Indeed, it is literally dizzying the poor financial posture of the NMI heading down the path of bankruptcy. Such condition forces economic contraction rather than expansion. It doesn’t bode well for families struggling to endure the deepening pain of economic misery.
Economic contraction seems to be the trophy upon which we have placed our life at the feet of equally disoriented elected and appointed officials. Perhaps the fiscal paralysis is mired in history. I call it the “hangover,” the last scapegoat I’ve found and promise not to search for more waffled excuses.
There’s our experience from 1944 to 1977 with heavy shadows of colonialism that included parting with tradition as we embraced what we viewed then as the new way of doing things. It slowly drained our people of a once powerful sense of personal industry in favor of government jobs. Most had no inkling then that the money they’ve received came from the backbreaking sacrifices of taxpayers in the U.S. mainland.
Although we eventually moved into “self-government,” there remain relics of another layer of colonialism gift-wrapped in “paternalism.” The dual cover seemed to have inculcated the mindset that Uncle Sam would always be around to show us what to do even in times of self-inflicted crisis. Slowly, however, we learned that, after grant funds, the balance of our needs must be met from locally generated revenues.
In fact, it was in 1993 that we told the U.S. Congress at a budget hearing to discontinue grant funds earmarked for CNMI government operations. There was sufficient revenue to go it alone. Perhaps one could call it an accomplishment. Then. Or perhaps we’ve spoken too early or prematurely. Anyway, we didn’t have the normal evolution of economic progression like most successful economies. Ours is a piece of driftwood in the open ocean.
We didn’t morph from colonialism to industrialization for we lacked natural resources to develop into items marketable at the global level. Thus the confusion on how to pitchfork the local economy beyond the tourism industry. Well, the term “economy” has even turned into an embarrassing humor and mouthwash by kids in grammar school.
Not ready to lambaste the feds for the mess at home. I’m equally wary how we’ve oiled its lack of commitment with our own set of negligence, complacency, and mediocrity. But there lurks in the back of our mind the notion of colonialism and paternalism that prompt questions like: Is the NMI doomed? Why have we failed understanding and mastering the institution of self-government? Are the heavy shadows of colonialism and paternalism such that we’ve built the belief of inferiority complex incapable of standing on our own feet?
This is where we are today. Having said my piece, what’s your vision of the future of these isles? I trust we could exit triviality in favor of essentials to move the needle forward.
Pummeled by mediocrity
With our fully honed sense of mañana, we skip real substantive issues, focusing on tedious matters like village sign replacements. Isn’t this DPW’s or Parks and Recreation’s job? It seems a glorification of our inability to see “beyond the years.” It’s a humiliating tale of disconnect from what’s significant or mundane.
Is it just bravado or the façade of politicians learning to harden the culture of bureaucracy where nothing moves, just to ensure their re-election? This would fatally cement the eventual fiscal death of the CNMI in the near term.
The budding filthy political culture is like an “infection that permeates from the top to bottom, kept growing beyond a certain point, made a perennial industry laggard, and ultimately leading down the path of self-inflicted demise. Yes, I’ve digested cautionary tales of the faults of a huge bureaucracy piled with negligence, complacency, and mediocrity.
“Every executive and business leader should abide because bureaucracy is so insidious, so prolific, it can happen almost anywhere. It initially masquerades as process and methodology, a safe buffer from the chaos of constant change and competition. But before you know it, it takes hold of your culture. And once that happens, it’s very difficult to eradicate.” As such, herein is born a huge government bureaucracy that instantly braces for its own interest over the multitude. It’s called lack of accountability.
“That’s why bureaucracies inevitably become more and more bloated and less and less efficient over time. It’s why they’re the bastions of dysfunctional organizational behavior that resists change, improvement, initiative, transparency, and anything remotely resembling accountability.”
Have we reached this stage yet? Or have we been pummeled by the erosive tsunami of complacency, negligence, and mediocrity?
Opening of schools
Public schools opened this week. Opening day is one happy return to the classroom for most school kids.
It’s another year for dedicated teachers whose performance would be judged by the academic accomplishment of their students.
Admirable, though, the extra mile they take to ensure learning occurs and that their students move in tandem with everybody else.
What’s the reward of teaching? Most teachers say it’s the “satisfaction” in heart and soul watching students learn foundational courses that equip them for the next academic level ahead.
The board and commissioner are on top of issues affecting PSS, including the constant battle of budget cuts by legislators who play opossum. They obviously never placed the education of our children uppermost in their agenda. Of course, they all have perfectly rehearsed excuses.
Well, the school opening brought a sense of nostalgia where my grandchildren now tread. Let’s support our children as they prepare for what lies ahead.
People have the right to “rational ignorance.” It comes into play when we ignore the cost of gaining enough understanding of an issue to make an informed decision relating to it. This nascent attitude must go! Let’s take charge of our destiny.