Lets try a little social experiment. Ready? Here we go.
I’m going to give you an island that is about 100 x 30 miles in total area. I’ll give you a population of 3.5 million people. I’ll give you beautiful beaches, rain forests and yes, some damn pretty girls too! I’ll give you an economy that has a GDP of 100 billion dollars and generates about 10 billion dollars a year in taxes.
To make things a little easier, I’m going to give you 23.5 billion dollars in additional funds each year. That is a total of 33.5 billion dollars per year!
Now that you are set up, your task in this social experiment is to somehow mismanage all of that so badly that you can generate a debt of 73 billion dollars with unfunded liabilities of more than 100 billion. Ready? Go!
In a nutshell that is Puerto Rico. As you can imagine it takes enormous amount of effort to accomplish this incredible feat and yet, Puerto Rico has somehow accomplished this.
How? Years of gross mismanagement, corruption and just plain negligence. Let us not forget the unionization of public employees and the role they played as well.
The island is grappling with this crisis now; yet continually fails to address its fundamental problems. A dependent society; over a million people on public assistance. Ridiculously over-sized government; one out of 3 people with a job work for government. Contradictory laws and regulations that make it almost impossible to do business.
The solutions in Puerto Rico do not lay in more money or federal bailouts or more taxes. The solutions for Puerto Rico are in cutting the size of government, requiring work to get benefits; and attacking corruption. Less taxes, less government and less regulation will save the island and its people.
No status option can do this alone. Puerto Rico must first take responsibility for itself regardless of which path it chooses to follow in the future.
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