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October 02, 2017


but it's not clear that it could become a WH priority until FN showed Trump some pictures.

Jesus Fncking Christ.

We already have disaster capitalism. Here, there everywhere, everything.

Thanks for this post, Doc. I will look into the links.

Congress should repeal the Jones Act or, at least, exempt Puerto Rico from it indefinably.

Repealing the Jones Act is something that is very, very overdue. But with the current enthusiasm for protectionism, it seems unlikely to happen soon.

"Two simple but powerful steps taken by Congress could hasten recovery and redefine the trajectory of the island’s future. First, the United States should assume all of the Puerto Rico’s outstanding bond debt. Second, in exchange for debt assumption, the federal government should establish the island as an Economic Freedom Zone. Within a year, these reforms would help rebuild Puerto Rico; within a decade, they could rebuild our conception of the free market in the Western Hemisphere."
How Puerto Rico Can Rebuild and Become the Hong Kong of the West: The establishment of an Economic Freedom Zone, would set off an explosion of growth.

But with the current enthusiasm for protectionism...

That is misleading. The enthusiasm for protectionism has never really abated. We have always, and continue to have, trade protections of one form or another. It's just a matter of who gets to benefit from it.

How Puerto Rico Can Rebuild and Become the Hong Kong of the West:

step 1: move the island so that it touches the continental US. without that, it's not going to be in a position to benefit from a huge amount of trade going through it, as HK does.

The enthusiasm for protectionism has never really abated.

There has always been some enthusiasm for protectionism. But in the past it was constrained. I don't recall having both a President and the majority party in Congress being loudly opposed to international trade. But that feels like what I'm hearing today. And minimal if any recognition of the reality of how inseparably intertwined our economy is with the rest of the world.

Protectionism is what a country does to itself that, if done to it by another country, would be an act of war.


I disagree, I think what you're proposing is Disaster Capitalism.

Why should the US assume the bad debt? The lenders took the risk that PR would have its infrastructure destroyed, and they lost. Too bad so sad, but the people of PR are MUCH worse off.

What PR needs is statehood, so there are 2 Senators and 4-6 Representatives arguing for their interests.

Agreed that Puerto Rico, in my non-resident opinion, needs statehood. But so far, every time the question has been posed to them, they have have voted to retain Commonwealth status, rather than opting for statehood or independence.

I dont see how being like Hong Kong is a good outcome.

...they have have voted to retain Commonwealth status

Like Pennsylvania?

The only sure bet is that we, the American taxpayers will pay the holders of Puerto Rican debt 100 cents on the dollar. I'm sure that our corporate overlords will find some social programs that they can cut to come up with the money.

The only wild card, is that if they get too greedy, and things get bad enough on the island, enough Puerto Ricans may come to the mainland, and register to vote to help swing a close election. (But then again, vote suppression and gerrymandering will probably wash out that effect.)

Hmmm...perhaps Puerto Rico should be abandoned and its population all move to Wisconsin, settle down in critical swing districts and register to vote.* Assuming they vote Dem, the Dems could gerrymander the GOP out of existence in that state.

Turnabout is fair play I say.

Then all the Puerto Ricans move on to Pennsylvania.....

*the population there has declined by 400k since 2000.

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