Don’t Lecture Greece on Welfare: Puerto Rico USA Is Much Worse
BY CHRISS W. STREET
With Greece defaulting on its debt, the press has been full of complaints that the lazy Greeks would like to live off of welfare and government handouts rather than work.
But Puerto Rico, USA also just defaulted on its debt and by most objective measures is much worse than the Greeks regarding work, welfare, and government handouts. Mainland Americans should learn from Puerto Rico’s example of how our own socialistic labor and tax policies can devastate an economy.
The common stereotype is to label the Greeks as lazy, because only 52 percent of the nation is currently working. But only 43 percent of Puerto Ricans,USA are employed. Greeks actually work the longest work week in Europe at 42 hours.
Greek politicians are seen as trying to buy votes by spending 29 percent of the nation’s GDP on government “transfer payments” for disability, housing, family, old age, unemployment and health. But transfer payments in Puerto Rico, USA amount to over 40 percent of GDP.
What is killing the Greek economy is being locked into the laws and currency of the European Union. What is killing the Puerto Rican economy is being locked into the laws and currency of the United States.
The territory is required by federal law to pay the USA minimum wage of $7.25, versus the Greek minimum wage of $4.42 an hour. Although the median income in Puerto Rico, USA is only half that of the poorest US state, Mississippi, welfare benefits are about the same in Puerto Rico as Mississippi.
The 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act subjected Puerto Rico, USA to a federal minimum wage, but it was not until 1983 that a 1974 act, which required that the Island match the mainland’s minimum wage, was fully phased in. The current Federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour is 77 percent of Puerto Rico, USA’s current median wage of $9.42 an hour. By contrast, the US mainland’s minimum wage is only 43 percent of the U.S. median wage of almost $17 per hour. It would take an average minimum wage of $13 an hour to match that Puerto Rico proportion.
An unsupportably high minimum wage has meant that entry level jobs simply don’t exist in Puerto Rico, USA. Official unemployment is only 12 percent, but that is only because the labor force participation rate is about 43%, as opposed to 63% on the mainland. The Obama Administration’s demand for a $10.10 minimum wage would mean the minimum Puerto Rico SA wage would be higher than the current medium wage on the island. Obama made no provision to exempt Puerto Rico from the impacts of is proposal.
Perhaps to make up for this disastrous employment policy, welfare and entitlement payments are kept high. As a result, the incentive to give up public assistance in favor of a job has been substantially reduced for Puerto Rico, USA. Less than half of working age males are employed, 35 percent of the island’s residents are on food stamps, and 45.4 percent of Puerto Rico, USA is in poverty.
Puerto Rico’s problems were already building prior to the 2008 Financial Crisis. Ignoring the devastating effect of having to comply with the USA minimum wage laws, a new 7 percent sales tax was introduced by Puerto Rico USA in 2006. Based on the expectation of a spike in new sales tax revenues, the Puerto Rico USA government issued lots of new bonds. But the tax tended to inhibit consumer sales and drive more of the economy underground. Instead of the tax improving the island’s finances, the economy tanked and the debt burden grew.
Puerto Rico USA is actually worse off than its impoverished neighbor Cuba. Although Puerto Rico’s $103 billion annual GDP is twice the size of Cuba’s, Puerto Rico’s debt of $73 billion is now over three times larger than Cuba’s debt of $23.44 billion.
Contrary to media stereotypes, the USA consistently spends more on welfare than Canada, while Germany spends more than Greece, according to the Financial Times. A quick look at Puerto Rico USA demonstrates how destructive America’s socialistic labor and tax policies can be to a group of Americans.
Conservative talk radio host and scholar Mark Levin called in to Breitbart News Sunday and blasted “criminal politicians” on both sides of the aisle who keep praising illegal immigrants. Levin emphatically stressed that Republican voters must reject presidential candidates who will not block the left from enacting their radical goals.
Levin, whose new book Plunder and Deceit will be published next month, told host and Breitbart News Executive Chairman Stephen K. Bannon in a wide-ranging interview that conservatives “cannot accept” in this election cycle any candidate who “just wants to get along, show that they can manage” America’s decline.
“We want to elect the most conservative person we can, not [someone] who’s going to support Common Core, who’s going to tell us we have to figure out how to get around the base,” Levin said, in reference to Jeb Bush’s remarks about the need to “lose the primary to win the general” election.
Levin, who is one of the intellectual leaders of the conservative movement, said conservatives need a nominee who “believes in American sovereignty and talks about the Constitution.” He said there are only four or five of those candidates in the field, and “those are the guys I’m going to promote as time goes on.”
Such a candidate will of course be hated by the Republican establishment and their preferred establishment pundits. Levin said, “Virtually every commentator on Fox is going to trash them.”
