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Puerto Rico Blues

Sunny Puerto Rico hits the skids. Its debt goes to junk level. Puerto Rico’s in trouble. We’ll go south to ask why.

A demonstrator wearing a Guy Fawkes mask joins a teacher's protest outside the Department of Labor in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014. Striking school teachers are gathering in Puerto Rico's capital to talk with government officials about recent changes to their retirement system as part of a two-day walkout. (AP)

A demonstrator wearing a Guy Fawkes mask joins a teacher’s protest outside the Department of Labor in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014. Striking school teachers are gathering in Puerto Rico’s capital to talk with government officials about recent changes to their retirement system as part of a two-day walkout. (AP)

Sunny Puerto Rico is in trouble.  Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory.  Puerto Ricans are American citizens.  From its beaches and pool bars, Puerto Rico looks great.  But stroll into real Puerto Rico and this American territory in the Caribbean is a mess.  Schools, roads falling apart.  Business way down.  Crime, bad.  Drug trade bad.  Last week, Puerto Rico’s enormous debt was downgraded to junk status.  Puerto Ricans can easily leave for the US mainland, and they are – in greater numbers than any time since the 1950s. This hour On Point:  Puerto Rico blues.  We go to Puerto Rico.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Dan Rosenheck, professional services correspondent and sports editor at The Economist.

Carlos Colon de Armas, professor of finance and acting dean at the University of Puerto Rico’s Graduate School of Business.

Orlando Sotomayor, professor of economics at the University of Puerto Rico.

From Tom’s Reading List

New York Times: Economy and Crime Spur New Puerto Rican Exodus — “Puerto Rico’s slow-motion economic crisis skidded to a new low last week when both Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s downgraded its debt to junk status, brushing aside a series of austerity measures taken by the new governor, including increasing taxes and rebalancing pensions. But that is only the latest in a sharp decline leading to widespread fears about Puerto Rico’s future. In the past eight years, Puerto Rico’s ticker tape of woes has stretched unabated: $70 billion in debt, a 15.4 percent unemployment rate, a soaring cost of living, pervasive crime, crumbling schools and a worrisome exodus of professionals and middle-class Puerto Ricans who have moved to places like Florida and Texas.”

 The Economist: Buying on credit is so nice — “The macroeconomic situation in Puerto Rico is strikingly similar to that of Greece in 2010. It uses an expensive currency it cannot control. Its citizens eagerly dodge paying taxes to a bloated public sector. And its officials protest too much that default is unthinkable. However, there have been no riots or calls for a change of government.”

The Wall Street Journal: Puerto Rico Seeking $2 Billion Debt Offering –”Puerto Rico has said it doesn’t need to borrow before its fiscal year ends in June. But it wants to show investors it can still borrow money in the public bond market despite a sharp rise in yields on its bonds, 15% unemployment and $70 billion in outstanding debt, officials have said.”

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  • Fiscally_Responsible

    Who was dumb enough to loan Puerto Rico all of this money by buying bonds or whatever debt instruments they used? Of course, any criticism of Puerto Rico will be exploited by liberals as “racist xenophobic” rhetoric rather than as honestly questioning who in the world was minding the store and holding the island accountable. The liberals just care about getting more votes rather than actually holding people responsible for borrowing money that they can’t pay back. I say, let the bondholders eat their losses. And then, that we should grant Puerto Rico sovereignty and do our best to keep their hands out of our pockets in the future.

    • John Cedar

      Billion is the new million so 70 Billion is just tip money in this day and age, where Obama & Co. throw trillions around to buy votes. New york is 375 billion in the red and California is close to 500 billion in the red. We should grant sovereignty to those two states first.

      • jefe68

        You forgot Texas, with $287 billion owed, New Jersey, with $282.4 billion, and Illinois, with $271.1 billion.

        You might want to rethink your silly comment, as California has the 8th largest economy in the world and had a GDP gain of 3.5% in 2012.

        New York, in case you have forgotten is the finance center of the US and the world.

        You right wingers are such a hoot and always good for a laugh, at your expense of course.

        • sickofthechit

          It will be at all our expense if they ever regain all the branches of government. I shudder to think of the damage they will inflict on us if they regain CONgress!
          charles a. bowsher

          • jefe68

            Who’s they?

