The Gist

How We Screwed Over Puerto Rico

FEMA chaos plus reckless tax policy plus shady debt deals plus no vote in Congress.

Jesus Perez and his wife, Maria Santiago, whose home remains without electricity, pose by the Christmas tree they constructed from Coca-Cola cans on Dec. 20 in Morovis, Puerto Rico.

Mario Tama/Getty Images

Listen to Episode 983 of Slate’s The Gist:

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On today’s Gist, thick-as-bricks Lego thieves come a-tumbling down.

Hurricane recovery has been a disaster in Puerto Rico. NPR’s Laura Sullivan wanted to know why. So she found documents revealing a FEMA in shambles. She traced Puerto Rico’s economic troubles back to a 1996 tax vote. And she explains how the island’s remaining wealth was wiped out by years of shady municipal debt deals. Sullivan’s report for NPR and Frontline is called “Blackout in Puerto Rico.” You should really watch it.

In the Spiel, is it spring yet?

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Twitter: @slategist