November 7, 2012

¡Viva Puerto Rico Libre!

Steven Hunter's book American Gunfight about the two brave Puerto Rican terrorists who nearly assassinated Harry Truman in 1950 in the name of Puerto Rican nationalism, converted me to the cause of Puerto Rican independence. Sure, they were murderous terrorists, but they were men. Everybody else involved with Puerto Rican politics is a mercenary politician with his hand out.

From the Washington Post:
Why does Puerto Rico want statehood, anyway? 
Posted by Olga Khazan on November 7, 2012 at 12:44 pm 
Puerto Ricans voted Tuesday to change their relationship with the United States and become the 51st U.S. state in a non-binding referendum that would require final approval from Congress. The AP wrote: 
The two-part referendum asked whether the island wanted to change its 114-year relationship with the United States. Nearly 54 percent, or 922,374 people, sought to change it, while 46 percent, or 786,749 people, favored the status quo. 
Voters then chose among three options for their new status, and statehood won with 61 percent. “Sovereign free association,” which would have allowed for more autonomy, received 33 percent, and independence garnered 5 percent.

So, it's just a big ball of twine with no definitive answer: 66% of the 54% who wanted a change wanted a change to statehood, but the majority of voters didn't. Or other metaphysical interpretations of the results are possible, as well. A cynic might almost believe that the whole system was designed just to keep the Puerto Rico's Status issue up in the air for more profitable years to come.
It’s the fourth time in 45 years that Puerto Rico has voted on changing its national status — it’s currently a territory with U.S. currency and passports. The island governs itself, but its foreign policy is dictated by Washington. Puerto Rico fell under U.S. control in 1898, and in 1917, its people became U.S. citizens, able to serve in the military but not to vote in U.S. presidential elections.  
Even though a poll published last March in a San Juan newspaper estimated that just 37 percent of Puerto Ricans wanted a status change, it seems the majority now think statehood would be the more fortuitous path. 
For one thing, becoming a state would allow them to benefit from an extra $20 billion a year in federal funds –  something Puerto Rico could use, given its 13 percent unemployment rate.

Ka-ching ...
As a voter in the capital San Juan, Jerome Lefebre, told the BBC:  
“We’re doing okay, but we could do better. We would receive more benefits, a lot more financial help.” 
Puerto Rico the state would also gain two seats in the U.S. Senate and five in the House of Representatives — a major upgrade from the one non-voting delegate that currently represents the territory. 

And 7 Electoral Votes, too. Puerto Ricans in the U.S. vote overwhelmingly Democratic.
“The case for statehood isn’t one of additional benefits and special treatment,” said William-Jose Velez, executive president of the Puerto Rican Student Statehood Association, told the Cronkite Borderlands Initiative. “It is one of equal treatment. We want the same benefits but the same responsibilities and rights.”
Outside observers also say that statehood would bolster both Puerto Rico and the United States. Puerto Rican residents currently don’t pay federal income taxes, and companies doing business there don’t pay corporate taxes — two loopholes that would be closed if the island were made the 51st state.

For example, Microsoft saves on billions in corporate profit taxes per year by pretending to earn almost all of their Western Hemisphere revenue from their small manufacturing plant in P.R. As I blogged in 2011:
For purposes of tax avoidance, Puerto Rico is considered, by the U.S. government, to be an untouchable foreign tax haven, because it's crucial, as Admiral Mahan explained in the 19th Century, for the U.S. Navy to hold Puerto Rico to protect the approaches to the future Isthmusian Canal from the Kaiser's High Seas Fleet and the new dreadnoughts of the Royal Navy. Or something. The U.S. doesn't actually have any military bases in P.R. these days, nor does it have the Panama Canal, but it still has lots of tax breaks for Puerto Rico. ...
Microsoft has over 40,000 employees in the state of Washington in the United States. But they don't actually physically burn on to disks the software they develop. Instead, Microsoft, has a manufacturing plant in Puerto Rico employing 185 people that gets credited in Microsoft's books with a lion's share of Microsoft's Western hemisphere revenue and profits. It's making disks that's the really important thing that Microsoft does. 
Despite all you've heard about Microsoft being a software company, they are actually a manufacturing company, at least for tax accounting purposes. To the IRS, Microsoft is basically a Puerto Rican, Irish and Singaporean industrial goliath with a money-losing R&D outpost in Redmond, WA. 