          • sickofthechit

            The Republicans. I was commenting on your initial comment where you laid out all the debt of he various states. It might be more informative to couple the debt with the amount that they are a giver or a taker when it comes to Federal Dollars. charles

          • jefe68

            It seems that the debt is pretty well spread across blue and red states. I was just trying to point out the absurd nature of the original comment, as you are doing here.

        • Fiscally_Responsible

          Do you believe that all of this debt (federal, state, local level) is indefinitely sustainable? Wouldn’t you rather be in the position that we were in during the 50′s where we were the largest creditor nation on earth instead of the largest debtor nation?

          • jefe68

            When you say the 50′s I’m sure you’re also including the tax rates that we had then. Which is why our WW2 debt went down so fast as the economy grew.

            It’s always amazing how the right and libertarians go on about taxes and then the debt and the deficit without really wanting to look at the real issue that revenue plays in this.

          • Fiscally_Responsible

            I’m all for a progressive tax structure and also believe that Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy were totally irresponsible from both a fairness and a deficit point of view. At the same time, many on the left will never admit that government has gotten too big, spends far too much money, and that a great deal of waste/fraud/abuse takes place and that the solution is to reduce government, not give it every more amounts of money that simply add to the federal debt. We are on an unsustainable path that can’t go on forever.

          • TFRX

            Because if anything will fix anything, it’s a Libertarian convincing those untold tens of millions “many on the left” to admit things you want them to admit.

            Meanwhile, the unsustainable path always seems to get worse when the Right is in power and better when the Left is. Funny, ain’t it.

            I’ll pay attention to Libertarians when they get their fiscal conservativeness on while a Republican is in the White House. Otherwise, you’ve got the wrong audience.

          • Euphoriologist

            Great to hear.

            But can you point out to us how you know the government is spending too much money? I’ll just point out that, overall, the economy still shows signs of lack of demand, inflation is near record lows, and unemployment rampant. Sure doesn’t look like an economy being flooded with spending. The opposite, in fact.

            Also, I’d point out that the worlds’ bond buyers believe the opposite of your proposal that our debt levels are unsustainable. As our debt increases, US bond sales keep getting stronger and stronger! Do you believe the entire financial market is wrong about this? Why would they all be making such an obvious mistake, in your view?

            Also, what is your example of waste/fraud/abuse, and how big is it? We know the military literally wastes money on things like abandoned Iraqi projects, contracting payoffs, recruiting scandals, the F-35, etc.. Is this similar to what you were thinking of?

          • Don_B1

            I have posted this link which gives guidelines for determining how to judge when the level of government debt is excessive:

            http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/the-impact-of-public-debt-on-economic-growth-by-j–bradford-delong

            Note that the current levels of U.S. debt are not in any way “excessive” to the point of endangering its economy due to a large debt level.

            It would be nice if you and the other “debt hawks” on this (and undoubtedly other) website could either provide a detailed argument as to why Professor DeLong’s argument is not correct, or accept it and stop this foolishness of overemphasizing the debt issue when the most important issue is ending the job recession with additional stimulus from the government.

            But I have learned not to hold my breath.

          • Don_B1

            An even better argument is given here:

            http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/does-debt-matter

            I encourage everyone to read this link first!

          • John Cedar

            Why do you not debunk the lies about the income tax rates of the 50′s? No one ever paid those rates. Back then they had infinite loopholes by allowing for passive losses. Did the Kennedy Cartel pay income tax on the untold millions they were left in their trust funds? Of course not.

            Why are you all for “a progressive tax” structure? A flat percentage is progressive by its very nature, as the more you earn the more you pay. Factor in that income tax goes negative at lower incomes and its obvious “progressive taxes” just leads to chaos.

            Why do you criticize Bush’s tax cuts which ended in 2007 and not criticize Obama’s/democrats tax cuts, which took place from that date forward? If the party of lying hypocrisy really wanted “higher tax rates for the wealthy”, they could have passed them like they did the trillion dollar scammulus and the Obamacare disaster. If they didn’t think the economy could handle it, they could have passed them to go into effect at a later date determined by our dictator like they did with every other agency law.

