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Puerto Rico demands generosity

The airwaves and newspapers have been filled with complaints about how the United States was not moving fast enough in aiding Puerto Rico after they it was devastated by a hurricane. Also on TV, there were reports of the citizens of Puerto Rico doing absolutely nothing to help themselves.

The seaports were filled with thousands of containers containing food, water, supplies, gasoline and medical supplies. While the people of Puerto Rico complained, food was rotting because only 20 percent of the truck drivers showed up to deliver these items (provided by the United States) throughout the country. Our U.S. Navy hospital ship was there providing health care to anyone and everyone who needed it. The seaports were crowded with U.S. ships taking relief to them. Private planes filled with humanitarian aid were crowding the airports, yet there was no distribution system for that, either. Yet the people are spitting venom at us here in the U.S. for not helping them or acting quickly enough.

Puerto Rico filed for bankruptcy as a nation in midyear 2016. This commonwealth has been sucking money and entitlements from the United States for years. Their elected leaders promised massive unfunded pension plans to get elected into office. This tiny island in the Caribbean bankrupted out of $74 billion in bond debt that was held by banks in the U.S. but, somehow, the $49 billion in unfunded pension obligations remained on the books.

The people have a culture in which there is really no infrastructure -- nor could they afford to build quality roads and bridges due to the inadequate tax revenues which go mostly to fund retirement payments required by the unions and endorsed by the elected officials who want to remain elected.

The elected freeloaders are the very ones who are complaining the loudest that the U.S. is not doing its part to help them after the hurricane. The 1.5 million people from Puerto Rico who have legally trespassed into the United States are screaming that we should do more to help them.

They never built the necessary electric grid to weather such a storm (pun intended). Therefore, there is no electricity on most of the island.

They don't have cell phone service because the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico owns the cell towers and they are unable to accumulate the manpower from their own people to meet the needs after the hurricane. Yet they complain that the U.S. is not doing enough.

After their bankruptcy only a year ago, they have accumulated another $70 billion in debt due to their continued deficit spending.

The educated people, teachers, doctors and other professionals who would make the most money and pay the most taxes are leaving Puerto Rico in droves. Nearly a million people have migrated to the U.S. in just the last two years. Schools are closing. The work force has been diminishing. Unemployment is increasing. Tax revenues are down.

The United States currently funds most of the public welfare in Puerto Rico, including health benefits, subsidized public housing and food stamps. The interesting thing is that the food stamps ($2 billion annually) are is disseminated to them in the form of cash, with no control over how it is spent.

Puerto Rico wants to become the 51st state. The liberal socialists in the U.S. would like that because that would give them another 3 million or so votes as a Blue State.

In an effort to appease these liberals, President Obama attempted to get our U.S. Congress to grant Social Security retirement benefits. Yes, this would solve their unfunded retirement dilemma -- at expense, tremendous expense, to the United States taxpayer. This would mean paying large amounts of money over an extended time to people who never paid into the Social Security system. The same would apply to extended health care benefits like Medicare. Obama also urged Congress to change the bankruptcy laws so that the island country could get out of paying its debts.

Now, today, they expect (no, they demand) that the U.S. take care of them. Quite frankly, I, for one, would rather us use that money to pay for benefits for Wounded Warriors and their families and the veterans who have fought for and on behalf of the citizens of the United States.

We are a very generous nation; but, I sure would like for those who receive our hard-earned dollars, in the form of gifts and entitlements, to show gratitude and not demand our generosity.

John Grillo has been a resident of Hot Springs for 17 years and lived in Little Rock the previous 28 years. Although retired today, he has been an entrepreneur involved in commercial real estate development, banking, retail stores and restaurants.

Editorial on 10/08/2017

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