John Oliver just made the Puerto Rico crisis make sense

$7 billion in debt. A 45 percent poverty rate. It takes John Oliver to do what the media can't


Brendan Gauthier
April 25, 2016 4:57PM (UTC)

"Last Week Tonight" host John Oliver last night devoted his main segment to Puerto Rico.

The territory now has approximately $70 billion in debt and a 45% poverty rate. In an attempt to chip away at that deficit, the Puerto Rican government has increased sales taxes and closed schools, convincing thousands to leave for the contiguous U.S.

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"Right now, Puerto Rico is like the last Tower Records," Oliver said. "Everything's overpriced, everyone's being laid off, and there's still a weirdly large number of Ricky Martin CDs."

The seemingly obvious solution for the Puerto Rican government would be to declare Chapter 9, but a 1984 provision slipped without debate into a larger bill specifically exempts the territory from declaring bankruptcy.

"So the next time your obnoxious friend tell you everything happens for a reason," Oliver added, "you can simply say, 'No, Dan, not the 1984 provision exempting Puerto Rico from bankruptcy protection. So shut the fuck up."

To make things worse, the territory -- which is hemorrhaging doctors and whose hospitals are shutting down -- is in the throes of a Zika outbreak.

"On top of debt, industrial collapse, school closures and a sudden influx of tax-dodging assholes, now Puerto Rico has to worry about deadly mosquitos," Oliver said. "It's like the island is being hit with all the plagues that God felt were too 'think-y' for the Bible."

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Watch the full segment below:


Brendan Gauthier

Brendan Gauthier is a freelance writer.

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Last Week Tonight With John Oliver Puerto Rico

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