            I’d like to give a shout out to Obama and thank him for once again extending his illegal delay to mandating businesses provide healthcare or else paying a fine.

          • jefe68

            And yet they paid a lot more than people do now. These figures are from 63 when the rates went down. Also the minimum wage was higher when adjusted for inflation. It was higher when Reagan was president than it is today.

            * A person making $2,500 a year in 1963 was taxed at 22 percent. Today that would be $17,445, taxed at 15 percent.

            * A person making $5,000 a year in 1963 was taxed at 26 percent. Today that would be $34,890, taxed at 25 percent.

            * A person making $10,000 a year in 1963 was taxed at 34 percent. Today that would be $69,780, taxed at 25 percent.

            * A person making $15,000 a year in 1963 was taxed at 47 percent. Today that would be $104,670, taxed at 28 percent.

            * A person making $25,000 a year in 1963 was taxed at 59 percent. Today that would be $174,450, taxed at 33 percent.

            Kennedy urged tax cuts that went into effect in 1964. Prior to that, tax rates started at 20 percent for the lowest bracket and went up to 91 percent for the highest bracket. The rates were similar throughout the 1940s and 1950s.

            http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2008/may/02/hillary-clinton/rates-were-a-lot-higher-back-in-the-day/

          • John Cedar

            Which is irrelevant because back then, passive loss loopholes allowed people who enjoyed $100k salaries to report that their incomes were only $25k or sometimes even zero, if they got into more sophisticated tax avoidance schemes, such as depletion. Back then, every single hobby was a tax deduction and so was every luxury purchase.

          • jefe68

            You have proof of this? You really do like to spread the jam thin don’t you.

          • Euphoriologist

            “Wouldn’t you rather be in the position that we were in during the 50′s where we were the largest creditor nation on earth instead of the largest debtor nation?”

            …And where rich people paid a marginal tax rate of 91%. Have to admit, I was surprised to hear tripling tax rates are your vision of Nirvana, and I don’t think today’s billionaires will be psyched about paying that, but I appreciate your open-mindedness.

          • John Cedar

            Debt is certainly more tolerable for a state that has no income as of yet, such as Texas, compared to a state that has the highest income tax and now has turned to raiding public pensions.

        • TFRX

          Now Jefe, it doesn’t matter that Texas is in debt.

          Being a right winger and pledging to cut government is not a matter of outcomes, but a matter of process: As long as they do their hippie punching, slut-shaming and (certain attributes of) voter scrubbing, their debt is simply somehow better, dollar for dollar, than another state’s.

        • John Cedar

          California has another $500 billion in unfunded pensions. Like baby Cuomo in NY, governor Moonbeam has been corporatist raiding the pension fund.
          California also has the highest personal and corporate income tax in the republic. Meanwhile Texas still has income tax as an option, if things ever got that bad. It doesn’t do much good to be the 8th largest economy if you are the first biggest spend thrift.

  • Yar

    I wonder about the politics of bond rating. We are days again from a debt ceiling, went for years without passing a budget, yet only once did US bonds get downgraded. I think the rating agencies are complicit in bad behavior by congress. Bond ratings are not the predictor they claim to be. They are a lagging indicator.

    • StilllHere

      The do predict falling bond prices pretty accurately.

      • Don_B1

        A great example being the downgrading of U.S. debt followed by lower interest rates!

        You may be correct for company stocks, but it is definitely not so simple when governments which owe their debt in their own currency is the issue.

        • StilllHere

          That was one agency and one notch; look at European government debt or muni & state debt.

        • James

          Everyone is running off the same debt cliff. The US just happens to be a little behind the rest of the lemmings.

          Our debt to GDP radio is about 70 percent. which is just above average better then only a handful of 1st world nations.

  • Shag_Wevera

    Must be President Obama’s fault, one way or another.

    • StilllHere

      Nothing is ever his fault, the buck stops about 12 levels below him.

      • Don_B1

        Most of what you blame on President Obama is the fault of Tea/Republicans in Congress.

        • StilllHere

          Right, he’s a victim. Obamapologists are all the same.

        • jefe68

          Troll alert… don’t feed him.

