October 12, 2017

There's a limit to how long Trump will put up with Puerto Rico leaning on the federal government.

Here's how he puts it on Twitter this morning:
"Puerto Rico survived the Hurricanes, now a financial crisis looms largely of their own making." says Sharyl Attkisson. A total lack of.....

...accountability say the Governor. Electric and all infrastructure was disaster before hurricanes. Congress to decide how much to spend....

We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances) in P.R. forever!
That gave Chuck Schumer the opening to play the race card:
"Why do you continue to treat Puerto Ricans differently than other Americans when it comes to natural disasters?"
Is it different? Doesn't matter. The question is enough. Trump is tweeting and Schumer is tweeting. Somebody ought to speak clearly and factually about where the line is between the preexisting financial crisis and the hurricane that landed on top of it and whether the 2 disasters should be merged or not. Is there some other natural disaster in recent American history that compares to this problem?

I'd like to see some serious analysis, not just back-and-forth Twitter slapping.

135 comments:

Ralph L said...

Yo Chuck, it's "different from", not than.
And they don't pay federal income taxes, so they are different.

If they keep voting for bad government, let them have it good and hard.

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

Puerto Rico is run by economic illiterate leftists. That's why the financial situation is dire.

**Hurricanes are always the fault of white racist republicans who seed the clouds with their global warming denial and hatred for brown people. I read it in the NYT.

Phil 3:14 said...

Would it help if Twitter increased its character limit?

Gahrie said...

That gave Chuck Schumer the opening to play the race card:

Something close to 75% of Puerto Ricans are White.

Ralph L said...

Oops, twitter slapping, but I was triggered before I got to the last paragraph.

Speaking of bad government, I'm glad Trump is pushing at least some important decisions onto Congress where they belong. Baby steps to restore the constitutional order. But Congress isn't up to it--yet--because we're as bad as the PR voters, and on a continental scale.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Time to right a historical wrong. Everyone knows colonialism is morally wrong and damaging to the indigenous people.

Free Puerto Rico!

Bay Area Guy said...

Chuck Schumer - total race baiting sleaze bag.

That's how the Dems roll.

AJ Lynch said...

Yes, we need something like ....an analysis or estimate of what it will cost to rebuild the neglected electrical infrastructure for 3.5 million people and amortize that cost over 30-36 years and then ask who & how it will be paid.

My back of the envelope estimate is $1,500 per person minimum [SWAG] which would be paid back at $100 per person per year for 36 years at 8%. So every resident's electric bill will have $100 added each year to fund the rebuild. Keep in mind the $100 is per person not per household.

Now if Congress aka the taxpayers subsidizes part of it the cost to the island residents will of course be lower unless the cost of the project balloons because deep pockets Uncle Sam is involved.

rhhardin said...

The serious analysis is what are the side effects of helping.

Eleanor said...

Puerto Rico continues to reject statehood and the obligations that come with it. I see no problem with cutting them loose. Forgive their debt since it's money we'll never see anyway and throw them a going away party. Give the folks there six months to exercise their US citizenship and then rescind it for anyone who stays. My Puerto Rican friends believe most people who would leave have already.

Gahrie said...

If we bailout Puerto Rico the federal government must resume control of the territory...they have proven themselves unable or unwilling to govern themselves responsibly.

Darrell said...

We had to bring in people and equipment (like trucks) to do all the work. In New Orleans, locals picked up their share of the load. I wonder if Chuck Schumer stopped jacking off into potted plants.

William said...

On the news shows, they probe and question the quality of the federal response. No questions are raised about the talents and responses of those in leadership positions in Puerto Rico......I'm sure that the people of PR were dealt a bad hand and many there are responding admirably, but these problems were not caused nor made worse by Trump.

Sally327 said...

We can spend billions everywhere else, Afghanistan, Iraq, you name it, building schools, electrical grids, highways, whatever, kindly forgiving the "bad" decisions these countries made to get them to where they are (or were, before we showed up), and Puerto Rico, which is US territory, and is suffering grievously it has to be taught a lesson? Total B.S.

Maybe Puerto Rico should declare independence and then we can give it billions in foreign aid to prevent it becoming a haven for terrorists.

Ralph L said...

If Obama or Hillary were President, would they have been forced to use mostly solar and wind power when they rebuild? They could then be guinea pigs for the brave new California, and we'll see what a sham renewables are.

If we bail out PR, California, NY, NJ, and Illinois will think we'll do the same for them and they'll run their state governments faster into the ground. Too late for that moral hazard.

Do PRicans pay FICA and all that that entails?

Chuck said...

I'd like to see some serious analysis, not just back-and-forth Twitter slapping.

Althouse, I gave up on that from Trump before he was inaugurated.

Robert Cook said...

The problems in Puerto Rico are not as simple as just "poor fiscal management" by its government.

Ann Althouse said...

What about other territories and states with big financial problems — such as Illinois?

Why should places that have been responsible pay for the ones that were not? There have to be consequences. California has terrible fires right now, on top of financial problems. Who gets a bail out? And what happens next if they do?

rcocean said...

Everything Trump said is a fact. Schumer just did what the MSM and liberal Democrats (is there a difference?) always do. They pretend Trump said something he didn't, and then attack it.

Puerto Rico is bankrupt, because its been run like Chicago. Corrupt and spend for today and to hell with tomorrow. PR gets massive subsidies and doesn't pay an income tax.

I say cancel their debt and give them Independence and a big farewell party.

rehajm said...

Trump inherited this mess.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Why do we even need or want Puerto Rico? It seems to be nothing more than a giant corrupt sink hole for the US to pour money into.

