Realistic issues


Economic contraction—when money and jobs disappear—is a difficult issue to deal with, especially for tiny island economies like the CNMI.

We use the term economy, braving misperception of the concept while equally unsure that we have an economy. In short, we never built one from the ground up. We simply accepted what descended in happenstance.

Our alleged economy is simple: we are resource-poor and don’t have anything sustainable to support basic needs reliably, stably, in perpetuity.

We never attempted ascertaining via prescient proof that there’s real local economy. We take it in stride for what it’s worth and leave it be. Or why ignore salvaging our future as informed citizens?

In the meantime, we rely upon our mini-tourism industry, local revenue and assistance from across the sea to make ends meet. But even with a teeny industry, I happily accept it with hope that we would build upon what works! Moreover, I’m fully wary of the limitations of island economies and there isn’t much that we could do beyond accepting the limitations of natural island setting.

Island economies are difficult to weather without marketable land or sea resources. Have we identified anything up this alley beyond being out of focus and disoriented? Whatever happened to the term “planning?” Have we visited it or “not yet, already?”

So we understand the complex concept of economic contraction, let’s bring it down to the family home level where income—its sufficiency or inadequacy—dictates the quality of life. In brief, the quality of life at home is a perfect measuring tape to see, in no uncertain terms, life in the villages.

Isn’t it true that nearly 15,000 employees here are earning starvation income (poverty level) at this juncture? Is there a plan to improve their income?

Meanwhile, we owe the Commonwealth Health Center some $18.3 million in uncompensated care, not to mention the millions we owe the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. Eh, da kine canoe keeps sinking steadily, too.

The contraction forced by storms and exit of Nippon investments only leads to more hardship for employees at the starvation level. What saves them in real terms daily is the culture of sharing. Yes, we share everything, including food stamp!

There may be room for storm recovery but the latter is a much more difficult issue to resolve, if at all. The amount of exit funds is about $7 billion. Is there an iota of opportunity to work for its recovery? Have we found a new paradigm for this purpose?


Question: With major economic contraction, troubling the consuming query, “what if” it goes further south? As it is, work hour reduction has been imposed on employees CNMI-wide recently.

But even more importantly, how much of a contraction are we talking about in terms of dollar figure? Is it $100 million, $200 million or $300 million? It’s good to know so we could gauge its strength against current obligations and prospects for additional revenues.


Hardship: The hardest hit would be the nearly 15,000 employees now earning starvation income (poverty). There’s hardly any room for any further adjustments while literally struggling to pay for the first family home, car, food, and clothing, among others. It’s a difficult setback for families all over the archipelago.


Visit: Rep. Sheila Babauta has visited some of the islands up north under her constituency. She shows enthusiasm and commitment to meet and know people she represents at the Legislature.

It’s a grand and healthy opportunity to engage honest exchange of views on matters of mutual concerns. It should lead to formulation of initial plans attained via joint discussion. It needs a fully defined set of plans.

Indeed, the desire to resettle is founded on the term “home.” Folks are better off working on familiar shores they’ve known since their birth. Why do villagers stay where they are all these years? Isn’t it the tranquility of home?


Debate: Dems forerunners Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have started hurling rhetoric in hopes of luring more voters. Interesting a Fox News headline, “Lunatic Derby” between the two. Each tries to twist the cow’s tail in his/her favor.

Even more stunning is the assertion that neither has any clue of Economics 101 or the difference between revenue and profit. So the Dems are scratching dirt to find table kitchen issues to forge narratives for national level presentation.

Moreover, Joe Biden is an old bird that can’t recall how to fly straight, rumbling heedlessly in the jungle of empty rhetoric. I like him, though, for keeping Trump on his toes.

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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