In 2005, Washington state considered enacting a bill to ban discrimination against gays and lesbians. Microsoft, one of the largest employers in that state, caved in to pressure from conservative groups and initially decided not to support the measure.
Local bankers and entrepreneurs have long complained of having to pay a “Puerto Rico premium” to entice U.S. and foreign investors to invest in the island. This premium often takes the form of a slightly higher yield or return on local investments that nonetheless have a risk profile similar to comparable investments in the United States.
The data for net revenues received by the commonwealth government’s general fund during the first six months of fiscal year 2007-08 is in. Unfortunately, Puerto Rico’s budget problems remain unabated.
Academics, economists, politicians and other assorted talking heads usually hold up the Irish economy as a model for Puerto Rico to emulate. In the mid-1980s Ireland was referred to as the “economic basket case of Europe” but by 2001 it was spoken of in reverential tones; it has transformed into the fearsome “Celtic tiger”.
John Maynard Keynes, the most influential economist of the first half of the 20th century, wrote in his seminal “General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money” (1936) that “practical men, who believe themselves to ve quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist.”
Last week, Mayor William Miranda Marín presented a voucher for opening a bank account to the mother of a newborn child in Caguas. This was the first installment of a city-wide program whereby the parents of all children born after July 1, 2007 to bona fide residents of Caguas will receive a $250 voucher that can be used to open a children savings account at a financial institution.
In 1930, the Brookings Institution, a Washington D.C.-based think tank, published a report entitled “Porto Rico and Its Problems.” This report, prompted by various groups of Puerto Rican private citizens, was a thorough examination of the island’s social and economic landscape, covering, among other topics, education, public debt, public health, agriculture, trade and the state public works. It included a long list of recommendations, many of which were eventually implemented by the Puerto Rican government.
Puerto Rico is facing a severe fiscal crisis. Central government expenditures consistently exceed income and the Commonwealth has been forced to borrow from the Government Development Bank (GDB) $250 million, $233 million and $550 million to balance each of the last three central government budgets.