Puerto Rico’s Unemployment Numbers : So How’s that Colony Thing Working Out For Ya?

puerto_ricoFor as long as I have believed in self-determination for Puerto Rico, I have thought that talk about the island becoming the 51st state was just that, talk. This is partially because of issues of race and identity. Despite the post-racial times the U.S. finds itself in (allegedly), the U.S. will not accept a brown, Spanish speaking nation as a state. I also think though, that annexation isn’t attractive because economically, Puerto Rico isn’t attractive. Claro, the island has been exploited economically, pero statehood would require the U.S. to invest more than it would get back from the island. Just take a look at the unemployment numbers coming out of la isla del encanto:

The unemployment rate in Puerto Rico stands at 16.5 percent, the highest of all U.S. jurisdictions, and the government is announcing even more layoffs of public employees.

Via / Latin American Herald Tribune

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15 comments on “Puerto Rico’s Unemployment Numbers : So How’s that Colony Thing Working Out For Ya?
  1. If you consider Puerto Rico a US jurisdiction, it is the highest. If you do not consider Puerto Rico a US jurisdiction, it is one of the highest unemployment rates in Latin America. It is also the economy in Latin America with the lowest growth, a negative growth for the 3rd year in a row. Crime rate is also one of the highest as well and rising.
    Puerto Rico is going thru a meltdown, like the Titanic.
    Scary.
    Sovereignty for Puerto Rico is the answer.

  2. Gracias Andrea, I think your placement of the situation, showing how this limbo, in between colonial status for Puerto Rico, isn’t good for the people on la isla and contributes to why, for example, despite the highly touted U.S. citizenship history, Ricans inside the U.S. continue to struggle with poverty as well.

  3. I think that the current status is the root of the problem. Stuck betwixt and between, PR can’t develop either on its own or as a full participant in the States. While I personally am all in favor of the island becoming our 51st state, I think it ought to be left to the residents to decide. With the caveat that ‘as is’ is not an option.

    As for a ‘brown state’ being unwelcome and impossible. mmm. New Mexico would beg to differ with you. Official languages are English /and/ Spanish: it’s 45% latino, iirc, and 10% native american. ‘whites’ are about only 40% of the total population. NM was a ‘brown state’ and largely still is.

    It’s also my home state and I miss it dearly.

  4. Puerto Rico is a bilingual U.S. territory, whose current form of government and economic policies were designed after the New Deal, in what was called the “Commonwealth of Puerto Rico,”a big government of +300,000 public employees that results in the largest, slowest and costliest bureaucracy in the North American continent. This huge government is the root of all of the island’s problems. It has constantly been an obstacle to modern economic development as it demands some of the highest state taxes (30%income tax, 7% sales tax, 2% property taxes, 40% corporate taxes, gas tax, estate tax, 12% capital gain tax, marriage tax… plus $6 billion in Federal payroll taxes), (government owned) utility costs (highest in all of North America), and its lack of agility has not allowed the island to compete with the rest of the mainland states, or other developing countries in the global economy. This has only brought frustration to job producing business investors, and to the island’s most important resource, its bilingual highly educated work force of 4 million American Citizens which has historically been forced to move to the mainland seeking opportunities (+4.2 million Puertorricans in the mainland). U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, whose parents had to leave the island for its lack of opportunities, is the most current example of Puerto Rico’s untapped potential. When you add President Barack Obama’s election, a 50 million growing Hispanic population, and bilingual states like Florida, New Mexico, Louisiana and even Texas and Arizona, you can clearly see how the U.S. is ready for a new Hispanic state. Puerto Rico, as a state, with a smaller, agile, investor friendly government could be the most important new economy of North America that could bring new wealth to the U.S. economy instead of costing $26 billion a year (minus the $6B of payroll taxes paid that unjustly provides only a small fraction of Medicare and Social Security benefits to the island’s citizens because of the territorial status). The new pro-statehood government is rapidly changing how the island has done business, specially in the last eight years under the Commonwealth party where the island was the only jurisdiction in the western hemisphere with a constant negative economic growth. The new government (started in Jan. 09) headed by the young Governor Luis Fortuno already passed one of the most advanced Private-Public Partnership statutes to further develop the island’s modern infrastructure and attract investors. The new government is on its way to soon pass much needed Permit Reform, Government Reform, and Healthcare Reform promising to leave behind the bloated and lethargic past commonwealth government structure for an agile, modern one. New pro-growth economic policies like the Caribbean Riviera (a tourism development in the likes of the French Riviera, and Monte Carlo, Monaco, to further develop the business and tourism appeal of the island’s state of the art Convention Center sector, and probably the best beaches in U.S. jurisdiction), Green Island (a new renewable energy power grid), and further developing the island into a Pharmaceutical/Biotech manufacturing and R&D hub, promise that a new modern economy will grow to create thousands of well paid, much needed private jobs. Puerto Rico’s 4 million American citizens deserve the opportunity that Hawaii, Alaska, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, and all the territories that have become states have enjoyed. This is why all Americans should support the Puerto Rico Self Determination Act of 2009, HR2499 (www.hr2499.com).

