8:18 AM 4/18/2018 – No Taxpayer Bailout for Puerto Rico’s Creditors: The island government’s rosy fiscal scenarios threaten its economic future. – bloomberg.com

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“Puerto Rico’s oversight board, which now must assess the government’s plan, has the responsibility to take a more realistic view, one that accounts for the substantial downside risks to economic growth that remain. One must also hope that it will recognize that Congress intended that U.S. taxpayers’ money should help Puerto Rico recover and should not be used, in effect, to bailout the island’s creditors.” 

No Taxpayer Bailout for Puerto Rico’s Creditors
The island government’s rosy fiscal scenarios threaten its economic future. – Desmond Lachman, Brad Setser and Antonio Weiss

“The government’s upward revision of 10 per cent in its economic forecast for 2023 over the year since the hurricane is analytically indefensible. In all likelihood, last year’s forecast should have been revised down not up. If the Oversight Board is to maintain its credibility, it will reject the government’s forecasts. Credibility is important. My experience with crises is that they are never resolved until the authorities have made a forecast that proves too pessimistic. We are not there yet in Puerto Rico… 

What is needed is much more reform and much more support, especially through debt relief, than now looks likely. Towards that end the Oversight Board, which has substantial moral authority, needs to provide real leadership by stressing that reform and support are mutually reinforcing.” 

Larry Summers

__________________________________
Michael Novakhov@mikenov

Puerto Rico’s creditors shouldn’t get a taxpayer bailout https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-04-15/no-taxpayer-bailout-for-puerto-rico-s-creditors  via @bv

No Taxpayer Bailout for Puerto Rico’s Creditors

The island government’s rosy fiscal scenarios threaten its economic future.

bloomberg.com

  1. Michael Novakhov@mikenov

    The boom in Puerto Rican debt has nothing to do with reality https://www.ft.com/content/3c294626-4261-11e8-93cf-67ac3a6482fd  via @financialtimes

    The boom in Puerto Rican debt has nothing to do with reality

    Speculators reap windfalls as estimates of hurricane damage are revised up

    ft.com

  2. Michael Novakhov Retweeted

    Metro Puerto Rico@Metro_PR

    https://bit.ly/2HqQZOr 

    Viene un plan fiscal nuevo desde la JSF

    Fuentes de Metro confirmaron que la Junta de Supervisión Fiscal estará presentando un plan fiscal nuevo el cual harán publico una vez sea entregado a La Fortaleza.

    metro.pr

  3. Michael Novakhov@mikenov

    La Junta de Supervisión Fiscal impone su receta @ElNuevoDia http://bit.ly/2qGuTxP 

    La Junta de Supervisión Fiscal impone su receta

    Los planes fiscales que el organismo federal certificará esta semana establecen ajustes presupuestarios adicionales, cambios en pensiones y que se implemente la reforma laboral inmediatamente

    elnuevodia.com

  4. Michael Novakhov@mikenov

    6:58 AM 4/18/2018 – Saved Stories: “Defensora de las familias estadounidenses”: Donald Trump lamenta la muerte de Barbara Bush http://pr-us.org/2018/04/18/658-am-4-18-2018-saved-stories-defensora-de-las-familias-estadounidenses-donald-trump-lamenta-la-muerte-de-barbara-bush/ 

    6:58 AM 4/18/2018 – Saved Stories: “Defensora de las familias estadounidenses”: Donald Trump…

    “Defensora de las familias estadounidenses”: Donald Trump lamenta la muerte de Barbara Bush Saved Stories – None Creativos de Puerto Rico en ruta al Festival de Cannes – Diario Metro de Puerto Rico…

    pr-us.org

  5. Michael Novakhov Retweeted

    Michael Novakhov@mikenov

    6:27 AM 4/18/2018 – Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks: Bishop hace una nueva advertencia al gobierno de Puerto Rico http://pr-us.org/2018/04/18/627-am-4-18-2018-mike-novas-shared-newslinks-bishop-hace-una-nueva-advertencia-al-gobierno-de-puerto-rico/ 

    6:27 AM 4/18/2018 – Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks: Bishop hace una nueva advertencia al gobierno de…

    Bishop hace una nueva advertencia al gobierno de Puerto Rico @ElNuevoDia — Michael Novakhov (@mikenov) April 18, 2018 Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks Bishop hace una nueva advertencia al gobierno de…

    pr-us.org

  6. Michael Novakhov Retweeted

    CNN International

    @cnni

    Former FBI Director James Comey sat down with Stephen Colbert for a wide-ranging interview that touched on President Donald Trump, the Russia investigation and … red wine https://cnn.it/2HcluEa 

    View image on Twitter
  7. Michael Novakhov Retweeted

    Metro Puerto Rico@Metro_PR

    Esta es nuestra portada de hoy, miércoles, 18 de abril de 2018. ¡Busca tu ! Lea la versión impresa -> https://bit.ly/2J4cyBm 

    View image on Twitter
  8. Michael Novakhov Retweeted

    Bloomberg Politics

    @bpolitics

    U.S. tells Russian embassy that it has no plans to impose any further sanctions soon, Russia says https://bloom.bg/2qHHW14

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    RT @Metro_PR: Esta es nuestra portada de hoy, miércoles, 18 de abril de 2018. ¡Busca tu #Metro! Lea la versión impresa -> https://t.co/YKiK
    Bishop hace una nueva advertencia al gobierno de Puerto Rico
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    The boom in Puerto Rican debt has nothing to do with reality
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    RT @Metro_PR: Esta es nuestra portada de hoy, miércoles, 18 de abril de 2018. ¡Busca tu #Metro! Lea la versión impresa -> https://t.co/YKiK
     

    Esta es nuestra portada de hoy, miércoles, 18 de abril de 2018. ¡Busca tu #Metro! Lea la versión impresa -> bit.ly/2J4cyBm pic.twitter.com/BnHceggstx



    Posted by Metro_PR on Wednesday, April 18th, 2018 10:24am
    Retweeted by mikenov on Wednesday, April 18th, 2018 10:38am

    3 likes, 2 retweets

    Bishop hace una nueva advertencia al gobierno de Puerto Rico
     

    Washington – Como presidente del comité que supervisa la puesta en marcha de la ley Promesa, el republicano Rob Bishop (Utah) advirtió ayer que sería irresponsable y una violación de ese estatuto, que el gobierno de Puerto Rico ignore las reformas que la Junta de Supervisión Fiscal (JSF) -que tiene a su cargo las finanzas públicas de la isla- va a incluir en los planes fiscales.