We should just give them the rest of the funds that they are in default of and cut them loose. Since they seem to think that WE owe them something and that they are being mistreated, kept subservient etc etc etc..... or at least the Mayor of San Juan thinks that, the kindest thing to do would be to set them free

It would be great for US as well. Like finally getting rid of your worthless, unemployed, crack addicted, leech of a brother-in-law living in your house who is constantly bitching about the accommodations and quality of the beer.

rcocean said...

"Why should places that have been responsible pay for the ones that were not?"

Because if we don't then it causing suffering. And then people get all weepie eyed and blame the politicians who didn't bail them out.

Sebastian said...

"Somebody ought to speak clearly and factually about where the line is" Yes, somebody ought to. It's a sweet thought.

"There have to be consequences." There will be: responsible conservatives will bail out irresponsible progs.

The only "serious" things here will be the exact form of the moral blackmail and the exact amount of money extracted.

rcocean said...

All this started when Jerry Ford decided to bail out NYC - the big blockhead.

Of course Ford didn't get any credit, because he'd initially refused to bail them out, remember the headline : "Ford to City, drop dead"?

Rae said...

Maybe nobody should rely on a country that is twenty trillion in debt for support.

exhelodrvr1 said...

We can't do actual serious analysis, because that will implicate the Puerto Ricans and their Democrat leadership as the primary factors.

So you must mean serious analysis like we give to the underlying issues impacting blacks in America.

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

right on Q - "Colonialism" is to blame.

Fine - Be free, Puerto Rico. We certainly don't want you to feel Colonized.

Fernandinande said...

"Why do you continue to treat Puerto Ricans differently than other Americans when it comes to natural disasters?"

Because they don't feel pain like we do.

MaxedOutMama said...

I don't think people realize how much of a legal problem there is with the existing creditors. They surely have rights to the revenue from general obligation bonds and also perhaps specifically from the utility revenues.

The problem is that PR state entities were insolvent before, and haven't really taken any steps to go to court to deal with the creditors. Now this leaves them in a complete bind at the worse possible time.

Congress did pass PROMESA in June of 2016. In August of 2016, pursuant to that act, President Obama appointed the members of the Financial Control Board which it created. So much of this is legally out of the Executive's control until Congress should legislatively recognize the changed circs and make corresponding legislative changes. 5/6ths of the island's electricity is still reported out, and the majority of its roads are not passable.

One of the major challenges is that PR had begun issuing COFINA bonds a few years ago as a way to raise money. These bonds were specifically supported by sales tax revenues. Holders of preexisting general obligation bonds (supported by government revenues), sued. They won. Essentially those bonds were being used to get new loans by dumping obligations to current bondholders. Given that precedent, however, it is hard to see any viable way to raise funding for a massive infrastructure project as it is needed.

Roughcoat said...
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rcocean said...

"Why do you continue to treat Puerto Ricans differently than other Americans when it comes to natural disasters?"

Duh, maybe its because they're a Commonwealth with all kinds of special privileges?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

California has terrible fires right now, on top of financial problems. Who gets a bail out? And what happens next if they do?

Being in California and wishing the rest of the State would just drop into the ocean, I find the recent actions of Moonbeam Brown and the libtards in the State to be amusing if it weren't so sad and stupid.

Brown declares the whole State a Sanctuary State, in effect giving a giant middle finger to the rest of the Country and to all of the "not libtards" in the State of Calif. "We don't need your stinking laws!".

Then the movement to separate California from the United States. I'm for that if they let the rest of us separate FROM California (State of Jefferson FTW). "We don't need no sinking deplorable other states to tell us what to do!" they say.

Now there are these fires, mostly self imposed by the refusal of the libtards to do routine fire suppression measures because Gaia! So now, they are OMG...QUICK...Declare an emergency so we CAN get some of that sweet sweet Federal money. We'll take your money for now and THEN continue on with being the biggest asshats in the country.

Truly. Why should other States or other areas of a State be punished or raped of money for the poor management and stupid choices of that State. But also, why should those stupid people and stupid decisions be bailed out by others?

THIS was the reason for the rise of the Tea Party. Why should the responsible people who saved and got mortgages that they could afford or didn't buy a house at all, be forced to subsidize those who didn't exercise commonsense and many who were attempting to leverage and flip their mortgages?? WHY?!

It is the useless Brother-in-Law scenario all over again.

TreeJoe said...

Rcocean said, "h, maybe its because they're a Commonwealth with all kinds of special privileges?"

It would be awesome for Trump to respond to Schumer: "Are you aware Puerto Rico is not a 51st state? I know Obama said there were 57 - perhaps read up on the differences between Puerto Rico and, say, one of the 50 United States."

Gahrie said...

Maybe Puerto Rico should declare independence and then we can give it billions in foreign aid to prevent it becoming a haven for terrorists.

Nobody is stopping you from giving as much as your money to Puerto Rico as you want. But that's the problem..you don't want to give them your money, you want to give them my money.

Gahrie said...

The problems in Puerto Rico are not as simple as just "poor fiscal management" by its government.

You're right..there was a shitload of corruption involved also.

Original Mike said...

Blogger Eleanor said..."Puerto Rico continues to reject statehood and the obligations that come with it. I see no problem with cutting them loose. Forgive their debt since it's money we'll never see anyway and throw them a going away party. Give the folks there six months to exercise their US citizenship and then rescind it for anyone who stays."

Good plan, but I don't think we can afford the party.

Sally327 said...


"Nobody is stopping you from giving as much as your money to Puerto Rico as you want. But that's the problem..you don't want to give them your money, you want to give them my money.

10/12/17, 9:19 AM"

Whether it's my tax dollars or your tax dollars, we both have the exact same amount of power to control what happens with it: one ballot per election.

Which is no real power anyway because the politicians, regardless of party, love to spend OUR money as if it's THEIR money. But it's kind of sweet you seem to think otherwise.