He added that anti-establishment conservative candidates will also be trashed by “a lot of these [center-right] websites where younger guys have now inherited what prior generations have built.”
Though Levin said he had some reservations about some of Donald Trump’s more liberal stances in the past, he appreciates Trump because he forced the media and politicians to discuss illegal immigration. Levin said that people are currently “rallying around Trump because they want a leader” and are just “sick and tired of the phonies.”
Trump is resonating with Americans, especially the so-called “silent majority,” by speaking bluntly about illegal immigration, and Levin also had some politically incorrect points to make on the subject. While listening to Breitbart News Sunday, Levin said he was particularly bothered by the claim—made by politicians on both sides of the aisle—that there are so many so-called “jobs that Americans will not do.” Levin mentioned that, according to the Census, 73% of janitors are American citizens, as are 51% of maids and housekeepers, 58%of taxi drivers, 64% of landscapers, 66% of construction workers, and 72% of bellhops, porters, and concierges.
But the establishment wings of both parties that do not want to control immigration levels never mention these inconvenient facts. Levin also predicted that the current “push by cities to drive up the minimum wage makes it more likely that people are going to hire illegal aliens in order to undercut the wages of Americans who work in these industries.”
“I wanted to mention these jobs because the majority of these manual labor jobs are done by American citizens, and there’d be more but for the fact that the entire pay structure is undermined by the criminals who come into the country and the criminals who hire them and the criminal politicians who keep praising them,” Levin said.
He added that when listening to Jeb Bush, it seems like he believes “Everybody who comes here is better than every American citizen.”
In the STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) fields, Levin mentioned that studies have found that for every two students who gets a STEM degree, only one is hired in a STEM job. He noted that another study has found that 32% of computer science graduates who are not entering the information technology (IT) workforce say it is because IT jobs are not available, while 53% say they found “other job opportunities.”
That is why Levin said it is a lie when Silicon Valley companies lobby Congress for more H-1b visas and claim that they need more “importation of people from other countries.”
“We are literally forcing out American citizens [from both ends of the economic and jobs spectrum],” Levin said. “I’m a free market capitalist, but we don’t have free market capitalism. We have an iron-fisted centralized welfare state.”
Invoking Reagan, Levin said that “Until we have a new Republican party… this is going to continue.”
The talk radio host said conservatives need to be as “aggressive on our side as Obama is on their side” and “take our message, principles to everybody in the country.” He said a candidate who can “articulate our position, who can expose the other side for killing jobs” and explain how the left is “destroying the future for our children and grandchildren” would give Republicans “a fighting chance.” If Republicans nominate a conservative with those qualities, it would be the first time that many Americans get a chance to vote for a true conservative for president.
“If you are under 45, you have never had an opportunity to vote for a conservative for president,” Levin said (Reagan was the GOP’s last true conservative presidential nominee), emphasizing that voting for a real conservative for president is “invigorating, it’s exciting… you would see how people rally to somebody like that.”
But such a candidate will first have to defeat the GOP establishment that often attacks conservatives more than Democrats.
“I want people to also remember that if the Bush family had its way there would have been no Ronald Reagan,” said Levin, who was an official in Reagan’s Justice Department. He emphasized that the establishment Republicans attacking conservatives today “are the same elements who are invested in big government, who are invested in the redistribution of wealth, who are invested in non-conservative principles while they pretend to be otherwise.”
Levin continued to blast today’s Republican party for not being a “free-market capitalist party” and likened the GOP to the Whigs.
“The Republican party is not a conservative party. It’s not a constitutional party,” Levin said. “It’s not the converse of the Democrat party, which makes no excuses. The Democrat party is a socialist party.”
Levin mentioned that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is a socialist and marxist who is backed by the Communist party. He added that Obama is an Alinskyite and emphasized that Hillary Clinton also met with the famous radical Saul Alinsky and was “enamored with him.”
“That’s them,” Levin said of the left. “That’s who they are.”
In contrast, Levin said that “our side” has “useless and pathetic individuals who are assisting the hard radical left to accomplish their goals.”
“Can you tell me what the Republican Party stands for?” Levin asked. “It stands for nothing. It’s biding its time. It’s treading water. When it turns it guns on anybody, it turns its guns on conservatives.”
He mentioned that in contrast to Reagan, who had 78 vetoes or pocket vetoes, Obama has only vetoed four bills, which means the Republican Congress has not sent him a budget or bills related to immigration or Obamacare that Obama did not like.
“The Republicans have accommodated Obama every step of the way,” Levin said. “They won’t even send him a bill to veto.”
Levin said the GOP establishment so frequently attacks conservatives because the GOP’s leaders are “entrenched in Washington, the bureaucracy, the corporatists, and so forth.”
“This Republican party has lurched so far from Reagan. It’s the Bush party… It’s the Rockefeller party. It’s the
party. It is the
party,” Levin said. “They are bought and paid for by the Chamber of Commerce, by the Silicon Valley and everybody else.”
