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Are Illinois & Puerto Rico Our Future?
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If Gov. Bruce Rauner and his legislature in Springfield do not put a budget together by Friday, the Land of Lincoln will be the first state in the Union to see its debt plunge into junk-bond status.

Illinois has $14.5 billion in overdue bills, $130 billion in unfunded pension obligations, and no budget. “We can’t manage our money,” says Rauner. “We’re like a banana republic.”

Speaking of banana republics, Puerto Rico, which owes $74 billion to creditors who hold its tax-exempt bonds, and $40 billion in unfunded pension liabilities, has already entered bankruptcy proceedings.

The island’s imaginative 38-year-old governor, Ricardo Rossello, however, has a solution. Call Uncle Sam. On June 11, Rossello held a plebiscite, with a 23 percent turnout, that voted 97 percent to make Puerto Rico our 51st state.

“(T)he federal government will no longer be able to ignore the voice of the majority of the American citizens in Puerto Rico,” said Rossello. Washington cannot “demand democracy in other parts of the world, and not respond to the legitimate right to self-determination that was exercised today in the American territory of Puerto Rico.”

Had the governor been talking about the island’s right to become free and independent, he would have had a point. But statehood inside the USA is something Uncle Sam decides.

Rossello calls to mind Count Mountjoy of Grand Fenwick, who, in “The Mouse that Roared,” plotted to rescue his bankrupt duchy by declaring war on the U.S., sailing to America to surrender, and then demanding the foreign aid America bestows on defeated enemies.

Yet Puerto Rico’s defaults on its debts may soon be our problem. Many bond funds in which Americans have invested their savings and retirement money are full of Puerto Rican bonds.

According to The New York Times, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Northern Marianas and Guam are in the same boat. With 100,000 people, the Virgin Islands owe $6.5 billion to pensioners and creditors.

Then there is Connecticut, a state that has long ranked in the top tier in per capita income and wealth.

Connecticut, too, appears wobbly. Rising pension benefits, the cost of servicing the state debt and falling tax revenue due to fleeing residents and companies like Aetna and General Electric, have dropped Connecticut to near the national bottom in growth prospects.

“The state’s population is falling: Its net domestic out-migration was nearly 30,000 from 2015 to 2016. In 2016, it lost slightly more than 8,000 people, leaving its population at 3.6 million,” reports Fox News: “(R)ecent national moving company surveys (show) more people leaving Connecticut than moving in. In 2016, the state also saw a population decline for the third consecutive year.”

As its example of a welfare state going belly up, the EU offers us Greece. And questions arise from all of these examples. Is this an inexorable trend? Has the old New Deal formula of “tax and tax, spend and spend, and elect and elect” finally run its course?

Across the West, social welfare states are threatened by falling revenues, taxpayer flight, rising debt as a share of GDP, sinking bond ratings and proliferating defaults.


Record high social welfare spending is among the reasons that Western nations skimp on defense. Even the Americans, who spent 9 percent of GDP on defense under President Kennedy and 6 percent under President Reagan, are now well below that, though U.S. security commitments are as great as they were in the Cold War.

Among NATO nations, the U.S. is among the least socialist, with less than 40 percent of GDP consumed by government at all levels. France, with 57 percent of GDP siphoned off, is at the opposite pole.

Yet even here in America we no longer grow at 4 percent a year, or even 3 percent. We seem to be nearing a point of government consumption beyond the capacity of the private sector to provide the necessary funds.

Some Democrats are discovering there are limits to how much the government can consume of the nation’s wealth without adversely affecting their own fortunes. And in the Obamacare debate this week, Republicans are running head-on into the reality that clawing back social welfare benefits already voted may be political suicide.

Has democratic socialism passed its apogee?

Native-born populations in the West are aging, shrinking and dying, not reproducing themselves. The cost of pensions and health care for the elderly is inexorably going up. Immigration into the West, almost entirely from the Third World, is bringing in peoples who, on balance, take more in social welfare than they pay in taxes.

Deficits and national debts as a share of GDP are rising. Almost nowhere does one see the old robust growth rates returning. And the infrastructure of the West — roads, bridges, tunnels, ports, airports, subways, train tracks — continues to crumble for lack of investment.

The days of interstate highway systems and moon shots seem to be behind us. Are Puerto Rico and Illinois the harbingers of what is to come?

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.”

