Oblivious to Puerto Rico Shutdown Problem

They are threatening to strike in Puerto Rico over the government shutdown there. From the BBC:

The administration of the US territory has a $740m (£406m) deficit but neither the governor nor the legislature can agree how to resolve the problem.

More than 40 government agencies have been hit, making thousands jobless.

The crisis has led international credit rating agency Moody’s to downgrade Puerto Rico’s bonds.

The BBC article clearly outlines the key problem involved, yet I’m not seeing any solution being offered to fix it.

The government is the biggest employer in Puerto Rico, accounting for up to 200,000 jobs. It pays about $500m in salaries.

Well, duh?!?

posted by Stephen Gordon
  • Devious David

    Looks to me like the solution has taken place. In America, the solutions to the current excesses is going to be meted out necessarily. Of course we can do it the relatively easy, cheap and bloodless way right now, or we can do it the hard way later. Obviously Americans would prefer to bicker over petty issues that mean nothing and worry more about the next American Idol than make the necessary and somewhat painful adjustments now. They will just have to pay interest – in it’s myriad forms – when they have no choice but to make those adjustments in the future. Puerto Rico has a golden opportunity to change direction. All those dumb Puerto Ricans want their largesse; their likely solution to lung cancer would probably be kidney cancer.

  • Un Boricua

    “dumb Puerto Ricans”.

    Wow… you sure are very “intelligent”.

    1st- I’m a lifelong Puerto Rican, living in Puerto Rico right now
    2nd- we would not prefer “kidney cancer” to “cure” our “lung cancer”.

    Your remarks are… ugghh…. you don’t deserve it.

    For the entire world to know: We’re in the middle of a big pile of shit. One that was created by our godDamn politicians…

    The situation is getting very ugly, very fast.

    BUT HEY!
    We’ve been in this for 2 weeks (almost) now, and we still haven’t made a civil war out of our “dumb” selves… As opposed people after Katrina… well, not the best example, is it?

  • kaptinemo

    I can only sympathize with the folks in PR…but they are the vanguard of what will slowly begin to happen here.

    The Fed Gub’mint is massively, untenably, dangerously over-extended. Logistically, monetarily (which is why you don’t hear about the M3 situation at the Fed Reserve) and militarily, it’s stretched to the brink of collapse. It teeters on the financial brink. A ‘correction’ is long overdue from all the profligate, drunken-sailor spending. And it will be in the governmental hinterlands like PR where the first signs of the inevitable retraction will take place. Look to see embassy closings in non-strategically vital Third World nations very shortly.

    For former Fed employees like myself, this is like 1995 all over again. But this time, the offices may close…and stay that way, for a long, long time.

  • http://360.yahoo.com/pong_god Robert Mayer

    They just need to create a new government task force to analyze the problem and determine what new agencies they need to create to solve the problems! ;)

  • Nikki Ruiz

    I’m Puerto Rican and I believe this “crisis” is ridiculous because the government (Executive) *knew* the amount of $$$ they had but spent almost two times that amount and is now blaming the Legislature for their reckless behavior. On top of that they knew there was already a 2 billion deficit but they kept on spending!

    Governor Acevedo Vila is a temperamental fool who apparently signed up for a dictatorship but ran into a democracy… If we can call it that!

  • http://n/a Angeles M Rodriguez

    Nikki:

    FYI: Gov Acevedo Vila earned his masters degree magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, excuse me, quite an achievement for a fool.

    In addition, statehooders should begin to talk truth if you want to join “your nation”. The problem was created, primarily, but not exclusively, by Pedro Rosello Gonzalez, who is a real “pichon de dictador”.

    If you want to be a state, get your Legislature to approve the proposal on the table, the US will never welcome a poor, creditless, mestizo, Spanish speaking nation into their federation.

  • Juan

    I know that it says “Say it effectively, not wordily” but for a subject like Puerto Rico there is no going around it. It can’t be said in just a few sentences.

