Puerto Rico: On top of Everything Else, GOP Tax Bill is Racist

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

Puerto Rico’s governor, Ricardo Rosselló Nevares, sent a letter to all the members of Congress yesterday, begging on bended knee for a supplemental disaster aid appropriation.

That he had to write this letter is a profound embarrassment to the United States, since he had to remind the federal legislators that the 3.4 million residents of Puerto Rico are US *citizens*.

“No governor,” he said, “should be in the position of having to negate hope after a catastrophic disaster, owing to the inaction of Congress.”

He pointed out that “American citizens living in Puerto Rico …have been struck this year by two of the most catastrophic hurricanes in the modern history of the Island.”

Some 150,000 Puerto Ricans have been forced to leave the islands for the mainland because of lack of basic services like electricity and potable water, or 4.4% of the population!

Only 64% of the electricity has been restored, and clean water is also still not available to everyone.

But here is the kicker. Not only is it doubtful that Puerto Ricans will get the aid they deserve as Americans, but the tax bill the Republican Plutocrats are in the process of passing screws them over big time.

The bill treats American firms investing in and operating in Puerto Rico as though they are in a foreign country.

Euronews reports,

“Rosselló said the compromise bill includes a 12.5 percent tax on “intangible assets” of U.S. companies, such as a pharmaceutical patent produced in Puerto Rico, and a minimum of a 10 percent tax on companies’ profits abroad. “They are treating Puerto Rico as a foreign jurisdiction so they are levying a full tax,” he said.

Puerto Rico’s problems come in some part from congressional tax policy. The islands lost their favorable tax status in the 1990s with the “contract on America” GOP congress, and also suffer from lack of favorable treatment in shipping tariffs.

I fear there is only one explanation for why Puerto Ricans, who are US citizens, are being treated this way by the Republican Party. It is that the GOP is latently white supremacist and that colors how they see such matters.


Related video added by Juan Cole:

Al Jazeera English: “Puerto Ricans frustrated over lack of aid”

14 Responses

  1. “latently”
    How polite toward potus and con-gress in this life/death confrontation!
    Indict & Impeach – top to bottom – bullys and murderers all.

  2. If Puerto Ricans didn’t speak Spanish and have brown skin Congress and Trump would approve of their existence.

  3. Australia has small island territories that are too small to have separate representation but the principle has been established that Australian citizens living on Australian territory should be represented in the Federal Parliament. Accordingly they vote for, and are represented by, a member of the House of Representatives and two Senators for either the Northern Territory or the Australian Capital Territory (equivalent of DC.) The US should have full Congressional representation for the millions of Puerto Rican Americans but for smaller island territories perhaps the Australian model could be considered.

  4. Given that the Governor’s party is considered the more conservative one other than its advocacy for statehood and is therefore the GOP’s natural ally, you might also say that this proves Republicans take the votes of conservative people of color for granted. But of course, these days you can be as conservative as Reagan or the Bushes and still be denounced by the President and the ideological priesthoods of all the dominant factions of the Right as a Commie.

  5. I think it needs to be said much more forcefully that the GOP is by no means “latently” white supremacist or racist. Given the historic trajectory of the party:

    1. There was Barry Goldwater’s opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

    2. Nixon’s Southern Strategy.

    3. Reagan starting his campaign in 1980 in Philadelphia Mississippi where civil rights workers were murdered with the help of local police in 1964, and his coded terms about “welfare queens” and “young bucks” abusing food stamps.

    4. Lee Atwater, Willie Horton, and George H. W. Bush’s gruesome 1988 campaign (that now looks, post Trump, like a children’s tea party).

    5. Bush II’s response to Katrina (despite his relatively diverse cabinet).

    6. And let’s not forget the campaign by various surrogates in the right wing hate industry who spent the years after Bush whipping up animus among the base whose head collectively exploded at the election of a black president – birtherism anyone?

    7. The GOP embrace of a creature who started his campaign with openly bigoted remarks about Mexicans, which easily morphed into equally discriminatory remarks against Muslims, people of color, and women.

    I am sorry to be repetitive, but it simply cannot be said enough: At some point the GOP must be outlawed as a white supremacist hate group. And we might add, given their standard bearer in the White House, that there are now further grounds for outlawing the party as one that is frankly and blatantly anti-constitutional and pro-fascist (see, e.g., questioning the first amendment, attempting to undermine a free press, an independent judiciary, ignoring the emoluments clause, the response to Charlottesville, the spider Bannon still squirting his poison into the king’s ear, not to mention dereliction of duty in providing for the common defense or promoting the general welfare). Moreover, if they manage to strip millions of health care with that sham piece of “legislation” known as the tax bill, then hell, we can add in crimes against humanity (since countless Americans will die for want of health care) – in fact, why not use Puerto Rico as a pretext, since the on-going disaster is one manufactured by the GOP.

    In my books there are no good Republicans: if you stand with a bigoted anti-constitutionalist authoritarian, to me that pretty much makes you a bigoted anti-constitutionalist authoritarian, whether that is a member of Congress, the White House, or just one of their ignorant supporters in the street, and they have long since shown their truest nature.