Copyright 2017

• Category: Ideology • Tags: Government Debt 
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  1. TheJester says:

    Public employees have become a sizable percentage of the US population. Public employees vote. Liberal benefits for public employees that governments cannot afford are an enduring way of buying these votes — short-term political opportunism inevitably leading to ever-increasing budget deficits. Call this a conspiratorial, plutocratic form of government in which state employees vote liberal benefits exclusively for themselves at the public’s expense.

    A key feature of the growing budget deficits in the US states and territories mentioned in the article is unfunded pension liabilities for public employee unions. This is also a feature of Banana Republics. These pension systems are Ponzi schemes. Someday, someone has to “pay the piper”. When that time comes, the options are legal default or massive inflation to cover up the deficits … the latter a standard practice in Banana Republics.

    Time to “pay the piper”. Barack Obama and the Democratic Party were and are good friends of public employee unions. If the Democrats ever regain power, can massive inflation be far behind?

  2. KenH says:

    “(T)he federal government will no longer be able to ignore the voice of the majority of the American citizens in Puerto Rico,” said Rossello. Washington cannot “demand democracy in other parts of the world, and not respond to the legitimate right to self-determination that was exercised today in the American territory of Puerto Rico.”

    Ugh. It’s time to sell Puerto Rico to any takers. We’ll even throw in all the Puerto Ricans.

    Illinois’s spendthrift ways were kept afloat when the state was majority white and productive. Illinois’s gotten much more diverse the last 20 years or so. With whites dying off and middle class and white retirees moving away in increasing numbers they are being replaced by the black and brown underclasses. Free trade has also taken its toll on manufacturing companies.

    So economically and demographically, America of 2040 or 2050 will look very much like Illinois and California of 2017. In other words, racially diverse and teetering on bankruptcy.

    • Replies: @Jim Christian
  3. @KenH

    “It’s time to sell Puerto Rico to any takers. We’ll even throw in all the Puerto Ricans.”

    Not so fast. If you have to have immigration, politically, the Puerto Ricans aren’t a bad sell. They’ve been moving into Central Florida for years now, tens ( or maybe a couple of hundred?) of thousands of them. Not majority-Republican, they still did vote 40% Trump in Florida. They’re kind of one-off Cuban, most of those show up Catholic Republicans somehow.

    There are immigrants, and then there are immigrants that vote Trump.

    • Replies: @Tony
    , @Wally
    , @KenH
    , @Kyle a
  4. I call this the “Luis Guttierez effect.” A Puerto Rican by birth, now a congresscritter from Illinois. Huge Trump hater and hater of Heritage America. Insolvency seems to follow him around wherever he goes.

  5. 20th Century liberalism, liberalism of the left, hates Classical Liberalism, liberalism of the founders. In the long run, it’s deadly. So, yes, Illinois and Puerto Rico are shadows of the future.

    • Replies: @mukat
  6. anon • Disclaimer says:

    I have one small suggestion to slightly improve matters. CUT PUERTO RICO LOOSE! Just give the crummy place its independence, whether they want it or not. Why the USA insists on holding on to this impoverished Spanish-speaking island I have never understood.

  7. FRANIEBOY says:

    Who said: IT DOESN’T TAKE TERRITORY TO BE AN EMPIRE?WHO FILLS THIS EMPIRE? Not my Italian-Americans (what identity group was the identity of Belfort (the real Wolf of Wall Street), and what group runs Wall ST?

  8. Illinois is broke? Chicago public schools broke? Chicago broke? Many brokes, yet the spending and building just keeps on going. As an example, Chicago public schools have recently built many, many new schools buildings some costing upwards of 40 million dollars even though the city has lost population from 3.5 million down to 2.7 million. The newest school building being proposed will cost 75 million. They are closing 4 school building and replacing them with this new one.
    Another example, free lunches, free breakfast for all school children. Did we vote on this?
    Where oh where to move?

    • Replies: @gustafus21
  9. Caterina says: • Website

    This is the Democrat legacy in both the inner city and blue states they control. For generations, they’ve traded property tax payments handed to the Unions for votes. Cash for votes; that’s the corruption. They’ve been doing it so long it’s overwhelmed the property tax payers. The politicians who negotiate those public employee contracts move on and are never held accountable. The voters never get a say-so in the contracts the Dems negotiate for ‘us’. It’s a criminal system. Alaska’s budget is right in the middle of a Union attempt to steal our savings account.

