

A bidding war? I will open at $150,000,000,000.00. Pay Delaware that sum and we will take PR off your hands.

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26 Borjigid September 27, 2017 at 8:44 am

If the winner has to assume PR’s debt and disaster recovery costs, it probably has a negative NPV.

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27 Jpe September 27, 2017 at 9:30 pm

Even without that it has negative value.

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28 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ September 27, 2017 at 8:40 am

What if Puerto Rico surrendered to New York, would it make it their problem?

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29 K. Kell September 27, 2017 at 1:37 am

On a not at all unrelated note, Jamaicans are starting to have regrets about independence:

http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/lead-stories/20170806/independence-error-only-27-jamaicans-think-country-would-be-worse

It’s a shame our leaders did not have the foresight to cut the cord while they had the chance. But how could they have foreseen that their children would decide that Puerto Rico has the right to vote itself into the union, and Congress must rubber stamp whatever decision they make? How about some self determination for non Puerto Rican Americans. Puerto Rico Statehood: just say no.

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30 Jan September 27, 2017 at 6:00 am

We get it. You don’t like Puerto Rico.

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31 Anonymous September 27, 2017 at 10:11 am

What’s there to like about it?

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32 Dude September 27, 2017 at 11:56 am

Dinoflagellates

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33 Christopher September 27, 2017 at 11:00 am

My father’s family were White Jamaicans; they left as independence approached for the (then) Whiter shores of Canada (originally Australia). I don’t think they ever regretted the decision.

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34 JonFraz September 27, 2017 at 1:46 pm

Congress is not required to admit any particular state. They delayed on Utah for years until the Mormons got rid of polygamy. After the Civil war the Dominican Republic applied for admission to the Union and President Grant even negotiated the deal only to have Congress turn it down flat.

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35 Robert September 27, 2017 at 1:43 am

Combine Puerto Rico, Guam, US Virgin Islands, Long Island, Staten Island, and Catalina and create the new state of Islandia.

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36 Tim September 27, 2017 at 1:53 am

Or combine them all with Rhode Island.

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37 Ohioan September 27, 2017 at 8:48 am

+1

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38 Urso September 27, 2017 at 9:45 am

But not the Providence Plantations

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39 msgkings September 27, 2017 at 11:46 am

Also the Florida Keys, Aleutians, and of course Hawaii. That’d be a pretty interesting state. Perhaps a bit hard to administrate.

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40 Enrique September 27, 2017 at 1:51 am

Most of the recent migration from the Island is to Florida, not N.Y., so it might make more sense for Puerto Rico to become part of Florida.

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41 pnow September 27, 2017 at 3:57 am

To get this through congress, Puerto Rico, being solidly Democrat, would need to be adjoined to another Democrat state. Florida is too marginal for Republican approval. But it would make more sense geographically.

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42 Michael Foody September 27, 2017 at 8:44 pm

Puerto Rico should just become a state and any republican who disagrees can be thrown in jail.

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43 g3 September 27, 2017 at 11:27 pm

Is there any proof that Puerto Rico would become solidly Democratic? Weren’t there extreme miscalculations in the Hispanic vote in Florida going towards Hillary?

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44 Matt September 27, 2017 at 2:12 am

“Puerto Rico also might be given some special dispensations regarding the Spanish language and some other cultural markers.”

What do you mean by this? Why would a “special dispensation” be needed, and what for? Rightly, in the US, people use whatever language most want in their daily lives, and governments provide services in the languages needed. So, in Puerto Rico most things would be in Spanish, for the same reason most things are in English in most of the US, with no need for any “dispensation”, special or otherwise. Or maybe you have something else in mind? Please clarify.

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45 MPS September 27, 2017 at 2:25 am

The post seems overly focused on federal implications whereas I would think the fundamental challenges would be the actual administration of state government across two lands separated by thousands of miles.