Robert Cook said...

Cut the increase to the Pentagon's budget and bail out Puerto Rico!

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

NPR newsreaders seemed shocked and stunned this morning that Trump is holding PR responsible for it's pre-hurricane financial troubles.

Gahrie said...

Cut the increase to the Pentagon's budget and bail out Puerto Rico!

I strongly disagree.

Federalize/nationalize Puerto Rico, move the remaining population off to the mainland, and lease the island to private developers.

Gahrie said...

Whether it's my tax dollars or your tax dollars, we both have the exact same amount of power to control what happens with it: one ballot per election.

Who send anything about taxes? If you really cared you'd get out your checkbook.

Daniel Schensul said...
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Daniel12 said...

Sigh. I can't believe this post.

From CNN: The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency said his agency is already gearing up for a years-long effort to help Texas recover from the damage wrought by Hurricane Harvey.

"FEMA is going to be there for years," administrator Brock Long said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."
He added, "This disaster is going to be a landmark event."

And before you start saying that there was no pre-existing problem in Houston or other areas Harvey hit, much of Houston is in a flood plain and floods regularly. So when you discount this "other natural disaster in recent American history" as non-comparable, make sure to explain how poor fiscal and electrical infrastructure management that leads to high risk is entirely different than poor planning and uncontrolled development that leads to high risk. Do you think that Houston's pre-existing situation didn't compound the damage they faced from Harvey?

Also, before we even get to this point, we're all of a two weeks after the hurricane. By any measure this is still the emergency response phase.

narciso said...

http://dailycaller.com/2017/10/12/fbi-reviews-allegations-of-puerto-rican-officials-withholding-hurricane-relief

MaxedOutMama said...

For more on the issues with COFINA and the board, see this:
http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2016/05/02/opinion-cofina-deal-is-huge-blow-to-dwindling-attractiveness-puerto-ricos-bonds.html

In May of 2017, the BK court judge agreed with the GO bondholders and stopped the preferential interest payments to the COFINA bondholders:
http://www.barrons.com/articles/puerto-ricos-cofina-bond-payments-suspended-by-judge-1496261198

Theoretically, putting all the creditors in the same legal position should put the arm on the creditors to negotiate. But it is never a speedy process, and the current emergency makes the matter exceedingly difficult.

As to why you are not reading much about the actual issues, the COFINA dodge was indeed a GS thang. President Lovely Man appointed several individuals who do appear to have a strong interest in supporting the COFINAs, although tragically enough, several federal judges have not supported their initiative. Any thorough coverage of the current miserable pass would not work well with the "Trump, Destroyer of Worlds" meme. Indeed, it might lead to some misguided criticism of the Lightworker's administration and of large WS banks. So don't expect anything significant from the NYT.

I will note in passing that President Obama has joined the WS speaking circuit:
http://nypost.com/2017/04/25/obamas-400k-speech-makes-him-wall-streets-new-fat-cat/

Gahrie said...

"FEMA is going to be there for years," administrator Brock Long said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."
He added, "This disaster is going to be a landmark event."


Lots and lots of Brown and Black people in Houston, unlike P.R. which is overwhelmingly White.

Assrat said...

>Cut the increase to the Pentagon's budget and bail out Puerto Rico!

Why? What do we owe them?

Ray said...

Trump probably knows a lot of Puerto Rican's from his apartment days working for his Father.

Puerto Rico's problems:

1. Tax credit removed by congress. Pharmaceuticals moved elsewhere.
2. Same minimum wage as Feds now. Made island uncompetitive.
3. 50% of population in US.
4. Jones act
5. Closed us naval base
6. One party rule

I expect Trump to do something ...

I am surprised that PR is not the Hawaii of the Caribbean. Sounds like beautiful beaches.

Daniel12 said...

Lots and lots of Brown and Black people in Houston, unlike P.R. which is overwhelmingly White.

I assume you are reacting to Ann (not Schumer) bringing up race.

Original Mike said...

"Cut the increase to the Pentagon's budget and bail out Puerto Rico!"

The Pentagon used to pour a lot of money into Puerto Rico, but PR threw them out. Brilliant!

MaxedOutMama said...

Daniel12 - Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico on September 20th. So three weeks. Recovery in islands takes a long time. Only about a quarter of the US Virgin islands currently have power. But no one is talking too much about that, because the same obstacles to recovery that exist in PR don't generally apply to the Virgin Islands.

FEMA will be there in its disaster-recovery function, yes, but FEMA was never designed for a situation such as Puerto Rico's and is not funded for it. FEMA will certainly help, but expecting FEMA to provide the funds to completely rebuild the roads, communications, and utility infrastructures is literally ludicrous.

Congress must act. That's why Musk got in the game (in the press, really, he didn't do much). He is hoping for a piece of that government money pie.

This is the US FEMA page for the Maria impacts:
https://www.fema.gov/hurricane-maria

FEMA has done a good job on the FEMA-type tasks. And will continue to work on the problems. But very little else OTHER than FEMA activity is occurring, which one does not generally see in these situations.

Stephen A. Meigs said...

Puerto Rico needs to default on their debt. Problem solved. Investigating the matter, it seems the problem is that during the Obama administration in 2016, Congress passed PROMESA, because Congress and Obama are basically corrupt and care more about allowing vulture capitalists to make lots of money by forcing Puerto Rico to make mostly good on the bonds that they bought at bargain prices because people thought Puerto Rico would default on their debt. Trump unfortunately is appearing to be just as corrupt and dishonest, pretending to one thing before the election by criticizing Goldman Sachs, but then employing numerous Goldman Sachs elitist anti-democracy plutocrat types once he gets elected. Does Trump care what is best for our country? Making conditions to turn Puerto Rico into another Cuba is not good for that part of our country that is not Puerto Rico, and austerity and lack-of-democracy obviously is not good for Puerto Rico.

