In fairness to US taxpayers


This year marks the 40th year of self-government of the NMI. It is a concept that basically means the ability to provide for the basic needs of our people paid for via locally raised revenue.

It seems, though, that the concept has eluded us throughout the period. Aren’t we still junketing across the Pacific for more money from U.S. taxpayers?

Have we ably instituted and strengthened accountability in government? Or is this sentiment still limited to white sheets of paper where empty speeches are written that eventually slip off the edge?

Obviously, political maturity still languishes in its embryonic stage, doesn’t it? Have we responsibly taxed the single licensed casino business here that is reportedly hauling billions of dollars? Is there an explanation for such failure in fiduciary duty? Is the money from U.S. taxpayers our backstop for rainy days? Don’t you think they too have familial obligations?

Do we still wish to impoverish the more than 43 million fellow citizens now drowning in below abject poverty conditions across the country? Isn’t it time that we begin owning up to our responsibilities as citizens? Whatever happened to common decency? I raise this issue for it seems our definition of self-government is as foggy as it was 40 years ago. We may brave it but we owe more than $700 million in deficit, true?

Throughout my government career I was fortunate to have visited about 39 states on business. I have taken the time to visit small-town America where storeowners still man the family-founded business before heading out into farm fields. These are industrious folks who have earned every penny by working the clock before retiring at night.

Strange the phrase I’ve seen spread across the heavens that say “No worries, the U.S. Congress would approve your next appropriation.” I’m literally living off hardworking taxpayers’ contribution. It was a very humiliating experience. No worries! I’ve been to the ghettos of New York and L.A. to understand the unfairness of our spoiled expectations.

When do we come to terms shouldering the requisite obligation to institute strong financial foundation to support self-government? Why are we still spending scarce resources like drunken sailors? When do we institute accountability in government?

The powerful stench of embarrassing disconnection should grant Da Boysis retreat time to critically review and define the extent of self-government here. The squandering of nearly a million dollars in retirement and taxpayers’ money has apparently been treated with indifference, if not inconsequence. Is this the strength of self-government here? Whatever happened to fiduciary duty to guard against political corruption?

Until the day the NMI no longer begs for more money for food stamps, Medicaid, Medicare, housing assistance, millions of dollars for our educational and healthcare systems, water, power, roads and sewer system, only then would there be opportunities to see political maturity in self-government. As it is, our claims to have it are at best vacuous, the spout of ignoramus at worst. It would be good to compile the figures for instant reference purposes. How much are we talking about and isn’t this inadequacy an issue for the elected elite to ponder upon and resolve? Should give us an idea how much are we milking U.S. taxpayers!

No casino tax: Would U.S. taxpayers be happy to learn that we don’t even tax the income accrued by the untouchable casino business here that repatriate billions to mainland China? Can you imagine how much would have gone into the local treasury had we taxed such income at least 10 percent? Eh, we’d be most competent, declaring to Washington “no mas” like we did in 1993. Such isn’t the case today and not when the elected elite—staggering in disorientation and hooked on sugar daddies—prefer junket trips to hide inadequacies. So much for hope in the future!

Our inadequacies translate into more money from U.S. taxpayers we pull out of the federal government. I’m sure their representatives won’t be pleased to learn that the NMI never taxed the income of players rolling across the table reportedly up to $3 billion to $4 billion at a given month. When do we own up to our responsibilities so the playing field is fair to U.S. taxpayers?

Duel: The heat for most coveted seat here would eventually kick-start and reach their boiling point. For now I’d leave the contest to the two matadors so they’d have a chance to flex their muscles. Then we’d probe their wares to see what are they made of and if they are sufficiently sturdy for the task at hand.

I’d also be reviewing the credentials of legislative candidates. I’d like to see academic and professional credentials listed for public review. Do you have college experience or what degree did you get?

Policymaking entails formulating state policies, thus the public’s right to know your credentials or qualifications. Do you really have the prerequisites to work on policy formulation or is it a strange contraption all the way around?

If you have credentials then you wouldn’t have problems securing clarity of understanding of issues in addition to the ability to articulate them in educated fashion. Garbled explanation doesn’t offer much to avoid impressions of incompetency!

Silence: Throughout the holiday season I was humming Simon and Garfunkel’s The Sound of Silence. It was an interesting piece that stayed with me throughout the period. I can’t help but see before dusk villagers closing their doors and windows, calling it a day. This is when that eerie silence sets in.

I’d mull if it were the sign of the times where abject poverty among households has turned miserably for the worse. Unsure what it all meant but it is definitely troubling.

There also popped the seemingly innocent query: who among corporations here would bankroll the careers of servile lapdogs on the hill? Now this has sent me into nightmares how the combined elite has settled to whimsically dictate their agenda against the multitude. Halo! EVERbody home?

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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