Puerto Rico’s Troubled Economy And Dissent Over Statehood Options

Puerto Rico’s Troubled Economy And Dissent Over Statehood Options

Puerto Rico has been in recession for eight years with double-digit unemployment and more than $100 billion in debt. Diane and her guests explore Puerto Rico's troubled economy, dissent over statehood and what it means for the U.S.

Puerto Rico has been a U.S. territory for more than a century. In 1917, its people were granted American citizenship. Then in the 1970s, Congress granted special tax breaks to corporations locating on the island. This briefly led to an economic boom. But a change in U.S. tax laws combined with a global recession dramatically altered Puerto Rico’s fortunes. For the past eight years, the island has been in recession with double-digit unemployment and a $100 billion debt burden. Only 40 percent of working-age Puerto Ricans are employed. And more than 100,000 have left for the U.S. mainland. Diane and her guests explore the troubled economy of Puerto Rico and what it means for the U.S.


Michael Fletcher

national economics reporter, The Washington Post.

Barbara Kotschwar

research fellow, Peterson Institute for International Economics and adjunct professor of Latin American studies and economics, Georgetown University.

Pedro Pierluisi

congressman and resident commissioner of Puerto Rico, a non-voting member who caucuses with the Democrats; member of the New Progressive Party (NPP).

Jose Raul Perales

executive director, Association of American Chambers of Commerce in Latin America (AACCLA); former trade policy adviser, government of Puerto Rico; adjunct professor, The George Washington University.

Please familiarize yourself with our Code of Conduct and Terms of Use before posting your comments.

Our address has changed!

The Diane Rehm Show is produced by member-supported WAMU 88.5 in Washington DC.