    [ed- don’t make it a habit then, please]

    Hello to all of you,

    I was born and raised in Puerto Rico. ¡Boricua de pura cepa!. The terretories of Puerto Rico are a set of island that includes the main island of San Juan Bautista. Later on the name of the capital was inter-change with that of Puerto Rico. So although you might hear people say the island they are only referring to the main island even though is an archipelago.

    To understand the current Puerto Ricans crisis you must go back to the time of the Hispanic-American war. During which after winning some autonomy from Spain and finally in track to becoming a State. Puerto Rico was invaded by the United State. The Foraker Law as well as the Jones Law and finally the 600 Law were forced the people of Puerto Rico to a relationship with the US basically at gun point.
    The Jones-Shafroth Act granted citizenship to the people of Puerto Rico at a convenine time to be shipped for combat in the First World War.

    There had been protest by large number in Puerto Rico which did not wanted American citizenship.
    After the island was colonized and subdue the sugar enclave appeared which force all farmer to plant exclusively sugar cane. This led to malnutrition and extreme poverty on the island. During this period the small farmers that were land owner began to loose there home to the taxation of the US government by several methods to appropriate the land.
    During the era of Luis Munoz Marin Puerto Rico began to move into an industrialization phase. Unfortunately during this process the agricultural sector was almost completely wiped out. The reason being based on ideology that as Puerto Rico was moving forward into the industrial age and leaving many countries in the dust, it would not need an agrarian economy to exist because the manufacturing economy would provide sufficient jobs for everyone out there.

    The basis of the ELA or coon wealth for short was based of a military presence in Puerto Rico and the tax exception of the 936 that would generate jobs in Puerto Rico. So the real problem was never really address. Like the cultivation of only one type of crop this error has also appear during the manufacturing and the petro-quemical enclave which left the country in ever increasing debt. The governments continue to increase federal aid, increasing the debt and increasing the jobs in the government (The faimous Batatas) in Puerto Rico without addressing the real issue of an economy dependant on foreign investment without allowing the local capital to prosper. Neoliberal policies force the sale of national heritage like the Telefónica to American companies because the Governor at the time had stated that the government owned company could not compete against foreign companies and that the only way to save it was by selling it to an American company who would have the latest technological advances. Years have passed and so has the company passed from company to company to now be owned by a Mexican company. So much for American technology.

    During a military Training a guard at the base bomb site was accidentally killed during and exercise run. Many people started to protest the military presence in Vieques even though the guard died doing his duty. The reason for the protest evolved to question the reason why do the people of Vieques were force to live in a practical war some next to them for over 60 years. The rate of cancer became a big issue which was about 27% grater that the main Island became an issue. The health of the people of Vieques became the Puerto Ricans first priority, finally becoming aware and motivate to make change to the so-called “bilateral” relationship that existed between the US and Puerto Rico. A pact that nobody asked us if we wanted it. The American war-machine, the most powerful army in human history was halted to a groundsill because of the non-violence movement in Puerto Rico that finally lead to the withdrawal of the Navy from Vieques and the closing of all major bases in the Puerto Rican archipelago.

    This meant that the two pillars in which the commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the foundations on which it stand were gone. During the nineties no one made more progress in the attempt to make Puerto Rico a State than Pedro Rosello. Unfortunately a democrat like Rosello probably never counted that the three branches of US government would be controlled by the Conservatives.

    The island has been plagued by the problem of the status for decades. This is where it gets tricky. This is a very complex subject that cannot be narrowed down to just a single reason. But one of them can be the mentality of the colonized. The image that we as a people have of our-self and of the colonizers the US. During the daces we have been told that was just a small Island with little resources.

    But that is not true because one of the reasons for the invasion was the military advantages that Puerto Rico would bring and the raw materials of our nation, so that statement is contradictory. Also during the mcarthurism era many Nationalist and pro independence people were hunted and on occasion killed. Also the FBI would also intervene with those the thought decedent of the status quo. A quote from the Puerto Rico Herald: “COINTELPRO was designed by the United States government in 1956 to uncover organizations or individuals who were considered threats to national security. At the time, the independence movement in Puerto Rico was targeted as one of those groups. COINTELPRO and the FBI allegedly interfered in the 1967 plebiscite on the island’s political status to undermine independence efforts.”

