27 October 2009

Our Brethren, Our Problem

This won't take long...

Apropos of My most recent post, The Insider posted a comment, an excerpt of which reads:

"PPA, OBE, PPP. How about IPOM?

Incentivized Citizen Out Migration

Identify the demographic most draining on the government. Let's say the welfare class, and fully subsidize their move to the United States where they will certainly obtain a better education for their children. Meanwhile the costs associated with holding them in "inventory" for PR are offset by a "foreign" government completely.

Yes, this does sound like some form of governmental "expense category gentrification". So be it. Overall, everyone involved is better off.

The impact of this educational component are also in line with Gil's recent discussion on how education and Puerto Rico's death toll are interrelated.

I made the personal exodus. That is usually not possible for the welfare class who cannot afford moving expenses or even airfare in most cases.

I discussed it in more detail in my blog entry titled "Expatriating the Poor Boriquens to Save the Economy".

It took Singapore 30 years to re-engineer it's economy. Based on how it "felt to be in Puerto Rico", it will probably take about 60 years to get a clue on how to re-vamp education... everything is sssssslllllloooooowwwwwww....

So - at that rate - when your child turns about 65, if he hasn't been shot up in the streets or died from lack of adequate health care, then you can enroll him back in kindergarten.

Or you can move them to Florida where you can find a similar climate, pockets of similar culture, and vast improvements in everything else."

I respect and support The Insider's choice to move away from Puerto Rico; We even discussed it over the phone long before it happened. And We have debated issues related to Our societal ills and foibles over at his blog and in e-mails.

But his solution--exiling Our welfare class someplace else--is wrong. The solution is not to dump Our people in someone else's unwilling lap: the solution is to redevelop Our society so that Our welfare class is drastically reduced, while Our other classes make equally-positive strides.

Yes, dumping the poor someplace else is "easy," but "easy" isn't synonymous with "right." And "easy" is not the way We need to look to create the society so many of Us want and deserve.

The Jenius Has Spoken.


The Insider said...

I want to thank Gil for bringing attention to this idea. It's definitely controversial, and for that reason (if for nothing else) I am very hopeful that it sparks some imagination-driving-attention on other ways to solve the crisis (by any of you reading here).

I know fully well that no politico would *ever* even consider it (especially in mud-boot Puerto Rico). It would be a political nightmare, unless very carefully managed as an under the radar relocation fund.

I support Gil's lofty endeavor for a better Puerto Rico. And obviously, any strategy that involves taking PR citizens out of their country is not a solution that solves the issue for "those of them removed" (under they assumption they actually really want to live there their whole life).

If you do a cost comparison of maintaining a welfare citizen over a lifetime (including their children & future generations) versus subsidizing their move to *another state* (?), you'll quickly find that an out-migration makes sense logically on that level. After all, it has been done before with the 1950's agricultural worker exodus.

The solution Gil is trying to find is one that re-envisions pretty much every system in Puerto Rico. I take it that his recent posting activity has been an attempt to dissect this system so it can be understood, dismantled, and re-built.

And I agree that needs to happen, but I'm extremely doubtful of it ever happening in our lifetime.

Which political party in PR do you think could do it? Which non-governmental group can affect that kind of change? Independents - save your breath.

Please note, I used the word "exodus" not "exile", a very important distinction.

Exodus defined as "a journey by a large group to escape from a hostile environment".

Exile has the connotation of meaning a forced deportation and refusal of re-admittance.

Fact: Any child will receive a better education in the United States than in Puerto Rico.

Fact: Infrastructure in the United States is better in the majority of states (if not all).

Fact: The welfare classes predominantly lack the resources to move from one country to another.

Even poor families who want to move to the United States mainland will have a difficult time finding the money to do so.

Where are they really exiled?

The truth is that they are exiled within Puerto Rico.

As the economy collapses, even more people are going to find themselves falling into the class of being locked inside Puerto Rico unable to leave unless rafting is an option.

So supporting those who want to leave, who just so happen to be non-productive citizens (i.e. costing a lot and not contributing to a turnaround), is a good method of reducing government expenditures and re-stabilizing the country (in addition to the cutting of the fat on government payroll that's happening right now).

A New Mental Model: Poor Puerto Rican's are exiled within Puerto Rico. They are exiled from the resources of the larger United States of which they hold full citizenship.

Support of their exodus would be a gift to them - if they choose to go.

Puerto Rican Brethren will the ones who care the most. It was easy for me to leave.

However, I am completely unconvinced that Puerto Rican Brethren are going to be the ones to solve their own crisis.

Solution: Copy an outside model that works, adopt it, and execute it fast.

There is no wheel re-inventing necessary in Puerto Rico.

Unknown said...

People would have to move to Australia or something. The city of New York and a few other cities in the USA are actually paying moving expenses BACK to Puerto Rico to dozens of families that emigrated thinking they would eat steak every night and money grew on the snow.

The Insider said...

Hey Gabriel - I'm not sure I'd discredit the entire United States because of the unavailability of New York Sirloins. ;)

If they want to be lazy, and live in a welfare shack without any money for steak, so be it. But their poor kids still get to attend a decent school.

There's more to the US than New York and Miami.

I know that forests of buildings and concrete might seem familiar to many PRs, and Wisconsin or Alaska might not be the first thing that comes to the mind of any PR looking to move on, but there are plenty of options to choose from...

Let's compare, exact same lifestyle behavior by the families except:

A. Kids go to a good school, or
B. Kids go to a Puerto Rican school

Choose wisely.

Unknown said...

Yeeah, what I mean is automatically moving to the USA doesn't improve quality of life. Doesn't matter where you choose to live. You have to have a plan, you have to research, have a budget and have skills that are in demand on the area you wish to move. Dumping people doesn't work.
And there are plenty of great schools here and in the USA as there are plenty of crappy schools here and in the USA. My brother is an NYC teacher who has seen fantastic schools and schools where the director walks in with a cattle prod.
The fact is, those laid off private or goverment can find a way to earn if they have the skills and the determination, be it here or abroad. They may have to do without the home theater for a few years but they can do it.
Portland is a great place to live, has a hippie reputation that is somewhat deserved. I have friends and family there, took them some time to get to their feet after they moved, they had a plan and it worked for them. But if you dump 2000 boricuas in Portland you won't help them or help the city. It just doesn't work that way. But you know, maybe Australia is a good idea, plenty of space and raw materials.
And Wisconsin is incredibly boring and cold.