    “Si el gobierno no implementa lo que haga la JSF sería una violación de la ley”, expresó el congresista Bishop, al responder preguntas de El Nuevo Día en el Capitolio.

    Bishop, presidente del Comité de Recursos Naturales de la Cámara de Representantes, piensa que no debe haber disputa en torno a si la JSF tiene la autoridad no solo para proponerle al tribunal de bancarrota territorial una reducción en las pensiones de los jubilados del gobierno, sino además cambios en las normas laborales de Puerto Rico.

    “No es un debate. Es una violación de ley. ¿No es así? Es lo que dice la ley”, subrayó, en referencia al poder de la JSF sobre el gobierno electo de la isla.

    En una carta el Jueves Santo –que generó duras críticas del gobernador Ricardo Rosselló-, Bishop advirtió a la JSF que “se le ha delegado un deber estatutario para ordenar cualesquiera reformas –sean fiscales o estructurales–, al gobierno de Puerto Rico para asegurar cumplir con Promesa”.

    Aunque luego un asesor de Bishop dijo que no se debe pensar que ambos asuntos están 100% asociados, en su carta a la JSF, Bishop vinculó el flujo de fondos para mitigar la emergencia que generó el huracán María a la aprobación de reformas y la eliminación de gastos redundantes.

    En la agenda de la JSF ha estado recortar el pago de las pensiones en un 10%, y una reforma laboral que incluya reducir a solo siete días las licencias de vacaciones y de enfermedad en la empresa priva, hacer voluntario el bono de Navidad y eliminar la protección contra el despido injustificado.

    Rosselló reafirmó ayer en San Juan que ese tipo de reformas “no las vamos a ejecutar”. Ayer, Bishop dio el beneficio de la duda al gobierno de Rosselló y confió en que va a aceptar implantar los planes fiscales que certifique la JSF.

    “El gobierno allá es responsable. Saben que ha habido décadas de mal manejo fiscal que han llevado a la nación a un colapso financiero total. (El gobierno) no va a ser irresponsable y no trabajar con la JSF. Nadie sería irresponsable para no tratar de resolver los problemas”, indicó.

    Bishop, por otro lado, dijo que aún espera cumplir con la agenda original del Comité y convocar a una audiencia sobre el status político de Puerto Rico y los esfuerzos de la comisionada residente en Washington, Jenniffer González, para promover legislación a favor de la admisión de la isla como estado 51 de EE.UU. El tema delstatus formó parte de la agenda de la comisión desde antes del plebiscito de 2017, en el que -en medio de un boicot de los partidos de oposición y con una participación electoral de 23%-, la estadidad obtuvo el 97% de los votos.

    “Jenniffer (González) ha trabajado bien duro para promover ese asunto. Espero que no hayan situaciones que hagan más difícil alcanzar esa meta”, dijo Bishop, después de hablar sobre las reformas del gobierno.

    La comisionada espera dialogar con Bishop sobre la convocatoria a una audiencia y la presentación de nuevos “proyectos” de ley en favor de que Puerto Rico sea el estado 51. En el Senado, el republicano Marco Rubio (Florida) ha advertido que no hay votos para avanzar un proyecto proestadidad.

    ¿Speaker Bishop?

    Bishop no ha respondido preguntas sobre si estaría disponible para ser el próximo speaker- si los republicanos retienen la mayoría-, en caso de que el portavoz republicano, Kevin McCarthy (California), principal candidato, no alcance votos suficientes.

    McCarthy ha sido endosado por el speaker Paul Ryan –quien no irá a la reelección-, pero puede ser retado por el conservador Jim Jordan (Ohio), del Freedom Caucus, poniendo en riesgo que consiga en enero los 218 votos necesarios para ser speaker si los republicanos retienen la mayoría cameral en las elecciones de noviembre.

    El presidente del Freedom Caucus, Mark Meadows (Carolina del Norte), mencionó en el New York Post a Bishop -quien ha dicho que se retira del Congreso en el 2020-, como un candidato sorpresa, pues tiene buenas relaciones con los moderados y conservadores del Grand Old Party (GOP).

    “Es prematuro”, dijo Bishop, pero cuando se le preguntó si dudaba que McCarthy alcanzara suficientes votos, afirmó que el actual portavoz de la mayoría “va ser un buen speaker”.

    La Junta de Supervisión Fiscal impone su receta
     

    La Junta de Supervisión Fiscal (JSF) se apresta a aprobar, al final de esta semana, un plan fiscal que implementaría de manera inmediata más cambios a las leyes laborales y el ajuste para los planes de pensiones propuesto hace un año, al tiempo que exigirá mayores recortes en los gastos operacionales del gobierno central, supo El Nuevo Día.

    Ayer, según fuentes de este diario, los asesores y directivos de la JSF daban los toques finales al plan fiscal del gobierno central, que, entre otras cosas, incorpora otros $120 millones en recortes en los gastos del gobierno y pide recortar las pensiones de sobre 100,000 jubilados, así como eliminar, entre otras cosas, el bono de Navidad y las protecciones a los trabajadores del sector privado que sean despedidos injustificadamente.

