New lingering issues at home


The death of the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was awash all over the political landscape of the country. Such tidings derailed my weighing issues for this corner of the paper momentarily.

Actually, I was preparing to cause ripples into the pond of life here when a national columnist further described late judge as a man of faith and an “intellectual anchor” of the U.S. Supreme Court. His was a tidal wave. Mine were teeny ripples.

In reverence to the late judge, I deferred to my corner to look for more pennies, nickels, and dimes for my costly and potent medication. This is more up my alley.

Now, there are serious home foreclosures, terrorism, earthquakes, mega-tsunami, Zika or Tika, troubling economic uncertainty, regional security, and stagnant salaries and wages that have ruined quality of life among villagers in the islands.

Broke! The NMI has gone past fiscal solvency fueled by our pen chance to bankrupt everything in our way. With persistent economic depression it is broke or bankrupt!

It can’t even meet remitting its obligation to the 75 percent under the Settlement Fund recently revealed by Trustee Joyce Tang. Have kleptocrats done anything concrete to spur economic growth and recovery? Imagine meeting the needs of the multitude beyond retirees!

Do I expect them to understand the dire effects of insolvency against the multitude? With projected shortfall in revenue of not less than $7 million this fiscal year, is there a chance the NMI could meet obligations for healthcare, education, and pension for retirees? Is there a Plan B somewhere that could serve as a blueprint how the NMI would work the clock on economic revival? Or has it also been relegated to adhoc planning?

Without economic prosperity there’s no chance to give employees in either sector an increase of some sort so they could provide adequately for their families. Insolvency (broke) would sink every corner of paradise into a hellish hole!

Internal Discussion: There’s a plan to meet with Guam legislators to hash out intra-Marianas issues from healthcare to lack of inter-island airline services.

I’m not particularly optimistic of the impending meeting given the usual glorification of the same tired old issues discussed since three decades ago. It’s the usual dish of “after all is said and done a lot more is said than done.” Fruitless! But da boysis needed the “official” photo-op and replicate Obamanesque when nobody’s listening.

With common sense in tow legislators ought to know by now that problem identification is history. It’s now problem-solving time! Let’s see what’s under your sleeves, i.e., resolve funding for CHC now piece meal some $2 million a year, resolution of long-term and catastrophic illnesses, pinning the cause of Type II diabetes; money to sufficiently defray expenses of PSS; defining the loss of airline services and inter-island shipping; among others.

Evidently, what are your plans to kick-start economic revival? It seems you’re adept on tertiary measures. How about a primary measure like the persistent economic depression? Has it dawned on you why the rudderless journey of the NMI sinking deeper into a fiscal crisis? Isn’t this internally inflicted where legislators use political relationship review as the mouthwash and distraction for failing fiduciary duty?

Resolve Is Missing: The NMI is bankrupt! What have you done to institute fundamental measures to arrest deficit spending, wastes and a path to economic recovery? Obviously, you’ve clustered into the “do-nothing” corner as kleptocrats fearful or edgy at doing the right things by doing them right.

Otherwise, you would have instituted cutting the bloated government payroll; reduce the wasteful bicameral legislature into a unicameral system limiting membership to eight; reduce the fleet of government vehicles to 20; disallow leases of expensive vehicles; cut the $2,500 per month per senator to zero; realign all so-called affairs of the indigenous people to fall under a single umbrella; conduct desk audits on all departments and agencies to determine skeletal staffing requirements including qualifications, among others.

Kleptocrats on the hill must come to terms with the insolvency of this government. The firewall of self-denial would eventually crumble of its own weight. It still is the economy, stupid!

Senseless Increase: The CUC board approved increasing utility rates for private industries and the NMI government. If the Public Utilities Commission approves it the new rate goes into effect for the two entities. The board thought its rickety decision successfully skipped ratepayers.

When utilities for private industries spikes, it would simply pass on such increase to ratepayers by increasing their prices on goods and services. At day’s end the group you thought you had saved are caught by way of having to pay for higher prices in basic goods. Why subject them to indirect costs when they had to deal with stagnant salaries for over twenty years now? Do you see the shortsightedness in your decision?

But why slam a half-cocked increase against the most productive sector of the NMI community? This could even trigger job cuts in order to stay afloat. It’s joblessness for quite a number of people including high school students doing part time jobs after school. It’s the unintended consequence of a shallow-based decision. Is it your infinitesimal wisdom to raise rates under a viciously depressed economy?

The NMI government owes CUC over $30 million it finds woefully difficult paying on time. Why risk forcing more debts against a clientele that can’t meet obligations on time? If only you could employ simple apprehension or seek expert assistance from your consultant on issues of substance maybe, and just maybe, you could begin discerning the difference between policy and micro-management. Your shallow decision rests in the latter!

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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