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Intellectuals have a resposibility to educate the public. However,@EconRivera does the exact opposite in the chart she shares, attached, purporting to show how the US capitalist imperalists are actually taking money from Puerto Rico.

I have no argument with the numbers used on the the government transfer from the United States to Puerto Rico, which is the top half. I have not done the numbers myself, so I cannot tell you whether they are right or wrong, but I have no issue with it.

The entire 2nd half is composed of blatant lies.

"Importaciones de Mercancia" refers to $22.6B in purchases that Puerto Ricans make with their income. Commerce is trade...you are exchanging your money for some good, such as computers, software, chickens, rice...whatever. You cannot use that in the same mathematical column as the stuff that is in the 1st half of the chart. A Pell grant check is not trade. The federal government is giving you a check so you can buy stuff, education in this case. Section 8 is not a trade. The federal government is giving you a check so you can buy stuff, housing in that case. And so on. What the chart tries to do is lull you into thinking that the money you use to purchase is being taken from you. This is false.

Let's move on. The "Rendimientos de Capital" mixes two very different numbers: One are "megatiendas", such as Wal-Mart, and the profits they make here. Shouldn't that be in the "Importaciones" category already? It probably is...I can only assume this is a mistake, but a small one. It does not matter. The real stunner is "fabricas", or the manufacturing plants, mostly in this case biopharmaceutical plants. $34B of extracted capital! Wow! Now, where does that money come from. It is the magic of transfer pricing, and I'll try to make this simple:

If you are taxed at 35% in the US mainland and 4% in Puerto Rico, you will try to move all your profits to Puerto Rico, where they will remain largely untaxed. That is exactly what companies do...many times they will assign the patents for biopharmaceutical products to Puerto Rico, and as the patent holder the Puerto Rico corporations have a right to a significant share of profits. Thus a pill that costs only $1 to make by, say, Pfizer in Puerto Rico could easily be sold by Pfizer Puerto Rico to Argentina for $50. Huge profits! Then Pfizer will move that money out of Puerto Rico for productive use worldwide. You see, those $49 did not come from your or my wallets as Puerto Rico residents. They are a result of an international tax strategy, all perfectly legal, that multinationals use to concentrate their profits in low-tax jurisdictions. Yet @EconRivera implies, and later explicitly tells me in a tweet, that this money comes out of our pockets. THIS IS A LIE.

Finally, she outlines $1.5B due to cabotage laws. OK, fine. Rounding error.

Incidentally, nowhere in this analysis does @EconRivera include the operating costs of the United States Postal Service, or the Coast Guard, or the fact that Puerto Ricans have access to the vast capital pools that create cheap FHA mortgage loans, etc. She also does not include the salaries paid to Puerto Ricans (over 80,000 jobs, down from twice that many a decade back) by multinational manufacturers. The list goes on.

Note that I am not defending Puerto Rico's political relationship to the United States. There is plenty wrong in that relationship and even more broken policies in Puerto Rico's economics, much of which depends on federal policies. What I refuse to condone or allow is perverting the facts and misinforming the public. We have enough ignorance floating around...it is absolutely unacceptable for purported intellectuals and professionals to spread more of it.
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