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46 Doug September 27, 2017 at 2:56 am

New York to Puerto Rico is 1600 miles. Alaska is over 2000 miles from East to West.

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47 MMK September 27, 2017 at 11:31 am

To be fair, something like 80% of Alaska’s population is within a couple hundred miles of Anchorage.

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48 Fazal Majid September 27, 2017 at 3:01 am

Hawaii is much further from the continental US than Puerto Rico.

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49 Art Deco September 27, 2017 at 9:35 am

Hawaii is much more affluent and populated with Anglophones.

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50 corvusb September 27, 2017 at 9:28 am

Concur – not just separation of miles, but separation of culture, needs, and priorities. Perhaps if Miami seceded they might make a go with PR, but I doubt the Puerto Riquenos would have Miami.

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51 Doug September 27, 2017 at 2:55 am

Puerto Rico gets to join as a state. But a deep red state like Mississippi gets to split into three separate states. This roughly balances out the gains to Republicans and Democrats. Democrats gain about five house seats from new districts in Puerto Rico. But Republicans gain net two senate seats. The net impact on congressional power and the electoral college comes out to about zero.

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52 JonFraz September 27, 2017 at 1:49 pm

Huh? Why would you need to split a red state into three? Just splitting it in two would balance off the two new (probably) Democratic senators from Puerto Rico.

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53 Jpe September 27, 2017 at 9:33 pm

But it wouldn’t balance the gains in the house.

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54 JonFraz September 28, 2017 at 12:56 pm

There’s no way to balance that unless you can think of a Republican-leaving territory with a similar-sized population we could also admit. Everyone in an existing state already has House representation. But the Democrats gaining a couple of House seats would not matter that much– the House membership is huge compared to the Senate. Back before the Civil War no one cared about the balance between slave and free states in the House (when the number of House members was much smaller)– only the Senate mattered.

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55 So Much For Subtlety September 27, 2017 at 2:58 am

The tricky part is to get enough people on board with the idea. I am sure much of Red America would be only too happy to see the island go. But Blue America? The Democrats would resent the loss of such a reliable voting base.

The solution is to bring the Hipster Left on board by merging it with Cuba. It would be mean great health care and much more equality all around. What is not to like? Best of all, people like Sean Penn and Lena Durham could move to Puerto Rico and let the border cross them. They could leave the horrors of Trumplandia behind them with a minimal fuss.

I call that a win-win.

As someone upthread has pointed out, this is like modern education policy – it is based on the idea that non-White people cannot help themselves and they need White people to make things work for them. I am mildly surprised that anything so patronizing could be published. I think Puerto Rico should be left as it is. They voted for the government, the debt and the infrastructure they have.

But it is best to appoint Bill Clinton to be in charge of the clean up. Look what a stand up job he did in Haiti.

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56 HA2 September 27, 2017 at 2:59 am

Strange way of looking at it… why not just make it its own state?

Any electoral implications are short-term anyway, the parties will realign as they always do and within an election cycle power in the country will be split 50-50 as before. Whereas statehood is for good.

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57 Borjigid September 27, 2017 at 8:47 am

Politicians are focused exclusively on the short term, for the most part.

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58 Doug September 27, 2017 at 3:03 am

Give the whole damn island to Singapore. Let them run it as a colony. I’d even be willing to write them a big onetime check of $50 billion or so to be done with the mess. If the Lees can’t fix this basket case, it’s hopeless.

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59 Borjigid September 27, 2017 at 8:51 am

The current generation of Lees are struggling to sort out the family house. Asking them to fix Puerto Rico would be a bit much.

That said, I don’t think you need a genius like Lee Kuan Yew to fix Puerto Rico, just a lower minimum wage and no Jones Act.

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60 Andre September 27, 2017 at 3:18 am

They could join an already existing state by just moving there en masse. Would be a nice reminder for our friends in Alabama and Mississippi that they are US citizens by showing about a million each.

