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:

Privatize electricity

Privatize public education

Privatize anything that might collect data

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.

15 users have voted.


would do wonders for the economy.

8 users have voted.
thanatokephaloides's picture

@jim p

An asteroid strike would do wonders for the economy.

That depends on where the asteroid makes earthfall.

A strike straight into NYC's financial district would, indeed, do wonders for humanity. Diablo

7 users have voted.

"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg


Or a Davos meeting...

2 users have voted.

Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

Meteor Man's picture

You missed one gjohnsit:

A 2015 bill directed the Internal Revenue Service to begin using private debt collection agencies to recover some outstanding tax debts.

The program cost $20 million in fiscal year 2017, but the private collectors only regained $6.7 million of the $920 million of debt assigned to them.

The private collectors also disproportionately collected from low-income Americans and from people getting Social Security benefits.

Private collection of outstanding tax debt was also tried from 1996-1997 and 2006-2009. Both times, the program was ended because it lost the IRS and the government money.


7 users have voted.

"They'll say we're disturbing the peace, but there is no peace. What really bothers them is that we are disturbing the war." Howard Zinn

edg's picture

@Meteor Man

4 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

What is happening in Puerto Rico started long before the hurricanes. Fortune basically gave it away to private corporations during his tenure. The link in this article shows the sweetheart deals he made and the debt he put in place. The hurricanes just gave the rich the quickest way to buy up the rest of it. Is anyone really surprised by what happened after the hurricanes? I'm not because we saw the Clintons sell Haiti to their friends and the highest bidders. When Trump didn't rush in to help after the storms, the writing was on the wall and I'm not the only one who saw it. Just like what happened after Katrina. This is the easiest way to get rid of the people who have lived there for generations.

Will Puerto Rico be privatized?

When the Financial Control Board (FCB) hits Puerto Rico in a few weeks, it will immediately move to “privatize” major pieces of Puerto Rico. This will include the electrical grid (PREPA), the water supply (PRASA), several beaches and highways, and the public school system.
The governor and legislature of Puerto Rico will be powerless to stop it.
In fact, several key politicians are already HELPING the FCB to develop its privatization plans for Puerto Rico…


P3s are Public-Private Partnerships. During his one term as governor (2009-2013), Luis Fortuño opened up the island to P3s.

Follow the links in this to see who has bought it.

6 users have voted.

Disclaimer: No Russian, living or dead, had anything to do with the posting of this proudly home-grown comment