Bruce Hayden said...

"Now there are these fires, mostly self imposed by the refusal of the libtards to do routine fire suppression measures because Gaia! So now, they are OMG...QUICK...Declare an emergency so we CAN get some of that sweet sweet Federal money. We'll take your money for now and THEN continue on with being the biggest asshats in the country"

I think that it is a bit more than that. The entire west seems to have been burning these last several years. Luckily for the rest of us, fire season is essentially over for the year thanks to seasonal rains moving into snow, accompanied by cooling weather. This year was bad, with air quality better than 400 for several weeks, and multiple fires in the county. Much of that smoke was from further west, but much was local too. Last year was bad, as well, and the year before. CA just has a later fire season than the rest of us, due to its climate, with a much denser population living in vulnerable areas, and many more reporters. And a lot more whiners. For one thing, they only have to deal with their own smoke - in western MT, we were dealing with smoke from fires in W WA and OR, SW Canada, E WA, N ID, as well as our own.

In general, part of the problem is fire suppression, but not because we haven't been doing it, but rather, because we have been doing it too well for far too long. Maybe a century throughout much of the west, where forests have evolved to be cleared out by fire every couple decades. Which means massive fuel buildup over that time, that cause the fires that happen to be crown fires, instead of the lower level fires that burned the fuel on the ground, but left the towering evergreens alone. Evergreen crown fires are much hotter, and jump crown to crown, covering distances quickly in a wind (the one 5 miles east of us a year ago ran better than 10 miles in one night). Not any more. They now run until they hit some sort of firebreak. Big ones, like big rivers or sometimes highways. Which gets to the other shoe - timber. Up until a decade or so, there was a thriving timber business in the public lands in the west. Then the big city tree huggers shut it down. One of the consequences of eliminating much of the timbering has been that the fires that do happen, run a lot further because timbering tends to either thin out the trees, or if clearcut, work as fire breaks. No big trees means no crown fires, leaving the much more easily controlled brush and lower level fires. (I should note that the Trump Administration understands this far better than their predecessors, thanks, in part, to Ryan Zinke from MT being appointed Sec of Interior, and apparently leaning on Sec of Ag Sonny Purdue).

My guess though that the big problem in Napa is that the fires are running through the densely packed groves of grape trees. Probably too densely packed maybe.

Unknown said...

Ten times more nukes than we have now ain’t cheap ya know. If you spend it on Puerto Rico, there won’t be enough for ten times more nukes.

Gahrie said...

1. Tax credit removed by congress. Pharmaceuticals moved elsewhere.

President Clinton asked for the change.

2. Same minimum wage as Feds now. Made island uncompetitive.

That's what minimum wages do. Make labor uncompetitive.

3. 50% of population in US.

Actually 100% of the population is in the U.S.. Some on the Island, some on the mainland.

4. Jones act

??????

5. Closed us naval base

By their demand. The Navy and federal government wanted to keep it open.

6. One party rule

Democratic Party control. The Democratic part is more important than the one part.

Bruce Hayden said...

"Congress must act. That's why Musk got in the game (in the press, really, he didn't do much). He is hoping for a piece of that government money pie. "

Maybe, but like CA, Congress should be able to ask for accountability and reforms. In both cases, a big part of the problem was the adoption of feckless progressive economic policies. In PR's case, the electrical grid has been problematic for quite some time. Everyone knew it, but no money was spent fixing it. In CA, massive amounts of money have been squandered on pretty much every progressive wet dream, ignoring upkeep of the infrastructure, esp in Red CA. For example, I nstead of fixing dams or adequately funding fire fighting, they are flushing billions on the bullet train from nowhere to nowhere.

Ralph L said...

Grape trees?
Muskie lost his chance to be Carter's VP when he visited Plains and asked to see the peanut trees.

holdfast said...

FEMA and the US military have other missions too. They aren't supposed to be long-term occupying forces within the USA. If a hurricane hits South Carolina or an earthquake hits Oregon, we're going to need those personnel and resources. PR doesn't get to keep them forever.

Puerto Rico kicked out the US Navy, which made the response to this disaster more difficult. They don't seem to want the burdens of being part of the USA, only the benefits.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Sally327 said...

Maybe Puerto Rico should declare independence and then we can give it billions in foreign aid to prevent it becoming a haven for terrorists.

If we want to prevent them from becoming a haven for terrorists, maybe we could start by not pardoning their terrorists.

rehajm said...

They don't seem to want the burdens of being part of the USA, only the benefits

A call to Poop or Get off the Pot would be appropriate.

Gahrie said...

The Federal Bureau of Investigation in Puerto Rico received multiple allegations from residents across the island who say local officials in the territory have withheld needed FEMA supplies.

“People call us and tell us some misappropriation of some goods and supplies by supposedly politicians, not necessarily mayors, but people that work for the mayors in certain towns,” FBI Special Agent Carlos Osorio told The Daily Caller Wednesday.

Osorio explained, “They’re supposedly withholding these goods and these supplies and instead of handing them out to people who really need them, [there are claims] that [local officials] are assigning them to their buddies first–people that have voted for them or people that contributed to their campaigns or what not.”



http://dailycaller.com/2017/10/12/fbi-reviews-allegations-of-puerto-rican-officials-withholding-hurricane-relief/

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Quaestor said...

Is there some other natural disaster in recent American history that compares to this problem?

