Puerto Rico: Neoliberalism to the rescue!
Roughly 40% of people in Puerto Rico still have no lights.
Some 1.36 million Americans are without power right now, and it isn’t coming back any time soon. This is a national embarrassment.
We’re talking about Puerto Rico, in the throes of the longest and largest blackout in US history following Hurricane Maria, the Category 4 storm with 150 mph winds and 36 inches of rainfall that toppled 80 percent of the island’s power lines and flooded its generators last September.
As of February 7, about 30 percent of utility customers couldn’t turn on the lights, refrigerate food, or run water pumps. That translates to 40 percent of the island’s population, because “customer” refers to a power meter, and each meter can represent multiple people living in the same house.
What's the solution? Privatization:
Basically we are talking about disaster capitalism led and directed by wealthy hedge funds.
The governor’s plan paints the 2017 hurricane season as a blessing in disguise. “The devastation caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria creates an opportunity to redesign major components of the Island’s critical infrastructure, invest in the quality and resiliency of public and private buildings, and restructure and modernize and reevaluate delivery of services to residents,” Rosselló’s plan argues.
The scale of that proposed redesign is extraordinary. The government downsizing outlined amounts to a deconstruction of the island’s administrative state, condensing the total number of government entities from 115 to just 35.
...In the next five years, Rosselló’s office further hopes to eliminate more than 8,000 government jobs.
“Fiscal policy’s what you need to jumpstart the economy. Puerto Rico is in an even worse situation because one of the other peculiar features there is extreme migration to the U.S. When jobs get scarce, people leave. That makes demand even weaker, and the economy even weaker. It’s a vicious cycle,” Stiglitz noted. Estimates vary for how many have already left post-Maria, though the fiscal plan predicts a nearly 20 percent population dropoff by 2022.
“Just look around places in the U.S. where there was population exodus,” he said. “You can’t sustain public facilities or the public framework that’s necessary for a prosperous economy.”
In an ironic twist, it likely that your pension fund is making sure that people in Puerto Rico can't have a pension.
In a related story, there's been one suicide a day since the lights went out in Puerto Rico.
Just a few weeks ago a study came out about How neoliberalism is damaging your mental health.
So if the hurricane was a "blessing in disguise", then the neoliberal "solution" should be a bloody miracle.