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Study Finds 5,000 People May Have Died From Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. Cable News Focused on Roseanne Instead.


Study Finds 5,000 People May Have Died From Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. Cable News Focused on Roseanne Instead.

Katie Sullivan, Lis Power

On Tuesday, Harvard researchers published a study estimating that approximately 5,000 deaths can be linked to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. The same day, ABC canceled Roseanne Barr’s eponymous show Roseanne after Barr sent a racist tweet about Valerie Jarrett, an adviser to former President Barack Obama. Cable news covered Barr’s tweet and her show’s cancellation 16 times as much as the deaths of U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico.


The reason for Puerto Rico’s death toll and horrendous recovery is entirely its own fault. It has been the result of decades of corruption, mismanagement, and a bloated public sector. And as the infrastructure began to crumble, a major hurricane exposed all of the system’s flaws. Don’t blame Trump. You can blame him for many things, but for this issue, solely blaming Trump would be entirely missing the point. Puerto Rico went bankrupt because of its own actions. It’s now feeling the effect of those actions in a terribly predictable but tragic way.


You are totally missing the point. The critique is of the US Government response to the crisis when it occurred and not what lead to that crisis.

Mr Trump went on the airwaves to take credit for the low death toll claiming that this low death toll was a direct result of the US Governments response to the emergency. He openly compared this to what happened after Katrina.

If Mr Trump claimed the low death toll due to his Governments rapid response after the Hurricane , one can not suddenly claim he had “nothing to do with the death toll” when it later found the numbers were fabricated and were in fact much higher.

Cuba is also hit by Hurricanes. They have a large public sector. The numbers killed in Cuba through the entire Hurricane season were a fraction of those that died to Maria in Puerto Rico in a single storm.


You can blame Trump for not sending enough of our tax dollars in relief of PR’s failing infrastructure. But a better-managed, less socialist governmental structure would’ve resulted in far less damage. That point seems to be lost when it is the chief problem. It’s not my responsibility to send my hard earned tax dollars to Puerto Rico, New Orleans or New Jersey to clean up their mess and failures. If I want to donate money to a specific cause that provides relief for those storms, that’s fine. But covering up the failures that already existed with bailout money via federal tax from Washington won’t prevent the next crisis, and presumably only encourages it.


Again Cuba is Socialist. How did they manage to get the power back on for all of the people affected by Hurricanes within weeks, whereas in Puerto Rico this still not done?

As to “what your responsibilities” are, this comes down to whether you want to live in a COMMUNITY all working towards a common goal, or whether it just all about YOU as an individual.


I have no common goal with others other than for them to have the same freedom to associate with others as what I want for myself. I care solely about my own future and my family’s future. You live your life as you please; I live mine in turn. It’s not my responsibility to bail out your failures and I shouldn’t expect you to do the same for me. It is this “common goal” ideology that has been the foundation for the loss of hundreds of millions of lives over the last century.

I cannot speak about Cuba’s history in combating the effect of hurricanes, as I do not have any prior knowledge. But I certainly would not want to live in the prison that is Cuba.

Here is Peter Schiff discussing the causes of the economic failures in Puerto Rico:



Well what are you doing here on these boards if you care only about yourself? You are a contradiction attempting to sway others to your point of view while stating only yours matter. You benefit from and seek community yet want to pretend it does not matter.

Your type of Libertarian are in fact frauds. The underlying FREEDOM you claim to have is just to be freed of responsibility for your actions and nothing more. You are like the person living in an apartment with your music cranked up until 4 in the morning , not caring about the fact your neighbors unable to sleep because YOUR only concerns are about you.


Here’s another article on the causes of PR’s economic disaster, with the same statistics as those noted by Schiff:

You mischaracterize me. Maybe my initial description of myself was too blunt and actually an unfair description of my own views. I come on this board because I care about the poor just like every purported “progressive” leftist. But I strongly feel that the policies and ideology supported by the progressive left ultimately undermines the poor. I stand behind this claim from an empirical as well as a moral basis. And though I’m not an anarchist, I don’t think it is too difficult to see the patterns of destruction that comprise the most socialist/communist states of the last 100 years: China, Vietnam, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, the USSR, Cambodia, Zimbabwe, numerous other African nations, etc. The evidence is overwhelming.

So when I look at Puerto Rico, I see so many of the same flaws that charaterized the nations listed above, and I have to begin the conversation by noting those similarities as the root cause of Puerto Rico’s problems.

I certainly care about the suffering of people in PR. But that doesn’t mean that I should be forced at gunpoint to bail out its failures.

