Recently, embattled governor Aníbal Acevedo Vilá--he of the jellyfish will--proposed a 7% sales tax on all retail purchases made in Puerto Rico. For a consumer-addled economy like Ours, that's like telling vampires their blood supply will be spiked with bat snot from now on.
Leaving aside the thorny issue of whether a sales tax is needed or not, let's look at what this sales tax is and means. As the local press trumpeted, like Archimedes yelling "Eureka!"(mercifully, without the nudity), this proposed 7% sales tax would be amongst the highest of the 50 States. Third, in fact. Only We're not a state, see, so that angle is as moot as Fools actually being human beings.
Now why would a governor already careening aimlessly down the slippery slope of ineffectuality propose a sales tax so ridiculously high? Is it because he no longer has any "political coin" that needs protecting?
No, it's because the government he is lumping (he is a lump, he isn't "running" it and grammar forces Me to the present progressive, hence "lumping") is about to have its ubiquitous bonds downgraded to junk status.
"Junk" status for a bond is exactly what it seems to mean: the bonds are slightly better than lottery tickets in terms of future value. To his credit (slight pun, not entirely unintentional), Acevedo inherited a rampaging tapeworm of fiscal mismanagement, dating back through several Administrations, so it isn't entirely or even mainly his fault that We're faced with such a downgrade. What is his fault is acting like a spastic Captain Queeg, intent on placing his fantasies of "a renewed Puerto Rico" over the realities of "you're going to get steamrolled".
The legislature, the bigger, more contentious lump keeping the executive lump in lumpdom (sometimes, The Jenius gets carried away...) stated immediately that their proposal was a 4% sales tax. Uh-huh. No dismissing of the sales tax idea? No exploration of an alternative program, such as a 1% now, another 1% later, with another 1-2% in mid-2007? Bitter medicine should be taken quickly, but isn't there even going to be a discussion of whether this is the bitter medicine We should take, or even if it's needed?
Over the past 15 months, Puerto Rico has been stalled to the nth degree by a legislature that acts more like a day care center rumpus room, complete with drooling and diapers, than as a governing body. Time and again its monkeyshines have stonewalled, ignored or even openly countered moves by the governor to set his agenda of progress (such as it is). Once again, the legislature has vowed, promised, guaranteed--hell, sworn in blood for all The Jenius knows--to stop this 7% "solution".
And yet, the 7% sales tax will pass, barely molested by The Fools in drool-drippy diapers. (Got carried away again.)
Why? Politics and money. The 7% sales tax gives the legislature, dominated by statehooders, the chance to excoriate the governor and his party for "establishing" a sales tax higher than in 47 States. They will conveniently ignore their role in passing such a tax, of course, certainly, don't you know. The obvious "conclusion" is that, with Puerto Rico becoming a state--vote now ye lunkheads!--the sales tax will come down.
Uh-huh. And if my grandmother had balls, she'd be my grandfather.
And have you ever seen Fools turn down additional monies into their greedy, grubby, garbage-infested hands? The sales tax monies will swell coffers far beyond what the Sewage Gang and Powerless Posse have achieved in their near-abandoned agencies.
Get used to the 7% "solution": it's addictive, loathsome and here to stay.
The Jenius Has Spoken.