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Old 09-15-2007, 07:26 PM
 
Location: Living in Paradise
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Should PR become the 51 state?

Puerto Ricans debate over statehood (broken link)
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Old 09-15-2007, 10:09 PM
 
Location: So. Dak.
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YES!!! That would be cool. Too bad the couple in the story don't agree on it though. Evidently they've been married too long. But seriously, do you think that PR will eventually just bring that question to a vote?

I guess I have never read the pros and cons of it, but I've often wondered why certain areas just remain U.S. territories and don't become states. Do they feel they'd lose local governmental control? It may balance out because they would be able to send elected officials to D.C. There really shouldn't be much of a problem if the citizens of PR would be interested in doing that. They're already U.S. citizens anyway.
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Old 09-18-2007, 12:48 PM
 
Location: The Circle City. Sometimes NE of Bagdad.
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In my opinion, no and most of my Puerto Rican friends also say no. They want to remain a territory or be independent.

See more here.

Puerto Rican statehood
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Old 09-18-2007, 01:59 PM
 
Location: Savannah GA/Lk Hopatcong NJ
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They have had the best of both worlds for some time now.
Either become a state and pay Federal taxes like the rest of us or cut them loose. My only concern would be how the citizenship issue would be handled..what about the people that paid into social security...would be an easier transition to become a state

Last edited by njkate; 09-18-2007 at 02:08 PM..
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Old 09-18-2007, 02:16 PM
 
Location: Newton, NJ (but my heart is in Tennessee)
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My wife who is from Puerto Rico tells me that there are 3 different opinions on this issue. Some want to become a state, some want to be independent and some want to stay the same (the largest group).

If they became independent, they would then be on their own. This means losing the benefits of being affiliated with the United States.

If they became a state, they would then be treated as the other states. I'm not sure of all the ramifications, but I think there would be issues with taxes and being subject to federal laws.

If they stayed the same, they get the benefits while still being somewhat autonomous.

One thing that concerns her is the public school system. When she was there in the 80's, the schools were well run and the students were disciplined. They even wore uniforms. Drugs were non-existent. This was in San Sebastian. I don't know what they are like today, but if Puerto Rico became a state, hopefully the schools don't become like the schools here.
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Old 09-18-2007, 03:11 PM
 
Location: The Circle City. Sometimes NE of Bagdad.
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Dolfan,
When I lived there in the mid 90's the kids still wore uniforms to school. It looked great and I thought it was pretty neat. The school drop out rate was pretty high, but there were still a lot of people going to universities.

And you are so right on the three opinions.
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Old 09-18-2007, 08:20 PM
 
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Well I grew up and graduated high school in PR, and even though my family as a whole is for PR becoming a state, we have pretty much agreed that this will never happen. It's just too late. The issue is not as complicated as people make it out to be. The reality of the matter is that PR will never be its own country, the people don't have the inclination, nor PR as a territory has the infrastructure to rely on its own..it would rapidly fall below the Dominican Republic in terms of overall GDP and quality of life for its residents. The more likely scenario is that it will remain an unincorporated territory as it stands right now, with Puerto Ricans enjoying the benefits of the American Citizenship, which is really what makes Puerto Rico in general so ironic. When I left for college to the CONUS my classmates always hackled me with the "You want statehood...there are 50 states out there, choose one and leave"..which is exactly what I did and couldn't be happier.

Here are some myths that need to be debunked about Puerto Rico in the context of the US and why this fosters an environment where statehood is not likely.

1) Cultural identity. This is the biggest fallacy of them all. Most Puerto Ricans fight tooth and nail about what they consider would be cultural suicide. Yet anybody who has lived both in the Conus and in PR would easily recognize that the current PR society in the island is totally americanized anyways. I'm not talking about the currency, that's a given, I'm talking about everything from entertaintment, shopping, dining, technology; it's a bastardized tropical version of commercial strip mall America. The difference is that at least people up here don't have an entitlement complex. It kills me when you read on the Florida boards on this site, the numerous comments about Orlando residents complaining about the attitudes from people from PR. They do not want to recgonize that things are bleak in the island, yet refuse to assimilate to the CONUS while living up here, mind you Puerto Ricans having it easy, since they are american citizens by birth. This attitude is what keeps PR from realistically contending to become a state and I don't suspect this will change in my lifetime.

2) Taxes. As opposed to what people think, people from PR don't get a "free" ride from the US government in terms of taxes, at least not in the conventional sense. Yes, PR is an artificial economy. PR does not have the economic strength to support its population at current levels (which is not much anyways, as somebody suggested above, it having half of the poorest state's median income [Mississippi]) and federal dollars get pumped every year to keep the island literally afloat. That said, Puerto Ricans pay more in taxes than the average american tax payer, they just don't pay it to uncle sam, rather they pay it to an archaic insular and corrupt state government. I've seen my parent's tax returns (both still live in PR), it's almost 40 cents to the dollar I kid you not.

