Thursday, November 4, 2010

After the Midterm Elections

With the newly elected Republican majority now in control of the U.S House of Representatives, a cloud of uncertainty looms over Washington and the direction in which the U.S will be heading. Should the Republicans fulfill their campaign promises of decreasing government spending and dismantling Obama's "monstrosity" health insurance plan, Puerto Rico will find itself in quite a precarious situation. As I've mentioned before in an earlier blog post, the island is hugely dependent on federal funding to build roads, maintain its schools and create jobs. Puerto Rico received $6.5 billion in federal stimulus money from Obama's $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), and $6 billion in Medicaid funding for the next decade.

Despite the role of significance in which federal funds play in the Puerto Rican economy, not much attention has been given to the U.S midterm elections. In fact, there was more talk about Ricky Martin's appearance on Oprah, the first since declaring himself to be a gay man. It was Ricky who actually made the front cover news in two out of the three main newspapers on the island, Primera Hora and El Vocero. That just goes to show where people's priorities lie. Most boricuas were appreciative to receive, and some are still anxiously waiting, the so-called "el cheque de Obama" (translation: Obama's check), in reference to the stimulus check in which taxpayers received. The saving grace was the headline on the island's main newspaper, El Nuevo Día, which had a photo of the U.S President and the following headline: "Revés para Obama" (translation: "A Setback for Obama."). It could also easily have read: "Revés para la isla." Time will tell. Some may say less federal funding is a good thing for Puerto Rico, in order for the island to develop its own economic wherewithal. Nevertheless, this viewpoint is not shared by the majority of Puerto Ricans living on the island.

(Image by Minh Uong of the New York Times)

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