    De igual forma, el organismo creado por la ley federal Promesa, completaba la revisión o hacía modificaciones a los planes de la Autoridad de Energía Eléctrica (AEE), la Autoridad de Acueductos y Alcantarillados (AAA), la Autoridad de Carreteras y Transportación (ACT), el Banco Gubernamental de Fomento (BGF) y la Corporación de Seguro y Supervisión de Cooperativas (Cossec).

    A pesar de que fuentes de la Junta habían asegurado que los planes se divulgarían ayer, tarde en la noche se supo que el organismo federal decidió que lo hará durante el día de hoy.

    Según las fuentes, los planes fiscales que divulgará la JSF serán los documentos preparados por ese organismo. Sin embargo, las fuentes explicaron que, en el caso del gobierno central, “todavía sigue siendo un plan que, en su mayoría, se basa en las propuestas del gobernador”.

    El Nuevo Día supo que el plan fiscal de la AAA quedó prácticamente inalterado, debido a “la colaboración” que la JSF pudo establecer con la gerencia de esa corporación pública. Una situación similar se habría dado con los planes del BGF y Cossec.

    “El objetivo de la junta y del gobierno es que la AAA pueda continuar su curso a través del Título VI de Promesa”, dijo la fuente, al agregar que, “en este momento”, no se contempla invocar las protecciones del Título III para esa corporación pública. El Título VI de Promesa permite que el deudor y los acreedores puedan llegar a acuerdos voluntarios.

    “Las metas del plan siguen siendo las mismas”, reiteró una de las fuentes en referencia al plan del gobierno central.

    La receta de la JSF

    De acuerdo con la fuente que conoce de cerca los trabajos del organismo federal y quien solicitó anonimato, la JSF continúa apegada a su receta fiscal y económica por entender que ayudaría a restaurar el crecimiento y la disciplina presupuestaria. Llevar el plan del papel a la acción con un documento certificado según la ley federal Promesa, sentaría las bases para llegar a un entendido con los bonistas, dijo la fuente.

    La semana pasada, la JSF informó que sesionará por dos días -el próximo jueves y viernes- con el objetivo de certificar los planes fiscales.

    Según las fuentes, dicha agenda de trabajo continúa inalterada. En la sesión del jueves, se discutirían y certificarían los planes del gobierno central, la AEE y la AAA. Los planes del BGF, UPR, ACT y Cossec serían certificados el viernes.

    “En el plan de la AEE, una de las diferencias más grandes (con el plan que presentó el gobernador) es que se establece como objetivo una tarifa menor de 20 centavos el kilovatio-hora (kvh)”, agregó una de las fuentes.

    Reducir la tarifa de electricidad supondría un golpe particular para los bonistas, porque, según la fuente, la cifra de 20 centavos por kvh debe incluir lo que se destinará al pago de la deuda de la AEE, una vez ajustada en la corte.

    Por lo tanto, el único camino para la AEE sería reducir considerablemente su gasto de generación y distribución mediante fuentes de energía más baratas que el uso de fósiles.

    Según una de las fuentes, la JSF mantiene como pauta que haya una entidad regulatoria independiente en materia energética y, a esos efectos, reveló que el organismo federal ha entablado conversaciones con líderes legislativos. El diálogo ha ido dirigido a que el proyecto de ley que el gobernador Ricardo Rosselló Nevares envió a la Legislatura para crear una nueva junta reglamentadora de servicios públicos establezca que las decisiones de los comisionados de energía no podrán ser revisadas por otros comisionados.

    “Habrá un proceso de transición para que esa comisión pueda regular ese nuevo sector, no solo para regular a la AEE”, se explicó.

    De igual forma, supo este diario, el plan fiscal de la AEE requerirá que la corporación adopte un nuevo Plan Integrado de Recursos (PIR), una tarea que requiere del aval de la Comisión de Energía.

    Inamovible Rosselló

    Mientras la JSF pulía los documentos ayer, el gobernador reiteraba que no dará paso a ninguna propuesta que suponga una determinación de política pública, en especial, si se trata de ajustar las pensiones.

    Aunque Rosselló Nevares dijo estar disponible para buscar ahorros adicionales que eviten un recorte que afecte a “los más vulnerables”, indicó que la discusión con la JSF “no está en ese nivel”.

    “Mi expectativa es que seamos razonables, (que) podamos entender cuáles son los poderes que tiene la JSF y los que tiene el gobierno, y que siempre el objetivo principal sea el bienestar del pueblo de Puerto Rico”, dijo Rosselló Nevares.

    El gasto público

    De otra parte, el ajuste adicional de $120 millones en gastos operacionales por parte de la JSF se anticipaba.

    Si bien, en las pasadas semanas, la JSF y Rosselló Nevares quedaron encontrados por la reforma laboral y el ajuste a las pensiones, el organismo había señalado, en dos cartas de violación a los procesos provistos en Promesa, múltiples deficiencias en los planes de la administración, incluidos los estimados de ahorros que dejarían la consolidación de agencias y los planes de reducción de plazas a medida que se retiran o renuncian los trabajadores (attrition) y por renuncias incentivadas de empleados públicos y el impacto de la reforma contributiva.

    El problema con impulsar mayores recortes en la operación del gobierno, así como reducir las pensiones, es que se trata de un curso de acción que podría repercutir adversamente en la actividad económica y, por ende, en todas las proyecciones de los planes fiscales.

    Inicialmente, según el plan de Rosselló Nevares, las reformas estructurales contribuirían a mejorar el producto bruto en aproximadamente 1.5%. Ese supuesto beneficio al agregado económico se haría sal y agua, porque la inyección de fondos federales para la recuperación no tendría efectos duraderos.

    La ficha de negociación

    Para la JSF, según las fuentes, hay pocas opciones.

    Por un lado, aunque el plan contempla la inyección de fondos federales que llegará a la isla en los próximos años, en especial, al programa Mi Salud, esas asignaciones no servirán para desaparecer el déficit presupuestario luego del tercer año del plan fiscal.

