Matt Yglesias presses for DC statehood -- even going so far to demarcate the borders of a new "federal" district which would have the important governmental buildings but no residents (aside from the President himself). The Debatable Land (my blog had the initials longer!), noting that Republicans would never acquiesce to the basic democratic right of enfranchisement if it will lead to more Democrats, offers an alternative: exempting DC entirely from federal income taxes.
It may have some practical benefits, but check me off under the box that says voting rights can't be bought. No deal.
Via Andrew Sullivan, who says that under the latter proposal, DC could become "Hong Kong on the Potomac". I never realized Andrew was such a fan of China's model of governance.
Update: Some folks are really more excited about alternatives to DC statehood, namely, retrocession to Maryland or (worse yet) ceding the territory to Virginia, than is warranted. The retrocession proposal at least makes some sense -- DC was originally carved out of territory belonging to Maryland (and Virginia, but the latter already took its territory back). The Virginia proposal, by contrast, appears solely motivated by the desire to solidify VA as a "blue state" for the foreseeable future. In other words, it's nakedly partisan.
I don't think these folks get it. DC deserves representation in Congress because it has a right to democratic participation. Enhancing the political prospects of the Democratic Party has literally nothing to do with it, and is not a legitimate consideration. Now, as it happens, DC statehood would be very good for Democrats. That's fortunate for them, just as the ultimate borders of Wyoming have been a boon for Republicans. Since in neither case were the borders drawn with an eye towards partisan political advantage, the advantages that accrued are morally neutral.
But it would be an entirely different thing to deliberately redraw the boundaries of a political unit for such an advantage. It's bad enough in Congressional gerrymandering, and I'd like to keep the dragon in its cage, such as it is. How badly do we want to open the door to Texas Tots type thinking? At least the retrocession to Maryland can plausibly claim to be flowing from neutral principles (it helps that the partisan boon for Democrats would be minimal -- though not non-existent -- in that case). The Virginia plan has literally nothing going for it other than partisan considerations.
There's another consideration at work here, that's being nearly entirely ignored: the will of DC voters. Has anyone bothered to ask if they want to be ceded to another political unit? If it became a state, DC would become the only majority-Black state in the nation. Needless to say, shifting it to either Virginia or Maryland would eliminate that distinction. I think DC voters should be in charge of their own destiny, and just as their democratic rights shouldn't be held hostage to economic advantage, neither should they be made pawns of Democratic Party political strategy.