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Op-Ed: Heavy-handed corona response impacts future success of Puerto Rico’s Acts 20/22

For eight years, Puerto Rico has painted a picture of itself as a welcome refuge in the United States for residents of the 50 states to come do business.

Acts 20 and 22 have brilliantly painted that picture and have helped to drive more business, spending, and jobs into the Puerto Rican economy. The only downside to the Acts 20 and 22 is that not all residents of Puerto Rico are included. To lift the burden of income tax for all who reside in and do business in Puerto Rico, would drive even more prosperity to the island.

The experiment has worked for a small portion of the population. Now with the success of Acts 20 and 22 so well demonstrated, the policy should be applied to the rest of the population. The results would be phenomenal.

Sadly, Puerto Rican officials, inheriting this masterful example of how to show the world what freedom looks like, have done the opposite, by acting with great cowardice in the face of coronavirus, putting the island on lockdown, and doing damage to the Puerto Rican economy far beyond what the virus could possibly cause.

The Puerto Rican economy will not soon recover from this massive damage. Neither nature, nor the virus are to blame for the damage, but the over-reaction of Puerto Rican officials.

Globally, the reaction to the contagion is far worse than the contagion itself. It will take years for researchers to determine the damage done to society in these weeks of the corona scare. That damage has been magnified by government and the media many times over.

The Mexican government, in contrast, has said it refuses to participate in the corona crisis that is being blown out of proportion. Mexico has said it will not behave tyrannically as governments around the world lockdown their citizens, shutter businesses, and threaten arrest to those seeking to go about their affairs. Great effort is being put on Mexican officials to comply with the global alarm.

Two weeks ago, until about March 15, 2020, Puerto Rico was the freest jurisdiction in the Western Hemisphere — a welcome land for those seeking to do business, to live life, to create jobs for themselves and for others, to raise a family, and to do their best in life without the burden of a heavy-handed government.

Since then, Puerto Rico, as a jurisdiction, has proven itself unwilling to follow through on that role. Observers that were closely watching Puerto Rico as the amazing refuge for human prosperity that is being formed on the island through Acts 20 and 22 have grown saddened by the heavy-handed corona response of the Puerto Rican government.

Puerto Rico had something truly special, truly unique, and is now, day-by-day, strangling that opportunity.
The government’s response couldn’t have been a more awful, fear-filled response toward a health concern that is daily proving itself far less dangerous than originally thought.

Puerto Rico’s leadership, with Acts 20 and 22, looked a lot like a bold guardian ready to stand up for human prosperity. In the month of March, Puerto Rico’s leadership has shown itself to be more of a Chicken Little.

Author Allan Stevo is a syndicated columnist. He writes about technology, politics, ethics, and culture at 52inSk.com, and is the author of several books.

The rest of the United States, once a freer and prosperous place, they have locked down some of the major population centers. Media and public health officials have stoked a great deal of fear over a bug that isn’t known to kill 90% or 30%, but that number is more and more looking like far less than 1%. Fear pervades society as leadership — governmental and non-governmental — fails at its duty to clearly assess and to boldly lead.

The support for individual liberty and human prosperity shrank a great deal in the world this past month. In hopeful Puerto Rico it shrank most. Puerto Rico was once one of the freest places in the world, but the world has gone mad with fear, and the most vocal in some populations have asked their governments to quarantine them, as if they needed a government order to stay home themselves. Puerto Rico’s leadership has followed that same path blindly.

Puerto Rico was once the peerless champion. Mexico is now the freest place in the Western Hemisphere.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.


  1. Irmarie Cervera April 2, 2020

    This guy must a Trump republican.

  2. Richard R. Tryon April 2, 2020

    The fact that PR is an island means that virus #19 may be eliminated more easily than in any place where more virus can be more easily imported. A period of several weeks may hurt business, but the U.S. CARE act will help put cash in all hands to buy essentials to survive. PR needs no $ to avoid freezing, some to avoid starvation, none to pay rent during the period of the act’s support. While ‘draconian’, the Gov. is not dumb because free of disease is first. Next is to learn to feed ourselves. Yes food does grow in PR every month and our vertical farm Eco-plantation can add to that supply by growing fish and vegetables in minimal water.

    Sea Island, Inc. is ready for a law 20-22 partner to make it happen faster than possible with any government grant process.

  3. PETER NOBLE April 2, 2020

    OF ACTS 20 AND 22.