  5. Puerto Rico is a bilingual U.S. territory, whose current form of government and economic policies were designed after the New Deal, in what was called the “Commonwealth of Puerto Rico”: a big government of 300,000+ public employees that has resulted in the largest, slowest and costliest bureaucracy in the North American continent.

    This huge government is the root of all of the island’s problems. It has constantly been an obstacle to modern economic development as it demands some of the highest territorial taxes (30% income tax, 7% sales tax, 2% property taxes, 40% corporate taxes, gas tax, estate tax, 12% capital gain tax, marriage tax… plus $6 billion in Federal payroll taxes). Government-owned utility costs (the highest in all of North America), and its overall lack of agility has not allowed the island to compete with the rest of the mainland states, or other developing countries in the global economy. This has only brought frustration to job-producing business investors, and to the island’s most important resource, its bilingual, highly-educated work force of 4 million American citizens that has historically been forced to move to the mainland seeking opportunities (4.2 million Puerto Ricans in the mainland).

    U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, whose parents had to leave the island due to the lack of opportunities, is the most current example of Puerto Rico’s untapped potential. When you add President Barack Obama’s election, a growing 50 million Hispanic population, and the extent of bilingual populations in states like Florida, New Mexico, Texas and even Arizona, you can clearly see how the U.S. is more than ripe and ready for this new Hispanic state. Puerto Rico, as a state, with a smaller, agile, investor friendly government could be the most important new economy of North America, and could bring new wealth to the U.S. economy instead of costing $26 billion a year (minus the $6 billion of payroll taxes paid that unjustly provide only a small fraction of Medicare and Social Security benefits to the island’s citizens because of the territorial status).

    The island’s new pro-statehood government is rapidly changing how the island does business, especially compared to the last eight years under the Commonwealth party where the island was the only jurisdiction in the western hemisphere with constantly negative economic growth. The new administration, headed by Governor Luis Fortuno, has already passed one of the most advanced Private-Public Partnership laws in the world to further develop the island’s modern infrastructure and attract investors. The new government is also on its way to enacting much needed reforms of the permitting process, government reform, and health care reform, and thus Puerto Rico will soon leave behind the bloated and lethargic past commonwealth government structure for an agile, modern one.

    New pro-growth economic policies like the proposed Caribbean Riviera (on land which was formerly U.S. Naval Station Roosevelt Roads), Green Island (a new renewable energy power grid), and further developing the island into a pharmaceutical/Biotech manufacturing and R&D hub, are moving forward to create a new modern economy will grow to create thousands of well paying, much-needed private jobs. Puerto Rico’s 4 million American citizens deserve the same opportunity that those of Hawaii, Alaska, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, and all the other comparably large territories have had, as states. That is why all Americans should support the Puerto Rico Self Determination Actof 2009, HR2499 (www.hr2499.com).

  6. Absolutely, Puerto Rico will be the 51st. state of the Union and Gov. Luis Fortuño is diligently working to make this happen. His fiscally conservative policies as well as his reforms to facilitate investments in Puerto Rico in order to create productive jobs are designed to solve many of the problems that have plagued the oldest colony in World History. Our Nation is the beacon of democracy and it is our legal and moral duty to authorize Puerto Rico the right to choose its destiny via a referendum as proposed in the pending legislation ( HR 2499 ) in the U.S. Congress.