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61 Sam Haysom September 27, 2017 at 4:28 am

Yikes how many good old boys did your girlfriend cheat on you with. Especially with a name like Andre you should do your best to emulate that swagger. Fuming about it won’t help.

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62 Art Deco September 27, 2017 at 11:30 am

Now, now Sam we are ALL cuckolds here including you.

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63 Josh Sacks September 27, 2017 at 4:18 am

What does PR gain by becoming a state? Jones Act still in effect. Minimum wage still in effect. All federal regulation remains in effect.
And they now pay federal taxes to federal government, not local government.

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64 Borjigid September 27, 2017 at 8:53 am

Two Senate seats would buy them a lot of leverage and attention. As opposed to right now, when they have none.

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65 Art Deco September 27, 2017 at 12:37 pm

John McCain gets a great deal of leverage and attention. The Senators from Puerto Rico would have to be abrasive attention-whores to do as well.

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66 msgkings September 27, 2017 at 12:45 pm

You know he has cancer? Have some respect.

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67 Art Deco September 27, 2017 at 1:28 pm

You fancy your request will be honored when you are unable to honor the same, but in this as in so much else you are mistaken.

68 Art Deco September 27, 2017 at 3:33 pm

And he’s elected to spend his last year holding public office and making an irritant of himself. That’s not on the bucket list of most terminal patients.

In 2010, the man had under his belt 28 years in Congress and 52 years as a federal employee so was due an ample pension on top of his Social Security. (And his wife’s ample income). He was 74 years old and had had his last shot at a higher office. An ordinary person would have retired and devoted himself to his hobbies and his grandchildren. Instead, a man who had a life expectancy of 11 years decided to play shell games with his constituents in order to spend another six years in Congress, as if he was some sort of indispensable man.

69 Art Deco September 27, 2017 at 3:33 pm

BTW, penning replies to yourself is tasteless.

70 Art Deco September 27, 2017 at 4:17 pm

Not that I expect anything better from you our your employers at Mercatus.

71 Michael Foody September 27, 2017 at 8:48 pm

Fart Deco

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72 Jpe September 27, 2017 at 9:34 pm

And a ton more welfare.

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73 Rob Thorpe September 27, 2017 at 5:30 am

In the 19th century this was suggested in Britain. Before the great reform act there were two proposals to clean up the “rotten boroughs” (constituencies with very few voters that could easily be bought). The first was to change the constituency boundaries, which is what actually happened. The second was to merge them with colonies. So, the MP for Dunny-on-the-wold would become the MP for Iraq and Dunny-on-the-wold, for example. Therefore the colonies would have representation in parliament.

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74 Evans_KY September 27, 2017 at 6:46 am

Should partisan affiliation even matter? If Puerto Rico was Republican would we advocate for statehood? In the 21st Century, imperialism is ridiculous. The citizens of the territories, previously derided as savages, deserve full representation. By my count that means we should add five states to the Union.

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75 The Anti-Gnostic September 27, 2017 at 11:59 am

They deserve full independence. Imperialism is ridiculous.

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76 JonFraz September 27, 2017 at 1:51 pm

If they want independence they could have it. They have consistently voted it down.

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77 Art Deco September 27, 2017 at 3:35 pm

The salient question is is the deal good for the mainland. It hasn’t been in some time and Puerto Rico’s development as a society has been spindled as well by circular migration and welfare dependency.

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78 Art Deco September 27, 2017 at 12:32 pm

What imperialism? The American garrison on the island numbers fewer than 200. After 119 years as a dependency of the United States, about 5% of the population speaks English at home. Another 16% are hispanophone but English-proficient, more or less (wagers people who’ve spent time on the mainland).

By the same token, statehood makes little sense. Puerto Rico is its own place, not part of the United States. The utility of the current arrangement is they don’t have to fish or cut bait.

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79 AnthonyB September 27, 2017 at 6:54 am

Balancing partisan affiliation is just a continuation of admitting slave and free states in pairs so as not to disrupt the status quo.