  4. Buck April 2, 2020

    The Original Commentator misstates the truth with alacrity as I found endemic in the culture of PR, NOT ON THE MAINLAND! I am one of those Daddy Yankees who came early to PR (April 2014) due to promises made by your government, which turned out to be a “bait and switch” scam, like so many others I observed once I lived there for 4 years. I relied on the plain language of the “Acts” only to find that instead of tax incentives, without any public change in the law; the PR government imposed a sudden demand to prepay taxes on income never earned [in the form of application fee and compliance duties, that increased astronomically overnight, without any publicized notice, even when I asked those who were responsible for promoting such Acts].
    Time and again, I found endemic cases of bait and switch in grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants etc., etc.. My findings were startling similar to those gringos like me, who quickly returned to the States. I have been trying to find a lawyer who will actually work for money, for over three years. The huge irony is that everybody who bothered to actually learn English is running away from your culture to live in Florida, and elsewhere, in the “less free” culture where people actually stop at red lights and do not park [in no parking zones]. I also found it ludicrous that PR natives complained about Dominicans and Yankees, who seemed to be the only people who lifted a hand to do work, to restore electricity to your island, for instance. At bottom, If I were a government actor there, I would beg that the U.S. does NOT give you the independence you pretend to want [i.e., no more welfare and handouts]. Rather than complaining about nonexistent taxes [for instance real estate taxes are virtually nil and no sales tax on cars] you will worry about actually paying for your own infrastructure and maintenance, for the first time in 130 years. You have cops everywhere driving new cars [on money borrowed but never repaid] but never writing tickets. Indeed, they give advance warning by flashing lights. That says it all. Nowhere do you expect to be accountable for your own bad acts. Grow Up and quit bitching about those you owe. Nobody believes you.

    1. Liz April 3, 2020

      Boohoo Buck, so sorry your plan on leeching went wrong and now you hate us. Boohoo.

    2. Chris April 3, 2020

      Wow, it’s so easy to speak about it from your standing point, knowing just part of the history and details behind it all (of course, you just know the side that you have interest in due to the benefit you might personally get from it). Ironically, not long ago (yes, it was just the other day, you are no Daddy Yankee for getting to PR 6 years ago… btw, what a great reference you have used to hate their people so much) you saw an opportunity to benefit yourself from that same island you are bashing their people about stuff they are not to blame about (bad government management and policies focused on helping the rich get richer are to blame, like in most if not all organizations/governments). You are just mad it didn’t pay off as expected, so you start talking crap about “the people there”. You talk about people’s unwillingness to work and welfare dependency, but isn’t just like in any place in the US?You see a huge portion of people like this in any state, but you just being racist and still hurt about your unsuccessful tropical venture, right? Oh, and that the Yankees were the ones that had to come down and support to get the electricity grid back up, but obviously, with such federal contract$$$ involved they were all up for it, even yourself would have taken that chance to go back there with your leech mentality. I’m very glad that people like you don’t get what they look for from such a beautiful island with good people. You just don’t deserve it, stay far away.

    3. MB April 3, 2020

      So sad that your plan to avoid capital gain taxes didn’t work out and that now your only option is to post thinly-veiled racist screeds on this site. As the one person who followed traffic laws, your presence on the island will surely be missed!

  5. RB Miranda April 2, 2020

    The good, the bad and the ugly of this OpEd:

    The Good – On the extension of act 20/22 to the rest of the population of PR as a tool for driving growth, I have to agree somewhat with this notion. We need to explore every single option that could drive economic growth within the existing resident entrepreneurial base while at the same time offer incentives that could attract the immigration of a diverse herd of entrepreneurs. There are also a myriad of federal grants/programs that the Puerto Rico entrepreneurial base has access to but has not been able to maximize its benefits. We need to develop mechanisms by which we inform, educate, assist and expand the participation of local business in the active pursuit of these grants.

    The Bad – The Mexico example makes no sense and is totally irrelevant to the opening statement about act 20/22 and its expansion within the productive engine of the island. As it pertains to the Covid-19 pandemic, anybody that follows the Mexican news can see that the country of 129 million is acting too late and testing too little to prevent a crisis that even members of AMLO’s government admit is forthcoming. The general consensus is that the current position of the Mexican federal government and the slow response to the upcoming crisis is not adequate. As it stands, it clashes with the needs and requests of governments at the state level which are requesting actions similar to those already enacted in Puerto Rico.