  7. Puerto Rico is not a bilingual US territory. It is a spanish speaking latin american NATION.
    The pro US statehood movement wants to sell Puerto Rico as a ‘bilingual US territory’ to the US and it’s people because they know that the truth: Puerto Rico a latin american nation, spanish speaking and mulatto is 3 strikes against their perverse status option.
    Pro US statehood option is based on more welfare and more dependency from US, opportunism and dependency are their key words. Also they have a long history of being the most corrupt movement in Puerto Rico.

  8. Nationalism is the key ingredient behind all neighborly conflicts in world history. Nationalism’s only message is “We are different, thus better than you… so we are entitled to take what is yours…” Nationalism is what Venezuela’s Bolivarian movement and the opposition to American progress want for Puerto Rico… to make it another corrupt banana republic dictatorship (with no bananas…).
    It is interesting that Mr. Perez brings up corruption in PR when its past pro-commonwealth governor rode on a nationalist platform that would have resulted in Puerto Rico being a “Free Associated Republic” with a Federal $140 billion trust fund to stop the federal dependance… This past governor was being criminally prosecuted for the shady way he was elected in 2004. For more than a month, Federal prosecutors presented and proved with clear and convincing evidence that he was the mastermind behind fraud, pay to play, money laundering schemes where he received hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal campaign contributions in exchange for multimillion dollar contracts. 11 co defendants, who many were his close friends, declared themselves guilty, but only after an hour of deliberation a jury of peers found him not guilty. That pro-commonwealth governement is being investigated for the disappearance of billions of dollars, and the deliberate destruction of the island’s economy and welfare.

  9. Mod tanga on: people posting the same message under multiple email addresses and IP addresses will get banned. Say what you want and if it’s not too offensive in my not so humble opinion it can stay.
    Mod tanga off.

    I would argue, Will, that the reason we have brown/non Enlglish language states, is through invasion, imperialism and colonization. When the U.S. with it’s manifest destiny, moved west, it did (and still does) all it could to erase non-whiteness and non-english language dominant communities.

  10. Spam posters are obnoxious, are they not?

    I would argue that this is pretty much a standard characteristic of all cultures, not just American. It’s a story as old as humanity itself. Whether it’s America now, Roman Britain, Han China, or what was at work in the Yucatan in pre Columbian times, people are pretty much the same. Mexico does the same thing right now.

    A question for you: do you think that assimilation is a one way street?

    Also, if I may, do you think that Puerto Rico will be become California or Florida or, perhaps best analogy of all, Hawaii if it becomes a state? Do you think that the mainland, I suppose, will make Puerto Rico as generic a pasty state as any generic other?

    PS If you guys could find a way to set this up so that people could opt in for notification of replies to a thread, it’d be really appreciated. That way some of us that are inherently sleep deprived will be properly nudged to reply.

  11. No se, I look as assimilation, at least the way it is presented in the mainstream media and by the powers that be, as a power issue. I think Hawaii is a perfect analogy especially since there is still a strong independence faction there still. I think the fact that Puerto Rico could never be made pasty, as you say, is part of the problem. Ricans are fiercely protective of their culture and I think that is political.

    Good looking out on the comment notifications, gonna look into that now.

  12. If Puerto Rico were to become a state it would turn into what Quebec is to Canada. The statehood supporters on the island (PNP party) are trying to sell the idea that by becoming a state, we could suck up a lot more federal funds without any real impact on our culture and our relationship with the rest of the World. That is a big fat lie, but if the U.S. does not step in to call that out for the lie it is, the PNP party will continue to successfully feed us that crap.

    A week ago I was watching an international basketball tournament where Puerto Rico won silver competing with other nations (something that only a sovereign nation would normally be able to do). Guess who was at the game cheering for Puerto Rico – PR Governor and president of the PNP Party, Luis Fortuno! That two-face parasit is sending the message that “statehood supporters also love the nation of Puerto Rico”. The funny thing is THEY DO. If they could vote only with their hearts, over 90% of Puerto Ricans would vote for full independence. The problem is that many vote with their bellies and their minds, which are clouded with the fear and low self-confidence that has been purposefully put into them.

    To sum it up, should Puerto Rico become a state, the U.S. would not be accepting 4 million people that already feel American, but rather it would be absorbing a distinct NATION. Once the Puerto Rican version of the “American dream” fades, the nation that it is will be resentful and will lash out in one way or another. Puerto Rican statehood would be very negative for Puerto Rico and the U.S. alike, and Americans should pay more attention. We must not become a state under false pretenses. Let’s stay best friends by not moving in together.

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