Attorney Linda Backiel on the Puerto Rican debt crisis

Big Debt in Paradise: What Vacationers May Not Want to Know about the Debt Crisis in Puerto Rico

This is the second in our series focusing on life in our favorite winter vacation spots. We began with a show on border issues in southern Arizona. This show’s focus is Puerto Rico, home to lush green mountains, a tropical rainforest, drop-dead gorgeous beaches, and a debt crisis worse than Greece’s. Ira’s guest is San Juan-based attorney Linda Backiel, who tells us that the median family income in the Isle of Enchantment is half that of Mississippi, America’s poorest state, and that 57% of the island’s children live in poverty. A bitter irony: with $73 billion in bonds held by the biggest firms on Wall Street, not paying the debt has been talked about as a radical option, but not a welcome one to many of the folks who both vacation in Puerto Rico and whose retirement incomes are tied up in it’s high yield debt.