Thursday, June 16, 2011

Elogian las políticas de Fortuño

Elogian las políticas de Fortuño

El gobernador dice que para botar empleados públicos hay que actuar rápido como al “quitarse una curita”

Luis Fortuño dijo que para reducir el tamaño de un gobierno hay que hacerlo rápidamente. (Ismael Fernández/END)

Por Edwin J. Rodríguez Rivera /

Una columna de opinión publicada en el portal Fox News elogió la política de gobierno de Luis Fortuño y consideró que los miles de despidos de empleados públicos son una forma de resolver la crisis fiscal que enfrentan algunos estados.

El columnista John Stossel citó además a Fortuño diciendo que botar a 17,000 empleados públicos fue como “quitarse una curita”.

En el escrito, Stossel habla de la “necesidad de hacer recortes en el gasto gubernamental” y menciona como ejemplos en esta línea de pensamiento a los republicanos Chris Christie, gobernador de New Jersey; Scott Walker, gobernador de Wisconsin; Rick Scott, gobernador de Florida, y John Kasich, gobernador de Ohio. “Pero tú probablemente no conoces a Luis Fortuño”, lee el artículo de Stossel.

Contestando a las preguntas del periodista, Fortuño explicó que la situación fiscal de la Isla era tal que “no teníamos para pagar el primer cheque de nómina… Nuestros impuestos eran tan altos como era posible… Traigamos al sector privado. Ellos harán un mejor trabajo y más barato”.

Asimismo, el gobernador aconsejó a otros líderes que deseen reducir el gasto de su gobierno. "Haz lo que necesites hacer rápidamente, como cuando te quitas un ‘Band-Aid’ (famosa marca de curitas). Sólo hazlo. Y entonces muévete a cosas mejores", afirmó el mandatario puertorriqueño.

The Money Hole
by John Stossel

06/15/2011 America is falling deeper into debt. We're long past the point where drastic action is needed. We're near Greek levels of debt. What's going to happen?

Maybe riots -- like we've seen in Greece?

We need to make cuts now.

Some governors have shown the way. You know about Chris Christie, Scott Walker, Rick Scott, John Kasich, etc. But you probably don't know about Luis Fortuno.

Fortuno is governor of Puerto Rico. Two years ago, he fired 17,000 government workers. No state governor did anything like that. He cut spending much more than Walker did in Wisconsin. In return, thousands of union members demonstrated against Fortuno for days. They clashed with police. They called him a fascist

Fortuno said he had to make the cuts because Puerto Rico's economy was a mess.

"Not just a mess. We didn't have enough money to meet our first payroll."

Fortuno's predecessors had grown Puerto Rico's government to the point that the state employed one out of every three workers. By the time he was elected, Puerto Rico was broke. So the new conservative majority, the first in Puerto Rico in 40 years, shrank the government.

What was cut?

"Everything. I started with my own salary."

The protesters said he should raise taxes instead of cutting spending.

"Our taxes were as high as they could be, actually much higher than most of the country. So what we've done is the opposite." Fortuno reduced corporate taxes from 35 percent to 25 percent. He reduced individual income taxes. He privatized entire government agencies.

"Bring in the private sector," Fortuno said. "They will do a better job. They will do it cheaper."

Fortuno's advice for leaders who want to shrink the state: "Do what you need to do quickly, swiftly, like when you take off a Band-Aid. Just do it. And move on to better things."

Canada did that years ago.

When I think Canada, I think big government. I'm embarrassed that I didn't know that in the mid-'90s, Canada shrank its government. It had to. Its debt level was as bad as ours is today, almost 70 percent of the economy. Canada's finance minister said: "We are in debt up to our eyeballs. That can't be sustained."

Economist David Henderson, a Canadian who left Canada for the United States, remembers when The Wall Street Journal called the Canadian dollar "the peso of the north." It was worth just 72 American cents. "Moody's put the Canadian federal debt on a credit watch," Henderson said.

The problem, he added, was that Canada had a government safety net that was more like a hammock.

"When I was growing up in Canada, people who went on unemployment insurance were said to go in the 'pogie.' You could work as little as eight weeks, taking the rest of the year off."

So in 1995 Canadian leaders cut unemployment benefits and other programs. It happened quietly because it was a liberal government, and liberals didn't want to criticize their own. The result was that Canada's debt stopped increasing. As the government ran budget surpluses, the debt went down.

"The economy boomed," Henderson said. "Think about what government does. Government wastes most of what it spends, and so just cutting government and having that money in the hands of people means it's going to be used more valuably."

Canada fired government workers, but unemployment didn't increase. In fact, it fell from 12 percent to 6 percent. Canadian unemployment is still well below ours. And the Canadian dollar rose from just 72 American cents to $1.02 today.

Canada also raised some taxes. But the spending cuts were much bigger, six to one: agriculture was cut 22 percent; fisheries, 27 percent; natural resources, almost 50 percent.

"We should learn from Canada's experience that you can cut government substantially," Henderson said. "It is so wasteful. There's so much to cut, without causing much real pain -- not causing pain, but helping your economy grow, helping people become better off."

Henderson added, "We need to move more quickly than the Canadians did. Unfortunately, we're moving more slowly than the Canadians did."

If we're moving at all.

While Canada thrives, we pour more money down the hole.