On September 16, 2017, a tropical depression formed east of the Lesser Antilles in the Atlantic Ocean that grew in strength as it moved westward towards the Caribbean. It quickly intensified into Tropical Storm Maria and then Hurricane Maria. At its peak, Maria had sustained winds reaching 175 mph, making it the second category 5 hurricane of the Atlantic season and the tenth most intense Atlantic Hurricane on record.
The devastating storm first passed over Dominica and then intensified to its maximum strength before bulldozing over the US island territory of Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017, just two weeks after hurricane Irma, also a category 5 hurricane had skirted past. The eye of the storm passed directly over the island and the winds acted like a huge bulldozer, tearing down trees, power lines, homes and businesses. It took over 30 hours for the hurricane force winds to pass over Puerto Rico, dumping torrents of rain on the demolished landscape. One person described the aftermath as looking like a 60-mile-wide tornado had passed across Puerto Rico.
Electrical power was knocked on most of the island. Water supplies were knocked out. Cell towers were knocked out. Gas stations were out of gas. Stores were out of food. Thousands were homeless, starving and had no safe water to drink. The population is in dire need of help, but it seemed that it was near impossible to recruit local people to help clear roads, drive trucks, unload supplies from ships. Everyone was complaining, but few were helping.
That’s when the media began to slam President Donald Trump for his delay in sending help, but in fact the delay was not on his end, it was on the end in Puerto Rico and it was the fault of corrupt Democratic control.
Since January 1949, Puerto Rico has had constant Democrat control of the territory. Yes, there were 2 governors that are listed as Republicans, but when you check, they were really members of the New Progressive Party, which by nature is quite similar to the Democrats.
In a recent interview with Full Measure’s Sharyl Attkisson, Puerto Rico Governor Dr. Ricardo Rosselló spoke about how the territory has been run by over a decade of corruption, leaving the island with $118 billion as of 2016.
When Attkisson asked him how bad was it, he responded:
“The government was run essentially like a big Ponzi scheme…Certainly, a total lack of accountability in Puerto Rico, managerial foresight, and certainly corruption.”
It was reported that rent is too high, sales taxes are too high and many businesses along some of the once thriving streets are closed and boarded up. The poverty level in Puerto Rico was at 46% before Hurricane Maria struck.
Attkisson pointed out that part of the problem is a bloated and over paid government. Julia Keleher, the Secretary of Education for Puerto Rico makes $250,00 a year. US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos only makes $208,000 a year (but she is not taking her salary).
Hector Pesquera, Chief of Security makes $248,000 per year compared to Chris Wray, Head of the FBI who only makes $172,000 per year.
Another bureaucratic problem is the structure of Puerto Rico’s municipalities (counties). Los Angeles County is a fraction larger in size than Puerto Rico, yet the island has 78 municipalities equivalent to counties or parishes in most of the US states. That means 78 mayors, 78 legislatures and 135 government agencies.
Rosselló, who took office in January 2017, says he is working to consolidate and eliminate as many of the 135 government agencies as possible, hopefully down to about 30-35 agencies.
The financial situation in Puerto Rico was so bad, that on July 1, 2016, the US Congress passed the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA). Barack Obama appointed a seven-member board that was given the power to restructure and negotiate with creditors.
However, it is estimated that the operating cost of PROMESA will run about $370 million over 5 years. Additionally, Natalie Jaresko, former Minister of Finance for Ukraine is serving as the Executive Director of PROMESA and some are outraged that her salary is $625,000, a year. Compare that to the President of the United States who only makes $400,000 a year.
Rosselló told Attkisson that what has and is happening in Puerto Rico is a lesson that every nation, especially the United States, should learn from. They need to be asking themselves that if they continue this rate of debt or fiscal liabilities, where will we end up in ten years.
Please take a few minutes to watch the full interview. You will see what uncontrolled Democrat spending and bureaucracy will do. This is what not only Barack Obama and the Democrats in Congress were trying to do to the entire US, but it’s also what Hillary Clinton would have done had she been elected.