Ailing Puerto Rico open to radical economic fixes

Go Lean Commentary

The Caribbean is in crisis!

Puerto Rican FlagPuerto Rico is in crisis! According to this quote, they have lots of issues, all stemming primarily from economic dysfunctions:

Puerto Rico, in dire straits following eight years of recession, has remained receptive as it debates hundreds of ideas: ‘‘We are studying all alternatives and all possibilities.

The publishers of the book Go Lean … Caribbean humbly submit this publication as a complete roadmap to re-boot the island’s economy, security and governing engines. This roadmap differs from all the other 369 suggestions submitted to the territorial government’s committee highlighted in the foregoing news article, in that it presents a regional option, rather than just a territorial solution. The book asserts that the problems of Puerto Rico (by extension, the entire Caribbean) are too big for any one member-state to solve alone. Rather, the focus of the roadmap is the region-wide professionally-managed, deputized technocracy of the Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU).

Puerto Rico needs the strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies of the CU.

The CU needs Puerto Rico!

The CU requires the full participation of all 30 member-states in the region, including all 4 language group (Dutch, English, French and Spanish). With this approach, the CU benefits from the economies-of-scale of 42 million people.

The CU expects NO MONEY from Puerto Rico. This is good as the island is running a $820 million deficit. To cure a deficit a government needs more revenues and/or fewer expenses. The Go Lean roadmap features both. The roadmap is a complete re-boot: new revenue streams and a separation-of-powers, thereby delegating governing overhead to the CU.

Go Lean … Caribbean introduces the CU to take oversight of’ much of the Caribbean economic, security and governing functionality. In summary, this plan’s execution makes Puerto Rico, and the Caribbean, a better place to live, work and play.

This Go Lean roadmap first assesses the Puerto Rican human flight/brain drain crisis, where more than half of the island’s populations have fled to American shores. This plight makes the task of building a functioning society difficult, as often the brightest and best talents are the ones that leave; plus entitlement programs simply need populace retention.

By DANICA COTO – Associated Press

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Slash the number of public holidays by two-thirds. Eliminate dozens of government agencies. Legalize marijuana and prostitution.

From the intriguing to the impossible, there is no shortage of ideas for fixing Puerto Rico’s ailing economy as the government tries to dig out from a whopping $70 billion in public debt and bring back economic growth.

The ideas have come from legislators, entrepreneurs and even members of the public, who have submitted ideas via a government-sponsored website. Of the 369 ideas sent in by the public, 156 have been accepted by a government committee for consideration, including the suggestions to legalize marijuana and prostitution, and to limit how long people can live in subsidized housing.

But all the ideas require further government approval, either with a legislative vote, or an administrative nod from the governor, agency or department. More dramatic ideas, such as legalization of marijuana or prostitution, would require public hearings, legislative approval and the governor’s signature.

And prospects for approval of the various suggestions are decidedly mixed.

The governor, for example, is expected to sign a bill approved by lawmakers to release certain elderly prisoners, but not a suggestion floated by a member of the public to charge inmates for their room and board.

Puerto Rico, in dire straits following eight years of recession, has remained receptive as it debates hundreds of ideas: ‘‘We are studying all alternatives and all possibilities,’’ said Sen. Maria Teresa Gonzalez, a member of the governor’s party who has come under fire for submitting a bill that would reduce the number of holidays for public employees to six.

Puerto Rico FlagThe island currently celebrates 20 holidays a year, double those observed in the U.S. Many people have bristled at the proposal to scrap some of the additional extra days off, some of which commemorate various historic Puerto Rican leaders. But Gonzalez said the excessive number of holidays costs the government about $500 million a year in lost productivity and interruptions in service, among other things.

‘‘Change always brings about inconveniences,’’ she said. ‘‘I’m convinced that before we talk about something as dramatic and disastrous as layoffs, we have to consider other ideas.’’

Many suggestions have come as Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla prepares to submit the first balanced budget in decades, having promised U.S. investors and credit agencies that he will eliminate an $820 million deficit. The governor has not detailed his cutbacks, prompting fears of layoffs, tax increases and cuts to public service.

Opposition legislator Rep. Ricardo Llerandi Cruz has proposed eliminating 41 government agencies, saying it would save $160 million alone in administrative costs. He said the government has many agencies performing the same functions, noting that there’s a Department of Natural Resources, which protects, develops and manages the island’s environmental resources, and an Administration of Natural Resources, a division within the department with responsibilities that include overseeing projects such as cleanup efforts.

‘‘Puerto Rico is facing the worst fiscal crisis in all of its history,’’ Cruz said. ‘‘We need to refocus or revisit governmental priorities to face these problems.’’