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80 Dylan September 27, 2017 at 7:54 am

Trump should nuke Puerto Rico as a warning to the North Koreans.

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81 spencer September 27, 2017 at 10:41 am

+ 1
First time I have laughed out loud to a comment in a long time.

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82 rayward September 27, 2017 at 7:59 am

As Cowen has emphasized, the issue in Puerto Rico today isn’t rebuilding but survival. Moreover, the price tag for rebuilding Texas and Florida will dwarf the price tag for rebuilding Puerto Rico. Rebuilding in the face of climate change and the likelihood of more frequent and intense storms will raise questions about whether it’s rational: how many storms and the disasters caused by them and rebuilding at great cost will it take to consider better alternatives. My little community just experienced the potential for a catastrophe by a storm that was hundreds of miles to the west, not a direct hit as experienced by Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico. The sounds made by hurricane force winds and the occasional gust followed by the thud of a falling tree is terrifying enough, but the sight of rising water is altogether different: while one can find safety from falling trees, rising water cannot be stopped. When the sun came up and the wind subsided and I ventured outside, I was shocked by what I was seeing: rising water (from storm surge) flooding home after home, the stunned homeowners looking on in disbelief. In the days after, I rode my bicycle through the areas that were damaged the most by the rising water, and I noticed the topography I had never noticed before. What I learned is that many of the homes were built (many years ago) on what was at one time marsh, developers filling in the land just enough so the homes appeared to be high and dry. Water seeks the lowest level, and reclaimed marsh is the lowest level. Most of those homes were built decades ago, before the adoption of environmental rules and building codes intended to avoid such potential catastrophes by unsuspecting homeowners. But little has changed. Today, developers and builders cannot construct houses fast enough to keep up with the demand, many of them constructed on low land filled in just enough to give the appearance that they are high and dry. Of course, Houston is in a league of its own, an enormous city built on marsh, the question not whether there would be a catastrophic flood but when. Why? In my community, “property rights” supersede all other rights as well as judgment. Houston, with its lack of zoning and strict building codes, is often cited as a model for other cities. Yet, we spend more time debating whether to provide humanitarian relief to the people in Puerto Rico than we do debating the insanity of constructing millions of homes in flood-prone areas. Why? Because markets.

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83 Pshrnk September 27, 2017 at 12:03 pm

Quite a bit of high land in Puerto Rico.

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84 Benny Lava September 27, 2017 at 8:42 am

America is really good at creating internal refugees.

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85 Art Deco September 27, 2017 at 12:36 pm

The word ‘refugee’ does not mean what you fancy it means.

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86 prior_test3 September 27, 2017 at 12:50 pm

Do you prefer internally displaced person?

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87 Scott Mauldin September 27, 2017 at 1:25 pm

It’s the third largest country in the world in terms of both population and land area – there are bound to be a lot of mismatches of the two, especially in the middle of Hurricane season.

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88 Brian Donohue September 27, 2017 at 9:24 am

Fight for $15!

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89 Floccina September 27, 2017 at 9:27 am

I would think Florida would be better than New York. Florida’s Government seems much less corrupt than New York’s.

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90 Art Deco September 27, 2017 at 9:32 am

Puerto Rico is a Latin American country and should not be an integral part of the U.S.. It might benefit from a conservatorship before we cut it loose. A staged transition to sovereignty is the only prudent solution.

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91 Thor September 27, 2017 at 11:36 am

Serious proposal, exact opposite of yours: We should move the US Capital to San Juan.

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92 Art Deco September 27, 2017 at 12:35 pm

Why should we move the capital to a poor city where 95% of the population speaks Spanish and the homicide rate is 5x that of the mainland?

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93 Thor September 27, 2017 at 12:44 pm

D.C. Was also historically impoverished I mean did you know it was built on s swamp? But there are big economic gains to the knowledge industries and creative class types attracted by the federal government these days. Moving the US capital to PR could spur development.

