With Puerto Rico inching ever closer to the May 1 deadline for a restructuring of its life-altering $70 billion debt, John Oliver decided to spend 20 minutes of Sunday’s Last Week Tonight breaking down the maddening unfairness at play. “The U.S. owes $1.2 trillion to China, but if you called 911, you wouldn’t expect them to say ‘Oh, I’m sorry, we chose to send our fire truck money to Beijing,'” Oliver explained. “‘Have you tried blowing on the fire really hard?'” Oliver, with some help from Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, then took specific aim at the fact that Puerto Rico may be forced to pay off bondholders before spending much-needed money on basic governmental functions.
“Puerto Rico is like the last Tower Records,” Oliver said, referencing one of the greatest relics in music history. “Everything’s overpriced, everyone’s being laid off, and there’s still a really weird number of Ricky Martin CDs.” One of the most troubling aspects of Puerto Rico’s debt crisis, Oliver notes, is the fact that the government has even resorted to singing the praises of basic mathematics to prove the situation’s seriousness. “This is not politics,” the governor of Puerto Rico said in a speech regarding the debt crisis. “This is math.”
“There are certainly better voices than mine to speak on behalf of Puerto Rico,” Oliver admitted, swiftly introducing Lin-Manuel Miranda. Miranda, who the Daily Beast reports recently paid Congress a visit to express his support of debt restructuring for Puerto Rico, then delivered an enlightening batch of bars pleading for compassion in the face of society-crushing debt. “Our citizens are suffering,” Miranda rapped. “Stop the bleeding, stop the loss. Help Puerto Rico. It’s just 100 miles across!”