Puerto Ricans Vote to Become US States-CNN
In case you haven’t heard, Puerto Rico voted (again) to become a US State.
They did it back in 2012, but it went nowhere.
The problem was the 500,000 blank ballots tossed in.
They couldn’t figure out who put them in the boxes, or what a “blank ballot” means.
Did they just not want to vote?
Were they protesting something?
They took the time to go TO the polling booth, but then lost interest at the last minute?
So, the 61% is the percentage OF THE VOTES THAT HAD SOMETHING ON THEM.
But just as many “black” as “statehood” ballots were thrown in, so the headline could as easily read “Most Puerto Ricans fail to complete their ballots.”
Anyway, fast forward to this week.
They had ANOTHER vote and 97% of people voted for statehood. However, only 23% of the voters bothered to go TO the polls. Now that IS really low, but to be fair only about half the people here vote in our elections. And, you can’t force people to vote. You can only give them the chance and let them make their decision.
Maybe most of them don’t really care either way?
I dunno, but getting 97% of people to vote on ANYTHING (even if it’s only 1 in 4 voters) still means it’s well supported. There has been a steady uptrend in “Statehood” voting since the 1960s so it’s not surprising that it’s a high number, regardless of turnout.
What does this mean for US however?
Puerto Rico wants a bailout by the United States.
They’re $73 billion in debt and don’t know what they’re willing to do.
They are debating whether it’s worth “selling out” and becoming part of the United States if it means they get their debt repaid and more Federal money. (It does require paying taxes, but few of them earn enough to reach the top tax brackets. Most will end up getting more in welfare than paying in taxes.)
Honestly it’s not all that different than us except per capita they have 1/3 the total debt that we do.
We each owe about $62,000 per person in national debt here.
They owe about $22,000 each there.
They seem to vote Democrat…except they supported Marco Rubio, a Republican last election. That and the tiny size of the country means it wouldn’t have a huge direct impact on the political balance in Congress.
They are about 1% the size of the United States.
They are about the same size and population as Connecticut.
However, they are twice as poor…with only the economic power of Mississippi.
The biggest difference would be the extra two Senators.
The Senate will then have 102 Senators.
That could be interesting.
They will have to have at least one House seat, as a state. As Connecticut and Oklahoma both have 5 at about the same population, then it should likely have 5 House seats too.
However, that brings up a new issue. There is no Constitutional number of Congressional seats. There is no set number for the Senate or House.
All the Constitution says is that each state gets 2 Senators.
It says each state gets a minimum of 1 House seat, and “no more than 1 House member for every 30,000 people.”
Well, when the country was founded a House member served about 34,000 people. The idea was to have the most representatives so that every small community was heard. A small rural county of 100,000 people could have THREE US House seats by itself under the rules.
We should have 24 times as many House members as we do.
To go back to where we founded this country, the House would have to go from 435 seats to about 10,000.
That sounds like a lot more power, but it isn’t.
The House still has to approve the same bills.
It just now has to get 10,000 people to agree.
(And find the space to fit 10,000 people in the same room I guess, although that’s a perfect reason why they should keep offices in their home states and use a teleconference)
This has a three-fold advantage.
First, the House members spend most of their time at home, reachable in their home office.
Second, they are OUT of Washington DC and it’s corruption.
Third, it is simply much HARDER to bribe 10,000 people all at once.
Instead of going to ONE office building and knocking on a few hundred doors, the people trying to bribe Representatives would have to go to EVERY COUNTY in the whole country, knocking on 10,000 office doors in 3,144 counties. As a consequence, the local groups have greater access and a bigger voice than the national groups who up until now have had the advantage of a tiny elite in Washington DC.
As an economic benefit, those House Representatives each make $174,000 a year. That’s potentially $1.74 billion dollars…not including staffers, office space, etc.
Those are roughly $1.5 million a year each per office. So, that’d be about $15 billion more.
Instead of all that money flowing into Washington DC, inflating that economy…why not encourage them to have offices all over the country, putting those BILLIONS back into the local economies?
Just taking that example of a local county like mine and its 100,000 people…that’d be three US House members, making $522,000 in salary, and renting office space with a combined staff of about $4.5 million. So, our county would see $5 million in money coming BACK into the local community.
It’s a moot point until October, when they hold another vote. The turnout was low and they want to verify that the majority ACTUALLY want to become a state. However, it could be a fascinating new idea to explore.
It’s nice how life every once in awhile gives us the opportunity to do some research and dust off the old books. We end up seeing that the Founding Fathers actually knew what the hell they were doing and we’ve just been screwing it up all these years thinking we “know better.”
I found this site after posting this article. Seems someone has already gone through all this work on expanding Congress.
I’ll share their charts/summary (although you should check out their site)
They seem set on 6,300 House members, but why stop there? If we just boost it to 10,000 then we can let it slowly climb to their ideal 50,000 people per representative number. It can’t hurt to empower the local communities and 10,000 is a nice round number!