    While you in the states would have the liberty of being patriotic and wave the American flag form the highest flag pole. We were thought that even having a flag in a T-shirt or a symbol in our cars could lead to the FBI to make a profile of you and end up in jail. While you celebrated YOUR freedom and independence we were taught to run away from it. This is the mind of the colonized.

    And that is one of the main problems ladies and gentlemen. The fact that we were hold prisoners in our own homes. Yes we have mobile phone and we IM each other. We have more that two cars in our home and no we don’t live in huts and hamacs. We have mcdonalds, BK, banana republic and all the crap you could buy. But the power to decide what our political social and economical future depends exclusively on the will of congress.

    There is a growing majority that wishes to become a state of the union. But I find that an impossibility for a number of reasons.

    1. The amount of taxes taken from Puerto Rico would be much less that the federal aid that would need to come in and the agencies that would have to be established.
    2. Puerto Ricans are a different culture than that of the US and although there has been some assimilation there has been a very strong movement by the people to maintain their heritage, their culture and their tradition, even those from the annexation movement are in fact deeply nationalist when you spend the time to tackle to them and let their true views come in to play.
    3. The population of Puerto Rico is bigger than 24 states of the union which would give this new upstart state more political power that those who have been a state for a very long time and one thing that anyone can be certain is that no one wants to share power.
    4. The current social climate in the US with the border issue clearly point out the grate social injustice and the racism, xenophobia and intolerance for immigrants that still exist in the states. This people want to be Americans while returning their own cultural heritage. The same issue occurs with Puerto Ricans with the whole “jibaro americano” deal.
    5. The US wants to take Puerto Rican lands and federalize them because of the resource wars that slowly taking place in the world. Puerto Rico has the second or third larges natural resources of underground water in the world.
  • Endisucksass

    Agneles, first a history lesson: Anibal’s party has been in charge for SIX years now.
    The debt in the central government in the last six years has risen to the tune of 80 percent. And that is what credit rating institutions have been concerned about.

  • PARodrig

    Angeles, regarding your comment about Acevedo Vila’s degree from Harvard Law School: In all honesty, some of the dumbest people I’ve met have had Ivy League degrees. Besides, Pres. George W. Bush also has a Master’s degree from Harvard Business School and that doesn’t seem to prevent anyone on the left from calling him a fool. Not that I agree with them.

  • Hedda

    It’s funny to see how people rationalize these current events. This crisis was created not by our current administration but by the political party that came before that. The stole millions of dollars from the island and we were forced to give it back since they were from federal fundings. Not that the Sila administration isn’t to blame. She just sat back and did nothing, but what can you expect from somebody who just wanted the title of First Lady Governor next to her lists of accomplishments? Acevedo Vila has been sending proposals to the legislature since he got elected and has been stalled by the house. Also, there has been a economic deficit in PR because we are tied to the US economy as well. Stop blaming the elected politicians for a moment and start thinking of who got them there and who has kept them there all these years. The US shouldn’t be surprised that this happened given that they were the ones that let Rossello go, they were busy looking for the “Nacionalist Terrorist”

  • A. Nieves

    For Puerto Rico to succeed, it must learn how to support itself. One way to achieve, this is through taxation of its citizens. How do you think the US supports itself? Puerto ricans should begin to contribute to the country and stop living off it.

    The solution would be for the governor and the legislatures to impose a tax percentage on income and properties.

  • A. Nieves

    For Puerto Rico to succeed, it must learn how to support itself. One way to achieve this is through taxation of its citizens. How do you think the US supports itself? Puerto ricans should begin to contribute to the country and stop living off it.

    The solution would be for the governor and the legislatures to impose a tax percentage on income and properties.