Explaining how difficult it is to make government more limited and enact reforms, Levin noted that the “federal government is not going to reform itself even if we send the most conservative president,” especially since “One Supreme Court justice can turn the country on its head–and they do it constantly now.” He also said the “massive” and “rogue” federal bureaucracy issues 3,000-6,000 regulations a year, which means thousands of new laws. In addition, Levin said, “Separations of power are meaningless” because “Congress passes bills that are so long they don’t even read them.” Levin also brought up the fact that Obama is using his powers to nationalize millions of acres, “taking them from states and individuals,” by designating them as monuments.
“This is an autocracy,” Levin said. “We are out of control.”
Levin predicted that “Things are really going to get out of hand one of these days” because “financially, there is a point of no return.”
“The laws of economics are like the laws of physics—at some point the politicians won’t be able to fix it even if they want to,” Levin said of the country’s spiraling debt. “I don’t know that we’re there yet, but things are really going to get out of hand one of these days.”
Levin mentioned that the trustees of Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare send letters every year to remind politicians, especially the President of the Senate (Vice President Joe Biden), telling them that “this is unsustainable.” He pointed out, for instance, that the disability insurance for Social Security is set to go bankrupt next year.
“I think it is going to have to get so bad that people are finally going to turn to what the Framers gave us in the Constitution—(Article V convention of the states)—but it may be too late at that point,” Levin said.
In the end, civil disobedience that is peaceful and civil may be the best way for individuals to combat the radical left, especially since they are so willing to use “the government and the instrumentalities of government against us”–like using the law to be lawless and using “the law to protect plunder.”
“We need to become more aggressive both in language [and] in our conduct,” Levin said.
He said he calls for a “new civil rights movement” in his book and chided the left for declaring that “everything they want”—even more big government and redistribution of wealth—is a civil right.
The “real civil rights movement,” according to Levin, “needs to be for liberty and prosperity,” and if Americans “don’t fight for this, we are going to enslave our kids and grandkids… to the worst future imaginable.”
He also said that individuals can decide to engage in acts of civil disobedience on their own. For instance, Levin suggested to college students that “When a marxist professor tells them to do something, do what I did and say, ‘No, I’m not going to do that.’” And unlike the radical left, Levin said, “We’re not going to burn down the administration building or start turning cop cars over and burning down neighborhoods.”
“We need to start making our voices heard everywhere—Hollywood, the media, the classroom,” Levin emphasized. “They are going to have to put up with us whether they like it or not.”
Presidential candidate Donald Trump has been hit in the pocketbook for daring to exercising his freedom of speech. He has lost tens of millions of dollars in response to his politically incorrect yet factually correct comments about illegal immigration.
The establishment media is notorious for ignoring important political issues by concentrating on individual takedowns, but they’d also like you to forget that some pretty powerful democrats used to agree with Donald Trump.
“Asked how he could justify milking the welfare state for so much, al-Sibai – who is under investigation suspected of benefit fraud – said: ‘Ask David Cameron, don’t ask me.’” That’s absolutely right. The UK is funding and enabling its own destruction.
“Living here on £50,000 benefits, the hate preacher who inspired Tunisian beach killer: Cleric lives in five-bedroom home with wife and five children after thwarting deportation attempts for 15 years,” by Paul Bentley, Daily Mail, July 6, 2015:
A leader of the terror group behind the Tunisian beach massacre is living off benefits in Britain, the Mail can reveal.
Jihadi preacher Hani al-Sibai – who described the 7/7 terror attacks in London in 2005 as a ‘great victory’ – is one of the ‘key influencers’ of the Islamic fanatics believed to have recruited and trained gunman Seifeddine Rezgui.
But he is living on £50,000 a year in handouts with his wife and five children in a £1 million house in West London, after using human rights laws to thwart attempts to deport him for more than 15 years.
Days after the atrocity in Tunisia, the Mail found al-Sibai, 54, strolling in the sunshine outside his home.
Asked how he could justify milking the welfare state for so much, al-Sibai – who is under investigation suspected of benefit fraud – said: ‘Ask David Cameron, don’t ask me.’
Last night, there were furious calls to deport al-Sibai, who has also been linked to Islamic State executioner Mohammed Emwazi, known as Jihadi John.
Keith Vaz, chairman of the home affairs select committee, is writing to Home Secretary Theresa May to demand an explanation as to why al-Sibai is still in the country.
‘It is extraordinary that successive governments have been trying but failing to remove someone who has these worrying links,’ he said.
‘The way he has foiled attempts to remove him are a cause for enormous concern.’
Tory MP Peter Bone added: ‘This is the sort of thing that drives my constituents mad. I expect the Home Secretary to deal with this urgently. There is a very strong case for him to be deported. He needs to be dealt with.’
