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In the days following Hurricane Maria’s devastating blow to Puerto Rico, air traffic on the island came to a complete standstill as airport damage prevented commercial pilots from servicing the island. That said, with the island economy grinding to a halt, San Juan International apparently managed to find a way to accept one very important plane…a “jet loaded with an undisclosed amount of cash” from New York Fed president William Dudley. Per Bloomberg:
Less than a week into the massive blackout that followed Hurricane Maria and essentially turned Puerto Rico into a cash-only economy, one top local banker became so concerned about the supply of bills that he called the Federal Reserve.
William Dudley, the New York Fed president, put the word out within minutes, and ultimately a jet loaded with an undisclosed amount of cash landed on the stricken island, according to Richard Carrion, the Popular Inc. executive chairman who made the call. He and Chief Executive Officer Ignacio Alvarez reflected on the chaotic early days of the crisis in an interview Friday at their office in San Juan’s Hato Rey financial district.
“We thought the cash was going to be a problem,” said Carrion, 64, whose bank is the biggest in Puerto Rico by deposits. “The magnitude of this is something we haven’t experienced.” Suzanne Elio, a New York Fed spokeswoman, declined to comment on the money shipment.
The executives described corporate clients’ urgent requests for hundreds of thousands in cash to meet payrolls, and the challenge of finding enough armored cars to satisfy endless demand at ATMs. Such were the days after Maria devastated the U.S. territory last month, killing 39 people, crushing buildings and wiping out the island’s energy grid. As early as the day after the storm, the Fed began working to get money onto the island, according to a person with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be named discussing the Fed’s preparations.
Of course, as we’ve noted before, nearly three weeks after Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico on September 20th, some 90% of the island is still without power and the resulting damage to the local economy will undoubtedly have long-lasting effects.
Nine of ten Puerto Ricans are still without power, half the island has no drinking water, schools are closed, there’s a government-mandated curfew — and businesses everywhere are trying to cope. At Popular, half of branches remained shuttered Friday, as did two-thirds of ATMs.
Alvarez, 58, is a Harvard Law School graduate who took over as Popular’s CEO earlier this year. Previously, the post was held by Carrion, whose family has helped run the firm for generations. Alvarez said that stores have closed and workers have been laid off as a result of the storm, which is a worry for the bank.
“More than property damage to our collateral, which is not going to be that great, is the economic disruption caused by the hurricane,” he said.
The lack of power was a nightmare for dialysis and cancer patients, as well as the elderly trapped in condominiums without air conditioning. The blackout also means that this corner of credit-card dependent America is relearning how to function almost entirely in cash. When some generator-powered ATMs finally opened, lines stretched hours long, with people camping out in beach chairs and holding umbrellas against the sun.
Popular could face a downgrade by Fitch Ratings on concerns that the storm’s after-effects may harm business. Its stock has dropped 11 percent since the storm in New York trading, and is down 19 percent for the year.
Meanwhile, the even larger threat to the Puerto Rican economy is that residents will simply decide they’ve had enough of the island life, and the constant threat of devastating hurricanes that comes along with it, and jump ship to the mainland. As Bloomberg notes, the island already loses roughly 2% of its population a year to the continental United States but, with many people being evacuated in the days following September 20th, it’s very likely that 2017 will see a much larger exodus.
A major concern, both men agreed, was the prospect of a mass exodus to the U.S. mainland. Governor Ricardo Rossello has warned that, if the aid package being debated in Washington falls short, “millions” could leave the island. The population has already been shrinking 2 percent annually for three years running on the island of 3.4 million, due in large part to a decade-long economic lull.
“There is a danger” of flight, Carrion said. “I don’t need a visa. I don’t need anything to go there. I have relatives in Orlando, or I have relatives in Houston, or I have relatives in New Jersey.”
“Everybody has relatives in the states,” said Alvarez, cutting him off.
“Yeah, everybody,” Carrion said. “There’s more Puerto Ricans in the continental U.S. than here. So everybody’s got a relative.”
…all of which has Democrats laying out the welcome mats in the key swing state of Florida…never let a good crisis go to waste
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H/t reader squodgy:
“Why the Central Banks just cannot raise interest rates…….and what MUST be the eventual trigger for the Economic collapse and reset.”
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Easy money, the cure to the ‘Great Recession”, is now clogging the system and preventing a lot of small business owners and entrepreneurs from finding success. The size and scope of these assets bubbles haven’t been seen since the Great Depression and now the Fed will start tightening the money supply…This ain’t gonna end well, folks.
H/t reader squodgy:
“Years ago I recall, I read an article regarding the coming collapse, in which the writer explained it will be a steady, protracted roll down the hill, during which Governments will increase their control of population through fear.
Right now, the United States is officially $20 trillion in debt. Over half of that $20 trillion was added over the past decade.
And it looks like annual deficits will be at the trillion dollar level sooner than later when projected spending is factored in.
Basically, the United States is going broke.
I don’t say that to be hyperbolic. I’m not looking to scare people or attract attention to myself. It’s just an honest assessment, based on the numbers.
Now, a $20 trillion debt would be fine if we had a $50 trillion economy.
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Of all the absurd Washington pantomimes none has been as reliably entertaining and maddening as the annual debates to raise the debt ceiling. Although the outcome was always a foregone conclusion (the ceiling would be raised), the excitement came when fiscal conservatives bemoaned the perils of runaway debt and “attempted” to exact spending restrictions through threats “to shut down the government,” (which often led to news coverage of tourists being turned away from national parks.) On the other side of the aisle Democrats would rail that the ceiling must be raised “because America always pays her bills.” Lost was the irony that “paying” bills with borrowed money was fiscally responsible, and that raising the ceiling actually enabled America to continue to avoid paying its bills. After these amateur theatrics, the ceiling would be lifted and Washington would go on as if nothing happened. But at least the performance threw occasional light on the nation’s debt problems.
I don’t live in an echo chamber, partly because there aren’t enough people out there who think like me, but also because I constantly and intentionally attempt to challenge my worldview by reading stuff from all over the political map. I ingest as much as I can from a wide variety of intelligent sources, picking and choosing what makes sense to me, and then synthesizing it the best I can.
Though I’m certainly grounded in certain key principles, my perspective on specific issues remains malleable as I take in additional information and perspectives. I try to accept and acknowledge my own ignorance and view life as a journey of constant mental, emotionally and spiritual growth. If I’m not growing my capacity in all of those realms until the day I die, I’m doing it wrong. Life should be seen as a battle against one’s own ignorance, as opposed to an obsession with the ignorance of others. You can’t legislate morality, nor can you legislate wisdom. The only way the world will improve on a long-term sustainable basis is if more of us get wise. That’s a personal journey and it’s our individual duty to accept it.
Sadly, Eustace Mullins isn’t among us anymore.
You bet he would be much better informed about Trump’s Rothschild/Khazarian/Illuminati connections.
Trump is the swamp.
H/t reader squodgy:
“Edward G Griffin was THE man to put the CREATURE FROM JECKYLL ISLAND out in public.
The ‘creature’ is THE FEDERAL RESERVE, which is a privately owned Corporation sold to the public as a National Banking System.
Here is his take on the future.”
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“It’s an economic issue. It has economic implications, but it’s a whole lot more than that…There seems to be a clear indication or a clear connection between [opioid abuse] and the ability to go to a job,”
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Inquiring minds may be wondering what economic cartoons from 1912 looked like. I can help.