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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Puerto Rico is the next Greece and Bush wants to make it a state.

The Greek debt crisis has drawn the rapt attention of the financial community and it's a good story with high drama and a good to middling cast. In the first act Angela Merkel played the role of a benevolent baroness presiding over her pet charity. The good taxpayers of Germany simply could not allow their dear friends to fall into insolvency simply because they were too lazy to work, implored the portly prime minister. Eventually the German population adjudged the prime minister to have drifted off script and closed the curtain on the would be heroine and her misdirected munificence. Youthful Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, now at center stage, refuses to acknowledge the financial debt and also his personal indebtedness to a young Dennis the Menace Kucinich for sanctimonious rhetoric. It's the bankers' fault. Too bad but we've seen this play before.
Moving closer to home the "It All the Bankers' Fault" morality play is about to open in Puerto Rico. The island territory of the U.S. whose chief livelihood is food stamps, is on the hook for $72 billion which is about equal to its entire annual economic output. "The debt is un payable", intones Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla.
Son of bitch! Who would have thought that? Unlike most of the states, Illinois and California excluded, Puerto Rico did not trim its budget in reaction to Obama's great recession. Instead it followed the Detroit model with about the same result.

So what's a politician to do with a territory that can't manage its assets? Make them a state. That' Jeb Bush's solution.
"Puerto Rican citizens, U.S. citizens, ought to have the right to determine whether they want to be a state. I think statehood is the best path, personally," he said at Universidad Metropolitana de Cupey in San Juan. "I have believed that for a long, long while. I'm not new to this."
Right Jeb, that's all the country needs is one more blue state that can't pay its bills. Insist on Puerto Rican independence instead of Puerto Rican dependency.

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