The Mail last week revealed the links between the beach massacre in Tunisia and Islamic extremism in Britain.
Tunisian terror group Ansar al-Sharia – which authorities believe to have recruited and trained Rezgui – was founded and is run by extremist Saifallah Ben Hassine, who became a disciple of hate preacher Abu Qatada in London in the late 1990s.
Ben Hassine, who is said to have plotted the beach massacre from his base in Libya, is also believed to have had a key role in the plotting of 9/11.
Al-Sibai is a close associate of the group. He is cited at length in a 2013 report by the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism in The Hague, and is described as one of Ansar al-Sharia’s ‘key influencers’.
He is also noted for his connection to Ben Hassine, also known as Abu Iyad. ‘Al-Sibai’s involvement in international jihadism runs long and deep,’ the report states. ‘Al-Sibai has maintained his loyalty to Abu Iyad over the years. When Ansar al-Sharia held its Kairouan conference in May 2012, al-Sibai was one of several foreign scholars to address the audience by video.’
Al-Sibai and his family live in a three-storey, four-bedroom home in Ravenscourt Park. The rent for the housing association home is covered by the taxpayer. He parks his Toyota Corolla Verso – which cost £16,995 – in a dedicated disabled spot outside his house.
Al-Sibai and his wife are estimated to be on benefits of more than £48,000 a year – almost double the cap of £26,000. They are able to defy the limit because both are entitled to disability living allowance. Al-Sibai has also used public money to fund a series of legal cases against the Government to stop him being deported and to have his name removed from terrorist sanction lists.
Al-Sibai, who has written about ‘celebrating the anniversary of the martyrdom of Sheikh Osama bin Laden’, was last night under investigation on suspicion of benefit fraud.
The Department for Work and Pensions said: ‘People who commit, plan and support acts of terror will be prosecuted and anyone who has been deported or sent to prison will lose their benefits.’
The Home Office said: ‘We do not routinely comment on individual cases.’
Declares mass migration good economically and socially
BY KURT NIMMO
Following a meeting with Pope Francis, the boss of Goldman-Sachs International and Bilderberg attendee Peter Sutherland said European countries have not taken their “fair share” of refugees from African countries and Syria.
Sutherland told RTÉ radio 240,000 immigrants flooding into Europe each year is not an economic burden on countries such as Germany and the United Kingdom.
On the contrary, he said, a quarter million or more immigrants a year represents an economic and social benefit for Europe, Britain and Ireland.
“Governments have to lead by giving the positive news that migrants are good for a community, economically and every other way rather than constantly expressing them as a burden because they are not really a burden,” Sutherland said. “Within a very short period of time they contribute positively to the community in which they live.”
Sutherland cited studies he said demonstrate the economic benefits of mass migration into Europe from Africa and elsewhere.
Migrants Cost Europe Billions
A report by University College London, however, found that migrants in fact represent a huge economic drain on host countries.
According to the study, non-European migrants living in Britain have drained public finances by almost £120 billion since 1995.
The situation is similar in Germany, by far Europe’s most prosperous and productive nation.
In December, the president of the Ifo Institute for Economic Research, Hans-Werner Sinn, contradicted a study carried out by the Bertelsmann Foundation that concluded each immigrant to the country contributed 22 billion euros ($26,863) to the welfare state in 2012.
Sinn told Frankfurter Allgemeine that in fact “on the net balance sheet, immigration cost the state more in social costs and other issues than it brings in through taxes and social contributions.”
“Faced with this situation, we should finally begin a non-ideological debate on immigration policy which is not driven by the quest for political correctness,” he added.
Despite numerous studies showing the negative economic and social impact of mass migration on Germany and Europe, the European Union, the political establishment and the corporate media are in favor of it.
“Uncontrolled, unskilled Third World immigration is the economics of the madhouse, yet respectable politicians like Herr Schaeuble (Finance Minister) in Germany support it and, until recently, virtually the whole British political establishment were gung-ho for it, and still would be were it not for Nigel Farage,” writes Vincent Cooper.
Contrary to proclamations by Sutherland, Schaeuble, and the political establishment in Europe, the mass migration of Muslims into a largely Christian Europe has resulted in a serious social crisis.
“Europe’s high youth unemployment rate and limited economic mobility has long been cited as a major factor for young people becoming radicalized and joining terrorist organizations like the Islamic State militant groups,” writes Howard Koplowitz .
He cites German Chancellor Angela Merkel who once supported the idea of multiculturalism in Germany.
“We kidded ourselves a while. We said: ‘[Immigrants] won’t stay, sometime they will be gone,’ but this isn’t reality,” she said, according to the BBC. “And of course, the approach [to build] a multicultural [society] and to live side by side and to enjoy each other … has failed, utterly failed.”