The White House had to walk back President Trump’s off-hand comment that in the wake of the destruction caused by Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico’s debt would have to be cancelled. This triggered a major decline of the island government’s general obligation bonds on Wall Street.
But former White House speechwriter Ken Masugi explains how Puerto Rico became dysfunctional before the hurricane. First Spanish rule and then governorship by New Deal brain truster Rexford Tugwell and a succession of Progressives created a culture of dependency — vs. the “can do” civic culture of Texas and Florida.
In the aftermath of the hurricane, an exodus of overwhelmingly Democratic Puerto Ricans to swing state Florida is expected. The cash-starved national Republican Party is ill-equipped to counter the expected influx.