I want to start this blog post off by saying that I’m not an economist — I think I need that disclaimer. But, for years I have been interested in Puerto Rico’s fiscal crisis. In 2016, I expressed my opinion on the new fiscal oversight board put in place by President Obama in a column for my student newspaper. My opinion hasn’t changed much on the topic over the years — the fiscal oversight board isn’t the best move.
But, on Sept. 27, the board announced a restructuring of Puerto Rico’s debt. In the New York Times article, they mainly focus on how the debt restructuring would affect bond holders. At the end they mention that retirees are getting the best deal out of the lot — but their pensions are still being cut.
This heavy emphasis on the numbers — with no follow up on the personal way this would affect individuals — is often the kind of reporting we see when it comes to these big financial stories. Yet, it doesn’t humanize the problem for us.
An article by El Nuevo Día does a much better job of humanizing the subjects this plan would affect. It talked to retired and active teachers about how this new plan would affect them personally. It was one piece of the ongoing coverage on the new plan.
I think as a national publication covering the big scale effects of a plan like the debt restructuring being proposed is important, but you need to include more on the stakeholders and who stands to lose from this plan. Of course the bond owners are big stakeholders in this financially, and they’re the people we think about first when it comes to this issue but with a little more digging you could also find how it affects the every day people of Puerto Rico.