    De igual forma, según las fuentes, si Puerto Rico se presenta en el tribunal sin viabilizar un recorte de las pensiones, se corre “el riesgo” de que, en el proceso de ajuste de deudas con los bonistas, se adopte un ajuste mayor al que se ha propuesto.

    La deuda con los bonistas ronda los $30,000 millones y la mayoría posee algún tipo de garantía de pago por ley.

    En cambio, la deuda con los pensionados ronda $50,000 millones y, según las leyes vigentes, no está asegurada y su prioridad es secundaria a la deuda pública.

    “En ese cuadro, la situación no juega a favor de Puerto Rico”, indicó una de las fuentes.

    The boom in Puerto Rican debt has nothing to do with reality
     

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    What do you think?

    Desmond Lachman, Brad Setser and Antonio Weiss have written a very strong analysis of the Puerto Rico situation. If ever there was a disconnect between underlying reality and what is happening in financial markets, it is the boom in Puerto Rican debt that has nearly doubled the value of some of its debt securities during the past few months.

    Markets are now pricing in that close to $20bn more will come out of Puerto Rico to investors than at the end of 2017, following the territory’s own government, which is inexplicably projecting a substantially greater ability to repay debt today than before the hurricane.

    What is going on? True, there may have been some excessive panic and liquidation selling in markets right after the hurricane. And the federal government is infusing more money into the territory than might have been expected in the immediate aftermath of the hurricane.

    But there is something profoundly troubling about speculators in Puerto Rican debt reaping windfalls even as estimates of hurricane damage are revised up, tax-reform legislation undermines the territory’s competitiveness, out-migration increases, political cleavages increase, lay-offs from the public sector are set to increase and outside observers become more pessimistic about the territory’s economic prospects.

    The government’s upward revision of 10 per cent in its economic forecast for 2023 over the year since the hurricane is analytically indefensible. In all likelihood, last year’s forecast should have been revised down not up. If the Oversight Board is to maintain its credibility, it will reject the government’s forecasts.

    Credibility is important. My experience with crises is that they are never resolved until the authorities have made a forecast that proves too pessimistic. We are not there yet in Puerto Rico.

    The fundamental problem in the territory now is the sterile debate between those who believe salvation lies in more debt relief and more federal support and those who believe in more belt-tightening and market oriented structural reforms.

    Aid advocates wrongly downplay the efficacy of reform as a way of making the case for more support. Reform advocates fear that support will undermine pressure for reform and so wrongly downplay the need for debt relief and federal support.

    The result is inadequate support, insufficient reform and a dismal outcome for Puerto Rico.

    What is needed is much more reform and much more support, especially through debt relief, than now looks likely. Towards that end the Oversight Board, which has substantial moral authority, needs to provide real leadership by stressing that reform and support are mutually reinforcing. It needs to highlight that:

    • without debt overhangs structural reforms to help business and free up labour markets will be most effect;

    • structural reforms while desirable in medium and long term require some increased safety net expenditures to be politically acceptable.;

    • a big push of reform and debt relief maximizes Puerto Rico s prospects for self sufficiency and will over time minimize outmigration.

    The Oversight Board can do the easy thing and make all the stakeholders happy by being relatively optimistic and asking less of all the Puerto Rican stakeholders. Or it can do the hard and right thing for the territory and American taxpayers by refusing to bless any approach not predicated on large scale structural reform and extraordinarily sweeping debt relief. I hope they step up.

    No Taxpayer Bailout for Puerto Rico’s Creditors
     

    Puerto Rico bonds have been the best-performing fixed income investment thus far in 2018. Following the devastation of last year’s Hurricanes Maria and Irma, and the expected migration to the mainland of more than 10 percent of the island’s population, how can this be?

    The answer lies in the tens of billions of emergency reconstruction dollars appropriated by Congress, including $18 billion in housing grants alone, and in the dangerously optimistic forecasts of Puerto Rico’s own government. We are convinced that the emergency funds should be used to rehabilitate the island’s economy, as Congress intended, and not diverted to create a windfall for the island’s creditors.

    Last October, after surveying the wreckage on the island, President Trump said of the island’s $74 billion in debt, “We’re gonna have to wipe that out.” However, despite the devastation caused by the hurricanes, Puerto Rico’s government now inexplicably projects that it is in a better position to pay off its debts than it was a year ago.

    Prior to the hurricanes, the government’s fiscal plan, certified by the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico established by Congress in 2016, assumed that Puerto Rico could make debt service payments equal to 25 cents on the dollar. Now, notwithstanding the virtual destruction of its electrical grid, serious damage to other productive infrastructure, the shuttering of many of its businesses and the exodus of many workers and taxpayers, the government is happily forecasting that it could make payments up to 40 cents on the dollar. It is doing so by unrealistically assuming that increased healthcare and reconstruction funds being appropriated by Congress will spur the kind of economic growth not seen on the island in more than a decade, even as it proposes steep cuts to government services and agencies that employ about one-quarter of its formal workforce.

    Puerto Rico should be encouraged to plan for a better future. However, excessive optimism that understates the risks associated with fiscal austerity and the eventual withdrawal of reconstruction support will result in a debt restructuring on terms inconsistent with Puerto Rico’s capacity to pay. That will only set Puerto Rico on course for a second debt restructuring.

    In making its latest economic forecast, the Puerto Rican government seems to be turning a blind eye not just to the island’s devastation but also to its dismal economic track record over the past decade, when its economy declined by 15 percent — a steady descent punctuated by only one year of growth following a large tax cut. Instead, it seems to have taken the view that a hurricane of epic proportions is in fact a form of divine intervention that will effectively result in a positive shock to near-term growth by way of increased congressional financial support.

    One year ago, Puerto Rico’s certified economic plan forecast that a prolonged period of budget austerity would cause the island’s economy to decline by more than 10 percent. Now it is predicting an output level by 2023 that is 10 percent higher than in the previous plan. The government is doing so even though the economy was hit by a Category 5 hurricane, and even though it is proposing less economic reform than in its previous plan and a similar level of budget adjustment.

