"Hamilton" creator Lin-Manuel Miranda and his smash hit Broadway musical just saved Alexander Hamilton's spot on the $20 bill. Comedian John Oliver tapped Miranda Sunday to help out with another, much bigger money problem.
Oliver used Sunday's episode of HBO's "Last Week Tonight" to take a closer look at Puerto Rico's massive debt. The island is in a state of crisis with over $72 billion dollars in debt coupled with a failing economy. The situation is so bad that recently a power company shut off service to a hospital. Oliver broke down Puerto Rico's debt crisis, making the case that U.S. policy in Washington D.C. is largely responsible for the island's hardships, before bringing out Miranda to appeal to U.S. lawmakers by doing what he does best — rapping.
Oliver listed off the many legal loopholes that aided in the growth of Puerto Rico's large debt, including triple tax exempt bonds that help businessmen, but not the island, the fact that Puerto Rico is not able to declare Chapter 9 bankruptcy and the removal of tax breaks that caused Puerto Rico to lose more than half of its manufacturing jobs over the past decade.
“The good news here is, Congress is now considering a bipartisan bill that would give Puerto Rico some breathing room to negotiate with creditors,” Oliver added. "While the details are still being worked out, this could be a real help to Puerto Rico.”
The comedian then called on Miranda, the son of Puerto Rican immigrants and a recent Pulitzer Prize-recipient for "Hamilton," to help urge U.S. lawmakers to allow Puerto Rico to restructure its debt. Miranda recently addressed Congress with the same message, even offering tickets to his musical as an added incentive.
“Wow, that is incredible,” Oliver joked. “I’m amazed he can even get tickets. It is easier for a meerkat to get into Harvard Law School than it is to get into that show.”
To end the "Last Week Tonight" segment, Miranda launched into a scathing rap pointing out the hypocrisy of the U.S. abandoning the popular tourist destination.
“Paul Ryan, I’ll come sing Hamilton at your house, I’ll do-si-do with Pelosi, I’ll wear my Hamilton blouse,” Miranda rapped. “Our citizens are suffering, stop the bleeding, stop the loss. Help Puerto Rico, it’s just 100 miles across!”