5 random things for Friday (gun homicide rate, personal finance, Groucho Marx on politics)

News Story of the Day: apparently, Puerto Rico is suffering from an exodus. Not only is the United States island territory facing a debt crisis, its economy will suffer as more and more Puerto Ricans absquatulate.

From Bloomberg:

None of those things will change just because we wipe out the bondholders. And the bondholders are not Puerto Rico’s only creditors; it has an unfunded pension liability of roughly $50 billion. Covering the current liability will consume more 20 percent of the budget.

That figure will only grow, because the biggest problem of all is Puerto Rico’s rapid demographic decline. There has long been a steady migration from Puerto Rico to the mainland. By 2008, there were more Puerto Ricans in the rest of the U.S. than there were in Puerto Rico. But the economic crisis has accelerated that flow to staggering levels. Worse still, the flow is selective: young families, professionals and skilled workers migrate in search of better opportunity, while the old and the dependent stay home. In just one year, 2014, almost 3.5 percent of the young adult population migrated.

Undoubtedly, the hurricane will make this worse. Some businesses will never reopen, and workers will start looking across the water. Some people will decide it’s easier to move elsewhere and start over than to rebuild their destroyed home. A look at the experience of New Orleans after Katrina is instructive: Between the 2000 and 2010 censuses, the city lost 30 percent of its population.

As people move, the effect won’t only be economic. The debt burden will stay the same size, but it will be spread over fewer and fewer people. The same will happen to all the other fixed expenses of the government — things that also cannot be easily ordered away by a president, or a court: the pension bill, the roads, the hospitals and airports. Whatever happens with Puerto Rico’s debt, the Wall Street bankers will probably be fine. But unless we find a way to help the territory reverse these catastrophic trends, Puerto Rico will not.

Chart of the Day: in the wake of the Las Vegas tragedy, there are renewed for gun bans and a repeal of the Second Amendment. But is gun violence that bad in the United States? Take a look at this chart:


Illustration of the Day: people today, especially youth, are terrible at managing their finances. Perhaps this stems from a paucity of education – what government educational institution understands anything about balancing the books? Here is a look at today’s generation of students who have the acumen, or lack thereof, of personal finance:

Chart: Are Today's Students Prepared to Make Financial Decisions?

Quote of the Day: it was the legend Groucho Marx’s birthday earlier this week. Here is one of the greatest quotes that have ever been uttered:

“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.”

Video of the Day: are you ready for the biggest laughs you will experience today? Here is Miley Cyrus and other female writers thanking former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for being a “beacon of strength.” Hahahaha! How ignorant are these people?

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