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Tags hurricanes , natural disasters , Puerto Rico incidents

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Old 8th October 2017, 12:06 AM   #201
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Maybe Puerto Rico should ask for foreign aid: Denmark sending aid to U.S. Virgin Islands.
Spain might be willing to help Puerto Rico, and I'm pretty sure that the Cubans would, too (Cuba offered to help after Katrina), if they hadn't been hit hard by Irma.
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Old 8th October 2017, 06:32 AM   #202
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Get ready for Trump to go on a tirade about Mayor Cruz.
Power collapses in San Juan hospital with 2 patients being transferred out. Have requested support from @FEMA_Brock. NOTHING! @POTUS
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Old 8th October 2017, 08:25 AM   #203
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This is wildly exaggerated, of course! My translation: "Danish muscles rebuild St Croix – the Americans are standing by and watching them"
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Old 8th October 2017, 08:44 AM   #204
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Quote:
This is wildly exaggerated, of course! My translation: "Danish muscles rebuild St Croix – the Americans are standing by and watching them"
The article seems a bit more balanced. (Google translation);
Quote:
The Danes have immediately started repairs. As they work, the soldiers, as the federal government of the United States has sent to St. Croix, look at and coordinate.
- Under federal law, federal authorities are unable to perform much work themselves. They must coordinate and then they must buy local to carry out the work, says Allan Kirk Jensen.
- They can not put a soldier to remove trees and repair the electric master. It pays the local entrepreneurs for.
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Old 8th October 2017, 03:08 PM   #205
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I'm a little nauseated to have read that FEMA's otherwise well performing director Brock Long has said the agency is "filtering out the political nonsense"... AKA San Juan Mayor Cruz.

I think he drank the Kool-Ade.
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Old 9th October 2017, 10:37 AM   #206
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"they had these beautiful soft towels, very good towels, and I came in and there was a crowd of a lot of people and they were screaming and they were loving everything."

You couldn't make it up!
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Old 9th October 2017, 10:00 PM   #207
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This tweet contains a two minute video made by some vets volunteering as relief workers on the west side of PR.

It's worth a listen. They present a slightly different picture than the Trump administration does.
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Old 10th October 2017, 04:10 AM   #208
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The Vegas gunman seems to have pushed Puerto Rico out of the headlines. And of course how can the American people be expected to pay attention to a humanitarian situation when there's an ongoing national anthem crisis?

I just look at what happened there, and I wonder why we can't do better. The people on the ground are, by all accounts, working very hard, but either there aren't enough of them or they aren't being used effectively. The outcomes just aren't acceptable. I can understand people in remote mountain villages being cut off at this late date, but there are people in urban areas still without drinking water. Only 15% of the island has had electrical power restored.
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Old 10th October 2017, 05:27 AM   #209
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
The Vegas gunman seems to have pushed Puerto Rico out of the headlines. And of course how can the American people be expected to pay attention to a humanitarian situation when there's an ongoing national anthem crisis?
There's also the massive wildfire in California now.

Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
I just look at what happened there, and I wonder why we can't do better. The people on the ground are, by all accounts, working very hard, but either there aren't enough of them or they aren't being used effectively. The outcomes just aren't acceptable. I can understand people in remote mountain villages being cut off at this late date, but there are people in urban areas still without drinking water. Only 15% of the island has had electrical power restored.
Puerto Rico's lack of statehood really hurts it here. If there were EC votes at stake, there'd be a more robust response. Being American in name only comes with a myriad of problems, like only 54% of Americans knew Puerto Ricans are American, and the debt crisis they were going through before has many people looking at them jaundiced eyes.
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Old 10th October 2017, 04:03 PM   #210
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And now they're descending into comic book villainy.
JUST IN: Trump administration asks Congress for $4.9 billion loan to help Puerto Rico with short-term liquidity issues - official
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Old 11th October 2017, 07:36 AM   #212
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Originally Posted by Stacko View Post
If that's an A+ performance from the Trump Administration, I'd hate to see what a C- would be.

