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A clearly stated preference

This morning, I spotted a news blurb about Puerto Rican citizens being denied the right to vote in presidential elections.

This is the fourth time in the last decade or so Puerto Rican residents have sought that right, and the fourth time it has been rejected.

It's a simple matter. Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States. It is not a state, so they don't get the rights of states. The District of Columbia has the same issues.

With Puerto Rico, though, the case is a bit more muddled. There have been repeated referenda and other votes on whether or not they should seek statehood or independence, and they've repeatedly declined it. Their current status has a great deal of economic and tax benefits, and they like that.

But those benefits come at a price. And that price is not having the full rights of statehood.

With those votes, they have repeatedly declared their preference for the benefits of being a territory. The privileges of being a state are bundled with the responsibilities of being a state. And there's no separating the two.

The process of becoming a state is relatively simple. It's been done 37 times in US history, so there's plenty of precedent to follow.

But kiss goodbye all those tax advantages.


Comments (14)

What?!?!? No priviledges wi... (Below threshold)

What?!?!? No priviledges without responsibility? Why, that's positively un(Air)American. Someone call Al Franken...

That raises a good point th... (Below threshold)
Curtis:

That raises a good point though. Since DC residents get screwed out of federal participation, why should they pay federal taxes?

Because they're a city. If... (Below threshold)
Larry:

Because they're a city. If the DCers really want that representation they've been crying for, time to reintegrate with Maryland or Virginia. I know Govenor Ehrlich has said that Maryland is more than willing to reabsorb them into the state.

Hmmm.What frankly ... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

What frankly astonishes me is that there's actually a violent separatist group trying to "free" Puerto Rico from American "domination".

Hell I've been wanting Puerto Rico to "free" itself for years now. I know Congress has been trying to ditch, ... er "free", Puerto Rico for years too.

What a strange world.

It's a city with more peopl... (Below threshold)
Curtis:

It's a city with more people than north dakota. And I am guessing that it would take more than an offer from governor Erlich to move DC into MD.

The District of Columbia us... (Below threshold)

The District of Columbia used to be a bit bigger, IIRC. I believe that what used to be a portion of it already reverted back to being Virginia long ago. So, there is precident for the rest going back to Maryland. Now, take a bit of what used to be Maryland and make it a state (with Senator Marion "the boitch set me up!" Barry and Senator "Lord knows who else")? Not on your life!

The problem with DC being p... (Below threshold)
joe:

The problem with DC being part of Maryland is that the capital would belong to a state, conferring tremendous advatages on Maryland. Having it in its own district, with some Congressional control, is supposed to avoid the possibility of a state trying to influence federal policy by messing with Congress or with the operations of the federal government.

You would also have to amen... (Below threshold)
Curtis:

You would also have to amend the constitution if you totally gave DC back to maryland. But I suppose you could make the federal district just the capital mall area...

Also, even giving the part of DC south of the potomac back to Virginia required an act of congress so even following that precedent wouldn't be particularly easy.

The DC statehood debate has... (Below threshold)
TopDog:

The DC statehood debate has been one of my pet subjects for years. My solution: 1) give DC one representative in the House of Representatives via a law or amendment, 2) Enact a law (or amendment, if necessary) which states:

For the purposes of representation within the Senate of the United States, the residents of the Federal District shall be considered residents of the State from which the territory encompassing the Federal District was originally apportioned.

That would effectively mean that DC residents would participate in the voting for Maryland's senators. In all other matters, DC should stay as it is now, with mostly local control and congressional oversight.

Here's another solution to ... (Below threshold)
Mikey:

Here's another solution to the DCers problem of taxation without representation: move.

Other countries have their ... (Below threshold)

Other countries have their national capitals in ordinary political divisions -- Ottawa is in Ontario, for example -- so I don't see any great problem with reverting formal jurisdiction over Washington to Maryland. It's not like Maryland law would ever actually apply there anyway, at least not on the U.S. Gummint-owned parcels.

Lord knows these days states have precious little actual say over what happens on U.S. Gummint property within their boundaries. By rights even Uncle Sam should be complying with the laws of the states he's in, but that little nitpick of federalism went by the boards long ago.

There's a bit of a mistake ... (Below threshold)
Baggi:

There's a bit of a mistake in this lines, "Puerto Rican citizens being denied the right to vote in presidential elections."

The thing is, Puerto Rican citizens are allowed to vote in presidential elections because they are United States Citizens.

What they are not allowed to do is to live and vote in Puerto Rico. If their primary residence was say, Florida, then they would have every right to vote in presidential elections. Or, if they were born and raised in Puerto Rico and moved to New York City and have registered to vote then they can vote in the presidential elections in New York City or by absentee ballot.

So it's misleading to say that Puerto Rican Citizens can't vote in presidential elections, they can. It's a matter of where they live is all.

Curtis has it right. If DC ... (Below threshold)

Curtis has it right. If DC citizens can't have representation, then they shouldn't pay federal taxes. Then DC could boost it's already high income tax--perhaps even double it. That would provide several distinct benefits:

1) No taxation without representation
2) DC treasury could pay its bills
3) Many people with big incomes would flock in
4) Real estate values would appreciate even faster

''This is the fourth time i... (Below threshold)
carlos:

''This is the fourth time in the last decade or so Puerto Rican residents have sought that right, and the fourth time it has been rejected''

Please note that this is a group of people who endorse US statehood for PR. The majority of Puerto Ricans do not support integration or anexation to the US. We do not care to vote for the president of the US simply because we are not part of that nation. We are a commonwealth associated to the US and constitute a nation (a non sovereign one) different and apart.




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