BIG TROUBLE IN...

BIG TROUBLE IN PUERTO RICO. Has anyone noticed that Puerto Rico is going out of business? I haven�t been following this very closely, but apparently the Puerto Rican government has been unable to agree on a budget since 2004, so they�ve been using the 2004 budget while the debt keeps increasing. On Monday, the commonwealth will simply run out of money, leaving the 1.6 million people who are on public health insurance without coverage. Worse, the commonwealth�s public employees, who make up 30% of the island�s total workforce, will go unpaid. This is crazy. If you are a Puerto Rican government employee, be that a clerk for the Supreme Court or a bus driver, you will not earn a salary for months.

I don�t follow this issue closely enough to have an informed opinion, but I wonder if it would be prudent or wise for the United States federal government to bail out Puerto Rico? On the one hand, such a move might foster an unhealthy dependency on Uncle Sam. On the other, a bailout would guarantee that Puerto Rico has a functioning government, and that its public employees could pay their mortgages, fill their prescriptions, and put food on the table.

--Mark Leon Goldberg

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