    The island’s infrastructure can be rebuilt with large-scale funding from Washington, but at best its productive capacity would only be restored to its pre-hurricane level. By itself, this funding provides little basis for the hope that the island’s economy can now somehow do very much better than it could before the hurricane. The influx of federal reconstruction dollars certainly could temporarily raise the rate of growth and pull up the level of output. However, once recovery spending wanes, that effect should largely go into reverse — leaving in place long-standing problems like high unemployment and the highest poverty rate in the United States.

    Economic research on a wide range of countries that have experienced similar natural calamities over the past 50 years suggests that per-capita GDP is typically lower than projected pre-disaster. It also shows that a crisis-hit economy generally takes a decade or two even to regain its former trend rate of growth.

    Importantly, structural reforms such as changes to “ease of doing business” and labor laws — issues on which the governor and oversight board disagree — cannot by any reasonable economic analysis be powerful enough in themselves to offset the loss of federal Medicaid funding, the potential drag from recent changes to the corporate income tax code, and the eventual withdrawal of disaster aid. Yet both the government and oversight board rely on a range of controversial structural reforms to produce decades of sustained growth — a perilous projection.

    Yet another factor that would make Puerto Rico’s rosy economic scenario appear highly implausible is population flight to the mainland. The government itself is estimating that as a result of the hurricane, the island will lose more than 10 percent of its people over the next few years. The loss of that large a part of its economically active population is likely to result in a permanent downward shift in the island’s productive capacity.

    Puerto Rico’s oversight board, which now must assess the government’s plan, has the responsibility to take a more realistic view, one that accounts for the substantial downside risks to economic growth that remain. One must also hope that it will recognize that Congress intended that U.S. taxpayers’ money should help Puerto Rico recover and should not be used, in effect, to bailout the island’s creditors.

    It is our view that the public-sector debt, which consumes roughly 30 percent of the island’s tax revenues annually, must be written down to the maximum extent allowable under the law. This should be done in the interest of getting the island back onto its feet and of avoiding a second debt restructuring.

    This week, the oversight board appointed by Congress meets to review the new fiscal plan. For the sake of the island and all U.S. taxpayers, let us hope that its approach to the island’s daunting economic challenges is more prudent than that of the Puerto Rican government.

    This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

    To contact the authors of this story:
    Antonio Weiss at antonio_Weiss@hks.harvard.edu

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9:12 AM 4/15/2018 – Embracing Technology is Key for the Jobs of Tomorrow in Latin America and the Caribbean

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Embracing Technology is Key for the Jobs of Tomorrow in Latin America and the Caribbean

Modern Diplomacy2 hours ago
New technologies provide a pathway to poverty reduction and could usher in a wave of higher productivity and growth across Latin America and the Caribbean, according to a new World Bank report. At a time of growing fears of a future where automation replaces employees, technological innovation could …

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Embracing Technology is Key for the Jobs of Tomorrow in Latin … 

Modern Diplomacy2 hours ago
New technologies provide a pathway to poverty reduction and could usher in a wave of higher productivity and growth across Latin America and the Caribbean, according to a new World Bank report. At a time of growing fears of a future where automation replaces employees, technological innovation could …

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Technology, Productivity, and Prosperity in Latin America and the Caribbean

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Abstract

While adoption of new technologies is understood to enhance long-term growth and average per-capita incomes, its impact on lower-skilled workers is more complex and merits clarification. Concerns abound that advanced technologies developed in high-income countries would inexorably lead to job losses of lower-skilled, less well-off workers and exacerbate inequality. Conversely, there are countervailing concerns that policies intended to protect jobs from technology advancement would themselves stultify progress and depress productivity. This book squarely addresses both sets of concerns with new research showing that adoption of digital technologies offers a pathway to more inclusive growth by increasing adopting firms’ outputs, with the jobs-enhancing impact of technology adoption assisted by growth-enhancing policies that foster sizable output expansion. The research reported here demonstrates with economic theory and data from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico that lower-skilled workers can benefit from adoption of productivity-enhancing technologies biased towards skilled workers, and often do. The inclusive jobs outcomes arise when the effects of increased productivity and expanding output overcome the substitution of workers for technology. While the substitution effect replaces some lower-skilled workers with new technology and more highly-skilled labor, the output effect can lead to an increase in the total number of jobs for less-skilled workers. Critically, output can increase sufficiently to increase jobs across all tasks and skill types within adopting firms, including jobs for lower-skilled workers, as long as lower-skilled task content remains complementary to new technologies and related occupations are not completely automated and replaced by machines. It is this channel for inclusive growth that underlies the power of pro-competitive enabling policies and institutions—such as regulations encouraging firms to compete and policies supporting the development of skills that technology augments rather than replaces—to ensure that the positive impact of technology adoption on productivity and lower-skilled workers is realized.

Citation

“Dutz, Mark A.; Almeida, Rita K.; Packard, Truman G.. 2018. The Jobs of Tomorrow : Technology, Productivity, and Prosperity in Latin America and the Caribbean. Directions in Development;; Directions in Development–Information and Communication Technology;. Washington, DC: World Bank. © World Bank. <a href=”https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/29617″ rel=”nofollow”>https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/29617</a> License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.”

Embracing Technology is Key for the Jobs of Tomorrow in Latin America and the Caribbean

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Embracing Technology is Key for the Jobs of Tomorrow in Latin America and the Caribbean

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New technologies provide a pathway to poverty reduction and could usher in a wave of higher productivity and growth across Latin America and the Caribbean, according to a new World Bank report.

At a time of growing fears of a future where automation replaces employees, technological innovation could create more and better jobs in the coming years—for both for skilled and unskilled workers in the region, the report Jobs of Tomorrow: Technology, Productivity, and Prosperity in Latin America and the Caribbean finds.

