THE CASE AGAINST STATEHOOD FOR PUERTO RICO

This past June 11 Puerto Rico held a plebiscite to define its political status with respect to the rest of the Union. To the surprise of no one; the statehood movement won the day with a whopping 97% of the votes in favor.

I will not enter into a discussion of why this plebiscite is a sham (it was) or the circumstances surrounding it which resulted in such a lopsided North Korean style win for the statehood proponents. To enter into such an uninteresting discussion of Puerto Rico’s dysfunctional internal politics will only bore the reader and cloud the main message of this article; that even if Puerto Rico ever asks for statehood in a manner and form that totally legitimizes its request, the Republican Party should do all within its power to reject it.

Puerto Rico’s political culture cannot differ more than it does from the core values of the Republican party and the political culture that has permeated most of the history of the United States. The political culture of the people of Puerto Rico is very close to the ones found in Latin America; where capitalism is seen as evil and government is seen as virtuous; and as such government intrusiveness in the economy is not only desirable but a necessity. To top that up, it doesn’t help that Puerto Rico in its past history had as governor no other than Rexford Guy Tugwell who was part of FDR’s brain trust. The same character that was starstruck and enthusiastic about what was going on in Stalin’s Soviet Union controlled economy. Tugwell instilled into the puertorrican political class and psyche the idea that government is the center of the economy and that its role is central for the proper functioning of it. Puerto Rico took that message at heart and made it an essential value of our political culture for the role of government to be the center of the economy and society. We Puertorricans are so emotionally dependent upon government that it is religiously accepted that the island economy depends on the government finances instead of the other way around. This is why even though the number of students in public schools have dropped by 40% the government insisted in keeping all the schools open as well as a hyperinflated bureaucracy because, well,  “the economy!”. It is also the reason why no structural changes in the slightest have been done in the government; even though the wall against which the island was roaring into at full speed was there for everyone to see for a decade.

Even though the island is 100 x 35 miles, the island is divided into 78 towns (counties) each one with its own administrative bureaucracy. This ridiculous administrative atomization allows for politicians that were voted out of their offices to live off contracts given by the mayors of these towns. Everybody knows; nothing of value comes out of these contracts. But the scheme allows for people in politics to eke out a living, and a good one at that, from the government dole till the next election. Billions of dollars have been spent in this scheme over the years to support a political class of politicians, ex-politicians and contractors.

The public corporations and the Central Government Bank (Yes! Puerto Rico had one!) financed a corrupt political clique as well as the main political parties for decades in the tune of billions of dollars; billions of dollars for which there is nothing to show for.

Our political culture is the main reason why Puerto Rico is indebted to the tune of over $120 billion dollars (taking into consideration the pension liabilities) which is comparable to that of California; even though the island is small with only 3.5 million inhabitants, most of which live below the poverty line, and nothing to show for it but mediocrity, disfunctionality and entitlement shown within those that encompass the population of government employees.

The insane amount of debt, these politicians raked, was always portrayed as necessary for the good of the economy. John Maynard Kaynes would have been proud at the immensely ridiculous claim coming from our politicians that the current debt must be pardoned for the island again to have access to capital markets so that the government can again spend and thus jump start the economy.  Really? This claim sounds more plausible in the island as there are no voices of dissent from this point of view anywhere in the political landscape. At least in the US such leftist insanity is confronted head on by cooler heads of which in the tropics are very lacking.

At this juncture where the values held dear by the Democratic Party are so to the Left of the ideological spectrum and at odds with the core values that have made this nation what it is, to the point that an open socialist almost got elected as presidential candidate, it will be an act of utter mindlessness to support the incorporation of Puerto Rico as a state. A state with 2 senators and 4 representatives that will vote solidly Democrat thus giving this party more clout to grow the goverment and be more intrusive in everyones life.

Do not be fooled by the claim that the members of the Puerto Rican delegation pushing for statehood are “Republicans”. They are not. This is as much a sham as the claim that the previous plesbicite was a legitimate request of the people of Puerto Rico for statehood.

The reason they are mis-representing themselves as Republicans is because they know most of the resistance to statehood will come from the Republican Party at this moment in time; and for good reason. Republicans must steadfastly oppose statehood for Puerto Rico against all the accusations of racism, bigotry and cultural xenophobia that will be hurled at them. Many will point out that statehood is a right earned after all the wars the American citizens living in Puerto Rico have participated on and the “exploitation” as well as perceived injustices the island has suffered on the hand of capitalists corporations and the federal government.

At this moment the only difference between the political rethoric coming from the left wing of the Democratic Party in the United States and that coming from the leftist PRI in Mexico is, that across the border the message is given in Spanish.

Extend statehood to Puerto Rico and prepare for the Democratic Party to dominate politics in the US for generations to come; with all the personality adulation, government worship, misery, hateful division and disfunction that leftists politics can only deliver.

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