The US House has introduced a bill to make Puerto Rico the 51st state. While initially coming across as a good idea, the US has a long history of dominating its territories. This history will only continue if Puerto Rico becomes a state.
In addition, Puerto Rico will lose its greatest advantage in the market should it become a state. With this in mind, Puerto Rico should not become a state. Rather, it should gain independence from the United States so that it may live as a free nation.
Puerto Rico is Will Lose Its Leverage as a State
Territories do not have to pay federal income taxes. This is one of the top advantages of not being a state. This ultimately drives economic activity to Puerto Rico. If you don’t have to pay taxes in an area, there is a greater chance that you will invest in that area because you get to keep more of what you earn. If a territory becomes a state, businesses lose any incentive to take their industry away from that area.
This leads to fewer jobs, and thus less economic activity in the territory. With a poverty rate of 44.4%, Puerto Rico needs as many business incentives as it can possibly get. Business is ultimately the best option for the area to lift itself out of poverty. So long as it remains a territory, however, the United States will serve as a parasite against the small nation. This will only get worse if Puerto Rico becomes a state whereas it will have to pay all federal taxes.
Taxation hurts not only the businesses, but also the working poor. With a poverty rate as high as it is in Puerto Rico, the nation needs as many resources as it can possibly get. This poverty that the people experience, of course, is largely a result of American Imperialism in the region. By becoming a state, this becomes only worse whereas the United States Federal government is taking even more of what the people earned.
What About Hurricane Relief?
It does not take a genius to see that the federal government is incompetent when it comes to Hurricane Maria relief. With this in mind, it is not in the best interest of Puerto Rico to rely on the United States to solve the problems caused by that hurricane. There are simply far too many degrees of separation between Puerto Rico’s best interests and the federal government. The federal forces have no incentives to help.
Finally, you have to look no further than the disaster that was Hurricane Katrina relief to see that statehood will not help. The federal government was simply clueless in solving this problem. They didn’t know what to do. There was a complete lack of communication, and the people of New Orleans suffered as a result of it. So much for the protection the feds promise in exchange for our tax dollars. This is not just an isolated incident. Rather, this is a necessary condition of central planning. The federal government continually fails the 50 states. There is no reason to believe it will protect the 51st state.
Independence, Not Statehood
Puerto Rico is in a tough position. Due to the recent disaster, any reform can appear to be a remedy. But the costs of statehood far outweigh the benefits for the everyday individual. Instead of becoming even closer to the empire that has abused it, Puerto Rico ought to reclaim its sovereignty and separate from the United States entirely.