Fortuño’s Plan to Energize Puerto Rico

Mary O’Grady’s article in today’s WSJ, Fortuño’s Plan to Energize Puerto Rico
Tax cuts and regulatory reforms are increasing investment on the island
, nails it,

Mr. Fortuño says that he expects Washington to give him a carve-out for LNG tankers, but he doesn’t have it yet. He also says that a large part of the environmentalist push-back is political, suggesting to me that he ought to be more worried than he is. This kind of politics needs to preserve the status quo of the welfare state. And that implies blocking Mr. Fortuño’s development agenda no matter what it means to the poor.

Read the whole article.

Fortuño has made great progress, as he explained in this 2011 Reason interview,

Puerto Rico is now the second-most competitive economy in our hemisphere Latin America. [Correction: Puerto Rico is the second in Latin America, after Chile; fourth in our Hemisphere, after US, Canada and Chile, according to the 2010-11 Global Competitiveness Report, page 15.]

A huge problem, however, is the Puerto Rican mentality of dependence on the government: government jobs, Medicaid, unemployment benefits, welfare, Social Security, name it, the average Puerto Rican looks first to any of those and rarely, if ever, to self-employment or entrepreneurship, even when thousands of Dominicans and Haitians come to the island illegally to work off-the-books on their own.

As I was watching the film Runaway Slave last week, I kept thinking that Puerto Rico, in order to flourish, must get off the welfare state plantation.

Fortuño has his work cut out for him.

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