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Hullabaloo


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

 
Trump's Wall Street buddies and Puerto Rico

by digby

Trump is worried about his Wall Street pals

























You saw those belated and telling tweets by Donald Trump late Sunday night already. That's him, after a full week-end of wanking about the NFL protests to give his racist base something to live for, finally deciding to acknowledge that a catastrophe was unfolding in Puerto Rico. But he couldn't help but mention Puerto Rico's debt which was clearly a topic that had been discussed in the White House.

D-day asked some of the debt holders what they planned to do to help and this is what they said. It's not pretty. Think about how many times Wall Street forgave Trump's business failures when he went bankrupt over and over and over again as you read this:
PUERTO RICO, FACING absolute devastation after Hurricane Maria barreled through last week, desperately needs immediate funding to restore critical infrastructure, particularly its hobbled electric grid. The entire island — home to over 3.5 million American citizens, roughly equivalent to the state of Connecticut — lost power, and satellite imagery shows how little electricity has come back. This affects not only electricity and telecommunications service but access to clean water, as many pumping stations run on the same grid.

A group of bondholders, who own a portion of Puerto Rico’s massive $72 billion debt, has proposed what they are calling relief — but in the form of a loan. So they’re offering a territory mired in debt the chance to take on more debt.

The announcement came after The Intercept spent two days reaching out to 51 of Puerto Rico’s known creditors, asking them if they would support a moratorium or cancellation of debt payments for the island, given the humanitarian crisis. Prior to this announcement, only three of the 51 creditors had so much as donated relief funds to charity or offered sympathy for island residents, all of them banks who actually have to face consumers, and so are a bit more adept at handling public relations. No creditor had supported debt relief.

Of the 51 creditors contacted by The Intercept, only Citibank, Goldman Sachs, and Scotiabank have pledged no-strings-attached money for Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands, in the form of donations to relief organizations totaling $1.25 million. Citi has also waived certain fees for citizens within disaster zones.

Puerto Rico’s other creditors contacted by The Intercept would not say whether donations were made by their firms or their top executives, which include some of the richest people on earth. Holders of Puerto Rican debt include John Paulson, who got rich betting against the housing market during the financial crash; Jeffrey Gundlach of DoubleLine Capital, who in 2015 called Puerto Rican debt his “best idea” for investors; and Marc Lasry of Avenue Capital Group and co-owner of the Milwaukee Bucks NBA team.
Read on, it tells you everything you need to know.

Trump had a little press conference today and barely talked about Puerto Rico. H did mention that he wouldn't be lifting he Jones Act to allow foreign ships to help with the effort as he did with Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma. He explained that shipping interests didn't  want it so there's that.

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