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Puerto Rico


41 replies to this topic

#1
Ms. Spam

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Is it crushing debt that brought them to ruin in two storms?

 

Is it because they're not a country but not quite an actual US state that they are in such dire need and the response has been terrible?

 

I think about Hawaii and what if they were hit so hard what our response would be? The distance is greater to get to Hawaii than Puerto Rico and the costs more expensive to ship supplies but the military bases are more firmly established because of the position in the Pacific they hold.



#2
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Statehood matters, and the situation PR is in right now highlights that.  The big difference between Hawaii and Puerto Rico is that Hawaii is a state, which means PR does not pay taxes, nor does it receive federal aid like a state would,  it does not have Senate representation and (I believe) only has 1 Rep in the House,  and on any give poll Puerto Ricans are divided on whether or not they even want to be a state or granted independence, anyway.  Furthermore, whenever the topic of statehood comes up, it gains very little support in congress, let alone nation wide because for all intense and purposes, Puerto Rico is a third world region that would present more negatives than positives for the US.  PR would financially be a drain much in the same way Greece is to the EU, so fat chance on a conservative-controlled Congress and White House pushing for statehood there. 

 

As an aside, I have felt the idea of the US holding territories is an outdated concept that is a holdover from the age of colonialism when the US was keeping up with the European powers of the 19th and early 20th century.   I think either you should be a state, or not.  No limbo or in between.  If the majority of Puerto Ricans or any other territory (IE Guam, Virgin Islands, Samoa, Mariana) want statehood, it should be granted.  If not, then grant them independence.  Not  that will happen any time soon. I think the can will continue to be kicked down the road, and people living in US territories will continue to live in a limbo existence  of not quite being completely third world, but not quite a part of the US in any real sense, beyond in name only.



#3
Poe Dameron

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Is it because they're not a country but not quite an actual US state that they are in such dire need and the response has been terrible?

 

The response hasn't been terrible at all.  I know some Democrat politicians have been trying to use Puerto Rico instead of, y'know, helping them, but there's been nothing wrong or half-hearted about the rescue efforts that's I've seen.  It's just incredibly difficult because it's an island.  Geography is the biggest obstacle.

 

It's actually scandalous on the Democrat side how transparent it is that they're desperately trying to politicize a tragedy.

 

it does not have Senate representation and (I believe) only has 1 Rep in the House

 

It has a non-voting member in the House, but territories cannot receive full membership in either house of Congress.

 

As for the rest, I've long thought that it'd be best for us to just grant Puerto Rico its independence.



#4
Lord Darth Hunter

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I remember reading about their statehood referendum back in the summer. They voted to become a state but the results were skewed. And ironically, with the hurricane devastation now bringing this issue up to the forefront, according to this they are supposed to have another vote next month:

http://www.cnn.com/2...trnd/index.html

#5
Ms. Spam

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As an aside, I have felt the idea of the US holding territories is an outdated concept that is a holdover from the age of colonialism when the US was keeping up with the European powers of the 19th and early 20th century.   I think either you should be a state, or not.  No limbo or in between.  If the majority of Puerto Ricans or any other territory (IE Guam, Virgin Islands, Samoa, Mariana) want statehood, it should be granted.  If not, then grant them independence.  Not  that will happen any time soon. I think the can will continue to be kicked down the road, and people living in US territories will continue to live in a limbo existence  of not quite being completely third world, but not quite a part of the US in any real sense, beyond in name only.

This is what I was kind of getting at. In other hurricanes the Jones Act was suspended but it seems like even the Jones Act is outdated and we should take a look at either giving them statehood or letting them become a country of their own so they can collect tax and work on improving infrastructure.  They have crushing debt though which I think we should forgive and do something to help them move on.



#6
Poe Dameron

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This is what I was kind of getting at. In other hurricanes the Jones Act was suspended but it seems like even the Jones Act is outdated and we should take a look at either giving them statehood or letting them become a country of their own so they can collect tax and work on improving infrastructure. They have crushing debt though which I think we should forgive and do something to help them move on.

 

Puerto Rico has its own taxes.  And the U.S. government can't just forgive its debts because it isn't the entity that's owed.  At best, our government could assume the debts.

 

I rather doubt anything changes soon.  Quite probably not with my lifetime.  Puerto Rico's economy isn't really compatible with statehood and the culture is so distinct that it doesn't make sense.  Really, they're only an American territory due to a historic quirk.

 

But, at the same time, Puerto Ricans don't seem all that interested in outright independence.  Being an American territory definitely has its perks.  If they were intent on leaving, independence likely would have been granted long ago, but whenever they have a referendum on the subject, independence is always in single digits.  And now this hurricane happens and they're going to benefit from their ties to the United States more than ever.  It's one heck of an insurance policy that is going to save lives and get the island back on its feet much faster than it would otherwise.  I don't imagine there are too many Puerto Rico independence rallies going on right about now.