And your apartment example is also a fallacy for multiple reasons:

  1. Presumably I’d be living in a privately-owned residential building, which has set its own rules for tenants, as is its right since the building is the company’s private property. If I blare my music at the highest decibel, I’d presumably be breaking the rules.
  2. Even if we changed the example to me living in my own home and blaring music so loud that it significantly disrupts my next door neighbor, that neighbor can either request that I turn down the music, or if I refuse, he could call the police on me since my disruptions are actually invading his private property.

Sound property rights would seem to prevent your scenario from occurring indefinitely, even if I was the biggest jerk on the planet. And if I wasn’t, and simply didn’t realize that I was disrupting someone else’s life, voluntarism and decency would prevail quite quickly once my next-door neighbor confronted me.


I think the question is how are these two things compared. I assume it is a cost analysis or impact of racism. It doesn’t give any criteria really and using a Harvard study is not the first place I would look for objectivity. I think it is poorly constructed reasoning.


You could claim that racism caused the lack of federal support following the hurricane. But racism didn’t cause PR’s internal government corruption, bloatedness and unsustainable debt.


I’m not claiming federal support was based on racism and unless you have some economic statistics your unsustainable debt theory is unsubstantiated.


Ummm, PR went bankrupt (if it had been allowed to do so). I don’t understand your statement. Their level of debt led to bankruptcy. That’s the definition of unsustainable!


“The reason for Puerto Rico’s death toll and horrendous recovery is entirely it’s own fault. It has been the result of decades of corruption, mismanagement and bloated public sector.”

I won’t blame Trump if you can demonstrate your statement to be true. Simply saying they went through debt restructuring (similar to bankruptcy) doesn’t do that.

Speaking to the issue of fault:

“In international law, odious debt, also known as illegitimate debt, is a legal theory that says that the national debt incurred by a despotic regime should not be enforceable. Such debts are, thus, considered by this doctrine to be personal debts of the regime that incurred them and not debts of the state. In some respects, the concept is analogous to the invalidity of contracts signed under coercion.”


Sound property rights? It interesting how you do not care about community until community benefits you. Property rights come to you courtesy of COMMUNITY. There is no such thing as private property without a Government.

If I came with armed thugs to “steal your property” you would run to the Government , and by extension the community, for help.


To once again describe the problems that have arisen over decades in PR, I will re-post the same two articles I posted earlier:


So what illegitimate despotic regime are you referring to? This quote has completely bamboozled me. Are you saying that the choice to take on the debt was not PR’s, as in they did so under coercion? That logic is completely insane.


As I said, I’m not an anarchist. There is a role for government, one of which being to protect private property rights. But saying that we need a government to protect property rights doesn’t then, by extension, mean that I have to support every other position you take as to the additional roles of government.

The problem with your continuous use of the word “community” is that you are using it as a cudgel to back every last policy you support. I can care about “the community” and not back your policy ideas.


You still haven’t proven your point. I am familiar with the information in your links.

Odious debt is this case, Puerto Rico became a U.S. territory after being a Spanish colony. The U.S. did not pay “the odious debt to Spain” that they levied on Puerto Rico. The U.S. makes provisions for P.R. like the Tax breaks that benefited the Pharmaceutical industry for billions of dollars, Puerto Rico not so much. The tax breaks ended, the pharmaceutical industry left, the local economy tanked. Who is at fault? Sounds like odious debt to me. Using the reconstruction issue, what do you get when a plan is imposed on you at a price you cannot afford.

And, yes they did make some mistakes.


Your defining community as anyone that meets a private property criteria.


So your claim is that it’s the pharmaceutical companies’ fault that PR took on massive amounts of debt? What? The reason the country went bankrupt is because its government budget far outstripped its tax revenue, which happens when government grows to be larger than its means. It crowded out the private sector, leaving little incentive for private investment. The minimum wage is so high (U.S. government’s fault, but you probably wouldn’t even consider it a problem to begin with) that it’s nearly equal to the median wage of all Puerto Ricans. The territory tanked in the same way that Greece tanked. It tanked in the same way that anyone would’ve expected it to tank. Now it’s surprised that it’s not being bailed out. That’s the only surprise. No one should be surprised of or confused by the causes.

To start, the term “community” is entirely abstract. It’s almost not even worth defining because it cannot objectively be defined. However, it can be used to defend every last government policy.


Right, those pesty U.S. Citizens in Puerto Rico, demanding electricity, roads, and hospitals. They should probably figure out how to use pharmaceutical contaminated water too. Next thing you know they will have a poverty rate under 43%. A lot of people will make money on the reconstruction, it just won’t be the population there.