  • andrewgarrett

    Why is the man in the photo dressed up as far-Right religious conservative Guy Fawkes? Yes, Guy Fawkes was a Christian conservative. What is the message here?

    • Coastghost

      The message is: corporate behemoth Time Warner just scooped up another few cents of royalty/residual fees: TW owns the Guy Fawkes mask franchise.

  • Human2013

    This has nothing to do with politics…It’s about the money as always. The financiers buying bonds, squeezing out the interest and fees and selling them down the river. One more reason why this economic system is doomed. Sadly, a sizable percentage of the US economy is based on finance…that is to say that it’s based on smoke and mirrors… No transparecy whatsoever.

  • James

    seems that Puerto Rico needs to either become a state or leave the United States.

    Here’s a deal, the left gets Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico admitted as full fledged states, and the right gets two succession states (Upstate New York, Jefferson, Northern Colorado, etc

    • J__o__h__n

      Why not combine some of the big rural states that are over-represented in the senate?

      • Pedro Alberto Arroyo

        Because the Constitution doesn’t allow it.

    • TFRX

      Yeah…no.

      The rural places are already too full of themselves and over-represented in Congress.

      DCers are already taxed without representation. They don’t even get electoral votes.

    • adks12020

      No thanks. I live in upstate New York. I like that although I’m surrounded by red counties it’s balanced by the more left leaning areas downstate. It helps keep either side from getting out of hand.

  • Citizen James

    Why wouldn’t people leave PR en masse, particularly if they are well educated and with a mastery of English? The same emigration happens today in the Midwest, western NY and especially Detroit.

    • Roberto9

      well educated? Huh show me some Puerto Ricans that are well-educated. The ones that leave are seeking a better life but they are certainly not well education – there is no institution in PR providing good education

      • alexrodz83
        • Roberto9

          Alex, only 60% of Puerto Ricans have a high school diploma as of 2000. Overall US is at 87% – it’d be higher except PR is dragging us down. Nobody from the mainland goes to Puerto Rico (by choice) for an education. Start there. Look PR has just about every possible advantage – incredible welfare state by what it pays to the USG compared to what it gets, the ability to attract businesses with the incentive of no taxes, a nice tropical climate, supposedly a nice vacation area – yet it is about 5x worse than Greece when it comes to fiscal responsibility. Yes, yes, I know – it’s all the colonialists fault in the mainland – save it. Elect some politicians that aren’t quite so corrupt, get your economy to be above the bar and actually help fund the infrastructure then come back and talk

        • Roberto9

          http://www.americanlawyer.com/id=1202597935932?slreturn=20140115205832

          Only 37% of your law graduates (I was surprised there even was a school of law on the island) passed the PR bar – an exam that is known for being among the easiest in the country. Now this is largely because your law schools stink. Your very best medical schools are in the bottom 30% of all med schools in the country – that’s your very best. So yeah, education is not too great in PR but hey, you’ve got a wikipedia article that talks about famous Puerto Ricans – not necessarily born there and famous for what? – very few are education related.

          • alexrodz83

            You said “show me some Puerto Ricans that are well educated trololo…”. There are many people on that list that would qualify. Look specifically under Physicians, Scientists, and inventors for example. As far as the bar passage, I can’t speak to that. Looking at the job prospects from the site you posted I suppose most Puerto Ricans would want to go to a lawschool in a better market. And no, Puerto Rico is not Silicon Valley, but to say no educated people is just stupid.

  • J__o__h__n

    Ugh, I forgot it was WBUR flower selling week again. TIme to listen elsewhere. WBUR needs to allow donors to listen online without the begging.

    • Guest

      I agree. Maybe NPR should have straight-out advertisement to support the programming and the on-line set up, just like any other media outlet. AM radio is a great model to follow.

    • jefe68

      And, on a show about economic disparity.

  • StilllHere

    Declining economy and population.
    How long before a bailout that favors public employee unions over taxpayers?

  • acevedob

    This is:

    A. The fault of the US government for their flagrant use of Puerto Rico and oppression of its people.

    B. The fault of the Puerto Rican people for allowing the status quo and not seeking the independence that most countries have.

    It’s a classic abusive relationship.

