Let's say you are a bagger boy or girl at Joeten. Some of our brightest young men and women are and they're learning how business works as well as how to be a good employee.
This morning you tell the boss that the Easter candy will sell faster if you put it right up front in the store. The boss agrees and tells you to move all the Easter candy to the front of the store. So while you're moving the big heavy boxes of Easter candy you get hungry and you decide to eat some of the candy. You know the boss will not approve of this so you hide it from him. To justify your eating the candy without permission, you only eat the broken pieces.
When you're full you continue to move those big heavy Easter candy boxes and you realize Sunday is Easter and that you will need Easter candy for the kids. So while you're moving those big heavy boxes of Easter candy to the front of the store where it belongs, you sneak a couple of boxes out to your car and hide them in the trunk. You justify this by telling yourself the boss doesn't pay you enough anyway.
Do you think eating the candy is stealing? Do you think taking the candy to your car is stealing? Let's change the names of two things in this story and see if you answer these questions the same way. Let's say the bagger boy or girl is our CNMI Legislature (the legal body as a whole, not individuals), the Easter candy is your retirement, and you, the taxpayers, are the boss. The Legislature told us that we have to put our money into retirement and take our money from our paychecks before we get what's left over. They said it would go into the Retirement Fund and we would benefit 20-plus years later. It started out OK, just like in our previous story, but then the Legislature started taking money out of the Fund. I'm sure some in our government justified this because, like the bagger boy or girl in our story, there was a need. Was taking money out of retirement that we were forced to put our money into in the first place right? No! So just like the bagger boy or girl stealing Easter candy in our story, the Legislature stole our retirement and now they want us to sacrifice again for their mistakes.
Government employees today still have retirement money being taken out of their paychecks every pay day, yet their money is not being put into the Retirement Fund. Instead, like the Easter candy stolen in our story, the employees' retirement money is being put into the trunk of the government and spent elsewhere. So I ask you again, is taking your money out of retirement and spent on the government stealing? Is taking government employees money for retirement and then not putting that money into the Retirement Fund stealing?
If you, like me, said yes, that it is stealing, then let's put a stop to it. How? It is really pretty easy. First we must all stick together and not let anyone cause us retirees to fight amongst ourselves. Second, we must push and pass a constitutional amendment that puts our Legislature on a strict part-time basis. Take the millions saved from that reduction in government expense and put it back where it belongs, in the Retirement Fund. And while we're at it, let's prevent this whole disaster from happening again by putting every elected official on a two-term limit. These simple measures will ensure that we the people are really the people who are served by our government. These simple measures will ensure that we eliminate career politicians who'd do anything (including stealing from our Retirement Fund) to get elected again. These simple measures cuts out the political bickering and infighting.
Capital Hill, Saipan