puertorico

Puerto Rico’s Business Climate Problem

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

San Juan, PR–Puerto Rico has defaulted, again. After failing to pay a $58 million bill in August of 2015, it defaulted on May 2 on $422 million in bond payments. This has reignited calls for Congress to bail out the U.S. territory, helping fix a financial situation harmed by unfunded pension obligations, rampant welfare reliance, and a near decade-long recession. But a bailout wouldn’t address the underlying conditions that have discouraged growth. For this, the island needs a better business climate…[read the rest at Forbes]… Read more

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Puerto Rico’s Biggest City Is Its Biggest Problem

[Originally printed in Governing Magazine]

 

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Several high-profile governments have approached fiscal collapse in recent years. Think Detroit, Greece and now, Puerto Rico. Internal mismanagement has factored into all these crises, and news reports about them have often been technical, detailing excess spending and debt. Less reported is how insolvency affects people at the street level. I recently had the opportunity to see firsthand how Puerto Rico’s default is impacting San Juan, the island territory’s governmental and cultural capital.

San Juan has long had lower living standards than mainland U.S.… Read more

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Puerto Rico, At 11.5%, Has America’s Highest Sales Tax

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

San Juan, Puerto Rico

People who advocate for large governments usually view them as a “progressive” tool that impels the rich to help the poor. But when said governments get too bloated and inefficient—as they inevitably seem to—they become something that everyone must support. This is now happening in Puerto Rico, which recently addressed its fiscal problems by jacking up the sales tax. This is a regressive move that could hurt the island’s bottom line, and undoubtedly its many poor people…[read the rest here]… Read more

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In Puerto Rico, Water Has Been Cut Off

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

San Juan, Puerto Rico

When it comes to droughts in the U.S., California makes all the news. But the territory right now where the drought is worse—and where the people are suffering most—is Puerto Rico. I know, because I’m on a 4-day working vacation in the capital city of San Juan, and have witnessed the subsequent water shortages and cutoffs…[read the rest at Forbes]… Read more

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Travel Update: I’m Going To Puerto Rico

[Originally published by Market Urbanism]

 

Miami, FL

1. My three Forbes articles this week are about a proposed 1,200-foot skyscraper for Brooklyn; about the murder spike that has inflicted post-riot Baltimore; and about a new Houston-based think tank founded by Joel Kotkin called the Center for Opportunity Urbanism.

2. But the real fun begins next week, when I conclude my Miami stay with a 4-day trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico. It’s ironic that while in Miami, there were two Caribbean territories just a short flight away that were in the center of the news, and that I will get to see during their major national transition periods.… Read more

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Detroit…Greece…Puerto Rico…Does Anyone See A Pattern?

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

In July of 2013, Detroit became the largest U.S. municipality to go bankrupt. Like with other major news events, this bankruptcy forced us—the American public—to suffer a tidal wave of backwards analysis about the root causes. MSNBC analyst Melissa Harris-Perry explained that it was because Detroit’s government had become “small enough to drown in your bathtub.” A website called PolicyMic blamed NAFTA, never mind that much of Detroit’s industry merely went to more business-friendly neighboring suburbs. Paul Krugman called the city “an innocent victim of market forces.” But while researching the issue, I discovered a Thomas Sowell article from several years before that attributed the decline to the “Detroit Pattern.” This was a public administration model, he explained, that favored “increasing taxes, harassing businesses, and pandering to unions”–in other words, big government ideology.… Read more

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