I presume with all the other stuff, California fires, Las Vegas, the NFL kneeling, the Tillerson moron comments, allegations that the White House is a daycare centre and so on, that several million Americans being without power and potable water has been shoved off the front pages and out of the nation's consciousness.
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Old 11th October 2017, 10:02 AM   #213
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Originally Posted by Dr. Keith View Post
A town [Refugio] name whose pronunciation alone let's people know if you are from the area or not.
My friend Gilbert (pronounced Jilbert) from PR translated for another PR friend who works in immigration. They do have language "tests" to sniff out possible illegal immigrants. They might hold up objects that are pronounced or named differently in PR than in other parts of the Spanish speaking world.
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Old 11th October 2017, 10:12 AM   #214
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With the thousands of military and other FEMA people in PR, one wonders what they are doing. FEMA is out and about helping people with paperwork.

I don't understand the distribution problem. MSNBC showed that the roads were cleared at least to a town that needed food and water, but all they got were the FEMA paper pushers.


Ryan in the press conference this morning said the additional loan to PR was because they lost their income base: No jobs, no income. No income, no taxes.
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Old 11th October 2017, 03:27 PM   #215
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Why are they insisting on doing this as a loan?

Quote:
Puerto Rico will get a loan of $4.9 billion out of that same pot, money to be used for maintaining basic government operations. President Donald Trump had previously requested that amount in loan form. With practically no tax receipts collected since last month’s hurricane destroyed the island — 85 percent of homes remain without power three weeks after the storm — Puerto Rico faces a cash-flow crisis. Officials estimate that the government could run out of money and have to shut down on October 31.

This is critical for Puerto Rico, which*has had trouble borrowing from private credit markets because of its existing $74 billion debt. But instead of replenishing the coffers with a grant, this is a loan — one Puerto Rico will also need to repay.
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Old 11th October 2017, 05:05 PM   #216
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The EPA cites reports of Puerto Ricans “obtaining, or trying to obtain, drinking water from wells at hazardous waste “Superfund” sites”
Things are going great.
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Old 11th October 2017, 05:52 PM   #217
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Originally Posted by Stacko View Post
I'm trying to be a bit of an optimist here, so work with me. Maybe this loan thing is not nearly as bad as it seems.

The way I see it, the chance of Puerto Rico ever paying off its debt is pretty darned close to zero. Bankruptcy is pretty much inevitable. By giving them money in the form of a loan, when the creditors get paid off whatever tiny fraction they will get, the US government gets a little bit more than they otherwise would have, while other bondholders get a little bit less.

Trump may have just swiped a tiny bit of money from Wall Street while dishing out some aid.



Or would that be too good to be true?
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Old 11th October 2017, 05:59 PM   #218
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
I'm trying to be a bit of an optimist here, so work with me. Maybe this loan thing is not nearly as bad as it seems.

The way I see it, the chance of Puerto Rico ever paying off its debt is pretty darned close to zero. Bankruptcy is pretty much inevitable. By giving them money in the form of a loan, when the creditors get paid off whatever tiny fraction they will get, the US government gets a little bit more than they otherwise would have, while other bondholders get a little bit less.

Trump may have just swiped a tiny bit of money from Wall Street while dishing out some aid.



Or would that be too good to be true?
They can't declare bankruptcy. States and territories are barred from it. Congress passed a law to allow them to effectively declare a form of bankruptcy earlier this year but creditors are fighting it in court.
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Old 11th October 2017, 11:44 PM   #219
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
I'm trying to be a bit of an optimist here, so work with me. Maybe this loan thing is not nearly as bad as it seems.

The way I see it, the chance of Puerto Rico ever paying off its debt is pretty darned close to zero. Bankruptcy is pretty much inevitable. By giving them money in the form of a loan, when the creditors get paid off whatever tiny fraction they will get, the US government gets a little bit more than they otherwise would have, while other bondholders get a little bit less.

