From my notepad


U.S. Republicans may have avoided the ditch on healthcare but they instantly backed into a cul-de-sac that took the wind out of their rear tire.

The blame game quickly emerged, where President Trump accused Democrats of not rallying behind the efforts of Sen. Mitch McConnell to repeal and replace the disastrous Obamacare health law.

Again, the political divide and imploding infighting took greater importance over delving into what the new legislation portends as a matter of policy. Trump said he’d let Obamacare “crash on its own” to force Democrats to come to the table. But he needs to lure fellow Republicans foremost who pulled out of the deal in recent days.

Before puncturing its rear tire, there was hope in Sen. Ted Cruz’s “Consumer Freedom Option” as a way out. It empowers people and families to pick and choose what they want in their own insurance packages. But this too is dead fish in the water.

The planned healthcare repeal is one of several measures to cut taxes Republicans hope to approve over the next several months. Businesses aren’t worried for they’ve gotten used to the usual “do-nothing” disposition of the Washington establishment and special interest groups. Recipients wait by the side of the road yawning.

Posture: With Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands sinking deep in the red ink of deficit in the billions of dollars, interesting how the bankruptcy started: unbridled retirement system that can no longer pay retirees.

The NMI came close to a billion-plus dollars in unfunded liability in the old retirement system. You add this old debt to the current deficit of $471 million and somehow we resemble the path of the other bankrupt territories. Anybody home?

I still say the NMI must buckle to finding out its fiscal posture: cumulative deficit, revenue generation and ability to pay off obligations. Bankruptcy would be disastrous where it is strapped from defraying essential public services. Is this an issue that matters to our men of wisdom?

Atrophy: Since 1977 we started electing our representatives in government from the governor to the legislature. It’s called self-government and so Uncle Sam basically left us to flex our own muscles. In the mid-’80s we reached the peak of our economic growth with more than sufficient funds in the local coffers for our needs.

Somehow the accumulated wealth started its strange downward spiral or atrophy. Japanese investment headed to jet ways selling others it left behind. It drained some $7 billion from the local coffers. The fiscal atrophy was doubled down by the closure of the apparel industry. I figure we lost a combined income of about $12 billion in the process. We haven’t been able to recover since.

Communal: Beneath the cover of communal sharing—where siblings help one another—we find families who are barely making it. It would be good to explore what’s the primary cause of this setback. Is it joblessness and is there room to place these folks in jobs somewhere for training so they learn a skill? It’s a red flag that merits review.

Poverty: That more than 50 percent of employees here earn poverty level income triggers questions how families have fared in these bad times. Have they been able to pay for the first family home or have they lost it to the banks? What has the Indigenous Office done in this regard? Is there genuine effort to pitch in constructively?

Housing: The housing agency is caught with higher demand for assistance than there are houses to meet this need. It happens and it is doing due diligence to resolve the issue over the next year.

The demand must have been triggered by the imposition of higher rental fees where some of our people used to be tenants in the Garapan area. New owners renovated their place and rented them out to new tenants who could afford the new increase.

Abuses: There’s an increase in spousal and child abuse per recent news reports. It brings to focus the cause(s) of this familial setback. Is it drug and alcohol related? Isn’t this a tale of a broken home hardly conducive for young school age kids? Is one of two parents jobless? But there are social safety nets where these folks could seek help from, true? Troubling!

The system: There will come a time when Washington would clamp down on the federal deficit as it slides beyond $20 trillion. It’s a tale that the federal government spends a lot of money on runaway entitlement programs,from food stamps to Medicaid.

I’ve seen how federal largess allows folks to sit pretty, living in free housing, food stamps, federally paid babysitters, among others. I was awestruck at how they could pull such a scheme that includes hitting the links, chasing after a small white ball.

Viable: Among friends, we hear casual discussion about viable gubernatorial prospects for next year. Heard of four names that may be good in their own right. But would the multitude gravitate to any of them in decisive fashion to inflict change?

You can’t easily dismiss the incumbent governor in the impending contest, given that he has the political resources to move his camp forward. His political machinery is still the most fully greased for the impending contest. For each prospect, it’s a matter of village networking on all three inhabited islands.


I see that Mayor David Apatañg is seeking for re-election. He has about 800 people in his recent kick-off event at PIC. He’s done well and highly visible all over. It’s hard topping his performance!


Of snobbery and condescension: A political adviser told his candidate, “Sir, you would win because you have the thinking people on your side.” Said he, “Ah, but I need the majority to win.” The candidate lost. No mo` thinking!

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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