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TO: PUERTO RICO HERALD
RE: Correction To Inaccurate Federal Funds Amount Sent To Puerto Rico, as quoted by Roy Wolford in Voice of the People. 01/13/2001
I really enjoy your site and it's one of the few I visit regularly.
I wish to correct an inaccurate assertion made by one of your readers, who wrote that Puerto Rico receives an annual $13 billion handout from the federal government.
You published a letter to Voice of the People in The South Bend Tribune, written by a Roy Wolford. There is so much disturbing misinformation about Puerto Rico (because of our "status from hell", as somebody else has labeled this political limbo, I suppose) being spread around, either maliciously or out of ignorance, that I had to reply.
I got these figures from the Hexner-Jenkins report published here in the Herald and wanted to thank you for having this information available. I hope it's still relevant.
Here are the approximate true figures:
A. Payments to Individuals: about $5.0 billion
These funds include pensions, Social Security benefits, veteransbenefits, etc. The recipients of these monies EARNED them. We pay Social Security and Medicare taxes, to the same extent as mainland residents. PR retirees and veterans have certainly EARNED their pensions and benefits through their work and military service.
B. Wages and Salaries: about $535 million PR federal personnel certainly should not be required to work for free.
C. Intergovernmental Transfers: about $2.4 billion.
D. Food Stamps: about $1.1 billion.
The actual amount (C+D) is about $3.5 or $4 billion, a hefty sum, yes, but a far cry from that mythical $13 billion figure.
January 27, 2001