    • TyroneJ

      What planet do you live on? As the Puerto Rican professors touched on, the reason Puerto Rico keeps voting down independence is because there’s a huge inflow of American dollars in the form of welfare & social security payments. Independence would end the welfare, and would stop future generations from getting SS. Puerto Rico is called “welfare island” even by Puerto Ricans. It has 1.1% of the US population, but uses over 6.1% of the US welfare budget.

      • acevedob

        The reason that Puerto Rico keeps voting down independence is because the nationalist organization was targeted by the US government and labelled terrorists and criminals. Furthermore, it is extremely convenient for the US government to have a population that is unemployed and dependent on welfare. It keeps them from realizing how ludicrous their country’s relationship is with the United States. It’s easy to put the whole blame on the people of an island that has been a colony with limited autonomy for CENTURIES.

        • TyroneJ

          Most Puerto Ricans would agree that Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional,
          which was responsible for 120 bomb attacks on United States targets between 1974 and 1983, met the criteria of “a terrorist organization”. You remind me of old Communists I run across in Russia occasionally, who have very selective memories of the “good old days” of the Soviet Union.

          • acevedob

            LMAO. Well PR has never had any “good old days” thanks to the US government. Perhaps when it’s independent it will! :)

          • acevedob

            Too bad there have never been any “good old days” in Puerto Rico. The US government has stamped that possibility out.

    • Roberto9

      Absolutely ridiculous. Heck if you want to leave I will gladly donate money to your movement. Seek independence – why do you think it has so low support? Because PR is a leech on the US – there’s no workforce, rampant crime, virtually no tax base, no respectable higher education – what do you expect. Give me some home grown Puerto Rican companies (besides Bacardi) that have expanded beyond the island.

      • acevedob

        Going back to my original point: who’s fault is that? Who is in charge of the economy in Puerto Rico? PR is a colony/territory of the UNITED STATES. It is under the US government’s jurisdiction. If PR had more freedom to make decisions for its economy and its people, it wouldn’t be in this mess in the first place. So, if PR is in debt and Puerto Ricans have grown dependent on welfare, the US has allowed it to happen. If PR was independent and it was the same case, then PR would be totally at fault.

        • Roberto9

          What? It’s the USG’s fault because PR is a colony? Look PR passed a law that exempted all companies that do business there from paying federal taxes – that wasn’t the USG – that was PR. Take some accountability here. Is it the USG’s fault that Illinois is in such a mess or so many other areas? Now I say such a mess but PR is about 10x the magnitude of a mess that Illinois or any other US city or state is in. What exact freedom do you want? It sounds like you want USG federal dollars, all the federal benefits, pay almost zero federal taxes and make all your own decisions. By all means, become a state or secede – you’ve always had that opportunity but PR is a weak territory with zero leadership and zero education and as a result you continue to be a diminished vacation destination with rampant crime. What about the USG is stopping you from improving your home?

          • acevedob

            How does it sound that I WANT federal anything? I want my country to be free…and able to make its own decisions.

          • Roberto9

            By your country do you mean the US or PR? What is it you want to do that you can’t? You can’t have it both ways – the benefits of a territory, almost zero taxes, able to pass laws where companies don’t pay fed taxes and still get all the welfare we mainland taxpayers provide AND not follow the rules of a territory. You would do far worse as a state – all that money that’s been filtering down there over the past decade – that would NEVER happen if you were a poorly run state and not just a poorly run territory. Become a state – or better yet become your own country – that’s really how you’ll be free. What little tourism you get would be entirely gone. The social programs you have would drop to zero – investment would drop to zero (what exactly is the incentive to invest anything in PR anyways?)

          • acevedob

            I mean Puerto Rico.

            La tierra de Borinquen

            donde he nacido yo

            es un jardín florido

            de mágico primor.

            Un cielo siempre nítido

            le sirve de dosel.

            Y dan arrullos plácidos

            las olas a sus pies.

            Cuando a sus playas llegó Colón;

            exclamó lleno de admiración:

            “¡Oh! ¡Oh! ¡Oh!

            Esta es la linda tierra

            que busco yo.”

            Es Borinquen la hija,

            la hija del mar y el sol,

            Del mar y el sol,

            Del mar y el sol,

            Del mar y el sol,

            Del mar y el sol.

