Forget Detroit, Puerto Rico Is In Big Trouble

Monday, December 16, 2013

Antonia Arroyo, a retired government worker, Nov. 12, 2013. The Government remains the largest employer in Puerto Rico and can only service about 11 percent of the pension costs out of it's budget. (Christopher Gregory/Getty)

Though Detroit seems to be in dire straights with its recent bankruptcy filing, there might actually be another piece of America that’s even worse off: Puerto Rico.

The U.S. territory is facing massive debt, a potentially crippling bond ratings cut, a gaping hole in its massive pension fund, and a towering unemployment rate bolstered by federal entitlements. 

Even if Puerto Rico wanted to declare bankruptcy, it wouldn’t be able to—states and territories are barred from seeking relief in bankruptcy court.

Puerto Rico may not be a state, but it is part of the U.S. And it’s looking more and more like it will need a federal lifeline to survive. Puerto Rican officials have undertaken desperate measures to stop the bleeding, but is it already too late?

Ingrid Vila, chief of staff to Puerto Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla, joins us to discuss Puerto Rico's options.


Ingrid Vila

Produced by:

Arwa Gunja, Alex Kapelman and Elizabeth Ross


T.J. Raphael

Comments [3]

Dania from San Antonio

Puerto Rico's economy has been in down spiral for a long long time because of lack of supervision from the federal government. PR's parties are profoundly corrupt and governmental agencies are laughable. They only take more than what they give to the people. Instead of confronting this economic situations, the different governments have been going around the problem, not bringing any solutions. Lack of responsible and sensible politicians and public servers is what had brought PR to the debacle is now. Similar to Detroit, with different circumstances, but deeply rooted in corruption and very bad administration.

Dec. 16 2013 12:53 PM

Puerto Rico has been a very low intensity war for over 100 years since the U.S. occupation began in 1898. It is like the domestic colonies called ghettos, barrios, reservations and trailer parks in the mainland. Which is the economic group that profits from the conditions under which people are forced to live under financial, military and cultural domination (without real choices or alternatives)?

The option between democrats and republicans in the mainland is between two hydra heads of the same corporate monopoly regime. In the colonies they jointly administer genocide, enslavement, invasions, occupations, repressions, and exploitation without the choice of economic redistribution of resources, progressively taxing wealth, freezing prices, as well as democratizing decision making in every workplace and budgetary process.

Dec. 16 2013 10:18 AM

There is a remarkably simple link between all of the state and local governments that are now facing ruinous debt. From Detroit, to the Illinois and California state pension systems, and now to Puerto Rico; they have all been led, virtually exclusively, by Democrats for a couple of political generations.

Dec. 16 2013 09:20 AM

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