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On June 30, the U.S. Congress approved the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA), which is designed to address Puerto Rico’s debt crisis by imposing a stay on litigation brought by creditors demanding repayment and empowering a board to oversee the island’s taxation, regulatory, and spending policies. But debt is not the root cause of Puerto Rico’s problems, and the board—to be appointed by U.S. President Barack Obama—could actually make matters worse by gutting regulations, undercutting spending, and encouraging the flight of the skilled workers who hold the key to the island’s future. What Puerto Rico really needs is not a PROMESA but a growth strategy.
Over the course of the past decade, Puerto Rico has fallen into a state of near-permanent recession marked by rising unemployment, falling personal income, and an exodus of skilled and unskilled labor. The results