Dear A.M. Costa Rica:
Here’s some fodder for the editorial mill. In my humble opinion, this is what would improve conditions for expats and Costa Ricans alike:
1. Control prices for consumer goods. They are spiraling upwards at an alarming rate which decays quality of life in Costa Rica and dampens enthusiasm for tourism and expat migration. Keep the economy vibrant by keeping it more favorable for those who pay. The corporations don’t need to get richer, but we need to stop getting poorer. Offset losses by steps 3 and 4 below.
2. Stop treating expats like the fairy tale pitcher that never runs out of milk. We are not all wealthy snobs who don’t care how much we are ripped off by punitive financial policies, taxes, fees, duties, prices, etc. Level our burden with the citizens and reduce taxes for all while broadening the tax base to spread the burden. Make it possible for us to bring in our possessions without the punishing costs.
3. Shorten and streamline the long and unnecessarily complicated process of legal migration. More illegal perpetual tourists will then come into the system. It doesn’t need to take a year. The goal should be one month.
4. Reduce bureaucracy in general. Streamline systems to save time, effort, frustration, and cost.
5. Bring more revenue into the Caja Costarricensese de Seguro Social by allowing expats to sign up much sooner in the process and receive services.
6. Make medical translators available for expats who must use government services, especially medical at Caja where bad communication can be tragic.
7. Educate the citizens about entrepreneurialism and enable them to start and run their own businesses more successfully. Seed local business with funding and expertise. Reset the economic base to become small private businesses rather than foreign corporate interests.
8. Work on the balance of trade. Increase exportations of a wider variety of goods and commodities.
9. Foster greater understanding and cultural interchange between expats and citizens. We are not all perverts looking for a chance to molest a child.
10. Find ways to enable and reward individual progress in the three pillars of prosperity for individuals and the country: English language, digital technology and expanded world view.
11. Educate the citizens to become independent, critical thinkers who reach a freely chosen world view, historical perspective, and personal ethical system. Loosen the grip of the Catholic Church on their minds and hearts. Break them free from addiction to their family dynamics so they can act more as free individuals.
12. Foster creativity and individual self-expression in all forms. People who can and do bring new things into being regularly are happier and more fulfilled. Support the arts but go beyond that with new programs that deepen engagement by teaching creative thinking and expression.
13. One more on the Caja: upgrade the system! Improve the quality of services and medicines. Make more and better medicines available. Shorten and streamline the processes.
14. Teach Costa Ricans that holding a government position doesn’t make them a minor god who can abuse power at will. Foster and encourage a culture of service and efficiency and general compassion.
That should tweak a few people’s thinking. Hope you find something worth mentioning.