Trump may have just swiped a tiny bit of money from Wall Street while dishing out some aid.



Or would that be too good to be true?
It's too good to be true.

The "vulture" funds will get their money paid in full, the people of Puerto Rico will continue to suffer substandard infrastructure and to be treated as third or fourth class citizens.

If the GOP stay in control for the next decade, I wouldn't be too shocked to find some kind of jiggery-pokery going on whereby people from Puerto Rico (and other US territories) ARE US citizens but they have rather fewer rights to live and work elsewhere in the US than citizens of the "proper" US.
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Old 12th October 2017, 08:28 AM   #220
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
I'm trying to be a bit of an optimist here, so work with me. Maybe this loan thing is not nearly as bad as it seems.

The way I see it, the chance of Puerto Rico ever paying off its debt is pretty darned close to zero. Bankruptcy is pretty much inevitable. By giving them money in the form of a loan, when the creditors get paid off whatever tiny fraction they will get, the US government gets a little bit more than they otherwise would have, while other bondholders get a little bit less.

Trump may have just swiped a tiny bit of money from Wall Street while dishing out some aid.



Or would that be too good to be true?
Puerto Rico is required by law to pay back it's loans and bonds even before paying for government operations. So, no, your optimism is sadly misplaced.
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Old 12th October 2017, 09:24 AM   #221
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Originally Posted by tyr_13 View Post
Puerto Rico is required by law to pay back it's loans and bonds even before paying for government operations. So, no, your optimism is sadly misplaced.
I was trying to get a glass half full.


Come to think of it, some people in Puerto Rico would also be happy with a glass half full.

And today, Trump was talking about how we can't stay there forever. I guess electricity and drinking water isn't a big deal.

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Old 12th October 2017, 09:28 AM   #222
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Originally Posted by The Don View Post
It's too good to be true.

The "vulture" funds will get their money paid in full, the people of Puerto Rico will continue to suffer substandard infrastructure and to be treated as third or fourth class citizens.

If the GOP stay in control for the next decade, I wouldn't be too shocked to find some kind of jiggery-pokery going on whereby people from Puerto Rico (and other US territories) ARE US citizens but they have rather fewer rights to live and work elsewhere in the US than citizens of the "proper" US Real Americans.
FTFY
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Old 12th October 2017, 01:16 PM   #223
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Members of Congress want a federal audit of the official Puerto Rico death toll

Quote:
Two Democratic members of Congress on Thursday requested an audit of the death toll in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria, amid concerns that the government is undercounting the number of victims.

The request cites a Vox report published Wednesday that found a significant discrepancy between the government’s official death toll of 45 and reports from the ground. Our analysis found a total of 81 deaths linked directly or indirectly to the hurricane; another 450 reported deaths, most of causes still unknown; and reports of at least 69 people still missing.

...

Velazquez and Thompson went on to ask the Department of Homeland Security to do the following:
  • Conduct a federal examination of all death estimates provided by local authorities.
  • Evaluate the accuracy of such estimates and whether or not their methodology is appropriate.
  • Send a report of these findings to Congress within 10 days.
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Old 14th October 2017, 09:52 AM   #224
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Christ things are desperate there.

Quote:
Jose Luis Rodriguez waited in line Friday to fill plastic jugs in the back of his pickup truck with water for drinking, doing the dishes and bathing.

But there is something about this water Rodriguez didn't know: It was being pumped to him by water authorities from a federally designated hazardous-waste site, CNN learned after reviewing Superfund documents and interviewing federal and local officials.

Rodriguez, 66, is so desperate for water that this news didn't startle him.

"I don't have a choice," he said. "This is the only option I have."
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Old 14th October 2017, 10:37 AM   #225
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Originally Posted by The Don View Post
The "vulture" funds will get their money paid in full
It is not the fault of the lenders that Puerto Rico decided to borrow more than it could comfortably pay.

Quote:
the people of Puerto Rico will continue to suffer substandard infrastructure
That tends to happen when you elect incompetent and corrupt government. That isn't the GOP's fault.

