Hold your horses until I've had My say.
Puerto Rico is better off than 80% of the world's population, so in that sense, We are definitely not poor. But since poverty is very much a relativistic perception, and Our standard of comparison is the U.S. of part of A. and similarly industrialzed nations--all of them larger and with greater resources--then We, by comparison, are poor.
But We are poor because We--primarily Our so-called leaders--chose to be.
Singapore is a lot smaller and much more densely populated than Us; they have a higher standard of living than We do, though 40 years ago, We left them in the dust. So size and population density are not obstacles. Our obstacles are largely self-inflicted, just as many times the poverty level of an individual is largely self-inflicted.
Here, from the desk of Armstrong Williams, comes a simple, common sense list of ways that show you how to be poor. I'll list only the reasons, substituting My commentary on each to focus on Puerto Rico:
Step 1: Live on Credit: Credit means you lack the cash--and discipline--to avoid spending. It means you spend what you don't have, you over-buy, you over-extend yourself by promising too much. Our government has done that for four decades with the consistency of a cretin playing with its nipples. They romped and looted, padded and spreed, then when things got tight, they jiggered and faked, begged from Uncle Sam and ultimately tapped into Our pockets to pretend to stay afloat. No matter: those "easy credit" bonds brokers nailed Our increasingly-worthless fiscal hide to the wall because credit may be sweet, but cash is always king.
Step 2: Never Develop a Good Work Ethic: A work ethic--or any ethics system, for that matter--begins with accepting personal responsibility for what happens. A work ethic needs to acknowledge that one will make an honest effort, that one strives for productive, positive results and that one encourages the same in others.
What We have at Our "leadership" levels is a culture of opportunism, of short-cuts, of under the table and boot(y) licking craven greed. It trickles down to others as a sense of entitlement, of "They owe Me" when "they" could be anybody from the feds to the Mayor and easy checks for non-work are just a lie or two away.
Step 3: Don’t Set Goals: Another way of saying this is "don't make commitments." Fill the air with words, bandy about concept and ideas from cheap to stupid with the frenzied abandon of macaque monkeys flinging poo. Keep the howling loud and constant, so that nothing of substance is discussed with any semblance of intelligence. That ensures that commitments are both ridiculous and weak, outlines instead of targets, penciled-in appointments rather than written in stone.
Goals require discipline and brains to both set and achieve. Not having them makes everything spurious easier, though nothing serious really gets done.
Step 4: Give Up On Yourself and Your Family: Divorce rises to 50% of all marriages? Focus on gays! Drugs cause hundreds of shooting deaths a year? Gated communities! Dropout rates surpass 40%? Beg for more funds to hire more people to not teach! And keep your own kids out of public schools!
Our leaders are endless fountains of hypocrisy when it comes to family issues. Particularly worthy of scorn are the religious "leaders" who ignore the rising trend of divorces, of shattered families and community despair to parade their holier-than-cow mugs in political events or anti-gay marriage marches. Yes! Let's focus on politics and 1% of possible marriages and ignore the Island's real needs and 100% of actual marriages!
Step 5: Fail to Plan Ahead: Status? Someday. Agriculture? Maybe soon. Energy? We'll get there. Education? Eventually. Health care? On the front burner. Unicamerality? On someone's desk as We speak. Tourism? On the agenda. Economic solutions? The check is in the mail.
But on the other hand: Legislative raises? Now! Taxes? Now! Super-(stupid)-projects? Now! Additional lotteries? Now! Stifling business laws?* Now! Short-term gain, long-term loss? Now! Now! Now!
Watch a person buy what they can't afford, act as if the world owes them something, drifts aimlessly without a thought for the future and add people to the population without regard to their future needs and you have an unimpeachable formula for poverty.
We've watched Our leaders, Our lazy, greedy, short-sighted, hypocritical leaders obfuscate and practically obliterate Our future.
Puerto Rico is poor...because We let it become that way.
The Jenius has Spoken.
* From "Poor Planning: How to achieve the miracle of poverty," in Reason Magazine:
"...In addition, your legal system should make it nearly impossible for anyone to license a new business, however small. This will offer opportunities for your bureaucrats to make a living through corruption and will protect your cronies from domestic competition. An added advantage is that most commerce will be made illegal and subject to arbitrary enforcement."