Puerto Rico: It’s Time to Give Them Independence
Puerto Rico is in a state of political and economic crisis; the current "limbo" status between statehood and independence serves neither the interests of the United States nor Puerto Rico.
The politically-tinged nature of everything in our society is so pervasive that it has extended to the world of baseball. Last week, Alex Cora, the manager of the World Series-winning Boston Red Sox, and eight other players declined to attend the White House celebration. The politically correct media whipped themselves into a frenzy of delight, and did everything possible to conjure up a storm of condemnation for the vast majority of the team which chose to attend.
Jemele Hill, writing in The Atlantic, cast the blame at the feet of white athletes who are sufficiently insensitive and clueless as to not understand Trump’s grievous offenses.
For Cora, a Puerto Rican, his absence was in protest of the Trump administration’s handling of Hurricane Maria, which devastated the island in September of 2017. Cora seems to suggest that Trump is responsible for the current state of affairs on the troubled Caribbean island, but its woes began long before Trump took office.
For Alex Cora and the other 8 Red Sox that did not attend the White House ceremony, that is of course their right. But the idea that Trump is to blame for a hurricane that devastated Puerto Rico is preposterous. Equally preposterous is the notion that Trump and the US government ignored Puerto Rico in the wake of hurricane. The reality is that we flooded the island with aid, as we always do after events of this kind.
The media is up in arms that only USD $12.6 billion has been disbursed thus far. Only? At a population of slightly over 3.1 million people, that amounts to USD $4,000 for every man, woman, and child on the island. That is hardly insignificant.
Furthermore, the USD $90 billion that Trump repeatedly tweets about, much to the annoyance of the mainstream media, is going to be disbursed over the coming years. The United States, far from abandoning the island in its time of need, is coming to the island’s rescue in a big way.
As tragic as this hurricane was, and the 3,000 casualties with it, there is an even more serious matter which affects the health and vitality of the island: Puerto Rico’s crushing and unsustainable debt.
As of December 2018, Puerto Rico’s debt was estimated at USD $74.8 billion. In addition, Puerto Rico owes an astonishing USD $49 billion in its pensions obligations.
Here is who owns this debt, according to the left-leaning Committee for the Abolition of Illegitimate Debt. As the group’s name might suggest, there is now a campaign underway, on the part of left-wing activists, to cancel Puerto Rico’s debt.
Rather than blame the Puerto Rican politicians, who urged the public to assume these levels of debt, and signed off on the deals, these activists are blaming the financial institutions than own this debt and, understandably, expect the government of Puerto Rico to honor its commitments.
The real question that the United States should be addressing is this: Why is Puerto Rico part of the United States at all?
I say it’s high time we grant Puerto Rico its independence, and let them go their own way. They represent a large net loss for the United States: they pay no federal income taxes, but take in an enormous amount of money from Washington DC.
In short, the bizarre “limbo status” that the United States currently enjoys with Puerto Rico is a bad deal for the American taxpayer.
Puerto Rican politicians have proved to be outrageously fiscally irresponsible, structuring ruinous financial deals, and taking out astounding levels of debt, with no credible plan to pay it back. It should come as no suprise that the current mayor of San Juan is a Bernie Sanders-backing socialist.
The “macheteros” guerrilla group has been trying to “liberate” Puerto Rico for 40 years, and I say we let them. It does not serve the interests of the United States or the Puerto Rican people to maintain this current and bizarre state, where Puerto Rico is neither independent nor a state.
Puerto Rico is a socialist disaster…another Cuba, Nicaragua, or Venezuela in the making. The social justice warriors will look for any possible pretext to blame the United States for Puerto Rico’s current woes: in reality neither the US government nor Trump is to blame for Hurricane Maria or Puerto Rico’s ruinous debt obligations.
That is the fault of Puerto Rico’s politicians, who have arguably made poorer decisions than political leaders anywhere in the United States. When Puerto Rico declared bankruptcy in May of 2017, (long before the hurricane), it represented the largest municipal bankruptcy in “United States” history.
One thing is certain: with or without hurricanes, Puerto Rico can not continue on its current political and economic trajectory and survive. Its time for Puerto Rico to be granted its independence, and for the Puerto Rican people to go their own way.