Fatal existential fiscal issues

When more than a fourth of the work force is earning poverty and below level income any tidings of an improving economy stirs hopeful talk of eventual help.

Unfortunately, the net result is usually endless frustrated discussion. Issues raised though are legitimate concerns relating to income as working families.

By standard economic theory wages are supposed to increase concurrently what with the supposed improvement. But wage stagnation persists. What’s the cause of the delay of over 20 years?

Now legislators look at paying back denied within grade increases nearly 18 years ago. Does the measure include private sector employees skipped all along? Shouldn’t they be included or why the constant reward to the less productive sector over hardworking employees outside? Wouldn’t the $4 million include taxes paid by private sector employees? So why exclude them?

It brings another critical issue to the table: use of the composite price index to determine income and cost of living. There’s the obvious missing link in the use of the CP: the glaring fact that everything here is imported from fuel for CUC to food for the family table. Shouldn’t this play a key role in how the CP is set?

Power plants across the country simply truck fuel to their facilities because the state or nearby state produces oil. It isn’t imported from across the sea. Our fuel is imported after it suffers inclusion of additional fees for being lumped together with the fuel demands of China and other Asian countries.

Is the delay a case of employees receiving better fringe benefits while signing bonuses? Eh, these may have economic value but they don’t boost wages. Did you get that pal? How soon could you get your act together so fairness is achieved?

Be that as it may, our unfunded liability is rather huge not to mention CHC being $13 million in the hole. And we’re still saddled with obligations like the costly medical referral program that runs up a bill of more than $13 million per year. Economic improvement for who?

Lesson: Remember when Nippon investments walked with their luggage to jet ways in recent past? Have we recovered from the loss of about $7 billion that once was recycled locally?

This came shortly after 1993 when we informed the U.S. House Subcommittee on Appropriations that we no longer need grant funds from the U.S. Congress. We boasted that we could pay for infrastructural and other needs on our own. Perhaps we spoke a bit too early!

Somehow, we dropped the ball in our partnership with investors from the Land of the Rising Sun. As a result, they sold most every infrastructure they’ve built here since the mid-sixties and left.

The existential threat of major exogenous investors walking with their luggage to jet ways is woefully troubling. It included the termination of air services like Japan Airlines. Delta Airlines pulled out earlier this year leaving the Japan market without direct service.

Dazed, if not, disoriented, or both, we quiz what triggered the shutter of major investments from Japan. How do we re-establish trust so we begin rebuilding the economy of the NMI founded on lasting partnership? It’s all a matter of political maturity!

Increase: With fiscal challenges, appalling how in their infinite wisdom Da Boysis increased their salaries by 80 percent! Wow! Why would you pad your wallets when CHC is $13 million in the hole?

In FY`19 (begins October of this year) is the depletion date of money from the casino law for the retirement program. It needs between $45-$60 million annually to ensure retirees are handed their paychecks after FY`19. What would be the source of fund for this obligation?

Poverty: If anything, politicians must come to terms with the message in a certain report that says 65 percent of our people are under poverty.

It’s a large group that doesn’t have the benefits of health insurance much less the means to meet basic needs daily. It means they can’t pay for healthcare services. Reiterating: This is 65 percent of our people stock in the pits of hardship standing helplessly in poverty!

It’s time for some mature disposition of scarce resources or legislation so designed to uplift their quality of life. Hardship condition forced upon them isn’t any definition of quality of life unless you’re completely physically blind! Did you get that pal?

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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