 

So, while independence makes sense to me, it's impossible as a practical manner because we'd need to literally kick a bunch of American citizens out of the club against their will.  Obviously, we'd never do that.



#7
Marc DuQuesne

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All the focus on the Jones Act seems misplaced. Experts have been saying for days that shipping isn't the problem, it's figuring out where the resources need to go and getting them there. There are thousands of containers sitting in San Juan. Communication and ground transportation should be the focus.

#8
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The Jones Act was just an example as one of the outdated policies. Clearly the taxes collected in Puerto Rico are not enough. And yes, this is a deeply broad topic. HA! Guam is just above a third world country but because of that the cost of living is fantastic as it is in Puerto Rico. Many US vets retire there because it's so cheap to live there. No sales taxes are collected in any of the territories. As for the other Pacific territories - they're losing ground, literally, due to climate change but they're even further away from any kind of US help from the mainland. Guam just has a big military presence. So them leaving the US is not going to change.



#9
Marc DuQuesne

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It is arguable that the Jones Act is outdated. Maintaining a healthy domestic merchant marine and shipbuilding industry is as vital to national security now as it was then.

It is simple to get a waiver. Seems like they are trying to use this event to kill the Jones Act even though it doesn't have anything to with the response to the disaster. I'll bet there is lots of foreign lobbying behind this.

#10
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As for the rest, I've long thought that it'd be best for us to just grant Puerto Rico its independence.

 

 

 

 

It has a non-voting member in the House, but territories cannot receive full membership in either house of Congress.

So, while independence makes sense to me, it's impossible as a practical manner because we'd need to literally kick a bunch of American citizens out of the club against their will.  Obviously, we'd never do that.

Good point on the non-voting member part.  I forgot about that fact.  Seems kind of pointless to have a representative that can't vote on anything.  Not much more than a glorified lobbyist.

 

While I totally acknowledge that statehood favors PR far, far more than the US, the problem as I see it is that PR residents are like second-class citizens.  It really isn't fair to them that they are US citizens on paper, but PR does not receive the same level of support a state would.  I think from a moral perspective, PR should have been granted statehood long ago.  From an economic perspective, PR becoming a state would be a significant drain on the US economy because we have enough economic woes as it is, and being smack dab in hurricane alley, PR would add to the already high costs that the Southern US states already do, every hurricane season.  What insurance company in their right mind would open up shop in PR, anyway?  

 

Be that as it may, I still feel that if an overwhelming majority of Puerto Ricans want to become a state, that should at the very least, merit a serious discussion, and a vote one way or the other.  

 

 

I remember reading about their statehood referendum back in the summer. They voted to become a state but the results were skewed. And ironically, with the hurricane devastation now bringing this issue up to the forefront, according to this they are supposed to have another vote next month:

http://www.cnn.com/2...trnd/index.html

Now that is interesting.  Traditionally speaking, it seems that PR is often split down the middle, with nearly half the population wanting independence.  Puerto Ricans who oppose statehood (this doesn't always equate to wanting independence to be sure, just oppose becoming a state),  often cite that the dominant language is Spanish in PR, and that the fear is that PR culture would be diluted if it were to become a state.   

 

 

 

This is what I was kind of getting at. In other hurricanes the Jones Act was suspended but it seems like even the Jones Act is outdated and we should take a look at either giving them statehood or letting them become a country of their own so they can collect tax and work on improving infrastructure.They have crushing debt though which I think we should forgive and do something to help them move on.

While I agree that being a territory of the US is an outdated policy, I am not quite clear on how the Jones Act specifically is an outdated policy in this case, or in general.  Maybe it should have been lifted temporarily sooner in PR's case, but overall, I think the Jones Act helps US commerce much more than it hurts.  Also, from a security/anti-terrorism standpoint alone,  preventing just any ship from sailing in and setting up shop is a good thing.  

 

I am not a fan of just assuming their debt, but considering all the money we spend on foreign aid every year, I think it is unfortunate that year after year, the federal government chooses to take care of foreign countries and organizations BEFORE it takes care of US citizens.  As I see it, unless it is absolutely necessary, foreign aid needs to be slashed (some cases, depending on who it is going to, cut altogether).  If that were done, we probably could afford to help Puerto Rico, other territories, and indeed Native American Reservations, the way we really ought to.  

 

 

The response hasn't been terrible at all.  I know some Democrat politicians have been trying to use Puerto Rico instead of, y'know, helping them, but there's been nothing wrong or half-hearted about the rescue efforts that's I've seen.  It's just incredibly difficult because it's an island.  Geography is the biggest obstacle.

 

It's actually scandalous on the Democrat side how transparent it is that they're desperately trying to politicize a tragedy.