Also cost of living is prohibitive. Energy costs are through the roof, water is also VERY expensive, and housing options are out of the charts. You will not find a single unit home built after 1960 that's not at least 300K, and it's a shack by Hawaii standards, our closest point of comparison to a state in terms of geography. Everything gets hit with import tax. You can buy any vehicle down there you can here...except you'll take at least a 30% markup. What does this mean. You want a Jeep Grand Cherokee..ok, it just won't cost 27K mid model, it'll cost 34K pre-tax...oh and there's a luxury tax on vehicles above 30K I kid you not. In essence, people under 30 by default have to live with mom and pops, period. I could never afford any kind of the housing options I have up here if I still lived in the island.

3)Education. Give me a break. My parents were able to put me through catholic private school, and to this day I honestly believe that was my ticket out of the island. You also have to understand that private schools down there are not what you think of in the CONUS. They are the equivalent to a decent public school in the states that has a good neighborhood that puts up the property taxes to maintain such school. So by CONUS private school standards they are nothing more than good public schools. Public schools in PR are a joke, the ones in the rural municipalities (80% of the island) are non-competitive in the curriculum, basically good enough to eek you entrance into UPR (University of Puerto Rico). In terms of perparing you for ACT or SAT testing...forget it. Metro schools are plain scary. With the rampant drug problem it is not uncommon to witness drug related violence in schools down there. Yes, public schools in PR have uniforms, but that is a function of poverty more than of cleanliness. These families don't have the clothing budget to pimp out their kids like public school kids in the states, so it's a practicality issue. Private school (catholic at that since everybody is catholic down there) is the only way you can get a competitive enough education to be able to compete. Worth every penny and I stand as testament of it, having been able to leave and compete in the states, unlike our fellow dropout transplants to "_________" NJ, Orlando FL and the like, who return 12-24 months later.

4)Jobs. The word is "entrenched". 70% of the employment comes from government. That's right, state government provides all employment. Industries are health care, pharmaceutical and tourism, the rest is services, i.e. Best Buy, target etc. Meaning you are literally staring at a career as a middle manager at best buy after you graduate from UPR as almost anything that's not medical or law. Like I said before, most of the jobs are government (both my parents retired down there from government, as a personnel administrator and child services lawyer respectively), and who pays for the govt budget? the tax payers? haha, not when the income is below the MS median income. The US federal govt pumping the money every year to keep the artifical economy going.

5) Crime. Second highest per capita next to D.C. and we are not even a state! Muder totals for the island (population 4 million) exceed 1000 yearly. Most drug related, but the problem is that there is no "good areas" in metro San Juan or Ponce (the largest metro areas). You can be at a light on a three lane in midtown San Juan and the cars left and right of you were chasing each other. Next thing you know guns blaze out and your family becomes the victim of being at the wrong place at the wrong time. It's just not worth your life because the weather is nice down there (this incident happened exactly how I described it, and it's not unique, it's symptomatic, I have friends from my said high school who are no longer with us because of 'accidents' like this). Crime is accepted as cost of doing business down there, particularly property theft and carjackings (50% chance of getting shot in the commission of a carjacking per the stats, even if you don't resist giving up your vehicle). My folks have had the family car (a Buick for Christ sake), stolen from mall parking lots and the neighborhood I think 4 times in the past 10 years. I mean, I could go on.

I have told my folks numerous times to move, but they got too old culturally to start over, and believe me, there are a lot of young professionals from PR saying "screw it" and making new lives up here. So for the US Congress to touch that hot potato and say "you know it would be a great addition to our constituency and voter base for federal elections" the ice caps would have to melt.

My .02 dollars
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Old 09-19-2007, 07:05 AM
 
Location: Savannah GA/Lk Hopatcong NJ
13,172 posts, read 26,615,201 times
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Hindsight,

Great post and it has enlightened me some what
Pos reps for you
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Old 09-19-2007, 07:34 AM
 
2 posts, read 5,491 times
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Default Totally agree..

I still live in P.R and I can't do it anymore. I;m 30 already with B.A. and no work. Jobs are like to be only for political payments, and beleive they have a lot to pay for.
I totaly agree with you about schools, having my daugther at a private shcool we try to avoid some of those matters but these are prohibite to most of the population who seems to be totally stock in time and space.
It's hard to say but I'm starting to hate this place. It is toooooo expensive for the quality in every single aspect.
Hope to be somewhere else soon...
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Old 09-19-2007, 10:57 AM
 
Location: The Circle City. Sometimes NE of Bagdad.
21,213 posts, read 22,269,466 times
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Hindsight,
Great post, those were the same thoughts I was thinking over last night that I was going to post today. You said it much better.
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