“We should adopt and promote technology and innovation to boost economic growth, poverty reduction and increase opportunities for all, rather than creating barriers,” said Jorge Familiar, World Bank Vice-President for Latin America and Caribbean. “Better education and training will be key to ensure youth can take full advantage of the digital world and be prepared for the work of tomorrow.”

According to the report, Latin America and the Caribbean has lower rates of digital technology adoption than similar countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), providing ample space to increase productivity. Barriers also often drive up the price of productivity-enhancing technology. For example, smartphones and tablets in some countries in the region are the most expensive in the world. Tariffs and taxes on technology may be holding back per capita GDP growth by more than 1 percentage point a year across the region.

“With more technology comes more productivity,” said report author Mark Dutz, World Bank Lead Economist of the Macroeconomics, Trade and Investment Global Practice. “Companies can lower variable costs, expand production, reach more markets, make more money and in the process create more and better jobs.”

Studies on Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico find that lower-skilled workers can, and often do, benefit from adopting digital technologies. In addition, technology can have a strong impact on worker mobility, making it easier for job seekers to find information about job opportunities. It works both ways, making for better employer-employee matches.

Online trading platforms also level the playing field between small and large firms seeking access to international markets. International transactions over the Internet disproportionately benefit smaller firms – the same firms that tend to hire relatively more lower-skilled workers.

The report recommends some key areas where policies can help harness the productive power of this digital revolution. They include:

  • Making technologies available to local firms at globally-competitive prices. In Colombia, for example, manufacturing firms who adopted the use of high speed internet saw a direct increase in demand for laborers and lower-skilled production workers as well as higher-skilled professional workers.
  • Ensuring that firms have incentives to invest in technology upgrading and exports rather than seeking protection from competition. Policies and institutions that encourage firms to compete lead them to invest in improving their product quality and lowering costs and prices rather than investing in obtaining government privileges. Firms can also benefit from adopting better management practices to increase production and distribution – an area with huge potential in the region.
  • Educating workers to prepare them for the jobs of tomorrow that will demand new, more sophisticated skills. In Brazil, for instance, more technology-intensive industries increasingly rely on employees to do more cognitive and analytical tasks in which communication and interpersonal skills are in particularly high demand.

Turning away from technology because of fears about technological change would be a costly mistake. New technologies can and should be embraced to support shared prosperity across Latin America and the Caribbean, the report concludes.

World Bank

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latin america – Google Search

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Embracing Technology is Key for the Jobs of Tomorrow in Latin …

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Cuba ahead of the departure of Raúl Castro Ruz

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Note from the editor : El Nuevo Día toured Cuba to gather the opinions of Cubans about the process of presidential change in the country, visited Arroyos de Mantua, on the western tip, Hershey, on the outskirts of Havana, Placetas, in the center of the island, Second Front, town founded by Raul Castro Ruz in Oriente, and Punta de Maisí, on the eastern end of the island, this is the first installment.)

Arroyos de Matua – Cuban President Raul Castro Ruz will leave his post next Thursday, which will be the starting shot to a generational change in the government that keeps the Cuban people expectant, which places high hopes in the transformation brought by the new president, but warns about the need to guarantee the integrity of the achievements of the Revolution that overthrew the government of Fulgencio Batista in 1959 .

Castro Ruz will leave power after 12 years in the maximum chair, because he fulfilled two terms officially and replaced his brother Fidel with illness for two years, before he formally handed over the presidency in 2008.

For the first time since Cuba established its socialist model after the armed triumph of the “Barbudos”, a Castro Ruz will not be in the presidency and neither will a member of the so-called historical generation that fought in the Sierra Maestra, which will mean a Substantial change in the management of the country, where most of the people, despite their disagreements and discomforts, have essentially a high level of respect for those who fought in the mountains and in the urban guerrilla.

La transición generacional, dictada por el paso natural de los años y por disposiciones recientes del Partido Comunista de Cuba (PCC) que ponen como tope los 70 años para ocupar altos cargos de dirección, encuentra a los cubanos nadando entre dos aguas: por una lado, esperanzados en que el cambio traiga evolución en el país y, por el otro, recelo de que los logros alcanzados hasta ahora por el modelo socialista se vengan abajo y la población acabe metida en una encrucijada.

Ese sentimiento dual se respira en el país de punta a punta, comenzando por el pueblo de Arroyos de Mantua, un asentamiento pesquero de 3,500 habitantes en la provincia de Pinar del Río que está considerado como el sitio poblado más occidental de Cuba, donde El Nuevo Día inició un extenso viaje que acaba en el otro extremo de la isla, en Punta de Maisí, a más de 1,000 kilómetros al este.

Aquí, a 315 kilómetros de La Habana y dando cara al Golfo de México, la población, en medio de sus calles polvorientas y una vida carente de lujos o excesos, está alerta sobre el proceso que viene y lo encara con pragmatismo.

“El próximo 19 de abril va a haber un movimiento que, como dijo el compañero Raúl Castro Ruz, dará la posibilidad de que asuman los principales cargos las nuevas generaciones. Casi siempre los cambios generan desarrollo. Hay figuras con el pensamiento y lasideas que nos legó el comandante en jefe, Fidel Castro. Los jóvenes están conscientes de la tarea que tienen y la única forma de seguir subsistiendo es defender la Revolución y apoyando a sus líderes”, dijo a El Nuevo Día el presidente del consejo popular de Arroyos de Mantua, Leonardo Castro Miranda, algo así como el alcalde del pueblo.

Con su tez morena y la gorra verde del equipo de béisbol de Pinar del Río fija en su cabeza, Castro Miranda es de los que piensan que los cambios son positivos, pero su éxito dependerá de la propia gente.

“Este pueblo se caracteriza por ser revolucionario y combatiente, y tiene muchas raíces históricas. En este momento está enfrascado en un proceso de transformaciones, siempre con la participación popular… En ese contexto, a una comunidad como esta lo que le hace falta primeramente es un cambio de mentalidad de las personas. Que las personas entiendan que la única forma de echar para adelante es trabajando”, afirmó.

