Fortuño: Tear down this wall!

I can't do it! I can't tear it down...When the results of an election bring distinct change, as has happened here with Fortuño and with Obama, there is a feeling of hope, of closure, of finally being able to move on and focus on something else besides how bad things have been. They often call these times a catharsis, for they bring about "purification", "cleansing" or "clarification."

Another such moment was the famous challenge from United States President Ronald Reagan to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to "Tear down this wall!", by which he meant destroy the Berlin Wall.

Reflections on an election

For me, there has to be something very seriously wrong when during an election, every candidate from every party runs upon a platform of change. What does that mean? It is especially confusing when the party with the incumbent candidate vows to bring about change; just how does that change work? Vote for me, I know I've really screwed the pooch so far, but I promise I'm going to screw things up less next time?

In Nuero-Linguistic Programming it is said that people are motivated by either moving away from pain or moving towards pleasure. So many are saying that people voted for Fortuño because he represented "the hope for a return to better times", in other words, pleasure. I say poppycock (see below for translation). If there was any mandate, in my opinion, the results of this year's election indicate a complete rejection of Acevedo Vila and eight years of the worst leadership this country has seen. Need proof? Over 53% of the un-affiliated, 39% of the voters affiliated with the PPR party, 17% of the voters affiliated with with PIP party, and 6% of the voters affiliated with PDP party voted for Fortuño. While many cry (supposedly 51%) that it was the economy that most influenced their vote, many, like me, just couldn't tolerate 4 more years of the same lack of leadership.

Looking forward...

While the pots already on the stove, and Fortuño is stirring things up, we won't know whether his soup of change has made a difference for quite a while. He faces a constituency which is very "picky" and has many different tastes. So I guess, while most people are hopeful, they are also realistic and recognize that Fortuño will need a magic wand to fix all of the pressing problems we have. I do believe that he will be successful and be able to ease the burden we have suffered in the form of high energy costs, the IVU, and other "taxes" like the large increase in the tolls. But I believe that it is fantasy to hope for Fortuño to save our economy.

Let's be clear. The only thing that can save our economy is jobs. What kind of jobs? High paying, specialized, technology-based jobs requiring a highly trained (prepared) work force. We can not sustain our economy (or the illusion of growth) based on retail or food service industry jobs, which seems to employee a larger percentage of our population every day. It's certain, that Fomento will be successful in attracting some jobs to fill that need. But even if succeed beyond their wildest dreams, the number of new jobs will only number into the tens of thousands. But it won't be enough.

Statistics indicate that over 1/3 of our workforce is employed by the government. I believe there are around 1 million people working and paying taxes (let's forget, for now, about that other underground work force). That means that over 330 thousand people work for the government. Most economists agree, that Puerto Rico must reduce that number. However, any candidate that entertains any thought of re-election must not piss off that block of voters; which are large enough to affect any election.

If you accept that, if we reduce the government by 1/3 or half (as some call for), that means there will be between 100 and 165 thousand people newly unemployed. Notice how large a discrepancy there is between those numbers and the amount of jobs Fomento could possibly attract?

Painful conclusion

In my very humble opinion, the only path which leads to the growth we need is through great suffering, involving both sacrifice and investment. SO, for me, if Fortuño wants to "save" Puerto Rico's economy he must do two things. First he must "Tear down this government!" and he must place us firmly on a path towards foreign oil independence. For while re-inventing the government is going to cause havoc, pretending to be able to sustain (or grow) our economy with anything less than essentially starting over, is, what's that word again, oh yeah, poppycock. And while I'm saddened to see Rogelio Figeroa's platform of energy independence swirl down the toilet, I know concede that he was right.

Translation of poppycock: Anglicized form of the Dutch pappekak, which literally means soft dung or diarrhea (from Dutch pap pap + kak dung) - is an interjection meaning "nonsense" or "balderdash". Hehe, I think I'll be using this interjection more often. Certainly sounds more sophisticated than saying I think that sounds like shit.



17 de noviembre de 2008, 11:05
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Unfortunately, the goverment that really effects change and tries the measures needed to improve our situation has no hope of being reelected so the continuation of the patching strategy will continue until we have a real crisis like Argentina, Brazil or Dominican Republic.
Now that our masters have problems of their own there is a good chance we will hit the real bottom and maybe be able to work real solutions

MC Don Dees

17 de noviembre de 2008, 12:03
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Thanks for the comment, and as always, thanks for the readership.

You've given me an idea for my next post, but first a little story. Well let's hope it's little.

A highly successful man one day noticed that while his car was once luxurious (and the envy of all), it was now run down and failing frequently. He cursed the bad roads as being responsible for the condition of his car.

While he wanted to buy a new luxury car he couldn't. He had already refinanced his house 15 times and most of his credit cards were maxed out. He cursed his employer for not paying him more, even though he was frequently absent and rarely did anything more than what was asked of him.

Frustrated at his situation, he did the only thing he could. With the last bit of his credit he bought a new LCD 54" television set, renewed his Direct TV contract, and bought three cases of Heineken.

The End.