I can see a politically feasible compromise emerging: Puerto Rico gets statehood, gets $20 billion in more federal funds, and Microsoft et al get to keep their Puerto Rican tax breaks. It's win-win-win for Puerto Rico, the Democrats, Microsoft, and lose-lose-lose for federal taxpayers and Republicans, those racists.
“Once Puerto Rico becomes a state, its fortunes could arc upward,” writes Reuters columnist Gregg Easterbrook, pointing out that Hawaii saw marked economic growth after it was made a state in 1959.

Obviously, only racists would point out the demographic differences between the makeup of Hawaii's population (which resembles Silicon Valley's makeup) and Puerto Rico's (which resembles that of the South Bronx). (The real question for another day is why Hawaii is so economically non-vibrant despite a promising population mix. In answer to Easterbrook's analogy to Hawaii: 1959 also marked the introduction of jet airliner service to Hawaii. In summary, in the mid-1950s, Hawaii got statehood because all signs were pointing up for Hawaii, especially the onset of convenient jet tourist and business travel. Today, nobody realistically expects much out of Puerto Rico, except what they can manipulate the taxpayers into providing.)
Opponents of statehood in Puerto Rico have argued that becoming part of the United States might compromise the island’s language and culture, especially if the federal government requires it to adopt English as its sole official language (right now, it’s both Spanish and English), as a condition of its accession. 
That worry prompted a 2011 presidential task force on Puerto Rico to recommend: 
“Providing assurances that Puerto Rico will control its own cultural and linguistic identity would reduce concern over this possibility.” 

As I said, Puerto Rican statehood can be achieved by a few simple compromises in which all interested parties get whatever unprincipled exemptions they demand and America pays the price.
The island’s fate wasn’t as wrapped up in the outcome of the presidential race, however: Both President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have said they would respect Puerto Ricans’ statehood decision, whatever it may be.

I imagine that the Democrats will try to play this out in such a way that nothing much happens other than that some white Republicans get caught on microphone saying honest things about Puerto Rico and its Puerto Ricanness (e.g., it is corrupt, indolent, murderous, unintellectual, tax parasitical, and so forth and so on), thus allowing Democrats to trumpet how much white racist Republicans hate, Hate, HATE Hispanics!

As for me:

¡Viva Puerto Rico Libre!

50 comments:

Carl Indiri said...

If Romney was just going to be Obama lite, then good riddance. Better to have immigrant support and other 'progressive' out in the open under a black democrat and polarizing the right into a super Tea Party than hiding behind a white Republican facade.

Anonymous said...

Virtually all of the Puerto Ricans who come to America are looking for benefits and vote Democratic. But could the politics of the Puerto Ricans who remain in the country be different from that of emigrants? Could the island possibly vote Republican? I honestly have no idea, and would appreciate clarification since nobody seems to know/be willing to answer anywhere else. If its Democrat, the GOP should make the splitting of California into a Red State and a Blue State a condition of Puerto Rican statehood.

Anonymous said...

http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2012/11/07/merkel-christians-are-the-most-persecuted/

Anonymous said...

Why in heaven's name, do we want Puerto Rico to join the USA? NO THANK YOU! We don't want a bunch of welfare recipients added to our already overburdened rolls. Not to mention mostly Democrats. This is a lose/lose proposition.

Anonymous said...

Let me suggest searching for oil near PR. If they find it PR won't want to share and will declare independence.

anony-mouse said...

I wouldn't worry too much about PR.

Look who's at the very bottom of this list:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_and_territories_by_total_fertility_rate

Anonymous said...

In a nutshell, romney cuckolded by obama with white women.