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94 JonFraz September 27, 2017 at 1:54 pm

So what? Louisiana was a French Cajun country and the whole Southwest was once Hispanic (plus a lot of Indians). Heck New York started out as Dutch and in the early years of the Republic there were still lots of Dutch speakers there (Martin van Buren and Sojourner Truth both claimed Dutch as their first language).

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95 Art Deco September 27, 2017 at 3:21 pm

The hispanophone population in Texas, New Mexico, and California in 1840 was numbered in 5 digits.

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96 JonFraz September 28, 2017 at 12:57 pm

And the US population as a whole was also vastly smaller. Your point is?

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97 Richard Besserer September 27, 2017 at 9:37 am

Fun fact: Puerto Rico is already part of the region served by the New York Fed. So there is a scrap of precedent there.

Various reports on Puerto Rico and its economic problems here:

https://www.newyorkfed.org/outreach-and-education/puerto-rico

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98 C September 27, 2017 at 10:27 am

I surprised no one has mentioned similar plans for Washington, D.C. or at least the greater part of it. The idea is that a chunk of DC – the parts called home by people instead of the parts called “That place I go 9 to 5” by Federal workers – would be given back to Maryland and Virginia.

It’s always seemed like a reasonably idea to me so naturally everyone else in the area thinks it’s bonkers and hates it.

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99 Mark Thorson September 27, 2017 at 10:56 am

Hey, join PR to DC! That way, they would have non-voting representation in the House and Senate. Republicans could hardly object to that.

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100 Art Deco September 27, 2017 at 12:19 pm

It’s properly retroceded to Maryland. It’s all north of the Potomac. The Virginia territories were retroceded in 1846.

A satisfactory solution might be for Virginia and Maryland to adopt constitutional amendments which mirror each other. The content of the amendment would be that the residents of a certain menu of counties would abstain from participation in state government and that the functions of state government would be delegated to a municipal corporation created under an inter-state compact. The provisions could also state that privileges and immunities in the Maryland and Virginia constitution would be in abeyance in favor of ones specified in the inter-state compact. Maryland and Virginia would have notional boundaries for purposes of data collection and congressional representation, but there would in effect be 3 state governments: one for rVirginia, one for rMaryland, and one for greater Washington. Greater Washington could be constituted as a federation of eight components with a fairly restricted franchise for the common government.

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101 prior_test3 September 27, 2017 at 12:47 pm

‘The Virginia territories were retroceded in 1846.’

In large part because Alexandria’s slave traders felt that their business could be threatened.

Oddly, the city where I was born does not really seem to take much note of how they were able to free themselvs from the threatening Federal yoke, as these two, not even directly connected paragraphs are about all Alexandria feel adequate – ‘In 1789, Alexandria and a portion of Fairfax County were ceded by the State of Virginia to become a part of the new 10-mile square District of Columbia. Formally accepted by Congress in 1801, Alexandria remained under the aegis of the new federal government until it was retroceded to Virginia in 1847. In 1796, a visitor, the Duc de La Rochfoucauld Liancourt, commented that, “Alexandria is beyond all comparison the handsomest town in Virginia–indeed is among the finest in the United States.”

—————————————————————–

Alexandria also was a center of the slave trade during the early nineteenth century, from which thousands of blacks were transported to Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and other areas in the deep-South where cotton production demanded more and more labor. New gas and water works and many new homes were constructed in town during this period and Alexandria’s population almost doubled in the decade before 1860.’ https://www.alexandriava.gov/historic/info/default.aspx?id=29540

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102 Art Deco September 27, 2017 at 3:22 pm

You’re a godawful bore.

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103 B.B. September 27, 2017 at 11:05 am

Let’s try independence for PR.

To make it easy, the USA guarantees the security of PR so it doesn’t have to build a military. And give it a free trade deal. And then set it free.