  10. nickels says:

    Well, luckily the US still has enough ready cash to spend more on their military empire than all other nations spend on theirs, combined.
    Didn’t this happen before?
    Ah, well, this line of thinking troubles me, whats Kim Kardashian up to?

  11. Mark Caplan says: • Website

    The U.S. should explore how much it would cost us to pay the United Mexican States (a.k.a. “Mexico”) to take Puerto Rico. How about, you take Puerto Rico and we’ll give you the wall for free?

  12. Are Illinois & Puerto Rico Our Future?

    They are our present. The future is much worse. Until the final death of the Zempire that is. After that the survivors will have a chance to build something new.

  13. Tiny Duck says:

    If it means racist troglodytes like Buchanan are marginalized then I sure hope so.

    • Replies: @fish
    , @fish
  14. Has the old New Deal formula of “tax and tax, spend and spend, and elect and elect” finally run its course?

    The old New Deal formula died under Reagan. We’ve had Neoliberalism the past 30 to 40 years. It was the destruction of the New Deal that created the current mess.

    Killing Glass-Stegall.

    Killing Unions.

    Hyper-financialized markets.

    Bubbles, QE, bank bailouts, the destruction of the middle-class etc.

    With the ten year anniversary coming up, I guess soon we will see some retrospectives on the Great Recession.

  15. mukat says:

    Not so, leftists don’t hate classical liberals any more. Classicals can be ignored by the left because they are on the left side of the only issue that matters, open borders / White genocide.

    All of the hate is reserved for the dissidents against Race Communism, Sex Communism and Sexual Communism.

  16. mukat says:

    Blacks and non-White Latins destroy civilization if they have the freedom to do so. Both Dems and Repubs are all for freedom.

    Barring a Carlyle-like proposal for workhouses, Blacks and Latins are hopeless. And you, dear commenter, are a cuck for thinking otherwise. Or may I offer you a ride on the DC metro, run by Blacks (when it runs)?

    • Replies: @wrd9
    , @Kyle McKenna
  17. @Caterina

    Citizens of developed nations pay approximately 40% of their incomes in taxes.

    Citizens (who are not poor) pay much more in taxes than they receive in benefits.

    These productive citizens could get a better deal.

    A corporation could create a new kind of nation, a for-profit nation.

    Instead of taxation, this new nation would simply collect $500 per month from every citizen.

    Anyone could buy citizenship in this nation.

  18. “Free trade has also taken its toll on manufacturing companies.”

    Are you drunk or high?

    WHAT free trade are you talking about?

    • Replies: @Rurik
  19. Rurik says: • Website

    WHAT free trade are you talking about?

    eh.. NAFTA


    the TPP bullet we dodged recently

    in and out-sourcing

    anti-protectionism and globalism in general

    a better question is what are you doing here?

    • Agree: KenH
  20. fish says:
    @Tiny Duck

    “Homey don’t play dat!”

    - Leonard Pitts

    Yes….Homey indeed don’t play dat….all people of color agree.

  21. Tony says:
    @Jim Christian

    40% for Trump? Show your sources.

    • Replies: @Jim Christian
    , @Wally
  22. This is also the future of Belgium, New South Wales, Ontario, Scotland, New Jersey, France, Rome, Los Angeles, Quebec…….

    • Replies: @Paul Yarbles
  23. @Tony

    40% for Trump? Show your sources.

    Same sort of retard in the WashPost comments. How about YOU show sources that prove me wrong? Many districts below Orlando voted heavily Trump and are heavily populated with Ricans, 40% of whom voted Trump. I’ll name you my source when you show me yours. Ok, ok, FEC stats.

    • Replies: @Alfa158
    , @Kyle McKenna
    , @Tony
  24. Wally says:
    @Jim Christian

    Well hello, the Puerto Ricans IN Puerto Rico are the ones who caused it to plunge economically.

    Therefore the immigrants to the US had nothing to do with it.

    Your point makes no sense.

  25. Wally says:

    It is true that 30% of US hispanics voted for Trump.

  26. KenH says:
    @Jim Christian

    they still did vote 40% Trump in Florida.

    That means 60% voted against Trump which would likely increase if there’s ever a Hispanic presidential nominee. We don’t want them or need them. Trump should use his “art of the deal” negotiating skills to pawn Puerto Rico off on Brazil or China.

    • Replies: @anon
  27. @europeasant

    somewhere WHITE and not Catholic

  28. anon • Disclaimer says:

    Public sector pensions are 100% of the problem in Illinois.

    It can’t and won’t get fixed until they are totally out of money.