Anonymous said...

http://centropr.hunter.cuny.edu/research/datacenter/puerto-ricans-us-earn-less-money-and-pay-more-housing

Here is a good primer on Puerto Ricans in the States. They are poor and on welfare. I believe the biggest industry in Puerto Rico is claiming disability in the manner of West Virginians. Sounds like another winner for the American taxpayer.

Red Fox said...

While Microsoft doesn't employ many people on the island, Puerto Rico is brimming with pharmaceutical plants. There is money on the island just not much of a middle class. When I was driving around the northern part of the Enchanted Island in 2008 much of the rural areas reminded me of Appalachia i.e. good infrastructure but with an air of unemployment. Last time I checked, Puerto Rico and West Virgina were the only two states/commonwealths with employment to population ratios below 50%.

Anonymous said...

This is a lose/lose proposition.

And this is exactly why Dems will make sure that it does happen.

Anonymous said...

http://pjmedia.com/rogerkimball/2012/11/07/the-morning-after/

Steve Sailer said...

"Puerto Rico is brimming with pharmaceutical plants"

Presumably, scientists in New Jersey and Indiana and so forth are adding most of the value to the pharmaceuticals, but most of the profits are being declared to be the result of manufacturing them in P.R. to avoid American taxes. As an American taxpayer, why should I be happy about this?

Steve Sailer said...

Look, this Avoido-Tax scheme was invented by the post-WWII governor of Puerto Rico to put down Puerto Rican nationalism and provided a counter-example to Cuban Communism. It worked. Fine.

But as the economy goes more and more toward intellectual property, P.R. is becoming more of a sinkhole for taxes as companies get more expert at evasion -- Microsoft, for example, only got big into evading taxes via P.R. a couple of years ago.

Obviously, reforming the corporate tax system is one must-do, but P.R. is not any kind of foreign policy priority for the U.S. in the Cold War, it's just a tax haven.

Jim O said...

This cynic believes that the system was rigged to make Puerto Rico the 51st state, i.e., to give the Senate 2 more Democrats, and the House X more Democrat Congress personas. Most Puerto Ricans don't want statehood. Some in that majority want the status quo, some want independence. But this election was literally rigged to force a majority to choose statehood. And it went under the radar.

Ya gotta admit. The Dems are good at this stuff. And they are relentless.

CrownofCastile said...

I hate Puerto Rican whites. Most of the Ibizans living in Mexico and elsewhere (especially Argentina) recognize and even take pride in their European Spanish heritage. I've never met a Puerto Rican white who does the same. As far as they're all concerned, they are oppressed minorities who deserve U.S. handouts and sympathy.

Anonymous said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugene_McCarthy

Along with Ted Kennedy, he was one of the original co-sponsors of the Immigration Act of 1965. He later regretted this, noting that "unrecognized by virtually all of the bill's supporters, were provisions which would eventually lead to unprecedented growth in numbers and the transfer of policy control from the elected representatives of the American people to individuals wishing to bring relatives to this country."[4] Taking a turn to the right, McCarthy became a member of the Board of Advisors of the Federation for American Immigration Reform.[5]

europeasant said...

So we have to pay people money not to become commies?
Let Puerto Rico sink into a hellhole like Haiti.
Time to let the anchor go.

Norville Rogers said...

I'm gonna go make my "US OUT OF PR" bumper sticker on Zazzle

Anonymous said...

What's Charles 'coming apart' Murray's views on this?

Anonymous said...

"Let Puerto Rico sink into a hellhole like Haiti."

It won't. It's not black enough.

Norville Rogers said...

No wait, maybe I ought to relocate (locate?) that PR independence sticker outfit to PR, for tax reasons

Anonymous said...

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2012/11/07/coulter_laments_loss_wrong_to_blame_romney_like_he_was_john_mccain.html

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2012/11/07/coulter_ingraham_debate_how_romney_lost_the_election.html

Anonymous said...

Romney should have run against Obama and the media. Obama ran the most negative campaign, but media didn't call out on it. Media are an accomplice to libs and has to handled as a wing of the Democratic Party.

Anonymous said...