    “Politics is very, very much involved in the decision-making going on right now,” said Janine Ramsey, an infectious disease expert with 35 years of a public health career in Mexico and who works for Mexico’s National Public Health Institute, a federal research agency. “Mexico, politically, does not value scientific evidence. Why? Because it takes decision-making away from the politicians,” Ramsey said.

    The Mexican government has held off on implementing more drastic measures because it is deeply worried about its struggling economy. The peso has fallen drastically in recent weeks, hitting a new record of 25 pesos to the dollar and their economy is expected to shrink by 8% in 2020. An uncontrolled Covid-19 impact within the country may shrink the economy even further.

    Although, I love Mexico and have had a 34 year relationship with that lovely land and people, it is not the freest place in the Western Hemisphere. The blind populist measures driven by AMLO, which discounts the reality approaching may in the end put its people and economy in a spin that may take decades to level off from.

    All in all, the measures taken by the Puerto Rico government are driven by a greater concern about the wellbeing of its population in the face of an unknown threat. When looking at being another Italy or Spain, the so called “Draconian” measures are warranted.

    If we truly want to look at facts and provide an unbiased perspective, then the best example of a balanced response to the pandemic are the actions taken by South Korea, they are the true benchmark.

    The Ugly – The author has a history of promoting the interests of the 21st century bitcoin carpetbagger. His editorial DNA shows a neoliberal agenda that at times is hidden under the guise of a fight against authoritarianism, when in reality they are just advocating for a less regulated economic playground . His OpEd piece lacks factual and honest substance about Puerto Rico’s reality and is extremely irresponsible in the sense that it minimizes a reality facing the world today, one million cases with close to fifty two thousand deaths from the so called “bug that isn’t known to kill”.

    In the end, the messages and ideas presented here are thrown together as multiple swabs of paint in the canvas of a modern abstract painting. You know the colors are there, but you can’t decipher what it is.

    In the words of Macbeth, “It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing…

  6. Liz April 3, 2020

    You’re more than welcome to leave and be a leech else were.

  7. Annex April 3, 2020

    Sorry but our life matter / look what’s going on in nyc- and the USA / I know that the USA want the island but not the puertorricans. We could survive with out your business.

  8. Brandon April 3, 2020

    This guy does not know what He’s talking about nor does he actually live in Puerto Rico to speak on this matter. I work hand in hand with act 20/22 entities and persons at the moment they are investing more on the Island as with this crisis it is clear that Puerto Rico with the 936act can be again the #1 supplier of pharmaceuticals and medical equipments rather than China. Which with this problem we see that more Tham the virus is that all that equipment is from China as well. I invite this ignorant person to come to Puerto Rico for once as it seems this STUPID Author talks about stuff he has never seen or be a part of. This is the WORST ARTICLE I HAVE READ IN MY LIFE!!!

  9. KRodz April 3, 2020

    Written from a very myopic mind that definitely cannot understa d what PR is or how it works.

  10. Dencel Garcia Velez April 3, 2020

    The fact you’re writting about this is this biased speaks more about you, your values and your integrity than it does about my island, Puerto Rico. I’m a proud PuertoRican and can recognize when we have done terrible mistakes, and this is not one. The mainland, your Merica, your “First World” is the one that has done things the wrong way. Underestimating it, mismanaging it and constantly doing non sense decisions. So, how bout you look at your own country first before criticizing Puerto Rico since you have NO ties to the country other than economically, OF COURSE. So suck it, Alan.

  11. Km April 4, 2020

    Whew that article was hard to read. Not only poorly written, but also no research.

  12. Lizbeth April 4, 2020

    And what the heck did they expect in a country where they barely pay taxes… concierge service?

  13. James April 5, 2020

    I live in puerto rico and as he said each individual citizen has his amendment rights and has the brain to choose if he wants to be safe and how much he chooses to believe the hype of the scare of the media, government could always be wrong .. i think every single citizen has the right to choose what he believes is his own faith and best interest in his or her individual situation withou affecting others thats why one keeps ones distance to others. If we start letting then tell us all individually what to do people become used to doing it and eventually dont even notice and that can lead to future unwanted laws or police states where one really continues to evolve in the path of being told what to do and limited in ones daily life .. this is not a dictatorship and people have to notice the truth of being free responsibly ..

    1. carmen April 6, 2020

      do us a favor, and please leave our moved away. puerto rico does not need you or want you here. gracias

  14. Satoshi April 8, 2020

    Lmfao. You are pathetic. Go buy some crypto in CDMX – LINK is up double-digits today, by the way!


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