    They won’t get paid. The issue is how to deal with the situation until they default. I don’t have any good ideas.

    There is enough money to pay reasonable pensions with the most highly paid getting haircuts and haircuts on COLA’s. Good luck with all of that. But in the end, they will get a haircut.

  29. Alfa158 says:
    @Jim Christian

    I’m not asking you to show your sources, I’ll be happy to take your word for it. You can show us this though:
    If 40% voted Trump, then just less than 60% voted Clinton (assuming that Puerto Ricans aren’t dedicated Jill Stein voters). Please show by what definition that is “voting Trump”. In the system of mathematics that I am familiar with, that appears to be “voting Clinton”. We need more Puerto Ricans because they vote merely 3:2 for Democrats instead of 3:1?

  30. anon • Disclaimer says:

    Detroit is our real future.

    Look at what happened.

    Nothing. Everyone mostly moved out of the city, which is small, to the metro area, which is big. The city went through BK.

    Big deal. No one has really given it a second thought after happened.

  31. @Johnny Smoggins

    I live in New Jersey and from what I see here is that New Jersey will be like India with all the good and bad qualities that that great nation has. Many of the Indians seem to be upper class/upper caste and they want it to be more like home (with them a bit richer of course).

    So one question is who will be the servant class for the rising New Jersey Indian Aristocracy? I can’t imagine them wanting Hispanics or Blacks in the homes. And Whites still have a long road down before they will work for Indians in that capacity. Will the NJIAs have enough pull to import their Indian lower classes in such great numbers? I wait with bated breath.

  32. The Illinois Lottery Commission announced that yesterday’s (28 August 2017) was the last Powerball drawing in that state, and that the coming Friday’s Megamillions drawing will be the last one of that lottery, because the state has no money to pay anyone who holds a winning Illinois lottery ticket. Henceforth Illinois will not sell Powerball or Megamillions tickets. The commission also announced that it will henceforth pay out to winners of other Illinois lottery games no more than $25,000 regardless of sums won in excess of that amount, and that anyone winning more than that sum will be put on a waiting list – presumably until Illinois stops being like Puerto Rico.

    • Replies: @res
  33. Kyle a says:
    @Jim Christian

    You must be married to one and she’s the exception not the rule. Their leeches. Straight democrat voting 3rd world trash. What the hell were we thinking that Cuba and Rico were some how the rewards of war. Nuke em.

    • Replies: @wrd9
  34. “The state’s population is falling: Its net domestic out-migration was nearly 30,000 from 2015 to 2016. In 2016, it lost slightly more than 8,000 people, leaving its population at 3.6 million


    If you live in any of the Southern states, you know where most of these 30,000 Yankees ended up. And, you don’t need to be reminded that they’re the ones working overtime to change their adopted homeland into a hell-hole similar to the one they left.

  35. wrd9 says:

    Or NYC’s MTA which is 41% black and 20% hispanic.

  36. wrd9 says:
    @Kyle a

    Exactly. Several years ago the Economist printed an article calling PR “Welfare Island”. It’s appalling. High crime, corruption, SS disability fraud, high welfare use, extremely poor school performance. It’s really a lower tier Latin American country. We should be using it as a modern day Alcatraz and put the illegals there whose countries won’t accept them back or the judges are blocking deportation.

  37. You can bet that somebody is benefiting from having Puerto Rico as a commonwealth of the US.

    As I recall, Microsoft set up a plant in PR, which enabled them to assign $4B in earnings to the DVD manufacturing operation there. PR is a low-tax jurisdiction, which allowed them to save about $1.5B in taxes.

    How many other corporations are executing this type of legal scam? That could explain a lot.

  38. Kyle McKenna [AKA "Mika-Non"] says:

    may I offer you a ride on the DC metro, run by Blacks (when it runs)?

    Two shocking things about the Washington DC Metro system. First, its administration is full of affirmative-action “workers” “earning” six figures+. Literally thousands of them. Each and every one of them is untouchable, and don’t think they don’t know it.

    Secondly–and not coincidentally–one of the most beautiful, efficient and civilized mass-transit systems in the world was trashed in the space of a single generation. Sic transit indeed…

  39. Kyle McKenna [AKA "Mika-Non"] says:
    @Jim Christian

    Same sort of retard in the WashPost comments. How about YOU show sources that prove me wrong?

    Hmm. This thing called “argument” doesn’t actually work the way you think it does.

