In this episode of the Heartland Institute’s Daily Podcast, Joe Milligan, executive vice-president of Fundación Libertad, a free-market think tank based in Puerto Rico, joins research fellow Jesse Hathaway to tell the real story of Puerto Rico’s recovery from Hurricane Maria, a Category 5 hurricane leaving most of the American island territory’s residents without access to electricity or clean water.
Federal laws and restrictions, such as the Jones Act, are hamstringing the relief effort, Milligan says, keeping the price of much-needed goods artificially high by restricting the supply of available cargo space. Such protectionist laws benefit politically-connected businesses in the shipping industry, Milligan says, and the federal government should repeal the law entirely, instead of just temporarily pausing its enforcement.
Political conflict between San Juan’s mayor, territorial officials, and the federal government are being exaggerated by American media and politicians from both parties, Milligan says. Generally speaking, he says, local and federal agencies and government officials are working well together, as the territory’s situation stabilizes.
Free-market principles and voluntary charity will ease Puerto Rico’s recovery, Milligan says, encouraging listeners to donate money to some selected charities participating in the relief efforts.