Puerto Rico owes a huge $73 billion public debt. This is due to a colonial relationship with the US that does not permit Puerto Rico to develop her own self-sustaining industries. Puerto Rico is principally a market, with all the profits repatriated to the US.
But there is another dynamic that is killing the island. Since there is no real economy, the government is the greatest source of employment on the island. Puerto Rico has created an infrastructure of public employment, and public corruption, that is draining everyone on the island.
The biggest example is the 78 mayors of Puerto Rico.
The island has only 3.6 million people on it – but it has 78 mayors. That’s one mayor for every 46, 153 people, and the average salary for each mayor is $68,194. Their collective salary is $5,319,132.
Here is a partial listing of the monthly salaries of some of these mayors:
Mayors of Puerto Rico – Monthly Salary Figures (2008-2012)
This is simply ridiculous. The mayor of Rincón, with a population of 15,200 people, is making $72,000 per year. By that standard the mayor of New York City, with a population of 8.4 million people, would make over $39 million a year!
Elsewhere on this chart, the mayor of Culebra (population 1,818) makes $60,000 a year. Applying that to New York’s population, the mayor’s salary would be over $277 million a year.
In total, if New York City had one mayor for every 46,153 people, then New York would have 182 mayors and 182 mayoral administrations.
The “administrations” would cost more than the mayors. The 78 mayors of Puerto Rico have placed a lot of family and friends on the government payroll.
Here is the chart, showing the salaries of Puerto Rico’s mayors.
The chart shows figures from 2012 – but in 2013 after the Puerto Rican legislature raised its salary to $73,775, the mayors got jealous and raised their salaries again. Therefore, many of the salary figures on this chart will be too low.
Even under normal circumstances, there is no excuse for this kind of abuse.
But in the current environment with an 11.5% sales tax; taxes skyrocketing on water, electricity and gasoline, 120 public schools shutting down; corporate taxes up by 39%; pensions and health benefits cut, Medicare Advantage cut, and a shrinking tax base because hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans have fled the island, this Mafia of Mayors are bleeding the island to death.
It is difficult to tell the US, and the US pension funds, that “we can’t pay this debt” and “the US is responsible,” when the Mafia of Mayors is treating the entire island like a crime scene.
Mark Twain once said “it can probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress.”
This is definitely the case, for the Mafia of Mayors in Puerto Rico.