Puerto Rico: state or Nah?
Puerto Rico, currently a U.S. commonwealth, is not exactly a state nor an independent nation. Puerto Ricans are technically U.S. citizens and are able to vote for a small amount of things, but do not have the same voting opportunities as the states. They've had their own government set up since 1952, and do not pay federal income taxes to Washington. So, the question is, should Puerto Rico join the U.S. officially as the 51st state?
Puerto Ricans were asked about their desires in two parts. First by a 54% to 46% margin, voters rejected their current status as a U.S. common wealth. 61% chose statehood as the alternative, 33% were for the semi-autonomous "sovereign free association", and 6% were for outright independence. However, 58% of Puerto Ricans live in the mainland U.S.
is it the right thing to do?
Some U.S. citizens believe it would benefit us if Puerto Rico became a state politically, economically, and culturally. They believe the commonwealth status was never meant to be permanent, but rather a transitional step. Puerto Ricans have been waiting 100 years for equal treatment. If Puerto Rico did become a state, it would not longer be a substantial cash drain on the U.S. economy, and Puerto Rico's economy would grow in the process. In addition, it will become a source of additional revenue to the national treasury, and be less costly in support for the unemployed, the underemployed, and for disabled individuals who require public assistant.
should we be against it?
However, many people believe Puerto Rico's statehood is not a good idea. The U.S. will have to listen to Puerto Rico for sovereignty and protection. Also, there will be a loss of culture and tax payers will be effected. We granted citizenship to the island and full access to our country for them to settle as Americans. And yet, they continued to remain separate culturally and nationally, in currency, passport, and military uniform. People are afraid people from Puerto Rico will just use our Government for their own benefit, seeking help for their own economical issues. Their employment rate is low (15%), they have more debt, and the GDP is very low as well. If Puerto Rico is granted statehood, it could weaken the U.S. substantially.
As a group, we agree more with the above statements in saying we are against it. Although the supporting issues about Puerto Rico's statehood benefitting us are accurate, we believe the negative issues would have more of an impact. In our research where we asked both students and adults on their opinion of the matter, the percentage of opposing we received was greater than those for it. Overall, we think Puerto Rico has managed to go this long without being a state, and adding them to the U.S. would do nothing but complicate things and weaken our already crippled economy.