Our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico are facing the country’s largest economic and fiscal debt crisis in history. It is so crippling, leaders must decide between repaying debts to rapacious lenders or providing basic and much-needed services to their community. Residents of Puerto Rico are drowning in tax hikes, and outmigration is further threatening the stability of localities within the commonwealth.
The crisis and its outcome affect not just the Puerto Rican economy, but the nearly 4 million U.S. citizens that currently reside on the island, the 5 million Puerto Rican-Americans who live within the 50 states and the collective Hispanic-American population of this country.
Too much on the line for inaction to continue. Puerto Rico and its residents are part of America. We must treat this crisis as we would one facing a friend or neighbor. Without a helping hand, jobs will continue to be lost while lenders profit yet again. Long-term financial recovery is achievable and the United States government can help. Whether through debt restructuring, market oversight, revaluation of trade restrictions or a combination of various solutions, helping Puerto Rico achieve and maintain stability isn’t just what’s best for everyone, it’s the right thing to do.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt said it best: “If your neighbor’s house is on fire, you don’t haggle over the price of your garden hose.” America is the greatest country in the world. It’s time to come together with our neighbor and overcome this fight hand-in-hand.
Keith L.T. Wright is a New York assemblyman representing Harlem and is a candidate for United States Congress, NY-13.