The Newnan Times-Herald

Opinion

Puerto Rico a state?!


  • By The Newnan Times-Herald
  • |
  • Jun. 29, 2018 - 7:10 AM

Puerto Rico's non-voting representative in Congress recently introduced a bill seeking to make the U.S. territory a state. 

This is a bad idea.
 
Politically going after votes by making Puerto Rico a state is a dubious endeavor, benefits the mainland not at all and is an inane idea. It clearly demonstrates the lengths Democrats will go to push their progressive agenda by assuming the residents of Puerto Rico will overwhelmingly vote democrat.
 
The island’s economic growth since 2006 has been negative with per capita income 2/3rds that of the mainland, and they are saddled with a huge budget deficit. 
 
A large number of illegal immigrants crossing the Mona Passage to Puerto Rico looking for work only aggravates problems. With current Mexican border control concerns, our country doesn’t need more illegal alien issues.
 
“The island… mired in a financial crisis after declaring a form of bankruptcy last year … is under the supervision of an oversight board based in the United States.” It’s high unemployment rate, poverty and high crime rates make it unattractive for statehood.
 
Militarily the land is of no strategic interest in the region because airplanes and missiles far exceed any range advantages the island could provide. From a naval perspective, we have Guantanamo, if necessary.
 
“More than half the island's population already receives some form of public assistance, and 59 percent would qualify for the earned income tax credit once Puerto Rico became a state – at an estimated cost to U.S. taxpayers of $18 billion in additional federal outlays.”  Democratic Rep. Carlos Romero-Barcelo said, “Puerto Rico’s per capita contribution to the federal treasury, were we a state, would come to less than that of any other state in the union. At the same time, the per capita benefits we'd reap from federal aid programs would be greater than those of any other state in the union.” With a burgeoning public debt, the U.S. simply cannot afford Puerto Rico as a state.
 
“Puerto Ricans voted on a non-binding referendum on the island’s political future. Statehood winning 97 percent of the vote, but the participation rate was only 23 percent.” Clearly Puerto Ricans have little interest in their island becoming a state. 
 
Neither should the mainland.
 
Ken Schaefer
Sharpsburg