Quienes recuerdan los años previos a la llegada de la Revolución, aseguran que esta zona tenía visos de arrabal, donde se vivía de la pesca, pero no había dispensario médico, escuela, carreteras o servicios básicos. Los residentes aseguran que, a pesar del aspecto modesto del pueblo, los avances han sido notables, aunque carezcan de fanfarria o estética, pues los residentes han podido educarse y formar carreras en medicina o el deporte.

“Esto era un puerto pesquero de poca monta, que lo administraban cuatro o cinco magnates que eran los que decidían la vida de los trabajadores. La vida de los trabajadores era precaria, mala, lo que pescaban no tenía valor, lo hacían en embarcaciones de velas de malas condiciones, con mala atención médica, pues había un solo doctor, y si no tenías dinero te morías”, explicó el exadministrador del puerto pesquero del pueblo, Graciliano García Escandel, quien está jubilado a sus 76 años.

“Recordar aquello es terrible, porque no había carretera, solo un camino real. Hoy esto parece una ciudad al lado de aquello, hay casas de porte, elegantes, los pescadores tienen otra vida, salen a pescar en otras condiciones que hasta parecen turistas… La juventud de hoy no conoce, porque no lo vivió”, agregó el hombre.

Esa añoranza por no perder lo conseguido es la única preocupación que persiste entre los ciudadanos, pues uno de los distintivos del sistema socialista cubano ha sido llevar a la población en las regiones más remotas del país servicios básicos de salud, educación, deporte, seguridad, alimentación e infraestructura, desde vial hasta eléctrica.

La pobreza es latente para los parámetros occidentales, sobre todo en pueblos alejados de los centros urbanos, como Arroyos de Mantua, donde algunos de los niños juegan fútbol descalzos y las calles carecen de pavimento en muchas zonas.

En lugares como estos, a pesar de los recursos limitados del Estado absoluto, no faltan una escuela, un dispensario, alimentación gratuita y entrenadores preparados para enseñar a los niños a jugar béisbol, baloncesto, voleibol o fútbol a la altura de los mejores en la región.

El deporte, por ejemplo, es la principal fuente de orgullo de Arroyos de Mantua. De aquí han salido integrantes de los equipos nacionales de fútbol y tenis de mesa, así como miembros de los combinados provinciales de béisbol.

“Para seguir desarrollándonos en esta esfera a esta comunidad le haría mucha falta seguir mejorando las instalaciones deportivas, tener acceso a más cantidad de implementos deportivos, y preparar el personal docente para que sea más efectivo el trabajo”, explicó la directora de deportes municipal, María Elena Riveiro Otero, nacida en Arroyos de Mantua.

“La muerte de Fidel fue un golpe duro para los cubanos, pero tenemos que seguir su legado y seguir adelante, avanzando, porque todas esas ideas que nos transmitió las tenemos que reflejar en resultados para la sociedad. A él le gustaba mucho el deporte y por eso en todas las actividades que realizamos está presente su pensamiento. Aunque pronto tampoco estará Raúl, él seguirá con nosotros y vamos a seguir igual, cada día mejorando. Las ideas ya las tenemos interiorizadas, ya sabemos lo que vamos a hacer y seremos mejores”, añadió la fogosa mujer, quien encabeza un sistema deportivo municipal que forma campeones con muy pocos recursos.

Esa idea de vivir sus días sin uno de los hermanos Castro Ruz en el poder suena extraña a muchos cubanos, ya que la costumbre provoca una adaptación, voluntaria o no, que se convierte en rutina.

El mero hecho de la ausencia física de Fidel y la salida de la presidencia de Raúl, aunque prevalezca como secretario general del PCC, representan un cambio mayúsculo en el panorama social cubano, para lo cual se preparan los ciudadanos de todo el país, incluidos los del rincón más occidental de la isla.

“Estoy convencido de que las cosas aquí van a cambiar, no sé si para bien o para mal, pero será un cambio de 180 grados. Vienen propuestas de trabajo, un mundo diferente, y hay que prepararse porque es una oportunidad”, expresó el pescador Oriván Zambrana Fiallo, de 37 años, quien hace hincapié en que el escenario de transformación no cambiará la esencia de pueblos como Arroyos de Mantua, donde la humildad vale más que la ostensión.

“The Mantuanos are humble people, that is the word to describe us. When I say humble is because it is the word that encompasses everything, because you can get to the house of any mantua and they will receive you with open arms, whether they have the best or the worst, but they offer it to you with their hearts in their hands “Said the young man from the sea.

And it is in this breeding ground, where the main ingredient is popular humility, that Raul Castro Ruz will hand over power on April 19 , a date that marks a milestone and to which Cubans await with a single certainty, that of change generational

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Bill Clinton announces eight commitments to address ongoing regional hurricane recovery needs

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bill_clinton_cgiMIAMI – Former President Clinton formally launched the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Action Network on Post-Disaster Recovery at the University of Miami on Tuesday, bringing together more than 350 leaders from government, business, and civil society to discuss and develop solutions that address immediate and long-term hurricane recovery needs facing the region.

Participants announced eight Commitments to Action – solutions that are new, specific, and measurable – focusing on a wide range of issues, including training for 5,000 mental health workers in Puerto Rico; deploying nurses to the US Virgin Islands to conduct vision, hearing, and dental screenings for 9,000 schoolchildren; a comprehensive reforestation and habitat program that will plant 750,000 trees; a new agency in Dominica providing funding for resiliency projects; and solarizing 12 primary health clinics in Puerto Rico.

“In the wake of the terrible hurricanes, the people of these islands have shown a remarkable resilience and a resolve to do long-term work and build back better,” said Clinton. “When I went to Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and Dominica, I was struck by both the determination and the positive attitude of the people there. We are here to do what we can to help these people build communities that are stronger, safer, more prosperous, and more resilient.”