    And as always: pars republicana delenda est!

    • Dear Grumpy Great Grandpa,
      If people who agree with your comment about outlawing the Repulbican party were to gain 5 seats on the Supreme Court and 67 seats in the Senate and 300 seats in the House, and 34 govenorships and the Republican Party was outlawed there would still be a civil war in America.
      If on the other hand BOTH of the major corrupt pariies were outlawed there would be a huge sigh of relief in America from hundreds of millions of people and everyone would go to back to work just as if nothing important had happened.
      Yes it is true that realistically, currently, only the Democratic Party would have a chance in hell of getting those type of results in through a democratic process. They certainly would not outlaw themselves.
      But if we wanted to imagine a situation in which the Republicans could be outlawed, say a massive victory by the Greens, or Libertarians, this winning power would have to outlaw both parties.
      If we were to indulge ourselves, and smoke a lot of pot, we might imagine a scenaria in which perhaps at some point in the future the vote is very divided up and through luck or perhaps even cheating the Greens or Libertarians achieve these formal results. if that were the case and the new leadership wanted to actually act on your suggestion Republicans would be enraged that their party alone had been outlawed. But if the Democratic Party were simultaneously outlawed Republicans would be molified, and vice versa.
      Is it not true that the overwhelming majority of the voters do not vote for someone that they like they vote against someone that they do not like.

      • I am no fan of the Dems – I have voted Green and I’ve voted Nader, but dammit, I am now done with that after the past election. Hillary was far from perfect, but nowhere near the menace that Trump represents.

        Both-siderism was proven a bankrupt way of looking at the world last year. If you think both sides are equally nefarious then at this point I just think that is some sort of hipster stance. You don’t prove that you are cool by being cynical – you just prove that you are foolish and willing to wreak enormous damage for the sake of an empty point (see, at this late date, Glen Greenwald).

        Yeah, Dems have failed on a lot of fronts – I am not fond of them and their support for corporate America and forever wars. But you defend health care, a diverse society, women’s rights, the climate, academic freedom, research and science, and a relatively healthy economy with the political party you have, not the one you would like to have.

        I’ve lived in other countries I consider civilized. If I had the resources I would exit the US tomorrow to escape what I see as inevitable fascism, or worse, civil unrest. I am hoping that by the time that happens I will.

        We are all of us running out the clock. And by the way, screw the concerns of Republicans – after all, didn’t they just say that to all of us with their lethal tax bill, the first big step in gutting Social Security and Medicare.

        What do you call Paul Ryan in prison? A good start. Hell, I’ve paid into Social Security for 40 years and now he wants to take it away – let’s all make a massive citizen’s arrest for theft.

        • Both siderism has not been proven bankrupt to me. You list a number of things that the democrats are defending. From my perspective that list is made up of things that the Democratic Party is only pretending to defend.
          From my perspective not all Democrats are in on the con. None the less the con of two parties competing with each other is an extraordinarily good con. The con is so good because it is very hard to imagine the details of how the con is actually coordinated in an apparently changing environment.
          E V E N if I am overly syndical and American democracy really is more real than the World Wide Wrestling Federation it would still be true that if some people tried to arrest only Republicans and or ban only the Republican Party they would meet even more resistance than if they banned both parties. The first ban would be viewed as an underhanded partisan attack by godless commies against the off spring of America’s greatest generation, attempting to eventually turn America in to a provence of Russia, or Iran, or maybe even North Korea.
          If the second ban were actually enacted, I would be willing to bet 100 dollars, which is a lot of money for me, that this ban would be viewed by almost everyone as an even handed intervention by authorities that are going to restore the Presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower, or John F. Kennedy.

  6. Can people whose legal residence is on Puerto Rico, vote in the presidential election year, for choice of US president? Does our constitution prohibit that vote?

      • This is only partially accurate.

        Even though Puerto Rican residents were granted U.S. citizenship in 1917 by an Act of Congress and were immediately subject to a military draft that year, Puerto Ricans do NOT vote in general presidential elections nor do they nominate Electors to the Electoral College.

        That said, both the Democratic and Republican party organizations hold primary elections for the purpose of sending delegates to the national party conventions every four years – so Puerto Ricans have a say in who is nominated from these parties.

  7. Excuse my lack of knowledge and dyslexia.

    I believe that the American voters are not going to counter the sick and dangerous control that Trump has unless the corrupt news media including PBS (Public Bull Shat) is replaced with intelligent, truthful and wise news and information, and that the ignorant, non-wise and gutless Electoral College electors for each state are replaced with wise and intelligent electors that would never vote in a known woman abuser, a liar and a possible angry, manic depressive individual that tweets nonsense.

    Shouldn’t there be written and oral exams by the government for all government positions including the President and vice president of the United States?

    I read one of Trump’s tweets and was total amazed at the ignorance shown. Doesn’t the President and other government officials consult with experts on their staff before making public remarks, decisions or submitting executive orders to avoid making mistakes – England will arrest Trump if he lands in England.

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