Elizabeth Warren proposes debt relief for Puerto Rico

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/05/02/jubilee-and-redemption.html


treat human beings with dignity and respect? WHAAAAAAAAAT?!?!


These sorts of proposals infuriate me. This will create some buzz for Warren, but have zero chance of actually happening, actually helping the people of Puerto Rico. They don’t pay federal taxes, they don’t vote in elections and they don’t have a vote in Congress (so exactly how representative is their Representative?). Which means there is nothing to offset the already-daunting lobbying that stop such proposals in their tracks. If you really, really wanted to help Puerto Rico out in the short-term and long-term:

  1. Repeal the Merchant Marine Act of 1920/Jones act, and open up the port of PR to international shipping trade. That’ll pump some fresh dollars and opportunities into the country.

  2. Waive the flight fees for trips to-and-from Puerto Rico. This will deliver the dollars of tourists to the country, with minimal loss to the US government.


Somewhere a trumpansie’s brain just exploded.


Aren’t you assuming that only Puerto Ricans will vote for their own interests, and that the rest of us don’t give a shit?


Because Trump’s fatal indifference and incompetence, resulting in more deaths than the 9/11 attacks, is only of concern for Puerto Ricans?

There was no excuse whatsoever for the foot dragging, incompetence, indifference and flat out corruption in the Trump Administration’s actions after Hurricane Maria.


I’m saying that politically, you won’t be allowed to give a shit.

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Well, I do. So, that means voting for people who DO give a shit. Which I regularly do and will continue to do. I will also continue to put pressure on elected officials to do the right thing. I’m sorry that I’m not a nihilistic “I got mine jack, so fuck everyone else” type. We can and MUST do better, or we’re all fucked. That means we HAVE to start caring about others, and insisting that public policy reflects that. None of this will happen, unless WE do the hard work of putting pressure on those who are already elected to do the right thing, and start electing people who will do the right thing. Anything less is a failure on OUR part.





Sure. All fine and good. But my point is that in the political system we are living in, now, including Puerto Rico, debt relief is not possible. The machinations of the system means that what Elizabeth Warren is proposing is not possible. Puerto Rico will never receive debt relief, those holding the debt have a vast array of protections and options. Now, not wholly disregarding your opinion, but (and I am asking for a large “but” on your part) recognizing that what I have stated above may be entirely true, that pursuing debt relief for PR is a dead-end, how would you best help Puerto Rico?

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My point is that it can be made possible, and not decades in the future, either.

Not with that attitude by the voters, it won’t. My whole point is that WE hold the political power, and it’s up to US to exercise it. Now, if YOU personally believe that we should NOT work towards debt

Giving them the funds they need to fully rebuild. But again, I suspect you believe that’s impossible too. Debt relief, though, would mean that more of the PR government’s funds could go to help their citizens, not to continue to line the pockets of the already wealthy.

Trump is refusing to sign off on additional help (with the senate backing them) because he doesn’t believe that Puerto Rico’s semi-colonial status makes them fully part of the US. But that puts yet MORE responsibility on congress and the American voter to ensure their well-being. We fought a war to colonize parts of the world, and it’s still our responsibility to ensure the well fair of the remains of our overseas empire.


She’s a monster! What next - proposing everyone should have access to affordable healthcare and clean water?


I am a donor to both Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders’ 2020 election campaigns

I’ve been informed how Cory, a Canadian, donates to American candidates. It is legal for permanent residents.

I have recently been naturalized in Switzerland, where permanent residents are excluded from almost all democratic processes, so was surprised to find the USA allows foreigners to participate.

First, I believe @doctorow is a naturalised UK citizen with Canadian citizenship. Second, I assume he now has the U.S. permanent resident status he applied for (see this article), which means he can donate to American candidates.


I believe he is getting at something much more fundamental. Debt relief isn’t a magic cure for PR. Rebuilding just puts them back where they were before. It get’s it out of a hole, but doesn’t do much from preventing it from falling back in another hole. It’s aiming low.

A better approach to finding a solution is to think of what it would take for PR to become the envy of the mainland. Dealing with debt and rebuilding are but a small part. The next, and bigger step, needs to be structural. What can be done to make PR like Taiwan, Singapore, or Ireland?

If the answer is to spend to prosperity, you didn’t think hard enough. This next step is multidecade and subject to political will. The closer a solution is to self perpetuating (and self funding), the greater the potential and the higher the chance of success.


Those vulture investors bought that debt for pennies on the dollar and want full repayment. Sorry - there is no investment without risk boyos.


I’m perfectly capable of reading, you know, as well as understanding what @NashRambler said. I don’t need you to talk down to me in order to understand. His point is that it’s politically untenable, not that it’s not a long term solution…

Nor did ANYONE say that this was a silver bullet. If you’d read what I’d wrote, you would not assume that I (or Warren for that matter) said as much. None of this is easy, nor is there a singular solution. Debt relief (coupled with more relief funding) would HELP get the island back on it’s feet. As PR is a colonial holding, which means they are politically limited in what they can do, we have a larger responsibility here, than just either throwing them to the private wolves or just ignoring the problem.

Right? Part of the reason they are having a hard time rebuilding is because of the debt problem. Debt relief helps open up new options for PR.



IIRC, you’ve expressed that exact same off-topic concern before, and have been given the same explanation.


Which is better than where they’ve been lately, and which creates a foundation for better approaches going forward. An individual who’s stuck in a ruinous debt hole tends to see nothing but darkness around him, and I’m sure the same can be said for a country in the same situation.

Not, I hope, anything that makes it into a tax haven like these wealthy Libertarian slimers continue to want:

The real question is, what can be done to make PR a full-fledged American state (or, failing that, what can be done to give PR full independence?)? That work should have started a long time ago.