Common Dreams is not your normal news site. It could also take the form of federal guarantees on loans to the island, he said. November 10, 2020. Beyond its current debt and inability to pay its bills, Puerto Rico’s root problem is lack of economic growth. Some of those losses could be covered by bond insurance, though most investors would be stuck with red ink. 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. While the mainland U.S. added millions of jobs following the Great Recession, Puerto Rico never got back on its feet. 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.”. Puerto Rico Economic Outlook. For years, bond holders extended credit to Puerto Rico, capitalizing on federal, state and municipal tax advantages. "Fortunately for Puerto Rico that process is in place.". If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Felix Salmon writes:. The island has lost more than 20% of its jobs since 2007. 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. Yet Puerto Rico’s problems are closely aligned to its colonial relationship with a supposed US democratic state. 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. About 40% of its residents live in poverty, and the median household income in 2017 was $19,775. 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. However, the federal Fiscal Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico established by PROMESA devised its own fiscal plan to deal with the crisis. This public blaming between two equally ineffective political administrations shows the deep-rooted colonial ties between Puerto Rico and the supposed US democratic government. 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. Slow and Steady Just Won't Do: Why Biden Must Move Fast—and Go Big—on Climate... 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Ocasio-Cortez Grills Treasury Secretary Mnuchin on Unused CARES Act Funding. In September 2017, these economic problems worsened with the devastating impact of Hurricane Maria, which will require extensive rebuilding. Hurricane Maria left a path of destruction in Puerto Rico, leaving most of its citizens without access to electricity and clean drinking water. Instead, we rely on readers like you, to provide the "people power" that fuels our work. Thank you. But we can't do it alone. After years of promising pensions that the island couldn't afford, retirement funds are about to run dry. Yet these two major storms revealed much about the disorganized and corrupt nature of Puerto Rican politics, alongside the flawed US federal system as both inappropriately dealt with these national disasters. - Craig Brown, Co-founder. The Puerto Rico Crisis: A Reflection of a Flawed US Democracy. "Someone is going to get killed." The Megamachine and the Roots of the Planetary Crisis, Unless Congress Acts, Millions of Americans Will Soon Be Left With No Safety Net. Puerto Rico, which filed for the equivalent of federal bankruptcy protection in May, owes $74 billion in debts and more than $53 billion in unfunded pensions. He is currently finishing a book on Quakers, race and U.S. Rosselló, in turn, claimed the federal government under Trump failed to uphold its constitutional and ethical responsibilities to US citizens in Puerto Rico. To be clear: This author is not suggesting that Rosselló and his ilk are not corrupt and incompetent, something they have repeatedly demonstrated over several years. Ricardo Rosselló sought to ease some cuts to education and public services while still paying down Puerto Rico’s $73 billion debt. 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. This is more than double the amount … 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. 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. 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. We don't survive on clicks. 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. Even the conservative Cato Institute recognizes the antiquated and undemocratic nature of the Jones Act and its negative impact upon Puerto Rico’s economy: “Puerto Rico’s recovery in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria has reinvigorated debate about a relatively unknown law that has hampered its recovery efforts and bogged down its 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 … Long permitting processes and a dilapidated and expensive electrical grid, which collapsed during the hurricane, are among the many factors that have caused investors to shy away. Because of people like you, another world is possible. 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. Biden Could Cancel Student Debt. We don't want advertising dollars. The process looks a lot like bankruptcy. 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. 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. "This would increase the migration from the island and generate growing risks of protests and looting.". The island, which once once positioned as a haven for manufacturers, phased out its … In light of Puerto Rico’s post-disaster needs, Gov. "The storm is going to accelerate the economic decline of the commonwealth," Fabian said. Chapter 5 provides policy and historical background about Puerto Rico… Common Dreams has been providing breaking news & views for the progressive community since 1997. Empire. 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.”.
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