puerto rico economic problems

The politics of blame took center stage, especially on Twitter. These expectations for a thriving social, political and economic life were based on Puerto Rico’s relative autonomy under an expansive US federal constitutional system or what others may call American imperialism that dates back to 1898. That has caused the island to take alternative measures, including borrowing, to fund its already underfunded health care system. … On August 2, Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló of the New Progressive Party (NPP) — nominally affiliated with the Democrats, although once linked to the Republicans under Governor Luis Ferré Aguayo — finally resigned. Puerto Rico has lots of debt – $70 billion and counting – but a tiny economy of only $ 103 billion, an aging population, and a rapidly disappearing labor force. Puerto Rico's debt is huge -- about $70 billion. CPI revealed almost 900 pages of vulgar email exchanges between high-ranking NPP members, including Rosselló himself showing misogynistic, homophobic and immoral statements about political opponents, the Puerto Rican LGBTQ+ community, and victims of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. To inspire.To ignite change for the common good. What turned the tide, where the beleaguered governor was forced to step down, was the leaked offensive Telegram chats that were made public by the Centro de Periodismo Investigativo (CPI) in Puerto Rico, an organization that should be recognized more often for its superb, independent, investigative reporting. Even some Puerto Rican celebrities, including singer-songwriter Ricky Martin and actor Benicio Del Toro, joined the mass protests against Rosselló and his administration. Since 2006 Puerto Rico has been facing an unprecedented economic and fiscal crisis that shows little signs of ending or abating in the foreseeable future. The chances of the island’s economy actually growing at any point in the foreseeable future seem remote: indeed, the country has essentially been in one long and nasty continuous recession since 2006.. Puerto Rico … After Hurricane Maria obliterated the island's infrastructure, including power and communications, damage estimates range from $40 billion to $80 billion, according to catastrophe risk modelling software company AIR Worldwide. How Puerto Rico's financial crisis erupted: Puerto Rico has lost about 10% of its population over the last decade, sparking an economic crisis that worsens by the day. In 1950-52, the US established the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico/Free Associated State of Puerto Rico. Second, the 2017 post-Hurricane Maria devastation and lack-luster recovery efforts under Republican President Donald Trump and the equally complicit Governor Rosselló eventually resulted in at least 2,950 casualties, as per a George Washington University study, or more according to other reports. Puerto Rico has lost about 10% of its population over the last decade, sparking an economic crisis that worsens by the day. Puerto Rico's attempts to slash its massive debts have taken on greater urgency after Hurricane Maria devastated the island, leading to President Trump's comments Tuesday that the U.S. territory's liabilities should be eliminated. As both critics and supporters of Puerto Rico have pointed out, there are many reasons for this mess. Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act, The Petty Revenge of a Soon-to-Be-Ex-President, 'Heartlessness Mixed With Political Power': Trump Admin Rejected Plan to Provide Mental Healthcare to Separated Families, Alarmed by 'Rapidly Worsening' Pandemic, Top Health Experts Urge GSA Administrator to Immediately Begin Presidential Transition, (Click to see more comments or to join the conversation). The Puerto Rico Crisis: A Reflection of a Flawed US Democracy. Kudos, then, to Gabriel Sterling, a GOP election official in Georgia who at an anguished presser ripped Trump's incitement and his toadies' complicity. Both Trump and Rosselló were, nevertheless, complicit for allowing thousands of fellow US citizens in Puerto Rico to perish — as this author has previously stated — amid social scandals, political corruption and overall incompetence. Pierliusi previously served as Puerto Rico’s non-voting resident commissioner in the US Congress, among other positions for the NPP. Puerto Rico faces a severe fiscal crisis, but this is merely a symptom of Puerto Rico’s primary disease: a lack of economic growth. "Someone is going to get killed." Ironically, or perhaps euphemistically, the word promesa in Spanish means promise. A spokesperson for the island's oversight board was not immediately available for comment Wednesday. But … Unfortunately, Rosselló’s government defaulted on about $2 million, exacerbating further the spiraling fiscal instability of the island. More: Trump: Puerto Rico's massive debts should be wiped out, More: Why you can't ignore Puerto Rico's bankruptcy, More: Puerto Rico declares bankruptcy. These economic … Since 1920, maritime commerce between Puerto Rico and the rest of the United States has been governed by the Jones Act, a law that mandates that vessels transporting goods domestically be U.S.-crewed, U.S.-flagged, U.S.-owned, and U.S.-built. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. What will happen if Puerto Rico defaults? Puerto Rico's massive government bureaucracy and regulatory structure have been repeatedly cited as barriers to investments and growth. He writes critical commentaries on U.S. Puerto Rico affairs, racial and class politics, and immigration/migration issues and the politics of U.S. citizenship. The past decade has been especially difficult for the island territory. "They owe a lot of money to your friends on Wall Street, and we're going to have to wipe that out," Trump told Fox News. The mostly, if not exclusively, male-dominated Telegram chats also reveal how out of touch Rosselló’s administration and the larger NPP have been with the various social and political movements, such as the anti-harassment #MeToo collective. Puerto Rico Economic Outlook. Puerto Ricans, already suffering under economic austerity measures and the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in 2017, took to the streets. Tourism is down, employment is low, poverty is high, and the island has … This is more than double the amount … President Trump's comments Tuesday that the U.S. territory's liabilities should be eliminated, Trump: Puerto Rico's massive debts should be wiped out, Why you can't ignore Puerto Rico's bankruptcy, Puerto Rico declares bankruptcy. Biden Could Cancel Student Debt. The statement read: “[The] Financial Oversight and Management Board, an unelected body pushing for the privatization of electricity and schools, increased costs of basic services, massive cuts in public education, pensions, vacation time, and other rights — all in order to pay bondholders a $73 billion debt that was patently unpayable, illegal and illegitimate. Puerto Rico is expected to receive $13 billion in Covid-related federal funds, according to the Financial Oversight and Management Board, the agency that has managed Puerto Rico’s finances … "This would increase the migration from the island and generate growing risks of protests and looting.". In April 2018, the Professors Self-Assembled in Solidarity Resistance (PAReS) group put out a clear statement against these types of top-down plans to dealing with the fiscal crisis impacting the island’s political and social life. November 10, 2020. A few months after Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico’s government proposed significant changesto the fiscal plan put in place in 2017 by the federally appointed financial management board that has run Puerto Rico’s economy since its bankruptcy. Most people forget, or perhaps do not know, that Puerto Rico is not an independent country but rather an unincorporated territory under the plenary power of the US Congress. Puerto Rico's economy prior to the arrival of Spaniards was based on … Every day of the week, we publish the most important breaking news & views for the progressive community. After years of promising pensions that the island couldn't afford, retirement funds are about to run dry. We need you. Over the past decade, as Puerto Rico’s debt has expanded … - Craig Brown, Co-founder. Flynn touts martial law, Trump spews 46 minutes of lunatic lies, Stop the Steal cranks echo him, poll workers face nooses. Common DreamsP.O. Kelly Straub, MPA, Staff Writer, Brief Policy Perspectives In the wake of Hurricane Maria’s devastation, Puerto Rico’s economic and political future looks increasingly uncertain. Subsequently, Puerto Rico Justice Secretary Wanda Vázquez — also of the pro-statehood New Progressive Party — was sworn in on August 7 as a replacement for both Rosselló and Pierluisi. The Supreme Court declared the swearing-in of Pierluisi unconstitutional since he had not been confirmed by both chambers of the Puerto Rico legislature, as required by the island’s constitution. His eventual swearing-in as the new governor also came under fire because of his potential conflicts of interest. Puerto Rico is … The island, which once once positioned as a haven for manufacturers, phased out its … Trump tells Puerto Rico hurricane destruction killed U.S. budget. Although Maria escalated Puerto Rico's financial chaos into a humanitarian crisis, the island had already been reeling from years of financial missteps and economic struggles. Thus, the recent resignation of Governor Rosselló based on his corrupt and degenerate behavior — as exposed by the leaked Telegram chats — should be understood within the larger framework of a flawed US democratic state that continues its economic stranglehold over Puerto Rico. There are at least two reasons Puerto Rico’s political problems persist. However, the federal Fiscal Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico established by PROMESA devised its own fiscal plan to deal with the crisis. It became a critical military outpost, allowing Spain to defend its New World colonies against other European powers. However, the reality has been that Puerto Rico’s autonomy is more than ever before inextricably captured by the colonial tentacles of a US democratic system recently deemed dysfunctional or flawed. In this case, the US federal government expected Puerto Rico to keep its promise of paying “back” its loans on time and with interest. "The challenges of generating economic growth and resolving Puerto Rico's debt problems will worsen if the federal government does not approve a major reconstruction package," IHS Markit analysts Paula Diosquez-Rice and Carlos Cardenas said Monday in a research note. The governor expected the US government to allocate comparable resources similar to what it had already provided Texas and Florida after their own hurricane disasters, and not allow for questionable contracts to be handed out to inexperienced construction companies. "They were in the very early stages and it hasn’t even been established yet if Puerto Rico is eligible to enter the bankruptcy process or if the bankruptcy process created by Congress is legal," Municipal Market Analytics partner Matt Fabian said. Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey. Yet Vázquez is sitting under a cloud of suspicion as well because of her clashes with various feminist groups over women’s rights, her own history of alleged corrupt activities, numerous fund mismanagements post-Hurricane Maria and her long-term strained relationship with Rivera Schatz. Although President Trump temporarily waived these requirements several weeks after Hurricane Maria for supposed short-term relief, retaining and reapplying this law to the island’s ports places long-term burdens on Puerto Rico’s economy. Levels of debt in Puerto Rico became untenable, as the tax advantages of holding Puerto Rico's bonds expired, and Hurricane Maria wreaked additional havoc on the island's floundering … In an in-depth analysis on the stock investing site, Seeking Alpha, Chris Mier (2013) outlines why he thinks Puerto Rico’s problem are economic rather than fiscal. We don't want advertising dollars. We don't survive on clicks. This public blaming between two equally ineffective political administrations shows the deep-rooted colonial ties between Puerto Rico and the supposed US democratic government. As Nelson A. Denis recently reported, two “University of Puerto Rico economists found that the Jones Act caused a $17 billion loss to the island’s economy from 1990 through 2010. Box 443Portland, ME 04112-0443USA, Common Dreams is a small nonprofit with a big mission. According to Carl Meacham, Puerto Rico's financial problems are closely related to its ambiguous legal status under U.S. law. The additional debt compounded the island's crisis. Support Our Work -- Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. A Puerto Rican default would be the largest in the history … The decision came after weeks of mass protests over the island’s fiscal instability, alleged political corruption and most recent scandalous chats on the Telegram messaging app. Now pensioners are at risk of significant cuts, which estimates have suggested could range up to 20%. Rather, that the larger and structural problems (especially the political and social ones) in Puerto Rico stem from the problematic constitutional arrangement and deep-rooted economic dependency the island has with the US despite its increased autonomy since 1952. Thank you. Other studies have estimated the Jones Act’s damage to Puerto Rico, Hawaii and Alaska to be $2.8 billion to $9.8 billion per year.”. If Puerto Rico's debts were canceled, a wide range of investors — including mutual funds, pension funds, retirees and individual investors — would face significant losses. Since 2006, Puerto Rico has suffered through a recession, housing crisis, population loss, and major hurricanes … Common Dreams has been providing breaking news & views for the progressive community since 1997. In 2006, Congress ended special tax breaks that historically aided the Puerto Rican economy. Another example of a flawed U.S. democracy is the enduring Jones Act (or Merchant Marine Act) of 1920. It could also take the form of federal guarantees on loans to the island, he said. Here's how it's going to unfold, Trump praises Puerto Rico recovery, but critics assail comments on budget and death toll, Your California Privacy Rights/Privacy Policy. Although Trump's proposal to slash all of Puerto Rico's liabilities may not be financially or politically realistic, it's increasingly likely that financiers and individuals who lent money to Puerto Rico will suffer huge losses as political momentum mounts for action. Because of people like you, another world is possible. Chapter 5 provides policy and historical background about Puerto Rico… First, the so-called PROMESA Act of 2016, the anti-democratic austerity measure signed by Democratic President Barack Obama to oversee Puerto Rico’s debt crisis, basically dictates what the US territorial government can and cannot do. Aid to help ease Puerto Rico's financial crisis could take the form of a change to the federal law governing the case to make it easier for the island to restructure, Fabian said. There were other related protests after Hurricanes Irma and Maria, as well as debt crisis management struggles that have been ignored by the US mainstream media. Is there any hope for Puerto Rico becoming a … This is a federal law regulating maritime commerce in the US, including its non-contiguous and unincorporated territories such as Puerto Rico. Our Mission:To inform. In 2016, then-US President Barack Obama signed into law the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA), a measure responsible for “restructuring [the island’s] debt, and [expediting] procedures for approving critical infrastructure projects” in Puerto Rico. To remain an independent news source, we do not advertise, sell subscriptions or accept corporate contributions. Because of people like you, another world is possible. About 40% of its residents live in poverty, and the median household income in 2017 was $19,775. Puerto Rico’s problems are large and interdependent, which makes solving them a complex and difficult task. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Still, as an unincorporated territory, and although considered “autonomous,” Puerto Rico is under the absolute sovereign control of the US federal government for its financial and economic viability, which directly affects its political and social life. Most recently, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), in its annual review of countries adhering to democratic values around the world, found US democracy to be flawed even without considering its vast overseas territorial possessions. There may be some truth to this claim, considering the recent revelations made public by the leaked Telegram chats surrounding Rosselló’s regime. The Supreme Court on Monday unanimously upheld the financial oversight board Congress created to fix Puerto Rico’s catastrophic economic problems. More recently, Trump tweeted that “Congress foolishly gave 92 Billion Dollars for hurricane relief, much of which was squandered away or wasted, never to be seen again … much of their leadership is corrupt, & robbing the U.S. Government blind!”. Common Dreams brings you the news that matters. Every donation—large or small—helps us bring you the news that matters. It doesn't work that way. Here's how it's going to unfold, More: Trump praises Puerto Rico recovery, but critics assail comments on budget and death toll. The net result was to leave the majority of people in Puerto Rico without a hopeful future, and that was all before Hurricane Maria hit our shores.”. Write off Puerto Rico's debt. Here's How We Can Revive It... How Biden Is Determined to Parry Trump’s Sabotage and Restore Iran Nuclear Deal, US, UK Governments Should Free Julian Assange, Rights of Nature Debate Reaches New Heights. The Federal Tax Code needs to be changed! Some of those losses could be covered by bond insurance, though most investors would be stuck with red ink. Expanding on that argument, Meacham posits that the government-debt crisis … In the end, history attests, "our Vichy Republicans," a silent gutless cult sunk in "the stink of (their) cowardice," will own it all. A federal oversight board is aiming to negotiate debt cuts with creditors in a case overseen by U.S. District Court Judge Laura Taylor Swain of the Southern District of New York. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist. For instance, the Puerto Rico Teachers Union had been fighting against the closure of hundreds of public schools and the privatization of education for years. While the mainland U.S. added millions of jobs following the Great Recession, Puerto Rico never got back on its feet. When economies fail, people leave for jobs and to make money they can send home … Will He? As Rosselló stepped down in defeat, he appointed Pedro Pierliusi as secretary of state and thus next in line for the governorship. This fact alone should place doubts on the minds of those who maintain the position that the US is a democratic state. Puerto Rico’s recession began in 2006 when corporate tax breaks that benefitted the Puerto … But "you always have to bet on inaction being the most likely scenario by Congress," he said. With a poverty rate of nearly 50%, the island's population could fall from 3.4 million before the hurricane to 3 million by the end of the year, making the island's debts even more "unpayable," Fabian said. Lawrence Summers, a former economic adviser to President Obama, backed up Trump's proposal in a series of tweets Wednesday. After Hurricane Maria rocked the island of Puerto Rico in 2017, leaving 2,975 dead in its wake and displacing no fewer than 130,000 people, it became increasingly apparent to those remaining on the … Yet Puerto Rico’s problems are closely aligned to its colonial relationship with a supposed US democratic state. As this author previously argued, the policy response of the Trump administration after Maria hit was wrongheaded, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) efforts were ineffective at the time. The review shows that most Americans — this author would include those US citizens in Puerto Rico — have lost “confidence in the functioning of public institutions.” Mistrust in US political institutions extends to not only Congress and President Donald Trump, but also to the federal agencies responsible for post-hurricane recovery efforts. GDP in Puerto Rico is down because of a vicious circle further spurred on by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. For years, bond holders extended credit to Puerto Rico, capitalizing on federal, state and municipal tax advantages. The recent resignation of Governor Rosselló should be understood within the larger framework of a flawed US democratic state that continues its economic stranglehold over Puerto Rico. She has become only the second woman to serve as governor in the island’s history. The protests come after decades of complaints of … Rivera Schatz, who in the past expressed interest in the governorship, asked the Puerto Rico Supreme Court to intercede in this constitutional crisis, which it did, overturning the appointment on August 7 with a unanimous 9-0 vote. San Juan, Puerto Rico/USA in July 2019 (Photo: © Osvaldo Olmos / Shutterstock). "If ever there was a case for a full debt write off, it's Puerto Rico. In other words, Puerto Rico’s social and political problems are rooted in the territorial government’s dependency on the economic policies of the US federal government. Slow and Steady Just Won't Do: Why Biden Must Move Fast—and Go Big—on Climate... 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