  • tbphkm33

    The question at hand is: “To what degree is Puerto Rico a harbinger of what’s to come for mainland USA.”

    Puerto Rico has been subjected to the same crony capitalist forces that have wrecked havoc on the homeland of the Empire. Ever optimistic, or overly foolish, American’s should maybe be asking themselves when the day of reckoning is coming home to roost?

    Corrective action may still avert the major damages, but as more-and-more faults are uncovered, at what point does the United States realize that the existing oligarchy, with its corrupt economic and political system, is not sustainable in the longterm.

  • Pedro Alberto Arroyo

    You know what would be great? If more Americans cared about the fact that Puerto Rico is a colony: http://bit.ly/1fKUN6L.

  • marygrav

    Puerto Rico has the same problem that destablizes the rest of Latin America, except for Cuba and Haiti. They are more interested in Whiteness than they are for the welfare of its people. Mr. Arroyo is correct, “Puerto Rico is a colony.” Therefore it is treated like one.

    It should not be a surprise that this fact is evident. If Puerto Ricans were meant to be more than subalterns, they would have been forced to speak English and the Catholic Church would only be a secondary religion. Americans were forced to be part of the “English Only” movement of the early 20th century.

    Both Puerto Rico and Haiti should have gone the way of Cuba. The would not been the victims of racist foreign policy and politicians such as the late Jesse Helms. In all truth the Haitian government should sue the US military because it is the Occupying Army and is therefore in charge of the welfare of the people. War Crimes should be charged against the US because of the treatment of the Haitians.

    Pueto Ricans that go to Florida will find themselves disappointed. They will find themselves as second class citizens because the Cuban consider themselves White and therefore better than the Puerto Ricans.

    Nothing is the matter with Puerto Rico except being located so close to the United States.

    • alexrodz83

      I can’t speak to most of your post. But as far as “Puerto Ricans that go to Florida will find themselves disappointed…”, I can tell you that was not the case for me. I have lived in Miami for the past three years and for the most part, Cubans, Venezuelans, Colombians, etc. would always comment on how we are “buena gente” or good people. Additionally, Latin Americans living in the United States share a bond that I think diminishes discrimination between nationalities. Furthermore, most Puerto Ricans move to the Orlando/Kissimmee area due to the area’s tourism industry. I believe Puerto Ricans make up the largest percentage of Latin Americans in that area.

  • Joanna Elizabeth Alberdeston

    Let’s not forget the closure of the Naval Air Station, Roosevelt Roads which brought in an average $865 million dollars in revenue annually. That closure was devastating to the economy as a whole.

    • Roberto9

      Joanna – Roosevelt Roads closed specifically because Puerto Rico put the bombing range in Vieques off limits – the Navy said that they would close if that happened. That bombing range was about 80% of the reason the Navy had a base there – for carrier workups. So how’s Vieques doing today? It was supposed to be this great vacation area that would more than make up for the loss of the Navy…didn’t quite work out that way.

  • Ray

    When comparing debt burden against the state we seem to forget that PR does not pay federal tax. So why is the federal debt tax burden that everyone living in the states has to pay ignored in this calculation? Just because the fed can print money?

    Also surprised the economist suggested the minimum wage should be lower in the island while also saying cost of living is was higher. The oxymoron solution is to have even more people drop from the workforce to depend more on family or the government? The U.S. modeled the PR economy to be absolutely dependent on the mainland by exporting countless billions in profits that is not reinvested in the island. In exchange the island receives some assistance which almost seems like a small cashback rebate when you compare it to the capital that leaves the island on a yearly basis. It worked in the 50s to industrialize the country out of poverty until the manufacturing bubble bursted. US eliminating the 936 tax code. Nafta. China. Globalization. etc etc

    In my opinion, the reason statehood is not fully favored by a wide margin, is the distrust that even if that decision is made, the US would just ignore it. The belief that for the mainland is comfortable keeping the colony as our second class citizens (without saying it) even if it goes against the ideals the nation was founded on. The belief that because median incomes are lower, that somehow mean that same working professional is less capable/worthy than the same puertorrican doing exactly the same job in the states.