  40. res says:
    @Auntie Analogue

    This does not make any sense to me. How do they manage to make a lottery unprofitable? Did they fail to set money aside for future payoffs? According to this article they are actually delaying payments to earlier winners!

    • Replies: @Rod1963
    , @Triumph104
  41. anon • Disclaimer says:

    I think China will be very interested in taking a 99 year lease. They can setup manufacturing plants etc., and sell easily in Americas (or use it as their Guantanamo or Diego Garcia). Puerto Ricans can be incentivized to move to U.S. mainland.

  42. Rod1963 says:

    They pilfered the funds, which is quite normal. People should go to jail over this, but they won’t.

    In CA we raised cigarette taxes and instituted a lottery to help fund the schools. Problem is the money went elsewhere.

    The only way this stops is when the states start to default and blows up in the faces of the tax and spend democrats.

  43. Are Illinois & Puerto Rico Our Future?

    Future my tushie!

    The feds are how many trillions in debt with how many gazillions of unfunded liability?

  44. @res

    In 2010 Illinois hired a private company, Northstar, to run the lottery and Northstar lost the state money. Among other things, the company was ending instant scratch games before all and sometimes any of the grand prizes had been won, resulting in two class-action lawsuits.

    Northstar was fired about three years ago, yet still runs the Illinois lottery. The state paid bonuses to the company to retain employees. The bidding process for a new management company started last year, but only one company bid. The changeover was supposed to take place July 1, but I don’t know if the bid was even accepted.

    Indiana and New Jersey’s lotteries are also privately managed, reportedly with the same problems of missed revenue projections and transparency.,

  45. Tony says:
    @Jim Christian

    The onus is on you retardo. You made the statement, now back it up. Sounds like you got your Ricans and Cubans mixed up.

  46. Pat Buchanan needs to get over it. All this endless gloom and doom are not getting he nor anyone else anywhere. Instead of worrying about cutting old folks pensions and everyone’s health care so his rich buddies and corporations can get more tax cuts, he needs to be calling for sharp reductions in war spending and bringing American imperialism to an orderly close. Pat needs to be denouncing corporate welfare where the states and cities spend billions of dollars in taxpayers’ hard earned dollars for tax breaks, subsidies, free buildings, infrastructure, etc. to attract what industry has not moved overseas and pay outrageous salries to company owners and executives who loot and pillage these companies to enrich themselves while their employees suffer. Buchanan needs to look at the model and example of European nations with mandatory private pensions, generous public pensions, comprehensive national health care, low cost college, subsidized housing,etc. as models and examples America needs to be following not deriding. Pat is right that all Third World immigration invasion into the West must be stopped and reversed. However it will not be done so by his Republican honchos who want to continue mass immigration for cheap labor or the Democrats who want immigrants for their eventual votes. Both parties are morally and philosophically bankrupt and worthless and controlled by the rich and powerful. America needs a revolution, hopefully peaceful, to install a patriotic and loyalist government which will end Third World immigration, bring the jobs and factories home, deport all illegals, end these insane Middle East Wars, and have an orderly discounting of the federal debt and tax the hell out of the rich and big business to pay for badly needed social programs and balance the year to year budget. If Pat Buchanan really cared about the “little people” and wanted to see America boom and bloom again he would be advocating these reasonable, sound and sensible policies instead of bemoaning how the bad old Democrats gave the country away in the New Deal, Square Deal, New Frontier, etc. Get with it Pat or go to an old folks home where you can whine and brag about your past glories and the Nixon mafia.

  47. What is past in Illinois is prologue for what is coming for the other leftist nirvana states like California and eventually for America as a whole.

    The system will eventually collapse as you have only 100 million full-time working Americans paying for Great Society-styled programs that encourage broken homes, laziness, and dependence on the taxpayer. The Ponzi will end at some point. No one knows the exact date, but it is a mathematical certainty.

  48. fish says:
    @Tiny Duck

    I wonder if we found the genius behind our little duck?

    In the Facebook post Hamann also draws a negative comparison between Trump and President Barack Obama — including a reference to the “Trump crime family” — blames Republicans for stymying the former president and taunts supporters of the current one.

    “You’re a f—cking p—ssy. And you people are destroying America,” Hamann wrote. “100% of intelligent Americans agree that Trump is a complete loser.”

    Potty mouth aside….dare I say that Mr. Hamann is positively “Tiny-esque” in his choice of language……most all people of color agree with me on this statement.

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