  • Ronald

    In a democracy, people get what they deserve. Puerto Rico has had two great statesmen as governors, Luis Muñoz Marin and Luis Ferre, neither of whom had a Harvard Law Degree. Since then, it has been a constant downward plunge. Who put this stream of disasterous governors and legislatures into office? We did, the voters. What are we doing wrong that the last genration did right? That is the real question that has to be answered… and before the next elections. Legendary San Juan Mayor Felisa Rincon de Gautier once said something to the effect that we have to restore faith in public service, “We have to convince our young people that there may be bad politicians, but that the political system and a political career is a good thing.” Finding, preparing and choosing new leaders should be our number one priority.

  • Un Boricua

    Interesting comments in this page…

    Saludos a todos los otros Boricuas aqui.

    I think that we shouldn’t concern ourselves about *who* started this economic problem… Was it the SoB son-of-Satan Rosello, or was it Acevedo-Vila? Or was it Sila?

    It does not matter.

    How can they be doing this?
    I don’t know about you other Puertoricans, but I feel like I could just walk up to the Capitolio and start smacking-silly all those politicians.

    I wonder what kids 20 years from now will think about this period.

    For sure, they’re going to see this as one of the crappiest moments of Puerto Rican history… and it has Acevedo-Vila’s and Rosello’s fingerprints all over it.

    Maldita sean ambos… MALDITA SEAN!

  • JC Cruz

    People are too quick to say bad things about PR and its people all the time. The fact is that the only reason why some make stupid and un-educated remarks is because of their ignorance. To enlighthen some of the real dumb people…this is a problem that for over 30 years has been growing in PR until the present Governor decided to take action in a harsh manner to gain attention and for once plan for the future and stop the ever growing debt to our “Country”. In a way, it is shameful what is going on, but on the other hand necessary to finally look to a better, more stable future in PR.
    Politicians, yes we should root out the right wing hard liners like the seed of evil himself, Pedro Rosello, so that we have do process once again.
    And to finish, history will tell the “dumb ones” about the why PR happens to be hand-tied and unable to do what’s best for its future…. Figure that one out, if you are sooo smart..!

    A hard working and proud Puerto Rican!….

  • boricuaenlaluna

    Cooment to “UnBoricua”- As a fellow Puerto Rican who lost my home, belongings and job in the flood that ensued in NOLA after Hurricane Katrina, I am offended by your remarks re: “dumb people” after Katrina. I’d like to see what would happen anywhere (inc. PR) after two weeks with 80% of the city under water, no salaries, no working banks, no stores, no access to food/potable water, and no help or hope in sight.

    I venture to say that, under these very real and precarious circumstances, anyone, ANYWHERE, would resort to violent demands. In fact, hasn’t this already happened in the island in the recent weeks with far less at stake? Imagine what would happen if the entire population’s (not just government employees and those affected by the crisis) lives collapsed AT ONCE… Just a thought to put the entirely different Katrina situation in context.

  • Victoria

    Rather than blame,it would seem finding a way to bond or join together would be the best way to find solutions. The way to a better future is to reduce the battles between parties that do nothing to improve anything for the vast majority.

    I work with a company with it’s base office in Puerto Rico and several branch offices in the states and Panama. There are many cultural differences, they can be challenging but when we work together, there are also many great things that happen. As an American, I admire the intelligent passionate people I work with. I have seen them go through so much in the wake of political changes.

    I hope those in control will soon make decisions to move forward by working together and using all of the amazing talent their island has.

  • Kristin

    This is very disheartening to hear about the woes of Puerto Rico.

    I just have a question – my husband and I have a trip planned to San Juan in early June. Nobody can tell me if we need to cancel that trip. Can anyone who actually lives there and knows firsthand what is going on tell us if we need to cancel?? We’ve been told of protestors at the airport and the threat to shut down all transportation to/from the island.

    We were really looking forward to this trip – but now feel as if we don’t know what to do. I’d appreciate any thoughts from those of you actually living this every day…

  • Lourdes

    Very well said! JUAN.

    and thank you for sharing that information.

    But, now what is next?