I agree that perhaps Trump is getting slammed a little too hard on PR, but I would NOT say that his response has been stellar, either.  If I were to grade him on it, maybe a solid "C."  He's covered all the bare minimum legal requirements, but I think  he hasn't been all that proactive, or gone above and beyond, either.  Every time there is a foreign country slammed by a tsunami or natural disaster,  the US Navy (or other military branch) is often sent in to assist in some way.  As far as I know, that hasn't happened, yet.   Compare how PR has been treated with FL for example, and I think it is clear there is some inequity going on there (PR being an island that is harder to support, notwithstanding).  Again, I think that all goes back to PR being treated as second class, because it is not a state. 



#11
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Chalupa - I hate posting from my phone on a topic that I deliberately made broad to get a range of opinions.

 

The Jones Act is meant to protect our interests in shipping at a time when globalization was beginning to start to promote the American Merchant Marine and regulate shipping in 1920. But really it's also held back Puerto Rico from becoming a trade route stop port that could mean more money for them. Puerto Rico's proximity is ideal as they are close enough to the US but a great choke point to take and distribute larger shipments from long range transport ships. It competes against Florida's ports so I'm guessing Florida has probably lobbied hard to keep Puerto Rico from getting anything more than a cruise ship.

 

As for debt forgiveness I think it would help them immensely with infrastructure rebuilding so they could improve the existing roads and homes to withstand stronger hurricanes so they can bounce back quicker. They could get better loan terms. There's a difference in the way quakes hit Japan and Mexico City because Japan has better infrastructure and building codes but it comes at an expense. It is far more expensive to buy a home in Japan than Mexico City where a school pancaked when that earthquake hit. Back to the hurricanes in the US to bring it back to that topic, Miami has slowly been raising its streets and putting in pumps to help take water that already lays on the city when it just rains. But that type of building requires money and capital which Puerto Rico doesn't have and does not have the credit rating to borrow to  help make the changes it needs to survive storms and become more self-sufficient. We actually are forcing them into failing and looking like that relative that comes around every year with a sob story asking for handouts. It's a cycle that many poor people in the US have that is crushing. They need cars to get to work but to afford the car they have to have a 13% interest rate and eventually they default on the loan and the car is repossessed and they get fired or have to quit and start again.

 

To get back to the broad topic:

 

OMG this feud with the mayor. I mean really Trump?



#12
Poe Dameron

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OMG this feud with the mayor. I mean really Trump?

 

Y'know, I think he's absolutely right to charge in and attack back.  Democrats obviously dragged this woman in front of the cameras for the sole purpose of creating the narrative that the response has been poor.  She was to have been the "face" of how terrible and heartless Trump is.  Trump saw that threat and attacked the absolute scum before that narrative could take hold.

 

A lot of Republicans have been wringing their hands at the prospect of how un-presidential it is, but the simple fact is that Bush allowed the Katrina narrative to set without attacking back at the partisans that saw political gold in the suffering of others.  It more or less turned him into a lame duck only six months into his second term.

 

It is one of the good things about Trump.  He doesn't just sit back and let Democrats and the media tell the story they wish to.  When he sees them trying to manipulate the story unfairly and use weasel words to connect unrelated stories, he'll go out and make sure that his own version is out there, loud and clear.



#13
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The only good thing about Trump is:

#14
Tex

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The unemployment rate falling to a 16 year low of 4.3%?
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#15
Ms. Spam

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The end of Obamas administration policy fiscal year was yesterday. Lets see how far Trump can coast on that.

#16
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Nasty woman.

#17
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I was going to come give you my long-established take on the Jones Act and how Puerto Rico fits into it but... who the eff had really heard of the Jones Act before last week?

If you had, then more power to you.

#18
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I knew about it. I have a degree in History. More in relation to Guam and the Northern Marianas but it affects us closer to home too.



#19
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The unemployment rate falling to a 16 year low of 4.3%?

Because McJobs are indicators of a booming economy! 



#20
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Better than McWelfare.

#21
pavonis

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Does McWelfare come with Szechuan sauce?
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#22
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Better than McWelfare.

Not when someone can make more money on welfare siting on their ass than a McJob.  AND BTW, I don't know of many working adults who make minimum wage who aren't also on welfare.  

 

And no, I am not arguing that McJobs should be $15/hour, either.  My point being before Trump can crow about creating jobs,  they need to be career jobs people can actually support themselves on.  Not just bragging about creating "x" amount of minimum wage jobs.  



#23
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I do see that some places are increasing minimum wage. For instance the restaurants in my area start employees off at 10$ an hour which is not bad starting pay for this type of unskilled work. But you rarely see a teenager doing this job. It's usually an older person. Minimum wage in Texas I think is $7.25 but a lot of workers won't stop playing video games for that.

#24
Poe Dameron

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Has there not been a time period of "McJobs" when the unemployment rate has gone down in the last several decades?

 

The recovery is old enough now that this old statement is out of date.  Millions of people have been finding better jobs since around 2013 or so and transitioning out of the hard times.  It's really only in the wake of economic downturns that people turn to bad low wage, part time, no benefits, in droves.



#25
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Seasonal hiring is starting. 


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