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Many controversial studies have been conducted in an attempt to answer the century-old question What should be done with Puerto Rico This essay presents evidence supporting and evidence combating the proposal that Puerto Rico become the 51st state of our union Analysis of this question here begins with an examination of the economic history of the island including its industrial benefits to the United States Next the political party affiliations within Puerto Rico and their views are considered Personal interviews are drawn upon for their insights as well as some of the difficulties presented by the installation of statehood In conclusion I note why Americans should prepare for Puerto Ricos entrance into the union As noted above Puerto Rico became an unincorporated territory of the United States in 1898 at the end of the Spanish-American War In 1952 the island became one of three commonwealth territories in recent US history Commonwealth status has involved self-government in internal affairs for Puerto Rico although the US Congress retains full authority to determine the status of the territory and apply federal law as it deems appropriate In 1993 bipartisan concern over corporate welfare and the budget deficit renewed interest in the political status of Puerto Rico Would the economic advantages of Puerto Rican statehood outweigh the costs of supporting such an extremity A century after accession of Puerto Rico to the US this same question is still pending Historically the federal government has done its part to try to boost the Puerto Rican economy but success has always been short lived From Section 936 of the federal Internal Revenue Code to Operation Bootstrap and up to the present nothing has developed sustainable economic growth there In 1921 in order to spur the development of labor-intensive industries in Puerto Rico and improve the islands high unemployment rates Laney 1998b 6 the tax subsidy found in Section 936 was enacted This section declares Puerto Ricans exempt from federal income
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