A bill in the legislature also would cap the salaries of mayors, but legislators have been debating the issue for a year as mayors continue to give themselves raises. The full-time mayor of the western town of Maricao, for example, oversees the island’s second-least populated municipality with some 6,200 people and currently earns $78,000 a year, nearly double of what he earned the previous year. If the bill is approved, the mayor would earn a base salary of roughly $54,000 a year.

Manuel Lugo, an attorney who lives in the coastal town of Aguadilla, is among those who submitted the highest number of ideas on the government’s website. But despite having nine of 17 ideas approved, he doesn’t believe the government will take action on any of them.

‘‘It is very difficult to change the inertia of this island,’’ said Lugo, 43, who recently closed his office because of economic problems and is contemplating a move to Texas. ‘‘There has been no economic plan for decades. What they do here is repair and patch holes. That’s not how you run a country.’’

Yanira Hernandez, a governor spokeswoman, said Garcia will detail how he plans to balance the budget in a special televised address in late April. The budget must be approved before June 30.

While many are concerned about what cuts will be made to balance the budget, economist Gustavo Velez said extreme measures won’t be necessary if the government increases revenues and consolidates state agencies. Puerto Rico could generate $300 million more a year if it increases its capture rate on tax revenues from 56 to 75 percent, he said. The government also could suspend salary increases, Velez added.

‘‘Puerto Rico cannot keep operating on recurring deficits,’’ he said, noting it is unconstitutional. ‘‘We have to return to balanced budgets as the norm. Politicians have to embrace that reality.’’

The government also has considered tapping into the island’s underground economy, estimated by some experts at $20 billion a year, representing roughly 40 percent of overall consumption.

Puerto Ricans are increasingly seeking new ways to generate money, with some opening food trucks or hunting caimans to sell the meat as shish kebabs or fried snacks.

But an estimated 450,000 people have moved to the U.S. mainland in search of new jobs and a more affordable cost of living in the past decade.

Brunilda Cintron, 56, left the island in 2001 and now lives in Kissimmee, Florida. But her daughter and mother still live in Puerto Rico, and she worries about their future.

‘‘The government has to make some drastic decisions that will adversely affect people,’’ Cintron said, adding that she thinks her family will soon join her in the U.S. mainland. ‘‘I don’t think they’re going to have a choice.’’

Boston Globe – AP Newswire – Retrieved 04-11 2014

The CU will fix Puerto Rico! Look here at the solutions; (sorted by Economic/Security/Governance). The book Go Lean … Caribbean details these specific curative measures (advocacies, strategies, tactics, and implementations):


Community Ethos – Money Multiplier Page 22
Help Entrepreneurship Page 28
Impact Turn-Around Strategies/Tactics Page 33
Tactics to Forge an $800 Billion Economy Page 67
New Ways to Pay for Change Page 101
Start-up Benefits from an EEZ Page 104
Develop/Expand a Pipeline Industry Page 107
Improve Energy Usage Page 113
Better Manage Debt Page 114
Foster International Aid Page 115
Improve Trade Page 128
Improve Interstate Commerce Page 129
New Ways to Grow the Economy Page 151
Create Jobs Page 152
Control Inflation Page 153
Improve Credit Ratings Page 155
Mitigate Black Markets Page 165
Enhance Tourism Page 190
Impact Wall Street Page 200


Separation of Powers – Homeland Security Page 75
Security Initiatives [stemming from the Start-up] Page 103
Impact Justice Page 177
Mitigate & Reduce Crime Page 178
Improve Intelligence [Gathering & Analysis] Page 182
Impact the Prison-Industrial Complex Page 211


Community Ethos – Deferred Gratification Page 21
Improve Negotiations Page 32
Impact the Greater Good Page 37
Tactics to Foster a Technocracy Page 64
Implement Self-Governing Entities Page 105
Improve Mail Service Page 108
Strong Reasons to Repatriate Page 118
Promote Independence Page 120
Improve Healthcare Page 156
Impact Entitlements Page 158
Improve Education Page 159
New [Governmental] Revenue Sources Page 172
Impact Public Works Page 175
Better Manage Natural Resources Page 183
Improve for Natural Disasters Page 184
Improve Emergency Management Page 196
Impact Urban Living Page 234
Impact US Territories Page 244

The roadmap alerts the Caribbean stakeholders of the obstacles that this plan will encounter, and then provides guidance, turn-by-turn directions, so as to reach the destination … promptly.

Change has come to the Caribbean. The people, institutions and governance of Puerto Rico are all urged to lean-in.”

In fact, now is the time for the whole Caribbean region to lean-in for this change, described in the book Go Lean … Caribbean. The benefits of this roadmap are too alluring to ignore: emergence of an $800 Billion regional economy, 2.2 million new jobs and an end to the dysfunction. This will result in Puerto Ricans repatriating from the US, not fleeing there.

Download the free e-Book of Go Lean … Caribbean – now!

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