As for the rest, I've long thought that it'd be best for us to just grant Puerto Rico its independence.
It has a non-voting member in the House, but territories cannot receive full membership in either house of Congress.
So, while independence makes sense to me, it's impossible as a practical manner because we'd need to literally kick a bunch of American citizens out of the club against their will. Obviously, we'd never do that.
Good point on the non-voting member part. I forgot about that fact. Seems kind of pointless to have a representative that can't vote on anything. Not much more than a glorified lobbyist.
While I totally acknowledge that statehood favors PR far, far more than the US, the problem as I see it is that PR residents are like second-class citizens. It really isn't fair to them that they are US citizens on paper, but PR does not receive the same level of support a state would. I think from a moral perspective, PR should have been granted statehood long ago. From an economic perspective, PR becoming a state would be a significant drain on the US economy because we have enough economic woes as it is, and being smack dab in hurricane alley, PR would add to the already high costs that the Southern US states already do, every hurricane season. What insurance company in their right mind would open up shop in PR, anyway?
Be that as it may, I still feel that if an overwhelming majority of Puerto Ricans want to become a state, that should at the very least, merit a serious discussion, and a vote one way or the other.
I remember reading about their statehood referendum back in the summer. They voted to become a state but the results were skewed. And ironically, with the hurricane devastation now bringing this issue up to the forefront, according to this they are supposed to have another vote next month:
Now that is interesting. Traditionally speaking, it seems that PR is often split down the middle, with nearly half the population wanting independence. Puerto Ricans who oppose statehood (this doesn't always equate to wanting independence to be sure, just oppose becoming a state), often cite that the dominant language is Spanish in PR, and that the fear is that PR culture would be diluted if it were to become a state.
This is what I was kind of getting at. In other hurricanes the Jones Act was suspended but it seems like even the Jones Act is outdated and we should take a look at either giving them statehood or letting them become a country of their own so they can collect tax and work on improving infrastructure.They have crushing debt though which I think we should forgive and do something to help them move on.
While I agree that being a territory of the US is an outdated policy, I am not quite clear on how the Jones Act specifically is an outdated policy in this case, or in general. Maybe it should have been lifted temporarily sooner in PR's case, but overall, I think the Jones Act helps US commerce much more than it hurts. Also, from a security/anti-terrorism standpoint alone, preventing just any ship from sailing in and setting up shop is a good thing.
I am not a fan of just assuming their debt, but considering all the money we spend on foreign aid every year, I think it is unfortunate that year after year, the federal government chooses to take care of foreign countries and organizations BEFORE it takes care of US citizens. As I see it, unless it is absolutely necessary, foreign aid needs to be slashed (some cases, depending on who it is going to, cut altogether). If that were done, we probably could afford to help Puerto Rico, other territories, and indeed Native American Reservations, the way we really ought to.
The response hasn't been terrible at all. I know some Democrat politicians have been trying to use Puerto Rico instead of, y'know, helping them, but there's been nothing wrong or half-hearted about the rescue efforts that's I've seen. It's just incredibly difficult because it's an island. Geography is the biggest obstacle.
It's actually scandalous on the Democrat side how transparent it is that they're desperately trying to politicize a tragedy.
I agree that perhaps Trump is getting slammed a little too hard on PR, but I would NOT say that his response has been stellar, either. If I were to grade him on it, maybe a solid "C." He's covered all the bare minimum legal requirements, but I think he hasn't been all that proactive, or gone above and beyond, either. Every time there is a foreign country slammed by a tsunami or natural disaster, the US Navy (or other military branch) is often sent in to assist in some way. As far as I know, that hasn't happened, yet. Compare how PR has been treated with FL for example, and I think it is clear there is some inequity going on there (PR being an island that is harder to support, notwithstanding). Again, I think that all goes back to PR being treated as second class, because it is not a state.