01 December 2005

Autonomy Thoughts: Part II

The first half of this post appears the day after this one, as contrary to usual blogging routine. In case you landed here first and want to see how this all came about, feel free to click here.

If Puerto Rico has been negotiating for greater political and economic freedom since the 1940s, and especially since the 1952 inception of the current Quasimodo status, then why haven’t We advanced a whit in over 50 years?

Even a Jenius can see why:

-- We cannot make up Our minds about what We want as an “ultimate status.”

-- We fear independence, so We don’t push for it. The U.S. has a good thing going with Puerto Rico (economically), so they don’t push for independence either.

-- The U.S knows statehood ain’t happening for Puerto Rico, so they don’t push it to Us (except for political campaign contributions and brainless statehooders still fork money over in large quantities...although sometimes it isn't their own.)

-- “Culminating” the current commonwealth status is like culminating nausea: the end result is just ugly any way you look at it.

-- Appealing to the United Nations for a resolution is like appealing to Barney the Dinosaur: all you get is a limpid song and dance you’ve heard too many times before.

-- We lack the capability—and authority—to walk away from what is clearly a dysfunctional relationship. When your greatest negotiating weapon is eliminated and you’re at the mercy of the opposing party, your options then become bad, horrible and ghastly.

-- Creating that “We’re walking” capability is not a viable option unless the authority to do so can be achieved by creating an internal mandate, a majority vote that says “Either We fix this mutually or We’ll fix it Our way.”


Is The Jenius advocating unilateral action? A—gasp!—revolution?

Not yet. First We need to express Yes/No options, unlike the ill-fated series of plebiscites-for-ego that former governor Pedro “I’m Too Stupid To Notice Corruption In My Underwear” Rosselló thrust upon Us several years ago and have led to more nothingness, if that’s possible.

The series of plebiscites, to be completed in two years, would be:

-- Continue commonwealth as it is?: Yes/No

-- Amend the Constitution to allow full negotiating powers to resolve Our status?: Yes/No

-- If no agreement can be reached with the U.S. in one year, do We act unilaterally?: Yes/No

-- Do you approve of Our new Constitution?: Yes/No

A majority "Yes" vote in the first, or any majority “No” vote in the second or third plebiscites ends the process right then and there. (A “No” vote for a new Constitution, of course, requires further work in that line.) By defining the problem (commonwealth: yes or no?), indicating a seriousness of purpose (amending Our Constitution) and giving Us the power to negotiate as equals—a power We have always had—We can stop this Foolish futzing around and get down to some serious growth.

The Jenius Has Spoken.


James said...

"Continue commonwealth as it is?: Yes/No"

It ends there. You know I think you're great and all, Gil, but for God's sake, how could you have missed this one? All the rest is mental masturbation.

Status quo? yes or no - Not a yes, but a HELL YES, like every other decision that is made here. Or consider the following decision matrix in its complexity:

"Is it gonna change anything?"


"Then I'm against it."

Colonies fear change in any form because of the precarious kept-woman psychology inherent in the system. Well, if he beats you, why do you stay? It's all I have, she says, and besides, he doesn't beat me very hard.

That's Puerto Rico for better or worse. My personal feeling is that we should suck every last drop of Federal aid, program, and entitlement, but with an eye toward getting our economics in order and the possibility that the rug could get pulled out from under us at any time. My three step plan for Puerto Rico is the following:

1) Raise the starting salary for public school teachers (nothing more)
2) Raise the starting salary for law enforcement (nothing more)
3) Mandate a hiring freeze across the board for all government (cut the fat by a natural slow attrition)

And that's it. That's my plan for a better Puerto Rico. Better paid young teachers means that teaching as a profession starts making sense to those better qualified but for whom it hasn't up to now made economic sense. Better paid law enforcement means less corruption, better esprit de corps, higher qualified individual at the onset, same as teachers. And #3 makes present jobs secure while decreasing spending over the long term.

Basically my plan would succeed because #1 and #2 are increases in money, and #3 doesn't change the present, only the future. It's a win/win.

Gil C. Schmidt said...


I missed this one badly. No excuses: just a royal screw-up on my part.

And I agree with you on your plan, but it leaves so many other areas uncovered that it would collapse from either political pressure to "do more" (essentially, waste monies elsewhere) or "we want our cut" from health workers, unions and the vegetables that make up our government.

But it has merits my plebiscite plan doesn't have: simplicity and sellability. Chalk this one up to you!