Puerto Rico's governor hands out almost $100 million in bonuses while asking American taxpayers for $94 billion

How does one account for a public relations disaster of such stunning dimensions?  Stephen Dinan reports in the Washington Times:

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello last month asked federal taxpayers to shell out $94 billion to pay for the territory's recovery from Hurricane Maria – then turned around and paid out about $100 million in Christmas bonuses to government employees on the island.

The governor's aides say the bonuses were part of a long-standing tradition and were included in the budget approved over the summer.

But that budget came well before Hurricanes Irma and Maria slammed into Puerto Rico, leaving much of the territory in ruin and the government begging for federal assistance.

The island's financial oversight board, created by Congress as part of a deal to bail the government out of a potential debt default last year, had urged the governor not to make the payments, saying the hurricanes should have forced a rethink of the budget.

I have never met Governor Rosello and in fact have never been to Puerto Rico, so I lack context to figure out how such a serious and obvious mistake could have been made.  Aid to Puerto Rico is not popular outside a few Democrat congressional districts, and now opponents have a perfect reason to oppose it.

Unless there is some cultural factor at work that I don't understand, it has to be the mentality of government bureaucrats who see themselves as first in line whenever government resources are being spent.  Inside the bureaucracy, the needs of bureaucrats come first, and let's face it: a Christmas bonus really makes the holiday season festive.

Where is the Puerto Rican independence movement when we need it?

How does one account for a public relations disaster of such stunning dimensions?  Stephen Dinan reports in the Washington Times:

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello last month asked federal taxpayers to shell out $94 billion to pay for the territory's recovery from Hurricane Maria – then turned around and paid out about $100 million in Christmas bonuses to government employees on the island.

The governor's aides say the bonuses were part of a long-standing tradition and were included in the budget approved over the summer.

But that budget came well before Hurricanes Irma and Maria slammed into Puerto Rico, leaving much of the territory in ruin and the government begging for federal assistance.

The island's financial oversight board, created by Congress as part of a deal to bail the government out of a potential debt default last year, had urged the governor not to make the payments, saying the hurricanes should have forced a rethink of the budget.

I have never met Governor Rosello and in fact have never been to Puerto Rico, so I lack context to figure out how such a serious and obvious mistake could have been made.  Aid to Puerto Rico is not popular outside a few Democrat congressional districts, and now opponents have a perfect reason to oppose it.

Unless there is some cultural factor at work that I don't understand, it has to be the mentality of government bureaucrats who see themselves as first in line whenever government resources are being spent.  Inside the bureaucracy, the needs of bureaucrats come first, and let's face it: a Christmas bonus really makes the holiday season festive.

Where is the Puerto Rican independence movement when we need it?

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