Yesterday, Congress voted 223-169 to allow the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to have some say over what part it will play in the United States' fortunes in the future. Should it become the 51st state? Or become a sovereign nation? Or should it remain, uh, whatever it is right now?
The bill approved by the House would set up a two-step process: First up, a vote to decide whether Puerto Rico should stay a commonwealth. If most voters want something else, a second ballot would offer a choice among independence, statehood, the status of being sovereign but still associated with the United States, or remaining a commonwealth after all.
I think they should become a state. Or that they maybe shouldn't. Or that I maybe don't know. Is that helpful at all, Puerto Rico? Am I contributing to the discourse?
Currently, Puerto Rico — which came under American control in 1898 following the Spanish-American War — is a commonwealth, with its roughly 4 million residents United States citizens and eligible to serve in the military. Puerto Ricans also have a non-voting delegate to Congress, do not vote in the general election for president and do not pay federal income taxes on wages earned in Puerto Rico.
So, in exchange for having no voting member of Congress representing their interests, the citizens of Puerto Rico pay no federal income tax? About half the U.S. currently has nobody in Congress looking out for their interests. Or worse! A lot of them have members of Congress actively working against their interests. (Paging, Sen. McCain.) And they're paying for that?
Well, shit! Isn't this what the whole Tea Party thing is ostensibly* about? Having no say in government and too many taxes? Why don't all the Teabaggers just move to Puerto Rico and stop paying in to The Fed?
Oh, wait. I know why.
Tags: House of Representatives, Puerto Rico, Taxes, Tea Party