There are many states that must face a calculated risk of natural disaster. Florida is one. California is anotherand then some. Anyone running for a statewide office in Florida or California must be prepared to answer questions regarding disaster preparedness. And anyone operating a business in either of those states must cooperate with legislation intended to mitigate the consequence of such predictable disasters when they inevitably occur in the form of increased taxes, building codes, evacuation plans, etc. Unfortunately, such government-imposed disaster preparedness measures are sometimes inefficient, unfair, and poorly (and in many cases corruptly) administered. For example, in Florida, the counties of Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach are historically much more prone to severe hurricane damage than an inland county like Marion, yet state tax revenues, a considerable amount being earmarked for hurricane preparedness and relief, are collected without reference to whether one lives in an at-risk county. And perhaps rightly so, there is a well-established principle of reasonable risk-sharing at work in Florida's tax structure.

The same is true, or was true in California. Historically, wildfires pose the greatest risk to southern California's high desert region, while earthquakes are to be expected from the Bay Area, south to the Mexican border. Measures like strict building codes and firebreaks have been financed and applied, but lately, Sacremento has shifted disaster preparedness measures and revenues to other purposes. We'll soon see if Governor Brown is a visionary or an idiot.

Peurto Rico is another place that must cope with calculated risk. Hurricanes are the most obvious risk today, however, the greatest danger to the island may be a tsunami. The Peurto Rico Trench is a major center of seismic activity in the Western Hemisphere. Since the time of Columbus crustal movements in the Trench have been relatively minor with quakes come in low-intensity swarms which produce freak waves, minor tsunamis that tend to flow north and northeast rather than due south. Lately, the greatest danger has been to shipping, but geology studies conducted in PR's inland counties such as Corozal and Juncos show layers of marine sediments deposited by seismic ocean waves which scoured the whole island in the geologically recent past. Clearly, PR is a hazardous place to live. And yet over the last thirty years, the Commonwealth has shirked it primary responsibility — protection of the citizens from clear and present dangers — in favor of making a career in the bureaucracy a path to a very comfortable early retirement.

Greed and fecklessness lead inexorably to ruin. There are some in Peurto Rico and the United States who try to foist the blame elsewhere. This is to be expected. If the ruling establishment in the Commonwealth were honest Maria would have been a major inconvenience rather than an ongoing debacle. Robert Cook linked to a writer who lamely argues that PR's troubles stem from "colonialism", ergo it's the moral obligation of the American taxpayer to fork over billions to clean up the mess. Bullshit. Monumental bullshit. Peurto Rico was a colony of Spain for 400 years. America granted the island its only self-government since Columbus. Over the last fifty years, PR has held several plebiscites on the question of independence. The United States pledged to honor the public will each time. Each time the Commonwealth voted in favor of continued association. If Peurto Rico was really a colony of the United States, the stupid policies that created the island's insolvency would have been made in Washington, not San Juan.

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Gahrie said...



Puerto Rico also voted in favour of statehood in 2012. Congress hasn't responded to their 2 most recent votes for statehood.


Wanna bet it's because the Puerto Rican government never formally asked Congress to do so?

Gahrie said...

Puerto Rico = 3.4 Million People

How many people from PR will move to Florida in the next year? Predictions?


Probably not many...all of the ones willing and able to move to the mainland have already left over the last ten years.

Gahrie said...

The last hurricane to hit Cuba did $3 billion in improvements.

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bradpaul35 said...

I hope Schumer doesn’t start suggesting socialist nonsense like “wiping out that debt”.

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Gahrie said...

Do you understand the damage is so great that many jobs are gone? I'm not sure how you expect people to eat.

Checks from the government...just like most of them relied upon before the hurricane.

Gahrie said...

?? Do you understand that this was the first Cat 4 storm in 85 years to hit PR? People will leave PR because of the extent of the damage and the lack of reconstruction.

So what is the problem?

Gahrie said...

Remember this thread come election time. Republican strategists in Florida are very worried.

They were even more worried in October of 2016.

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Assrat said...

>After reading this thread, I'm quite sure people don't grasp the extent of the damage.

I think you're right; Puerto Rico has taken a terrible blow and the problem does deserve to be addressed seriously.

The problem is that the honest reaction a lot of the people on the mainland will have is muted by the fact we would rather be rid of PR entirely. No, that's not necessarily just. But damned if I think there's a lot of support for a major reconstruction effort.

I truly don't have a good answer, but for what it's worth, I wish the people of Puerto Rico the best, and I hope some sort of acceptable solution can be reached.

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Original Mike said...

"Greece is still loosing many young people to other countries because of the debt situation."

It's the underlying debt that's the real problem, isn't it? Your solution?

Ignorance is Bliss said...

This would be a great thread in which to have John Henry's input.

I suspect he has more important things to do at the moment.

I wish him ( and everyone there ) well.

Gahrie said...

He's painting people as debtors and ungrateful scroungers undeserving of help.

No...he's saying they're too lazy to get off their ass and help themselves...which is why thousands of containers of food, water and supplies have built up on the wharves. We have the spectacle of an ungrateful political ghouls, standing in front of hundreds of pallets of food water and supplies given to the people of Puerto Rico, but not delivered, trying to score political points.

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Original Mike said...

"Why would I have a solution for the EU debt problem?"

I was asking for your solution to the PR debt problem.

"I don't understand why you don't think PR will relocate."

I have no doubt that they will, but I don't see a solution to the problem. There is no doubt that PR needs disaster relief, and I have no doubt that the federal government will provide it. But as to using this disaster as a platform to bail out PR of its underlying debt, that would be a mistake. Althouse is right, this is much bigger than PR. It is as big as Illinois, California, ....

Assrat said...

>I wonder if mainlanders feel less connected to people living in Puerto Rico because the dominant language is Spanish?

I don't think it helps, certainly, but I don't think it is the crux of the problem.

Look at it from a mainlander's point of view.

