Puerto Rico's Precarious Position Isn't So Unusual

Like many states, it has a balanced-budget law.

Brilliantly colored houses are still covered by the constitution.

Photographer: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

No U.S. state has defaulted on its bonds since the Great Depression -- yet Puerto Rico, a commonwealth that operates much like a state without being one, is on the brink. Is there any connection between Puerto Rico’s unique constitutional status and it economic woes? If not, what does that say about the prospect for future default by any of the actual 50 states of the union?

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