I'm confused, I thought the article said the tax breaks go away with becoming the 51st state. What am I missing? Hey maybe we can get Quebec to secede from Canada, then we can add six million French speakers as well. Ethnic Balkanization, it's just not for the Balkans anymore.

Uriah John said...

"anony-mouse said...
I wouldn't worry too much about PR.
Look who's at the very bottom of this list:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_and_territories_by_total_fertility_rate"


- That's because they have their kids in NY

Willie Jane said...

Maybe this is a good thing, the porn industry will be looking to relocate to somewhere when the recent condom law in LA takes effect

stari_momak said...

"In a nutshell, romney cuckolded by obama with white women."

White women voted for Romney, just a bit less than white men.

Anonymous said...

Presumably, scientists in New Jersey and Indiana and so forth are adding most of the value to the pharmaceuticals, but most of the profits are being declared to be the result of manufacturing them in P.R. to avoid American taxes

Steve, I have inside knowledge on the juncture of R&D and manufacturing of several Big Pharmas. It is EXACTLY like you describe! New Jersey, Indiana and, most of all, California. This file is a nice illustration:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Pharmaceutical_Companies_Puerto_Rico.png

Matthew said...

"The real question for another day is why Hawaii is so economically non-vibrant despite a promising population mix."

Hawaii's Asians came over as laborers. Unlike today's Asians, they were't specifically elected for brainz.


"Let me suggest searching for oil near PR. If they find it PR won't want to share and will declare independence."

^^^ OMG, a million times this ^^^.

"While Microsoft doesn't employ many people on the island, Puerto Rico is brimming with pharmaceutical plants."

That sounds like the pharmaceutical version of what Microsoft is doing. Most of the value created in pharma is at the R&D labs, not the manufacturing sites.

Matthew said...

I think the problem here is this: all Puerto Ricans are considered US citizens. You want to get rid of it? They'll all move to the US. You'll have an independent nation almost devoid of people, except the owners of future Caribbean resorts, tax absconders, etc.

Keeping PR a territory is probably the best we can do. At some point Dems will obtain a majority in Congress and they'll decide to vote for statehood.

Mr. Anon said...

Maybe we could induce Cuba or Venezuela to invade and annex Puerto Rico.

Mr. Anon said...

It's interesting to note that the movement to grant PR statehood could probably get more traction than the movement to give Washington DC statehood.

eah said...

Nine of the 10 top U.S. zip codes for workers collecting Social Security disability benefits are in Puerto Rico, according to government data.

So I say PR would fit well into what America has become:

Disability Ranks Outpace New Jobs In Obama Recovery

And congratulations to all those Asian Obama voters -- you get to pay for it.

Jason Sylvester said...

Mark my words, some "reasonable" and "moderate" GOP head honcho, basking in his Party's recent electoral defeat at the hands of Obama and the Democrats, will suggest a two-fer in the "reaching out" department: "we can send a message to Hispanics by helping our Democratic friends make Puerto Rico a state," he'll say, "and help bring the African-American vote back into the fold of Lincoln's Republican party by giving statehood to the District of Columbia."

In other words, add four more permanent Democratic seats to the U.S. Senate in the name of...well, nothing, really, other than being able to go on MSNBC and preen about being a "reasonable" and "moderate" Republican, aka, a Democrat in every way that counts other than a dislike of paying taxes. I'm frankly surprised Karl Rove and Jeb Bush aren't already on the case.

kaganovitch said...

OK Steve,I'm going to throw in the towel - You are getting funnier.

eah said...

You are getting funnier.

That makes one of you. I don't find Mr Sailer amusing. I find he hides behind sarcasm. Too much sarcasm.

snapperhead soup said...

Secession is bad but annexation is good.

DanJ said...

No representation without taxation!

irishman said...

I don't understand this especial ambivalence for Puerto Ricans. Are they America's gypsies?

Anonymous said...

Colonizing Puerto Rico (therewas no rational reason for it anyway, it was just a way of an assertive, macho, Victorian USA to show that it could keep up with England), has turned out to be a collosal, historic mistake.
Actually, it was colonized by the USA very late in the day, as far as Carribean coloniziation goes - the 1890s - just a couple of generations before the general anti-colonial drive.

