The U.S. commonwealth and Greece have a lot in common, mostly good: sandy beaches, good weather, picturesque ruins, passports that let them escape their homelands for better-off place, well-heeled visitors, John Paulson. A handful of Puerto Ricans would even like to enjoy the nominal sovereignty claimed by the Greeks. This, however, is a comparison Puerto Rico could really do without.
The Puerto Rico government and the hedge funds that own its bonds are turning to former International Monetary Fund officials to help resolve a growing debt crisis that may require a restructuring more akin to Greece than a troubled city like Detroit….
As a U.S. commonwealth, the island also doesn’t qualify for IMF aid, but the excessive borrowing, inconsistent financial reporting and low tax collection that landed Puerto Rico in hot water are common in the developing countries that IMF economists deal with.
Of course, no such comparison is very precise. And while Greece’s beaches, ruins and food are arguably better than Puerto Rico’s, the latter’s weather and financial situation are well ahead of those of the Hellenes.
Puerto Rico’s government has relatively low levels of debt by international standards, and tackling the deficit is manageable, said Charles Blitzer, a former assistant director of the IMF’s monetary and capital-markets department and now principal at Blitzer Consulting.
“This is doable without great pain,” he said.