With a cumulative deficit of more than $345 million, the obvious paralysis to adequately defray the cost of healthcare, Medicaid, medical referral, PSS, CUC, other agencies and municipal governments, further exacerbated (worsened) by persistent decline in revenue, is a tale that all roads lead to bankruptcy or fiscal cliff right here and now.
Though the initial distraction focuses on the bankruptcy of the imperiled Retirement Fund, it's just a matter of time before such dire straits is focused squarely on the traumatically critical financial posture of the local government. Politicians may try to allay the fears of the general public but figures don't lie, politicians do! This is where lackadaisical and obsolescent leadership comes into play to reconfigure expenditure.
The declaration of bankruptcy doesn't mean it's the end of the world. It's a management tool that grants an organization the opportunity to regroup.
Meanwhile, there came suspect tidings of newfound revenue of some $11 million. It was met with instant and roar-like declaration of the new loot.
Too, there's joy in the land as to impose additional fees and taxes on tourism and businesses alike. The band plays on even discordantly as exhausted businessmen work their calculators to figure out the impact of the new beasts.
Has the Legislature even seen the net effect of its new imposition amidst a woefully bad business climate? Is it really revenue generating or would not the new fees and taxes force further decline in business activities and revenues, including more closures?
The negative laws aren't likely to allow a return to 80 biweekly work hours. It could go the other way, exacting the urgency to reduce it to below 60 hours biweekly. In short, the host of the party must withdraw issuing the invitation for a big celebration until all the chickens have come home to roost.
Bankruptcy, however, is in the air and it's just a matter of time before the NMI faces a reality check to admit and declare it is bankrupt and there's no two ways about it.
Local political glossary
This being an election year, let's explore what words and redundant rhetoric would be used with muted enthusiasm by politicians as they brave the headwind into the campaign trail. Sure, some may be taken in by their words once more as the Top of the Line Con Men (or TOLCM) deliver their tired, incoherent, adolescent and redundant nonsense.
There's the word “recovery” some may brave using when talking to an audience. It's a word closely associated with health and economy. Candidates may brave its usage as they lamely speak of reviving the local economy. What's the concrete definition?
Let's not define it in that it would take away the fun politicians have using the double definition to suit their wares-lack of clarity though loaded with lame bravery. Most have no idea what the concept entails (economic recovery given their illiteracy) but would chance using the leviathan term to sound bigger than King Kong. Would any of them make sense as they try to survive another second of humiliation by braving ignorance, displaying that he knows not how to untangle and save himself a trip into the dark land of disorientation?
The term “address” would likely pop up as the TOLCM attempt to persuade villagers that they are working to pave the road to Fiscal Cliff so the unscheduled jump into political oblivion is done quickly. It would be the equivalent of braving its use to show he has an improved repertoire under his belt on newly learned vocabulary on his way to the mike. They'd even slip in the phrase “work closely with” to show some sense of superficial unity among candidates. You know, camaraderie that doesn't exist. And for those caught with stage fright, we should hear more “biba” than a meaningful speech.
The “SNAP” program would also make it to the top list of abused acronym though Republicans would be mute, deaf, and blind on this score. They've excoriated (criticized) and accused Kilili of turning the NMI into a “nanny” state. But then Republicans have failed big time on wealth and jobs creation. This royal failure has forced more people into the humiliating NAP line. Thus their incoherent argument confirms ignorance, unaware that their blueprint exacted the complete opposite: a nanny state! Embarrassing the foot in mouth disease and the perversion of the truth!
Article 12 would also emerge as an issue. Now, a candidate must review the entire nine yards on this matter before taking his misguided and failed perception into the public arena. In short, employ some sense of intellectual integrity before you even mouth off all the wrong information. There's the panacea that land is important to the local culture. I've pressed for an educated explanation of the relationship (land and culture) to which there's a long pause without a decent answer from proponents of A-12. Isn't farming the cultural tradition of these isles? Hasn't landownership changed from farming to simple family asset? Aren't you wrongfully using ancestral definition to blanket contemporary relationship with land?
Comes the word “indigenous” often hurled to sound lamely relevant in obvious misperception of the term. Can any of you, using historical facts, tell me who is and isn't indigenous? Can a non-owner of these isles legally dispose of indigenous Chamorro land? Be honest and don't flip the racial card to use as a shield from the truth. Historical facts are just that-facts! Has DNA come up with the technology to decipher how much of one's blood is French, English, German, Chamorro, and Carolinian? Why compromise genealogy to peddle the ethnocentric agenda of indigenous hegemony? You want racial hegemony yet you also peddle a powerful agent of change-casino? Isn't this an oxymoronic viewpoint?
Bankruptcy would probably top the entire list of words that political opposition would use to the hilt to slam Republicans. It simply means no money, broke! Coupled with its grand mañana shoving aside vital issues of livelihood, ignoring folks in the villages makes for a very difficult use of the art of persuasion. It's all an uphill battle. Naturally, this word is followed by the term “cut” which makes it woefully difficult as politicians assess their future if they “tell it like it is.” Many would turn into life-size cowards from Jurassic Park.
Your understanding of first principles, law of the land, supremacy of laws, basic economics, taxation, negative investment policies, and the ability to articulate them with credibility, believability, and diction speak volumes of your potential qualifications. If perchance you're not sure, it's best to follow an old advice to keeping your trap shut and keep them guessing than to open it and erase all doubts. No worries, I'd be keeping my ears to the ground. This midterm election promises to be very interesting, indeed.
John DelRosario Jr. is a former publisher of the Saipan Tribune and a former secretary of the Department of Public Lands.