Quote:
If the GOP stay in control for the next decade, I wouldn't be too shocked to find some kind of jiggery-pokery going on whereby people from Puerto Rico (and other US territories) ARE US citizens but they have rather fewer rights to live and work elsewhere in the US than citizens of the "proper" US.
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Old 14th October 2017, 11:30 AM   #226
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
It is not the fault of the lenders that Puerto Rico decided to borrow more than it could comfortably pay.
Nor is it the fault of the people who currently don't have clean water.


Well, to be fair, it is a democracy, so there is a certain level of blame that belongs to the citizens, but that's kind of a long term issue, as opposed to a rather more short term problem which is that 40% of the people still don't have access to a drinking water supply that we in the 21st century would consider a minimum level for civilization.

I just can't see how anyone can look at the outcome in Puerto Rico and give the US government a passing grade on the response.
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Old 14th October 2017, 11:59 AM   #227
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
It is not the fault of the lenders that Puerto Rico decided to borrow more than it could comfortably pay.

That tends to happen when you elect incompetent and corrupt government. That isn't the GOP's fault.

Let's blame those brown people, everyone knows they have corrupt politicians. Heck, surely some of them managed to shift PR's wealth into their own pockets. Or maybe they went wild spending on unnecessary infrastructure... oh wait, can't be that. Should we look for crony capitalism like the way Bush paid his cronies to rebuild Iraq?

Just where is all that borrowed wasted money?


Puerto Rico's crisis: How did it get so bad?

Yes, there was some government overspending but why was that? Was everyone getting tax breaks?

Quote:
2. The U.S. Congress changed the law
So what happened 10 years ago? Congress is partly to blame for the mess. The island used to be a tax haven for some big businesses such as the pharmaceutical industry. It was cheaper to make drugs on the island than anywhere else in America because companies didn't have to pay federal tax on the Puerto Rican operations.

But in the mid-1990s, Congress began rolling back the special tax exemptions for businesses operating in Puerto Rico. The tax breaks phased out and fully ended in 2006.


Puerto Rico's economy tanked after this happened, and it has yet to recover. Many good private sector jobs were lost and tax revenues dropped. The economy has shrunk almost every year since.

On top of that, the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 mandates that only U.S. vessels can take goods between Puerto Rico and the U.S. mainland. This increases prices on the island and makes goods produced in Puerto Rico less competitive than those coming from cheaper Caribbean nations that send goods on their own ships.
PR has no Senators, no Congresspersons. Sounds like a convenient place to target legislation without affecting one's voter base.


Then there was this, after PR was allowed to issue bonds, then Congress tanked PR's economic base, Congress also did this:
Quote:
4. Congress stripped Puerto Rico of its bankruptcy rights
Another major drawback for Puerto Rico is that it doesn't have access to the same bankruptcy laws that states do. So-called Chapter 9 bankruptcy was created after the Great Depression to allow cities, towns and other municipalities to address severe debt problems under a workout process overseen by the courts. Detroit is the most famous Chapter 9 bankruptcy case so far.

Puerto Rico used to have Chapter 9 bankruptcy rights, but the island lost them in the 1980s when Congress revisited this part of the bankruptcy code. The Obama administration and the governor of Puerto Rico argue that it was an unfair decision and that Congress should give the island Chapter 9 rights again. So far, the Republican-controlled Congress is largely against it.
We can bail out Wall St, but those brown people, they're lazy and corrupt, it's clearly their own fault.

Here's a more recent article that adds a bit more to the picture.

So let's see. The Congress votes in tax breaks for pharmaceutical companies operating in PR. Then they vote those out about the same time as the 2008 economic collapse brought on by the financial companies getting greedy and over-extended. (Wait what? Overextended debt.... )

Prior to that:
Quote:
Puerto Rico has been able to borrow money without a lot of raised eyebrows thanks to -- once again -- a US tax break. Unlike US states, Congress lets Puerto Rico issue debt that’s tax free. This made the island’s debt really attractive to investors, who lent their money for way longer than they might have otherwise....

