One of the biggest problems Puerto Rico faces as a society is a class of people who professional receivers. They take and do not give. This has been a problem for several decades and we see the results in the news headlines everyday in the Commonwealth. This is not to say that being poor is evil. Being poor is a condition, one that has a cure.
One of the reasons I don’t like Marxism is its emphasis on class as if one was forever stuck in their class. IF that were true, there would be no Henry Ford, Bill Gates, Dave Thomas and millions more people who started out with nothing and rose to greatness large and small. Liberty and capitalism allow people to change their class, change their status and change their lives. That part of Liberty and capitalism that is always left out (and viewed with disdain) is personal responsibility.
You and you alone are reasonable for your wellbeing. If you are poor and want to be rich, you must do the work to get there. This is not to say that it isn’t easy, nor to say that everyone will be Bill Gates, it means everyone can change their lives. Yet the million+ of people in Puerto Rico who receive free money, housing, food, schools and other benefits; often see themselves as victims. Victims of the state. Victims of society.
They have adopted the ‘entitlement mentality’ that the government, aka you and me, owe them something. If they don’t get it, they become upset and politicians respond. Evidence however shows clearly that despite spending trillions of dollar on social welfare programs the United States and Puerto Rico have more poverty, not less. Not to mention that ‘poverty’ does not actually exist anywhere in the U.S. when compared to the poverty of Haiti, the Dominican Republic and many other nations across the region and the world.
You should be free to choose, but we should be free to choose who gets help.
If for no other purpose than to begin to change the entitlement mentality, those who receive assistance from government should be required to provide service. It could also turn into a way for government to save money on things it already pays for. It starts with something simple like cleaning the streets. A few days a month, those who receive benefits and are able to work could be required to walk through their town, not just the project they live in and pick up all of the trash.
This will not only lead to cleaner streets today, but don’t you think that someone required to pick up garbage will become less tolerant of those who litter?
Helping to repaint school buildings, cleaning the bathrooms at public beaches (you should see some of those, GROSS!) helping at crosswalks for children near schools, doing maintenance work on public buildings even helping to feed the homeless in soup kitchens. There is no better way to improve the vision of your own life than to help someone whose life is worse than yours. This also improves the sense of community and puts value on its preservation.
More than any other problem that exists in Puerto Rico; it is the mindset of many that do the greatest harm to the rest. It is long past time that we work to change that, by requiring service before any assistance is offered or given.