“If we do not address the fundamental issues contributing to climate change, we’re going to see a greater intensity of disasters like Hurricane Maria and Irma,” said Roosevelt Skerrit, prime minister of Dominica. “If the world continues to fail to address climate change, we must not only build back better, but we must improve the national resiliency of our islands. This meeting of the Clinton Foundation is helping to ensure that our efforts to become the first climate resilient nation in the world are system-wide, integrated and coordinated.”

“Although these back-to-back storms were a great tragedy, there is now a tremendous opportunity to improve the future of the US Virgin Islands,” said Tom Secunda, founding partner of Bloomberg LP. “By bringing together such a wide range of people who share the common goal of finding innovative ways to help, The Clinton Foundation is helping us ensure we build back smarter, stronger and a more sustainable communities.”

“The Rockefeller Foundation is focused on bringing together public and private partners to help Puerto Rico recover and to support those who are working to build things back better than before,” said Dr Rajiv J. Shah, president of The Rockefeller Foundation. “Together, we can re-imagine a Puerto Rico that is more equitable, resilient to shocks and disasters, and provides opportunity for all of its residents in good times and bad.”

At the meeting, Clinton and leaders from business, government, and civil society announced eight Commitments to Action that address a wide range of recovery and resiliency issues facing the region.

Commitments to Action Announced on Tuesday

The government of Dominica has committed to launch a climate resiliency agency (CREAD), dedicating $600 million in funding to implement resiliency projects, with the goal of making Dominica the first climate resilient nation in the world.

The American Federation of Teachers has partnered with Airlink and the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands to bring nurses to conduct vision, hearing, and dental screenings for all 9,000 schoolchildren on the US Virgin Islands.

Afya Foundation has committed to addressing the urgent medical needs of the elder population in Puerto Rico, by shipping immediate medical supplies and equipment to Acción Social’s 22 Elder Care centers, while providing training and capacity building to Acción Social staff.

Para la Naturaleza (PLN) has committed to launch Habitat, a comprehensive reforestation and habitat restoration program in Puerto Rico that aims to plant 750,000 native and endemic trees that are more resilient to natural phenomena such as hurricanes, and provide assessment and maintenance of newly planted areas.

Americares has committed to address mental health challenges in Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria by providing training for 5,000 health workers, emergency responders, and social service providers across the island.

International Medical Corps has committed to support primary healthcare for school-aged children in Puerto Rico by procuring an additional Mobile Medical unit for Med Centro, allowing them to reach an additional five elementary and middle schools with comprehensive preventive health screenings, and providing training and capacity building to all Med Centro staff.

Digicel has committed to repair or rebuild seven schools and 360 homes in Dominica that were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Maria, while also training 100 community members in building techniques and provide community workshops on risk mitigation and disaster preparedness.

Direct Relief, the Hispanic Federation, The Solar Foundation, and New Energy PR have committed to install solar or solar + storage systems at 12 primary care clinics in Puerto Rico, meeting critical energy needs at each site.

Clinton also announced a Commitment to Action in development, issuing a challenge to members of the Action Network to pre-position relief supplies for the upcoming hurricane season. With estimates that every $1 spent on preparedness saves $4 in response and recovery spending, pre-positioning relief supplies, and establishing logistics and distribution channels, can help resources be deployed more efficiently in the event of a disaster. CGI is bringing together Action Network members who can lend their resources, materials, expertise, and support to a broad effort that already includes engagement from Operation Blessing, Airlink, Federal Surplus Company, Solight, J/P Haitian Relief Organization, Americares, and World Central Kitchen.

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Efraín, Javier, Paul SIEMPRE NOS FALTARÁN Nuestra organización expresa su solidaridad. #Ecuador #periodistas #NosFaltan3 https://fundaciondayuma.wordpress.com/2018/04/15/efrain-javier-paul-siempre-nos-faltaran/ …pic.twitter.com/hbTaYV53t1

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Efraín, Javier, Paul SIEMPRE NOS FALTARÁN Nuestra organización expresa su solidaridad.   https://fundaciondayuma.wordpress.com/2018/04/15/efrain-javier-paul-siempre-nos-faltaran/ …

ecuador journalists murder – Google Search

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Ecuadorian journalists kidnapped by rebels have been killed … 

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Journalists Protest at the Summit of Americas 

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Ecuador President Confirms Death Of Kidnapped Journalists 

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Quito, Ecuador, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News, app – 13th Apr, 2018 ) :Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno confirmed Friday the deaths of three members of a journalist team kidnapped on March 26 by renegade Colombian rebels. “Sadly, we have information confirming the murder of our fellow …

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This morning a group of FARC dissidents, the Omar Sinisterra Front, which kidnapped three Ecuadorian journalists on the border with Colombia, reported that they had murdered their captives. However, the news item was announced, updated, and subsequently disappeared on several platforms.

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The process has resulted in the turning over of around 9,000 firearms and the lowest murder rate in three decades (24 homicides per 100,000 residents). … While the Ecuadorian government was taking stock of the damage, social media and the press raised another alarm: two journalists and a driver from …

April 2018 

CPJ Press Freedom OnlineApr 4, 2018
New York, April 13, 2018 –The Committee to Protect Journalists today condemned the killing of three members of an Ecuadoran reporting team who were …. CPJ travels to Ecuador to meet with journalists, leaders In March, a CPJ delegation traveled to Ecuador to meet with journalists, civil society groups, .
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Confirmation of the murder of El Comercio newspaper’s journalist team Photos and Images | european pressphoto agency

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epa06667552 Family and friends protest after the confirmation of the murder of El Comercio newspaper's journalist team that were kidnapped on 26 March 2018 on the border with Colombia, in Quito, Ecuador, 13 April 2018. 'We are in mourning' said Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno, confirming the murder of journalist Javier Ortega (36 years old), photographer Paúl Rivas (45 years old) and driver Efraín Segarra (60 years old). EPA-EFE/José Jácome
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El Comercio newspaper team – Google Search


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