Puerto Rico’s debt is mostly in the hands of private investors (think: hedge funds, mutual funds, individuals), who are now caught holding the $74 billion bag. And unlike Greece, whose economic issues put the whole eurozone at risk, the US economy doesn’t have a huge overall stake in Puerto Rico’s problems.
Nice for Trump, he can kick the PR dog and not many in the mainland will be affected. Plus, it's just brown people, everyone knows they're lazy and corrupt.

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Old 14th October 2017, 12:03 PM   #228
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I absolutely refuse to believe we would be having this discussion if an actual proper state in the US, even Hawaii so no one can play "But it's an island!" card, was almost fully and completely without basic utilities almost a month after a hurricane.
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Old 14th October 2017, 12:23 PM   #229
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
Let's blame those brown people, everyone knows they have corrupt politicians.
Race has nothing to do with it. White people are perfectly capable of electing corrupt and incompetent governments as well. And yes, Puerto Rico's government is corrupt and incompetent. You may object to me saying that all you want to, but it will remain true. And despite all the other excuses you make, this will also remain the heart of the problem.

Quote:
Should we look for crony capitalism like the way Bush paid his cronies to rebuild Iraq?
Tu quoque much?

Quote:
Just where is all that borrowed wasted money?
That's a good question. But you should be asking that of the people who borrowed it. *I* certainly didn't spend any of it.

Quote:
Yes, there was some government overspending but why was that? Was everyone getting tax breaks?
Well, yes. Residents of Puerto Rico don't have to pay federal income tax. That's a pretty damned big tax break.

But that doesn't deprive Puerto Rico's government of any funds.

As for the change in the law, I find it amusing that you're upset that Congress STOPPED giving big pharma a special tax break unavailable elsewhere. It's almost like incentives matter, and lower taxes can stimulate an economy. Who would have thunk?
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Old 14th October 2017, 12:43 PM   #230
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
Residents of Puerto Rico don't have to pay federal income tax. That's a pretty damned big tax break.
But they paid over 3.75 billion yearly into the US Treasury in other taxes including but not limited to import/export taxes, Federal commodity taxes, and federal payroll taxes. They also pay into Social Security and Medicare, but that's outside the scope of this discussion.

The United States is not a membership club the Puerto Rico hasn't been paying it's "dues" to.

And remember they have zero representation on a Federal Government level. No electoral votes for President, no voting presence in Congress. And as an entity the US has generally had a problem with "Taxation without Representation." I remember that being a thing once.
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Old 14th October 2017, 12:54 PM   #231
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Oh and on topic is "You get more from the government than you receive" really something you want to bring into the conversation? Because I've got news from you most of the actual states, just to function normally without a disaster, take in a lot more in assistance from the Federal government than they pay into it. Only about 15 or so (the exact number varies depending on exact definitions) of the 50 states give more to the Federal government than they get back.

So if a hurricane flattens Mississippi (which gets 40% more from the Federal Government in a normal, non-emergency year than it pays into it in taxes) people would holding that over their head?
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Old 14th October 2017, 01:02 PM   #232
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
Well, yes. Residents of Puerto Rico don't have to pay federal income tax. That's a pretty damned big tax break.
Not for 47% of the people.1

But I must agree with Joe Bentley, and I'll go farther. In the 21st century, the notion of a United States "territory" should be non-existent. US citizens should have full rights and responsibilities of US citizens, instead of living in some sort of gray quasi-citizen area. Territories should either be made into states, incorporated into an existing state, or be made independent.

1 Romney, Mitt. 2012.
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Old 14th October 2017, 04:25 PM   #233
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
<snip>

That tends to happen when you elect incompetent and corrupt government. That isn't the GOP's fault.


Something to keep in mind the next time Trump's incompetence and corruption come up.

It is the fault of those who voted for him.