The truth is that Trump's only saying what a lot of taxpayers are thinking. Aid to deal with the emergency, okay. Not much interest in dealing with the self inflicted problems. And where's the line?

The perception (just or not) is that PR is a net liability, and that it chose to be one.

It's not glee that people are suffering. It's more too bad you don't have a Naval Base to serve as a relief station. Sucks to be you.

Wait, we can't even rely on native truck drivers? And now PR politicians are being accused of stealing relief supplies?

I'm sure there are lots of people working hard during this disaster, but right now the impression we're getting is that they're all from the mainland. I know that can't be true. There must be local heroes, but at present we're not hearing about them.

And when it comes down to it, nobody's saying, "we have to help because they'd do the same for us."

Bad Lieutenant said...

Stephen A. Meigs said...
Puerto Rico needs to default on their debt. Problem solved.


But what has this to do with sodomy?

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Caligula said...

I don't doubt many would like to "divorce" Puerto Rico, but, to what extent is that even possible?

Puerto Ricans are, after all, U.S. citizens. In some cases naturalized citizens have had their citizenship revoked, but as far as I know that's not even possible for citizens who are not naturalized.

Therefore all Puerto Ricans alive on P.R. Independence Day would retain their U.S. citizenship. Presumably children born in Puerto Rico after independence would not be U.S. citizens but, of course, if mommy wants them to be she'd has every right as a citizen to travel to the U.S. to give birth.

So, we'd have an independent country in which, initially at least, 100% of its residents would be U.S. citizens. And while that percentage might drop over time, the number of non-U.S. citizens on the new Island Nation might decline very slowly indeed, depending on how desirable U.S. citizenship is perceived to be.

So how would that work out over time, and how would non-Puerto-Rican citizens accept that newly independent Puerto Ricans have every right to live in the USA as citizens but they would have no reciprocal rights regarding Puerto Rico?

The bottom line seems to be that independence or no, the situation is likely to remain asymmetrical and unequal with the U.S. retaining more obligations than rights, and P.R. retaining more rights and fewer obligations. Puerto Rican independance wouldn't/couldn't really change that, would it?

Original Mike said...

"I'm confused why people don't think PR will relocate. "

I'm confused as to why you think people believe that they won't. My, admittedly quick, readback through this thread finds only two people who expressed that belief.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Puerto Rican independance wouldn't/couldn't really change that, would it?

Well, Clinton and Obama let those FALN guys go. Maybe they can get the job done.

wwww, what you describe seems rather like extortion. And as for,

"He could use the tweets to encourage people to donate money and or time instead of these grudge matches."

Tell that to your commie cunt mayorette and the Somali warlord types subverting the aid effort.

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Original Mike said...

"Curious: Does this mean people are sanguine about the voting implications of the Maria's turbo-charged Puerto Rican migration to Florida?"

I can only speak for myself. I support disaster relief and I have little doubt it will be provided. But you seem to be advocating for much more. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Gahrie said...

I wonder why we are hearing all of this whining from P.R., and none from the U.S. Virgin Islands that got hit just as hard?

Gahrie said...

I'll say it again...federalize/nationalize the whole island, move the remaining population to the mainland and lease the island to private developers.

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Original Mike said...

"This lack of timely relief is going to cause a huge migration to Florida."

Is the relief untimely? This thing just happened. Seems a little early to be pulling the fire alarm.

Original Mike said...

From what I read (and I should hasten to add I have little confidence in what I read, but what are you going to do?), the electrical system is the biggest problem because of its poor condition prior to the hurricane. That's not getting fixed overnight.

Gahrie said...

I got the impression posters didn't want to get electricity back to PR because it would cost too much $$.

Not me. I don't want to pay to rebuild Puerto Rico's electrical grid because they allowed it to collapse after twenty years of neglect and corruption while providing free electricity to local governments.

I'm also getting the impression posters do not know that PR voted for statehood twice.

Again, I'm willing to bet that the government of Puerto Rico never submitted a request to Congress for statehood. The last such election was typical....a small minority actually voted and most of the population boycotted in protest. Most Puerto Ricans oppose statehood.

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Gahrie said...

This lack of timely relief is going to cause a huge migration to Florida.

So, you think we should forgive P.R.'s debts, rebuild their infrastructure for free and bribe the P.R. people with goodies or we'll be punished by American citizens moving to another part of America.

We've provided disaster relief. We've sent thousands of containers full of food, water and supplies. Containers that the people of P.R. have refused to deliver to their fellow citizens. We've provided thousands of men, navy ships, and hospital ships. How much is enough? What is timely?

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Sebastian said...

End imperialism now.

Gahrie said...

ok, ok I get it! You don't want to get electricity to PR

I'd love to get electricity back to P.R.. I just don't want to give them a new electrical grid at everyone else's expense as a reward for their shitty behavior.

Furthermore, you don't think Puerto Ricans are going to move to the mainland if there's no electricity.

You need to work on your reading skills. I'm proposing to bring them all to the mainland.

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Original Mike said...

Will we build PR a few, centrally located, easily repaired, coal plants? No, dollars to donuts we'll build solar and wind generators that will be 100% destroyed by the next hurricane.

Gahrie said...

“I ask every American that has love, and not hate in their hearts, to stand with Puerto Rico and let this President know we WILL NOT BE LEFT TO DIE,”

Yep...millions of dollars in aid, thousands of shipping containers and thousands of volunteers and government workers is leaving you to die.


“I ask the United Nations, UNICEF and the world to stand with the people of Puerto Rico and stop the genocide that will result from the lack of appropriate action of a President

What the fuck is Trump supposed to do..drive all the fucking trucks himself?

that just does not get it because he has been incapable of looking in our eyes and seeing the pride that burns fiercely in our hearts and souls,” the mayor continued.

