Whenever D.C. statehood comes up, opponents trot out various distractions. For example, Rep. Greg Murphy (R-N.C.) wants the District to pay for changing U.S. flags to 51 stars. A pole tax no doubt.

Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) backs D.C. retrocession to Maryland. Retrocession has a patina of respectability. Advocates, however, never get to specifics, which would cause massive changes.

As claimed, retrocession would give D.C. residents a vote in the Senate through Maryland’s senators, but claims of a House seat for the District are doubtful. There is no guarantee Senate Republicans would allow a seat in the House for the District. Even if they did, the seat would not last long. The House only raises its 435-member cap for new members until reapportionment. Then, Maryland would have to shoehorn the new House seat into its delegation.

Accommodating the District’s more than 700,000 residents would require Maryland to add a slew of state senators and delegates. Regionally, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s board would go from two seats each for the District, Maryland, Virginia and the federal government to who-knows-what.

Would the District’s laws go away? If so, when and how? Would Congress pay for Maryland gaining the District’s residents, vehicles, schools, bonds, etc.? If not, who would?

Finally, there is the District’s $16 billion budget. It spends its own money without Congress. Would it lose control to Annapolis?

The further you are from retrocession, the better it looks. Closer scrutiny shows its flaws.

Carl Bergman, Washington