« A Thought about a Lottery | Main | Econ 101 for Politicians: How to Raise Wages »

This Month's Porker is Puerto Rico's President

Porker of the Month is a dubious honor given to lawmakers, government officials, and political candidates who have shown a blatant disregard for the interests of taxpayers.

Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) has announced its selection of the May 2016 Porker of the Month, and he is Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro García Padilla (D-P.R.) "for recklessly pushing Puerto Rico into default."

CAGW justified its election of Puerto Rico's Governor Padilla this way (does not include links in the original):

"On May 2, 2016, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico officially defaulted on a $370 million bond payment, the third such default since August 2015.  Gov. García Padilla’s tax-and-spend policies helped push the island’s debt to $72 billion, along with $46 billion in pension liabilities.

"After fiscally conservative Gov. Luis Fortuno was voted out of office, Gov. García Padilla began reversing his predecessor’s efforts to stabilize Puerto Rico’s fiscal situation.  He proposed a massive new $783 million spending package and raised sales taxes by 64 percent, from 7 percent to 11.5 percent, all while stating, “I can assure you that Puerto Rico will not default.  Puerto Rico will pay our debts.  It is a constitutional obligation.  But for me it is also a moral obligation.”

"On February 7, 2014, Moodys downgraded Puerto Rico’s bond rating to “junk” status.  As the decline continued, Gov. García Padilla refused to even provide fiscal audits for two consecutive years.  On June 28, 2015, Gov. García Padilla backed out of his previous assurances and glibly admitted, “The debt is not payable.  There is no other option.”

"He then set out to not only allow two defaults to occur in the months that followed, but on April 6, 2016, he signed into law a one-year moratorium on debt payments.  Gov. García Padilla defended the moratorium and the continued defaults as necessary to be able to maintain basic services, while conveniently neglecting to mention that the government would continue to provide “free” electric power to local communities, which has been used to build and power such “basic services” as a recreational ice rink.

"CAGW President Tom Schatz said, “Puerto Rico’s debt crisis was exacerbated by Gov. García Padilla’s reckless tax and spending agenda, and now the island is suffering the consequences.  Puerto Rico should make every effort to stabilize its fiscal situation by implementing pro-growth policies and reversing the destructive growth of the state bureaucracy.  To avert a taxpayer bailout of the island, Congress must act on the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA), which includes essential measures such as a financial control board that can put Puerto Rico’s fiscal house in order.”

In summary, CAGW said, "For hastening Puerto Rico’s descent into fiscal calamity and refusing to honor its debt obligations, CAGW names Gov. Alejandro García Padilla its May Porker of the Month."

Growls readers. Please take a few minutes to write to your member of Congress concerning the proposed bailout of Puerto Rico's debt. Additional information is available in the April 14, 2016 letter sent by the National Taxpayers Union to the House Committee on Natural Resources. The free enterprise/less government-oriented 60 Plus Association has a fact sheet on the possible bailout of Puerto Rico. CCAGW issued this press release last week with updated information. Contact information is available at the Library of Congress' Thomas website (use left-hand column). Taxpayers living in Virginia's Arlington County can contact:

  • Senator Mark Warner (D) -  write to him or call (202) 224-2023
  • Senator Tim Kaine (D) -- write to him or call (202) 224-4024
  • Representative Don Beyer (D) -- write to him or call (202) 225-4376

And tell them ACTA sent you.

For more information about Citizens Against Government Waste click here. CAGW is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government.

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.acta.us/growls-mt/mt-tb.fcgi/3419