The disaster that afflicted Puerto Rico brought to the fore a mindset that existed for decades in the Rich Port. This manifestly behavior in the Commonwealth from the top down has been outed large subsequent to the devastating cane. What is that mindset? Handouts, handouts and more handouts. Puerto Rico has been living off the good nature of the United States for a century; Puerto Rico is a failed welfare state, Puerto Rico is Venezuela without oil. Puerto Rico is a Cuban state, run by communists who believe that a government run socialist state will benefit the majority of its citizens.  Puerto Rico is a sink hole sucking in our money that has disappeared quicker than a lost vessel plying the Bermuda Triangle.

Map of Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico’s history reflects the Spanish conquistadors who savagely enslaved imported Africans to toil in the fields picking cane. A mix of culture ensued and in 1899 the United States acquired Puerto Rico at the end of the Spanish American war.  Residence do not pay federal income tax on Puerto Rican income.

The islands debt climbed to $70 billion at a time with 12.4% unemployment at the start of 2017.  On May 3, 2017, Puerto Rico’s financial oversight board in the U.S. District Court for Puerto Rico filed the debt restructuring petition. By early August 2017, the debt was $72 billion with a 45% poverty rate. Great, a 45% poverty rate! How could this be after the United States has sent hundred’s of billions of dollars to Puerto Rico over the past fifty years? Where did the money go? Who is responsible for the larceny? There is no accounting for the lost funds. 

In late late September 2017, Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico causing devastating damage. The island’s electrical grid was largely destroyed, with repairs expected to take months to complete, provoking the largest power outage in American history. The result of the debt crisis and hurricane caused 250,000 Puerto Ricans to flee the island and head to the mainland. Florida and New York was their destination.

Puerto Ricans are blaming President Trump for the fact that two weeks after Hurricane Maria, their island is still a mess: power outages, flooding, fuel shortages, spotty cell service, washed out bridges, roads blocked by fallen trees. But who is really to blame for the island’s paralysis?

Consider this: Puerto Rico has a population of only 3.4 million but their elected government has run up a debt of over $70 billion and pension obligations of $50 billion. That’s more than $35,294 per resident and over 100 percent of GDP. Puerto Rico has already defaulted on a $58 million bond payment in 2016, due to its already-high taxes and unwillingness to cut government spending. It fell into crushing debt despite the $21 billion annually the island receives in aid from the United States, much of it spent on welfare programs such as Head Start, public housing, and food stamps. That’s over $6,000 per capita in federal welfare that the islanders consume.

Have we said enough? 

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