I agree.
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Old 14th October 2017, 04:29 PM   #234
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
<snip>


Well, yes. Residents of Puerto Rico don't have to pay federal income tax. That's a pretty damned big tax break.

<snip>

Offset by the income taxes they pay to Puerto Rico. And they still pay all the other payroll taxes collected by the Feds.

I have read that it is likely they would be paying less if they were paying Federal income tax instead.
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Old 14th October 2017, 05:30 PM   #235
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
But I must agree with Joe Bentley, and I'll go farther. In the 21st century, the notion of a United States "territory" should be non-existent. US citizens should have full rights and responsibilities of US citizens, instead of living in some sort of gray quasi-citizen area. Territories should either be made into states, incorporated into an existing state, or be made independent.
I agree this whole situation is waaaay past it's "What's the point again?" date.

Over 3 and a half million Americans live in Puerto Rico. That's more than live in 21 of the States.

Almost 700,000 live in the District of Columbia which is more than live in Wyoming or Vermont and it has the 19th highest Federal Tax rate despite not having a representative in Congress (at least not one with any power) which just strikes me as all kinds of not right.

We shouldn't have over 4 million Americans living in some sort of stateless limbo land.

Puerto Rico is certainly large and organized enough to be it's own state. It Hawaii can function as a state in the middle of the vast Pacific ocean so far away from anything it might as well be on the moon I think we can handle a larger, more populated island much closer.

The District of Columbia is a little weirder. I get the logic behind it, not putting the seat of the Federal Government in a state so the state can't overly influence the Federal Government and it made since back two hundred years ago when D.C. was in the middle of a vast nothing and the our system was more skewed to state and away from Federal power than it is now.

But now I don't see Maryland or Virginia being able to strong arm the Federal Government if the citizens of D.C are just treated as citizens of one of them.

The rest of the inhabited islands; Guam, the Northern Marianas, American Samoa, and the Virgin Islands... maybe not pure statehood but lump them all together politically into a "American Outlaying Island" group and give them a couple of Senators a few Representatives to share between them at least.

Maybe because this is because I, despite my small "L" libertarian leanings just don't have a hard on for states having all that much political power anymore.
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Old 14th October 2017, 06:49 PM   #236
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Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
The United States is not a membership club the Puerto Rico hasn't been paying it's "dues" to.
That's not the point. I'm not arguing that Puerto Rico isn't paying its fair share. I'm pointing out that the tax burden on Puerto Rico isn't what's holding them down.
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Old 14th October 2017, 11:21 PM   #237
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
Well that's what the UK tends to do when citizens in overseas territories look like emigrating to the home country en-masse following a political upheaval or natural disaster.

If it looks like a couple of million Puerto Ricans are suddenly going to pitch up in the lower 48 then I can easily envisage a reassessment of Puerto Ricans' status
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Old 15th October 2017, 12:20 AM   #238
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Whatever the reason for Puerto Rico's debt (and the link below indicates that disparity in federal funding is a factor in addition to those already mentioned), here the US is, nearly a month after a hurricane hit the island and a significant proportion of the population is without power and water.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puerto...social_funding

The Trump Administration is awarding itself an A+ for its performance. I suggest that if the situation were reversed and a Democratic President, Senate and House were in charge that the GOP wouldn't be giving them a similar grade.

Sadly Puerto Rico has slipped out of the international news, I don't know what extent it continues to be reported on in the US, which means that free from the glare of publicity the failures will be ignored and the Puerto Ricans will continue to suffer.

I cannot see a similarly large group of US citizens being ignored in a similar way if they were a state.
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Old 15th October 2017, 11:40 AM   #239
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We have millions of Americans without basic utilities. Maybe fighting over which "side" gets how many points added or taken off their score can wait for a while?
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Old 15th October 2017, 12:13 PM   #240
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Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
We have millions of Americans without basic utilities. Maybe fighting over which "side" gets how many points added or taken off their score can wait for a while?

Maybe.

If it wasn't for the side that is using their self-evaluation as an excuse to cover up their lack of activity.
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