Storm dealt Puerto Rico knockout blow after decades of fiscal failure, corruption
Six months after Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico, many leaders there are pointing the finger at Washington, but the scandal, corruption and waste that now plague the U.S. territory were around long before last summer's storm.
Decades of dysfunction, mismanagement and embarrassing abuses of power left Puerto Rico reeling well before the storm delivered a knockout blow, say obervers. Enormous debt, absurd infrastructure projects and a tradition of corruption have hampered the commonwealth's ability to get off the canvas.
“There’ve been so many problems that have built up year after year,” Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., told Fox News. “It’s a tough situation.”
Reckless spending sprees by a revolving door of politicians have turned the commonwealth into a bloated bureaucracy that can’t pay its bills and yet enjoys the benefits of a welfare society without any of the responsibilities attached to it.
Before Maria hit in September, Puerto Rico was already navigating the biggest bankruptcy in U.S. government history at a whopping $120 billion in combined bond and pension debt.