On July 5, 2015, ABC TV devoted a special segment to discussing the economic crisis in Puerto Rico.
On TIEMPO with Joe Torres, the subjects included the need for a shipping industry in Puerto Rico, and the true causes of its $73 billion public debt.
David Galarza, a veteran community activist and union organizer for CSEA, laid out the major themes.
Nelson Denis provided additional information on the Puerto Rico fiscal crisis, and the effect of the Jones Act on the insular economy.
The show’s host, Joe Torres, was a consummate professional: well-informed and thought-provoking, his questions cut to the core issues confronting the entire island.
The interview covered a lot of ground in 30 minutes. The overriding concern was the creation of a permanent, sustainable industries in Puerto Rico, that do not repatriate the profits back to foreign investors. You can see the entire segment here:
As the interview made clear, Puerto Rico must develop its own engines of economic growth.
Its own indigenous industries.
An island shipping industry would be a logical place to start.
If the Jones Act were reformed (Section 27 of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920), Puerto Rico could receive products from all over the planet – without restrictive quotas. Without paying fees and taxes that often double the price of the product.
Puerto Rico is an island. It needs to import enormous quantitites of goods, every day…but the Jones Act prohibits Puerto Rico from setting the prices on its own consumer products, and from building its own shipping industry.
If the Jones Act were reformed or repealed, consumer prices would drop all over the island. Over 50,000 jobs would be created. This means a great deal to an island with 12 percent “official” unemployment, and 25 percent de facto unemployment.
We thank ABC TV, Joe Torres, and the producers of TIEMPO, for the opportunity to discuss these crucial issues on their show.
Thanks also to David Galarza, who presented the issues clearly and convincingly. It was a proud moment…to see that we have some real leaders here in New York, with a sharp mind and a strong heart, who care about their country.