Stiglitz: ‘Puerto Rico, don’t let this crisis go to waste’
by Michelle Kantrow-Vázquez and Lorraine Blasor, February 24, 2014, News is My Business (excerpts)
Puerto Rico needs to make “clear demands” to the U.S. government regarding what is needed to pull through its present difficulties, including requesting more flexibility with the Jones Act, a legislation that is also hurting Hawaii.
So suggested Economist and 2001 Nobel laureate in Economic Sciences Joseph Stiglitz, keynote speaker at the Center for a New Economy’s annual conference, who also said Puerto Rico “can’t let this crisis go to waste.”
“When you face a crisis both in the public and private sector, hopefully it focuses attention on what needs to be done and what can be done and go beyond the simplistic solutions of “’we have to tighten our belt’,” he said.
“We have to tighten our belt may not be the answer. Yes, you may have to, but that’s only the beginning of the discussion, not the end of the discussion,” he said….
For one, he said Puerto Rico has to look at its high electricity prices, which are a problem for development. Furthermore, he said the island needs to invest in education, because “doing so will be felt in the long-term and not doing so will also be felt in the long-term.”
“Something Puerto Rico can do fairly quickly, however, is to start putting pressure on the U.S. government, which may have more resonance now that there’s a crisis than they may have had 20 years ago,” Stiglitz said.
The island needs to ask the U.S. government to revisit the Jones Act and the extra costs abiding by the law represents for Puerto Rico. Another issue he said should be brought into focus is the way U.S. transfer programs are structured, which he said are not designed for an economy with a per capita income such as Puerto Rico’s.
“Tell the U.S. you need more flexibility, not more money….”
read … ‘Puerto Rico, don’t let this crisis go to waste’
CNE: Stiglitz, The Price of Inequality
2012: Clinton’s chief economist supports Jones Act reform for Hawaii