Pride of what? Of a corrupt system that has looted the economy, neglected the infrastructure and relies on government checks? Pride in the truck drivers who refuse to deliver emergency supplies? Pride in corrupt politicians who refuse to meet with FEMA and withhold supplies from their own people?





http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/oct/12/san-juan-mayor-accuses-trump-genocide-hurricane/

Gahrie said...

That sort of migration will change the political landscape.

The Left has been saying and praying for this for twenty years.....

Original Mike said...

"Curious: Are you ok with Florida turning blue? Do you think Puerto Ricans are going to vote Trump in the next election?"

Again, that's going to happen no matter what (Puerto Ricans moving; whether it's enough to tip the election is unknown), because there is much more wrong with PR than hurricane damage.

Gahrie said...

I want electricity back on in all hospitals and schools. Like the NICUs shouldn't be running on generators. The roads should be accessible. That way, if a woman goes into labor, she can be driven to a hospital to give birth.

So you want us to "fix" things so that they are better than they were before the hurricane hit...what are the Puerto Rican people going to be doing for themselves while we bail them out and buy them new infrastructure?

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Actual serious analysis would start by examining the US debt and yearly deficit. That analysis would consider what happened to both in the last 10 years.
I laughed this morning when the NPR host got pushy with the Republican talking the new tax proposal: "but won't that increase our deficit?!" Oh, that matters again, does it? Funny how that works.

Anyway it was the great conservative George W Bush who said "we have a responsibility that when somebody hurts, government has got to move." Since the people of PR are hurting we'd better get moving. And by moving I mean towards our checkbooks, 'cause this shit is gonna cost plenty.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Ralph L said...Do PRicans pay FICA and all that that entails?

Yes they pay FICA but not Federal income tax. PR has its own Sales & Use Tax--I think it's 10.5% and then some cities have their own additional 1% or 1.5%. PR workers pay Federal Unemployment tax as well, I think, but have their own PR disability tax/program.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Dang, should have just gone to wikipedia first:

Wiki: Taxation in Peurto Rico

The Commonwealth government has its own tax laws and Puerto Ricans are also required to pay most US federal taxes,[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8] with the major exception being that most residents do not have to pay the federal personal income tax.[9] In 2009, Puerto Rico paid $3.742 billion into the US Treasury.[10] Residents of Puerto Rico pay into Social Security, and are thus eligible for Social Security benefits upon retirement. However, they are excluded from the Supplemental Security Income.

The federal taxes paid by Puerto Rico residents include import/export taxes,[11] Federal commodity taxes,[12] social security taxes,[13] among others. Residents also pay federal payroll taxes, such as Social Security[14] and Medicare taxes.[15]

Employers in Puerto Rico are subject to both Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) tax (a payroll withholding tax, which funds Social Security and Medicare) and the Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA). Employers in Puerto Rico must withhold the employee portion of FICA taxes from their employees' wages and contribute the employer portion of FICA.[18]

Puerto Rico imposes a separate income tax in lieu of federal income tax.[19][20][21] All federal employees,[22] those who do business with the federal government,[23] Puerto Rico-based corporations that intend to send funds to the US,[24] and some others also pay federal income taxes (for example, Puerto Rican residents who are members of the US military,[22] and Puerto Rico residents who earned income from sources outside Puerto Rico[25]).

In addition, because the cutoff point for income taxation is lower than that of the US IRS code, and the per-capita income in Puerto Rico is much lower than the average per-capita income on the mainland, more Puerto Rico residents pay income taxes to the local taxation authority than if the IRS code were applied to the island.

On July 4, 2006, the government approved Law Number 117, The 2006 Contributive Justice Law, establishing a tax with a 5.5% rate at state level and an optional 1.5% rate at municipal level. The tax went into effect on November 15, 2006. The tax is better known as the Sales and Use Tax' (Impuesto sobre Ventas y Uso), often referred to by its Spanish acronym "IVU". The law amended Article B of the Code and created subarticle BB. On July 29, 2007, the government approved Law Number 80, making the tax mandatory for all municipalities of the island. Also, the tax rates changed to 6% at the state level and 1% at the municipal level.

[My bold--sorry for the long quote but I had to get that bill title in there!]

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Original Mike said...

Fixing the roads sounds like disaster relief to me. The first question regarding the electric grid is: what can be done in a timely manner?

Gahrie said...

Please refer to former posts that articulate how I'd like the trees and debris removed from roads from hurricane

Puerto Ricans don't know how to move trees and debris? I guess it's easier to watch other people do it for you, huh?

If the roads become drivable, trucks can reach hospitals and towns with necessary supplies.

How?..the truck drivers refuse to drive the trucks....

The roads have been torn up in places because the force equivalent to a 50 mile wide tornado has torn them up.

Partially, but mainly because the roads have been shitty for the last twenty years and they refused to spend the money to fix them.

Ask yourself this: The Virgin Islands got hit by the same exact hurricane at the same exact time...yet they aren't basketcases..I wonder why?

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Jim at said...

I'm sure Mayor Nasty T-Shirt has everything under control.

Let's trust her.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Robert Cook said...
The problems in Puerto Rico are not as simple as just "poor fiscal management" by its government.


Your article can't make up it's mind, Robert.

For decades, Puerto Rico was important to the American economy as a center of sugar cane growing, then as a tax haven for manufacturing and pharmaceutical companies, and as a military stronghold and bulwark against the spread of communism in Latin America. But now it is no longer needed for any of these things. Most of the U.S. military bases have closed, and Congress began in 1996 to phase out the island’s tax haven status. As soon as the last of the federal tax breaks — known as Section 936 — ended in 2006, corporations started leaving and the island plunged into a recession from which it has yet to recover. For the past 20 years, a succession of island governments has been closing structural operating deficits with borrowed funds supplied by Wall Street firms eager to market its triple tax-exempt bonds to wealthy and middle-class Americans and Puerto Ricans.

