Ariana Minnesota

Puerto Rico's Debt

Puerto Rico is begging for economic help from the United State government.

Dear Next President,

Congratulation on your new position, with this position comes many responsibilities. My name is Ariana, I’m 15 years old and I am extremely proud to be Puerto Rican. I would like to draw your attention to a small island called Puerto Rico, that 3.5 million people call home. As a United States territory, Puerto Rico needs immediate attention from the U.S government due to the enormous debt they are facing.

Puerto Rico is advertised as a carefree paradise but it's drowning in debt. John Oliver reported that 45% of Puerto Ricans are in poverty in his show ‘Last week with John Oliver’. They aren't being helped despite the fact that they are United states citizens. According to google, a 3,515 miles squared island has accumulated 72 billion dollars in debt and has no way to pay it all back as governor Alejandro Javier García Padilla announced to the whole world. There has been a series of events that have gotten them in this trouble, and most of it has been self destruction from an indecisive and irresponsible government.

John Oliver provided the background story as to why this island is where it is in his show, ‘Last week with John Oliver”. Around 2006, Puerto Rico would triple exempt small businesses and wealthy people to open their businesses on the island. Many medical businesses opened up and the economy was booming but it didn’t last long. The businesses started leaving and puerto rico had no money coming in. So to pay all their bills had no way of getting paid, and to pay them the government took loans from companies and individuals. These investors were do drawn in because they didn’t have to pay all the taxes they would’ve had to pay if they were in the states. Not only were they not having to pay taxes but they were promised to get payed back before basic government services. Puerto Rico's government got ‘addicted’ to these bonds because they weren’t having to make strict decisions and they didn’t think about the consequences of gambling with these bonds. Lin Manuel Miranda, one of the most famous broadway performer and writers and son of Puerto Rican natives, begged at the end of John Olivers piece for some attention for the Island.

That brings us to today when puerto ricans are suffering due to an irresponsible government. Since the government promised to pay back the bondholders before government services, doctors are being paid a lot less than what they get paid in the states. According to John Oliver's piece on Puerto Rico’s economic debt, at least 1 doctor leaves puerto rico each day and they will soon be needed more than ever. Oliver reported that it's estimated that one in five puerto ricans will get the Zika virus and with hospitals shutting down, what will happen? The Puerto Rican government is lost and irresponsible, their plan to 'fix' the debt is to start cutting more services like number of teachers and Medicaid. These are United States citizens begging for help. Due to the fact that Puerto Rico is a territory and not a state, it can not file for federal bankruptcy which leaves them trapped and drowning.

I am begging for the United States government to go into Puerto Rico and start making tough decisions. I am not suggesting a bailout for Puerto Rico but a plan to relieve some of the debt. First thing that has to be done is that Puerto Rico needs to get all their doctors and teachers back. If the future generation of Puerto Rican aren’t educated properly then they will end up job less and on the streets like those before them. The U.S government needs to go in and re-open all the hospitals and schools and get those positions filled in as soon as possible which will lower the poverty rate. These government services are needed now more than ever before and it’s time for the U.S government to do something. Puerto Rico needs to somehow apply to federal bankruptcy because if not they are gonna keep accumulating more unpayable debt. Don’t let this group of your citizens suffer anymore. I wish you the best in your new position.

-Sincerely, Ariana