Anonymous said...

Both President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have said they would respect Puerto Ricans’ statehood decision, whatever it may be.

Perhaps Obama can explain why similar respect wont be accorded to Arizona?

Anonymous said...

Ethnic Balkanization, it's just not for the Balkans anymore.

When you look at the Balkans its pretty straightforward. A few ethnic divides, a few religious ones. The US on the other hand. . .

Anonymous said...

europeasent said:

Let Puerto Rico sink into a hellhole like Haiti.

Since demography is destiny and Haiti is demographically different, I suspect their destiny will play out differently, also.

Jonas said...

The way to stop it is to protest en masse the way that was done when Bush tried to pull the amnesty for illegals on the US. Puerto Rico statehood would likewise have a major impact on the US, but my guess is it will go under the radar of most Americans, who consider Puerto Rico to be far away and of little consequence, unlike the illegals they see in their hometown.

Anonymous said...

Independence for Puerto Rico and Guam.

Roll all the other Pacific Islands, Howland, Jarvis, Midway, Wake etc, into Hawaii.

Give the US Virgin Islands the option of becoming a county of Florida or independence.



Retrocede all of DC back to Maryland except the embassies, White House, Capitol Hill and Supreme Court.

Anonymous said...

51st Puerto Rican state = an extension of U.S. soil for the world's refugees to float to.

Expect to hear sob stories of disenfranchised vibrancy showing up on Puerto Rican shores and Puerto Ricans taking them in wholeheartedly, because they're not racists like you, (and because they know that they won't have to pay for it).

Anonymous said...

This comes from a cross-section (students, professionals, single moms)Puerto Ricans I have talked to about what Puerto Ricans think about their relationship with the US:
A third want to become a state;
a third want independence;
and a third just prefer the status quo.
The last third pretty much stops the first two achieving their opposing aims, because neither can get a majority.
The US is going to be spending money on Puerto Rico for some time to come, I'm afraid...

Sgt. Joe Friday said...

It's too bad Canada doesn't seem to be on the verge of disintegration. The GOP could insist that admitting British Columbia and Alberta be the tradeoff for Puerto Rico.

Nah. The Pubbies are too stupid to figure even that one out.

Anonymous said...

As a Canadian, I have never understood why America even wanted or keeps Puerto Rico. It is a poor island that leans heavily on America for economic assistance. There is no great natural resource there, like say oil or gold. It has no strategical importance and it is Spanish speaking. Almost twelve decades of control or association with Washington has not made it switch to English. It would be as if Louisiana had always stayed French-speaking after 1803. Statehood for Puerto Rico could be a Trojan horse for bilingualism to America, along the lines of Canada. If that happens Americans will really be in trouble.

Anonymous said...

To the 49th commentator by the name of "Anonymous," everything you said about Puerto Rico is so true. Despite the result of the most recent Puerto Rico referendum favoring U.S. statehood (I believe that the vote was rigged), I hope Puerto Rico would eventually become an independent country in order to avoid the long-term problems that you outlined in your comment. The reason why Puerto Ricans voted for statehood is not because they want to become a state, but rather for more long-term federal financial aide at the expense of the U.S. taxpayers of the rest of the states, which could weaken the U.S. economy even more than it does now, and it could create serious long-term conflicts (both socially and economically) between Puerto Rico and the rest of the U.S.A. that may never be peacefully resolved. Besides, many Puerto Ricans have a strong sense of their own nationalism that makes being American irrelevant. It is the fault of the U.S. Congressional Members (of both major political parties), who have been extremely greedy and stupid, that made it happen even though most of their constituents did not elect them to Washington, D.C. to do this. Shame on those who made it a reality! I hope that U.S. President Barack Obama and the Members of the U.S. Congress of both chambers (House and Senate) would undo the mistake that was made in the Puerto Rico referendum and voluntarily grant Puerto Rico total independence that it deserves, just like the Philippines, a former U.S. colony, was given its independence decades ago. And I pray God that they would do the right thing albeit they are less likely to.