The time is long passed for colonialism. PR is a colony acquired in warfare. Let it go.

I don’t think the US have gained any benefit from colonizing PR except for naval facilities to control access to the Caribbean, a purpose long obsolete.

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104 Art Deco September 27, 2017 at 12:33 pm

After 119 years, about 5% of the population speaks English at home. There isn’t much of a ‘colony’ there.

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105 Hazel Mead September 27, 2017 at 1:21 pm

Ironically it would speak well of the US if we aimed for that kind of percentage in the 50 states.

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106 Art Deco September 27, 2017 at 3:22 pm

You’re also a godawful bore.

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107 Hazel Mead September 27, 2017 at 5:45 pm

Maybe you should go back to making those cuckold comments.

108 Art Deco September 27, 2017 at 11:13 pm

You’re losing track of your sockpuppets.

109 DanC September 27, 2017 at 12:11 pm

Not sure which state would want to be responsible for Puerto Rico. Why take on the debt and problems there? It is high crime with a serious drug problem. I’m told that sections are popular with gay travelers but that market seems limited.

Given its location you would have to ask yourself why developers of resorts have largely ignored it.

Energy costs that are out of whack. Massive welfare spending. Aging workforce. What a mess.

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110 Alex September 27, 2017 at 12:28 pm

Save Puerto Rico!

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111 Thorfinnsson September 27, 2017 at 12:28 pm

Puerto Rico joining New York state might limit the opposition by Congressional Republicans, but it would be opposed by New York State itself that is unlikely to want to take on a poor island of three million people.

Adding three million people to New York State would also possibly result in more Congressional representation and electoral votes for New York state and is thus still unacceptable to any Republican with half a brain.

The solution is independence–whether or not the Puerto Ricans want it. Kick them out.

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112 Black Death September 27, 2017 at 12:55 pm

The US acquired Puerto Rico as a result of the Spanish-American war (a “splendid little war,” as Theodore Roosevelt called it) along with the Cuba, Philippines and Guam. Cuba was granted independence after about a year (except for the naval base at Guantanamo); this resulted in the deep gratitude which the Cuban people continue to feel toward the US. The Philippinos expected to receive independence as well. When they didn’t get it, a nasty three year war with the American occupiers resulted. The American presence in the Philippines was a major factor in causing the Japanese to start World War Two in the Pacific. What the Americans ever wanted with the Philippines eludes me. (President McKinley did say that the United States wanted to “Christianize” the Philippines, being blissfully ignorant of the fact that most Philipinos were Roman Catholics).

Although the Panama Canal was not yet built, it was certainly being planned in 1898. Puerto Rico, Guantanamo and later the Virgin Islands (purchased from Denmark in 1917) were considered necessary to protect the Panama Canal against hostile powers, principally the British Royal Navy and the German High Seas fleet. Well, the former has been our ally for the last century, and the latter doesn’t exist now, plus we don’t even own the canal anymore. The Virgin Islands are no problem, but there’s no reason for continued American possession of the other two. Give Guantanamo back to the Cubans, and grant Puerto Rico its independence. Let’s put this last sad vestige of colonialism behind us.

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113 The Lunatic September 27, 2017 at 6:38 pm

If and when the Puerto Ricans want independence, they can manage to vote for it in a referendum.

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114 JonFraz September 27, 2017 at 1:40 pm

The obvious candidate is certainly not New York, which is 1600 miles away. The only obvious state would be Florida, which is closest to Puerto Rico and has at least some cultural links as both were part of the old Spanish Empire, and Florida has large Hispanic and Caribbean populations.

A more sensible route might be to copy the Missouri Compromise*, creating another new state out of, maybe, West Texas or the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, either of which would be strongly Republican leading so that the balance in the Senate would not be changed.

* Missouri was admitted as a slave state, Maine, carved off from Massachusetts, as a free state to maintain and even balance.