Investors were especially drawn to a provision of the Puerto Rico constitution that required the government to pay general obligation debt service ahead of any other expenses, and by the fact that Puerto Rico and its public corporations were legally prevented from resorting to Chapter 9 bankruptcy, the portion of the bankruptcy code that applies to most local governments and municipalities.


So PR's economy was for years artificially propped up by "unfair" tax breaks for manufacturers--the kind of sweetheart corportatist deals the Left usually decries--and once that was ended PR lost businesses (that clearly shouldn't have been there to begin with) and I'm supposed to pay money to PR now...why? They got a big benefit at the expense others for decades and once that benefit was removed they had no other plan (and had not saved nor invested the proceeds from those years of unfair advantage). How does that put me on the hook?

The article actually gives a good description of the bankruptcy issue (most news outlets don't!) but that accurate description shows the idiocy of blaming PR's problems on some nefarious "loophole" or some such (as lots of people, like John Oliver and/or that Lin Manuel Miranda guy have done)--PR's inability to declare bankruptcy was the only reason anyone found it to be a worthwhile investment--for issuing bonds--in the first place! Without that they'd have not had access to borrow funds, and due to their own mismanagement and legitimate economic problems PR has had to borrow on a massive scale. Now the argument seems to be "it's your fault for letting us have such a high credit limit--all our borrowing is your fault for lending us money and it's therefore not fair that we be required to pay it back!" That doesn't make a lot of sense, but even granting that the PR bondholders are gonna get screwed that doesn't make any kind of argument for why I am liable for PR's bad debts.

The article asserts that the Washington DC financial control board example should be followed in PR, but when the Feds took over for DC the city's budget deficit was less than $1B and the takeover meant the Fed panel had authority over all city financial business. The scope of PR's problem is so much greater that the comparison fails, but even if it didn't why would greater US federal control over PR's government be what someone who asserts (without much bothering to elaborate) that PR's problems were caused by rapacious colonialism?

I mean, thanks for the link, but that article was pretty weak.

Original Mike said...

"First get the roads fixed/ clear. This gets supply lines up and running. Then get diesel and workable generators to rural hospitals/ care sites for elderly. Then figure out electricity issue."

I assume that's what's happening.

Original Mike said...

"I'm sure Mayor Nasty T-Shirt has everything under control."

I saw a report a little bit ago from, I believe, a FEMA official, that every mayor they were working with was being constructive except her.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

It wasn't that long ago that PR told the US Navy to fuck off--to leave the Vieques bombing range and stop using the beautiful PR landscape for training. Well off the Navy fucked, and took with it a couple of hundred million dollars per year worth of economic activity in PR.

Hey, it's their land--if they don't want us there we should leave, fair enough. Not sure how that jibes with the claim that it was colonialism by the US--exploiting PR--that's to blame for PR's financial problems, though.

Original Mike said...

"Well off the Navy fucked, and took with it a couple of hundred million dollars per year worth of economic activity in PR."

Not only did PR lose all that income, wouldn't it be helpful to disaster relief efforts if there was a big, old Navy base there now?

It really is galling.

Gahrie said...

Why do you think things are good in VI? Hundreds of kids from VI have come to Florida and enrolled in school, so that's an indication of the state of things.

Well if things are as bad in the Virgin Islands why aren't you demanding that we rebuild their infrastructure? Why do you hate Virgin Islanders?

You're mad at the mayor, but she's one person out of 3.4 million

..and apparently none of those 3.4 million know how to drive a truck or operate a chainsaw. If this had happened on the mainland they'd be turning people away there'd be so many volunteers.

Original Mike said...

PR sounds like it needs a Cajun Navy.

JAORE said...

[In the bizzro world where the left is questioned the way the right is:]

So Senator Chuck, do you propose leaving FEMA in PR forever?

Will you introduce a bill saying that?

How do you propose to budget for that?

What is the role of the forever FEMA in PR that you envision?

If FEMA should be in PR forever, why not Houston?

Is it because you think white people deserve less help from the Federal government or because you think non-white people can not fend for themselves?

Are you aware the vast majority of people in PR identify as white?

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Gahrie said...

I'm never surprised when people don't give a shit about strangers.

I don't give a shit about people who are unwilling to help themselves and ingrates to boot.

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Bad Lieutenant said...

Wwww, is it possible to make you understand that, no matter how much a the United States government supplies to Puerto Rico, the Puerto Rican people are going to have to do the Lion's Share of the work here?

We can't send 3.4 million people to clean up the place for your 3.4 million people. It's not possible and frankly it's not proper for you to ask. You should have more pride than that. It lowers you in our opinion.

I understand that you need help, but you also need to help yourselves. I'm not getting that you appreciate the value of self-reliance and resourcefulness and hard work. It's a lot easier for us to send you 3.4 million chainsaws that it is to send you 3.4 million people. Of course then you have to use the chainsaws. We can send pallets of supplies on trucks but then we need you to drive the trucks.

Do you really want the USG to be your mommy and daddy and run the place? To be slaves? Do you need to have the public conscripted into work gangs? That's what the Spanish viceroy would have done. Is that what you need? Does every citizen needs to be told where to go and what to do? Should slackers be whipped or shot, because you haven't the discipline to do what is necessary without that kind of penalty?

Can't you just figure out that when the tree fell between your yard and your neighbors and messed up of your houses, the both of you need to cooperate and get rid of the tree? If two of you can't budge it, get twenty. It's like you're waiting for something.

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