27 August 2010

The (Failing) Business Called "Puerto Rico"

Let's say that you own a small business, with a partner. The two of you work hard at making it a viable business and you're making ends meet. You want to hire more employees and make it grow, but in the course of setting up your business, the debts and constraints you face mean that nearly all your revenue is going out, into other hands, rather than staying in your hands, where you can then turn around and make best use of it for your business.

So what happens? You have three choices: reduce debt, eliminate constraints or find new markets to expand your business beyond the debt and constraint level. Seems simple, right? Obvious even.

But what happens when you're barred from doing any of those things?

You end up caught in the business called "Puerto Rico." A business that cannot grow and thus cannot hire more people to foster more growth. To wit:

--Find new markets?: That would mean We establish ties to foreign markets, attract foreign investment, generate trade ties with countries that aren't the U.S. of part of A. Can We do that? Hell no. For that We have to have permission, We have to get approval, We have to ask Uncle Sam for his damned blessing to stand on Our two feet and act like adults for a fucking change. Idiocy. Official idiocy, as We shall see below.

--Eliminate constraints?: That means We take a good hard look at Our status options and say "This is what We shall do." But have We done that? Hell no. We play patty-cake like retarded monkeys and when the time comes to stop pissing around and make a reasoned choice, We screech in fear and hide. Here's the bottom line: We can choose Our political solution regardless of what the U.S. of part of A. or any fucking body politic opines...but We are too afraid to do it.

--Reduce debt?: That means We stop sucking at the tit with poisoned milk and look to feed Ourselves. Take education, where 36% of the local Department's budget comes from federal funds. Do you honestly think that federal money is "free," that it doesn't come with any fucking strings attached too it? If you do, you're an idiot. At its most basic, federal funds force actions, actions that benefit the money's owners, not its sycophantic users. "But it's a grant," you say, "An investment to develop the nation." Uh-huh. Whose nation? And to whose benefit? The answer to both questions is the same...and it's not "Puerto Rico."

Your next bleat is "But Jenius, those monies don't create debt because We don't have to repay it." Really. Look around you and count the number of U.S.-based companies surrounding you. Back in the early 1900s, the transfer of Our profits to Stateside was 63% and critics pointed out that this trend exacerbated Puerto Rico's weakened and very impoverished economy.

In 2005, the transfer of Our profits to Stateside was 67%. And Our economy is still weakened and very impoverished. The poverty rate in Puerto Rico has remained at the same level it was in the late 1970s. Our real income has declined since the 1970s and the amount of wealth concentrated in the upper 10% of Our population has risen 78%.

But you don't care. You either don't live here or don't live in poverty. What you have is your job, your credit cards and your shopping to do every week, sending over 2/3 of Our money stateside by spending it in Sam's, Costco, Walgreen's, Sears, Macy's, Wal-mart, JC Penney's, Kmart, Starbucks, Office Max, McDonald's, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Chili's, Old Navy, Best Buy, The Gap, Marshall's, Foot Locker and any of the over 200 other U.S-based companies that criss-cross the island...which can be reached almost exclusively by American, JetBlue and Delta.

We're the failing mom-and-pop store that owes too much, has too many corrupt laws and lawmakers to pay off and isn't allowed to look for solutions outside of the narrow confines the corrupt and traitorous have imposed. Our unemployment level thus remains obscenely high and drags the rest of Our economy into shopping mall hell. And all because We haven't the guts to say "Enough," neither to the unfair conditions or to the stupid choices We make every day that promote and sustain the unfairness.

The Jenius Has Spoken

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