Economic contraction

The effects of the economic contraction bring the accompanying reality of far less money for basic needs. It has recently prompted cuts across the board here at home. Everyone has converged into the daily use of the term “cut.”

It has boiled down to how much cut must be imposed on the NMI government to stay afloat for the balance of the fiscal year. It is far more serious than meets the eye.

The uncertainty has prompted House minority members to call for an oversight of NMI fiscal posture: extent of the decrease, current obligations and revenue generation. Timely!

Unless this is factually pinned down, every other discussion turns into pointless and frustrated meet. Discussion of the issue requires cool heads and rhetoric when it comes to the table for meaningful exchange and disposition.

Historically, though, we’ve heard tons of rhetoric about improving this or that sector of the economy for years. Nothing has happened except perhaps the search for another opportunity to repeat the same exhausted redundancy.

The only thing we could find is a massive graveyard of empty speeches on these issues over the last six decades. Didn’t know we’re masters of ignorance and arrogance, oblivious to the economic ruins spreading all over.

Investments: Let’s hope contraction tapers off soon, followed by resurgence of investments. More investments from private industry would set the stage for new revenue generation to hopefully pay for mounting domestic needs. Would this happen anytime soon? With reluctant stagnation, it’s anybody’s guess!

As we ponder the issue, I recall a declaration of a robust economy in recent past. What happened to it? Was it self-inflicted negligence—spending happily beyond our means—a misgiving a bit too hard to domesticate now as revenue heads south quicker than we’d like?

The exit of billions of dollars in Nippon investments is a major issue to contend with. The loss is about $14 billion that definitely contributed to the contraction here. Is there a backup plan to ease the loss of billions of dollars?

Understood the cost of recovery as a result of storms. But it’s quite difficult dissecting the exit of Japanese investments from the islands and how could we regain their trust in partnership. It’s one Long and winding road!

Clueless: It isn’t surprising the elected elite being clueless why the exit of investments. Whatever happened to initial apprehension or depth of perception that you failed to see this contraction?

Isn’t it your fiduciary duty to figure out the beast? Aren’t you supposed to be working on our very own set of socio-economic plans? Have you done anything up that alley or have you relegated it to “not yet, already?” Why the persistent snooze on the wheels?

It’s humiliating your donning the combined arrogance and ignorance while struggling to look and sound intelligent. It’s a tale of the lack of “depth of vision” and commitment gift-wrapped in bravery of ignorance. So what happens to forging meaningful policies on major issues? With your acute disorientation, how do we even begin meaningful discussion?

The eleventh-hour mea culpa seems the order of business over engaging the benefits of realistic long-term planning. Is it really difficult putting a blueprint together we could follow to improve the quality of life of our people or “not yet, already?”

Brawl: Just as I thought, PSS could easily resolve salary issues. An assertion by a former government lawyer explains why the system is without funds:

“The leadership used the increased budget to give themselves six-figure salaries. They lied to the voters and spent public money to do so,” he said. “PSS leadership is now forcing teachers to sign a contract surrendering pay or face termination.

“Furthermore, over the past few months, PSS leadership has threatened to fire any teacher who talks to anyone outside of PSS, including attorneys.” The slugfest was triggered by alleged misappropriation of resources. And leadership at PSS must contend resolving self-inflicted conundrum.

Another view says, “The board of education needs to take the lead in offering solution to the predicament generated by its own making and just now known to the public or to the PSS community such as the pay raises executed in 2017 for central office administration.

“It is time to shift the resources down to the schools and enable the school officials, teachers, parents, and the supportive community to make decisions at the school-community level. Time to decentralize authority and enhance accountability at the school-community level.” I couldn’t agree more!

John S. Del Rosario Jr. | Contributing Author
John DelRosario Jr. is a former publisher of the Saipan Tribune and a former secretary of the Department of Public Lands.
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