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Foster: Time to grant Puerto Rico independence

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By Howard Foster - 

Puerto Rico is even worse than Illinois. Billions in debt, barely able to pay the interest on its notes to creditors, corrupt, tied down by powerful unions and political machines, an economic basket case. The difference is, we can get rid of it by a simple act of Congress. Instead, Congress, that means Republicans, are about to pass a bail-out bill that will cost taxpayers billions. 

I have yet to hear a single member of Congress advocate getting rid of Puerto Rico, i.e., giving it independence. We did that with Cuba and the Philippines, also acquired after our victory in the Spanish American War. Cuba, of course, went on to be a major headache. The Philippines has succeeded as an independent nation. 

There is no reason to fear Puerto Rico would go Communist. Communism is essentially dead.  Even Communist Cuba, China, and Vietnam, all our former enemies, are going capitalist.  Puerto Rico would end up like Greece, an economic beached whale begging for handouts from its more prosperous neighbors. But it would not be our primary responsibility anymore.

Puerto Rico has serious systemic problems: a third of its residents are on food stamps, the average income is about $12,000 and unemployment is high.  It’s a fiscal drag on U.S. taxpayers.  Let’s cut the cord.

As for citizenship, I’d point out Congress only made Puerto Ricans citizens in 1917, years after it became a Territory. The motive for doing so was to conscript draft age men into the army to fight World War I. Puerto Ricans resented it at the time and rightly so.  Now we American taxpayers resent their sky-high welfare dependence and other expenses, such as the coming bail out.  (And it is only a temporary solution.  There have been years of Greek bailouts.) 

So Congress can not only terminate the Territorial status but also decree no Puerto Rican born after that date will be a U.S. citizen.  We can also cut off the welfare rights of Puerto Ricans even though they are U.S. citizens once they stop paying U.S. taxes.

It would be a net plus to the rest of the nation.  Puerto Rico should not get to decide its fate.  A majority of its population seems to favor statehood.  But Congress should get to decide.  And the bailout that’s on the verge of passing is just a way of avoiding the big decision.

Here’s a new issue for Donald Trump.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. IL pensions have unfunded liabilities that exceed $100B, and unlike Puerto Rico, there will be no bailout from the feds. On the other hand, IL has a much larger economy than Puerto Rico.

  2. Great idea! Won’t happen as the they are so strongly tied to the federal government teat.
    Remember when Bush 1 urged that Puerto Rico become a State? I do. And then good ole Jeb (you know he is so smart) did the same thing in his campaign.
    Jeb Bush reiterated his support for Puerto Rico statehood on Tuesday, telling a crowd that he’s long been a backer of the movement to make the U.S. territory the 51st state.
    The former Florida governor and likely presidential candidate made the comments during a string of public events on the commonwealth, where he spent months campaigning for his father, George H.W. Bush, during his failed 1980 presidential campaign.
    “Puerto Rican citizens, U.S. citizens, ought to have the right to determine whether they want to be a state. I think statehood is the best path, personally,” he said at Universidad Metropolitana de Cupey in San Juan. “I have believed that for a long, long while. I’m not new to this.

  3. What you are suggesting is to Violate the most basic and fundamental Principle of Democracy, “the Government by Consent”, in other words, you are asking to Negate Democracy to the Americans (U,S. Citizens) of Puerto Rico.
    Have you read the Declaration of Independence?
    Have you found out who really created the actual Crisis in Puerto Rico and who has really received most benefits of this U.S. Colony? Obviously you have not! I suggest you to read : Tax Heaven in the Caribbean for Corporate Welfare (Puerto Rico). Also read about the IRS sections 936 and section 933-A FULL income tax exemptions to Corporations (CFC’s) doing Business in Puerto Rico. These CFC’s Corporations sponsor with big money, in Congress, both political parties campaigns, in order to perpetuate the Income Tax exemptions in P.R.
    The People in Puerto Rico already Mandated in the 2012 plebiscite to become the 51st. State of OUR UNION.
    I count with a DD-214 from the U.S. Navy, my father received many medals in Korea, the (Borinquenners) *65th. of Infantry Battalion (made out of 90 American soldiers from Puerto Rico), was con decorated by U.S. Congress (2016) with the Gold Medal of Honor for its Valor in harms way, defending OUR LIBERTY AND DEMOCRACY…..and you are telling me that WE DO NOT NEED TO BE LISTENED, THAT CONGRESS DO NOT NEED OUR CONSENT???
    Isn’t this Racism or a Discriminatory Treatment? If not, what is this??