The Government of Puerto Rico has announced layoffs, almost eight thousand people affected in this first round. I wonder what my father, who was an economist and a career government employee, would say about this. Would he agree that it's necessary to fix the deficit?
The fact that the local government is the largest employer on the island is seen as a civic duty by some, a necessary evil by others. Still others deplore the bloated bureaucracy and look up to Corporate America and their methods for inspiration. It seems the Governor belongs to that camp.
It used to be that once you became a government employee you were pretty much set for life (unless you were a political appointtee). There must be a lot of people in shock right now.
I do not know what to make of it. I remember when I lived on the island and made fun of how big and inefficient government was. There seemed to be no incentive for excellence. It's probably true that the government can continue to function with less people. But to see the government is taking its cues from profit-driven entities and cutting people off faster than you can update a spreadsheet, is unpalatable. On an island where a large part of the population lives below the poverty line and where unemployment runs high, at least government employees had a job to go to, rather than collecting welfare.
Are we sure the solution to the deficit is to layoff people? Has Fortuño's government already cut all the superfluous spend they can? (Somehow I doubt it.) Where are these people going to find jobs? Will they be strongly encouraged to pick up and leave the island, just like in the days of Manos a la Obra?
I guess there are worse things than finding yourself on the street with no job. You could find yourself out on the street next to two hungry 200-lb. Caymans.
A man committed suicide in the city of Caguas by hanging himself from a water tank, visible from a busy exit at Toll Road PR-52. It's the 127th suicide this year on the island.
Suicide is no laughing matter. I can only imagine the desperation, the extreme emotions that drive a person to take his own life. I wonder why he chose to do it in such a public manner.