    Puerto Rico has enormous challenges ahead of them mainly created through decades by an ambiguous status relationship with US and negligent politicians buying votes. A huge underground economy that doesn’t get properly taxed. Puerto Rico is not just some dump across the ocean which should only warrant some attention when it threatens your mutual funds. It is still one of the most competitive economies in the world. Hope Puerto Rico sees it as a big wakeup call to our fellow Americans to kickstart a slow recovery.

    • Roberto9

      PR is in shambles for a number of reasons – it should be doing awesome because the financial incentives to invest there are more incredible than anywhere in the states and it’s relatively close as opposed to places like Guam. However, there is a poor uneducated work force, absolutely no respectable higher education and high crime so few companies are there. No federal taxes for companies that produce there? Jeez, with that it should have an incredible economy. Only 41% of the working age people work, 1/4 of those are federal workers and half of the rest work for the underground economy paying no taxes. It’s a mess for a lot of reasons almost all solely due to their own poor policies

  • Harry Cellphone

    Yes it was Dan Rosenheck and glad you noticed too. Not only very distracting but all the other added verbiages such as the “you knows” ” I means” and “but ums” were ponderous and brutal. He must of said, “you know” fifty times. On Point should have cut him short and be more conscious of how a guest talks. There were other shows with guests that had same type of situation as Mr. Rosenheck.

  • http://elplandehiram.org/ Hiram A. Meléndez Juarbe

    I was surprised to hear that, in this episode, you did not include political scientists or constitutional scholars. A core reason for PR’s Blues has to do with its colonial status and I sense that economists sometimes miss this very important point. The subject was mentioned by a listener, but it seems to me that our shortcomings on the economic development front are connected to the fact that we have NEVER had a strong native economy. This is because our economy has been mostly based on US companies dong business here. We are mostly employees; not employers and producers. This is so by design, not chance. Hence, any discussion of current PR problems must include that subject. It is of course embarrassing for Americans to talk about PR in those terms because it would involve facing up to US’ responsibility for our predicament. This is not to deny that we, as PRicans, not responsible also. But pointing fingers in the right direction is useful to identifying those institutions that should be jointly in charge of cleaning up the mess. PR’s political situation should be a topic for a show.

  • georgepotts

    PR makes Detroit look like a leader in fiscal responsibility. Easy tax money has made PR a cess pool of corruption and graft.

  • css

    The greedy banks and bond agencies collected their handsome bonuses for placement of the PR bonds. None of them even thought about the outstanding debt which was growing. Where were they, when PR was amassing massive debt, probably collecting their huge bonuses. Now the rest of the US taxpayers are facing losses.
    Ofcourse PR was also irresponsible by issueing bonds knowing that they cannot afford it. I think the best PR can do now is to cut the interest they are paying on the bonds to US T-Bill levels and stave the crisis for now and figure out a way to get out of this mess.

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“Rich Hill,” a new documentary on growing up poor, now, in rural America. The dreams and the desperation.

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Sep 15, 2014
This Monday, Sept. 27, 2010 file photo shows hikers on the South Kaibab Trail in Grand Canyon National Park, Ariz. (AP/Carson Walker)

Uproar over development plans for the Grand Canyon. We go to the Navajo Nation and the Canyon floor to see what’s at stake.

 
Sep 15, 2014
In this Thursday, Sep. 11, 2014 photo, Middle Eastern leaders stand together during a family photo with of the Gulf Cooperation Council and regional partners at King Abdulaziz International Airport’s Royal Terminal in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia. (AP/Brendan Smialowski, Pool)

President Obama says he will build a coalition of partners in the Middle East to combat ISIS. We’ll do a reality check on who’s really stepping up for what.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: September 12, 2014
Friday, Sep 12, 2014

In which you had varied reactions to the prospect of a robotic spouse.

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Beverly Gooden on #WhyIStayed
Friday, Sep 12, 2014

Beverly Gooden — who originated the #WhyIStayed hashtag that has taken off across Twitter — joined us today for our discussion on domestic violence.

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Tierney Sutton Plays LIVE For On Point
Friday, Sep 5, 2014

We break out Tierney Sutton’s three beautiful live tracks from our broadcast today for your listening pleasure.

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