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115 DB September 27, 2017 at 6:05 pm

Alberta? More details please…

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116 King Cynic September 27, 2017 at 6:43 pm

Americans have this delusion that Canadians wish they were American, failing to understand that the key to Canadian identity is NOT to be American. No Canadian province, even Alberta, which is the most similar province to the US, is ever going to consider joining the United States until such time as the US repeals the Second Amendment, institutes universal health care coverage, and ends the culture wars. Even our “conservatives” are far too left-wing for the US political culture.

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117 Art Deco September 27, 2017 at 11:12 pm

Canadians have this delusion that they take up rent free space in the minds of Americans.

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118 The Lunatic September 27, 2017 at 6:31 pm

If Puerto Ricans really want to be a US state or part of a US state, it should be possible for them to actually get a bare majority of registered voters to the polls, with a bare majority of those voting choosing statehood over the status quo, don’t you agree? And if they don’t, it would, in fact, be fairly explicit colonialism to make them a state or part thereof against their will, wouldn’t it? So, how about we not even discuss making Puerto Rico a state, on its own or as part of another, until Puerto Ricans have a referendum where a majority of registered voters show up to the polls, with a majority of those voting on a question directly pitting statehood against the status quo voting for statehood?

I mean, seriously. Of the five status referenda Puerto Rico has had over the last fifty years, two had majorities for the status quo, one had a plurality for the status quo, one was deliberately structured by pro-statehood writers to avoid any direct comparison of the status quo versus statehood, and the fifth faced such a massive boycott by status quo parties such that the referendum turnout was only 23% of registered voters. If Puerto Ricans really want to be a state, I trust they can come up with a more definitive result.

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119 Michael Foody September 27, 2017 at 8:39 pm

So we’re doing something obviously stupid to solve the problem that things being fair hurts republicans? OK. Cool. I favor hurting republicans.

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120 JB September 28, 2017 at 3:27 pm

Tyler,
While on this topic, it strikes me that most state boundaries were drawn decades if not centuries ago. Do you think that there could be any benefit to redrawing the political map by merging or dividing any existing states. Of course, this would probably be politically impossible and, if it could somehow be accomplished, the process would almost certainly be hijacked by gerrymanderers. Still, there could be some theoretically possible map that would be more efficient. Knowing what this map would look like might help with planning interstate cooperation and the like. Plus, It’s just interesting to think about. Off the top of my head, I can think of a few possible revisions or organizing principles. For one, placing areas facing similar economic and social issues under the same political jurisdiction might allow state officials to gain more specialized expertise regarding those issues. For example, in terms of interests, Houston probably has more in common with New Orleans than it does with Dallas. Perhaps the gulf coasts of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida could be reorganized into a single state. With digital communications, states may no longer have to be contiguous. Maybe tech hubs like the Santa Clara Valley, New York’s Flatiron district, and Loudoun County, VA (where I live) could be placed under a shared state government. The Commonwealth of Cambridge, New Haven, and Princeton, perhaps? A possible drawback to this approach is that it would lower the level of risk sharing that is possible at to state level. If another tech bubble bursts, alas, Techlandia would be condemned to dereliction and despair. One could take the opposite approach and assemble states for optimal risk pooling i.e. link up coal regions with wind power regions. Maybe a mentoring model could be applied in which unusually successful regions are paired with struggling regions in the hope that more successful officials might be able to teach better habits to their under-performing peers. I wonder what kind of governor San Fransissippi would elect? I guess this would be a sort of domestic version of Paul Romer’s charter city idea (in which developed countries govern a portion of developing countries’ territory). Of course, the South Bronx hasn’t really benefited from be paired with the Upper East Side. So, this might not be the best approach. Sending DC back to Maryland might shut the city council up about statehood. That, in and of itself, would be quite an accomplishment. If any blogger reads this far into the comments section, it’s you. I’d love to hear your thoughts on MR at some point if possible.

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