Review family pocketbooks

The cascading effects of a woefully bad economy can’t hide family hardship here with failed punditry of suspect improvement. It’s all nonsense! Has tourism improved exponentially?

In other words, the proof is in your wallet or family pocketbooks. The false hope is to have you clapping your hands for their teeny perceptual parade. In Chamorro it’s called “asuntun estomagu” and please refrain from taking us as fools. We know our issues Full Square!

How do you justify that some 51 percent of NMI workers are still under the federal definition of “poverty income level” of less than $26K per year? It clearly shows that the economy is still very bad and isn’t lifting family boats at all. Otherwise, most would be making more and would have been freed of poverty since recent past.

The scourge is made worse by the lack of salary raise for over 20 years. It boggles the mind how families have navigated their way through it all. But there’s the cultural backstop of “communal sharing” that has helped most folks deal with the forced condition. Imagine if this is missing that could easily translate into ugly protests on the hill.

We wonder why does such condition exist for a majority of families here? It’s a good question “we the people” must ask directly of the elite group seeking re-election this November. Have you done anything in stride to improve family income after more than 20 years of stagnancy or “Do-Nothing?” Is this why most folks live paycheck-paycheck or spend in advance by eating up their next two paychecks? Where has “solutions driven” gone on this most important family issue?

The scourge of familial hardship didn’t spin out of a vacuum. It’s the direct result of sheer negligence, lack of vision and leadership. “We the people’s” livelihood is driven deeper into the ditch because none of them really cares about the wellbeing of villagers. They treat familial hardship as a leisurely walk in the park. The negligence isn’t personal concoction. It’s all in family pocketbooks that we live with daily!

NMI ‘Gagament’

As a conservative, I advocate smaller government, less taxes and stifling policies, and an ultra-conservative on fiscal matters. It’s the only path to returning freedom to the citizenry.

Until the shutter of the garment industry in the nineties, it was the only sector that was larger than the local government. After its closure, the NMI government recaptured its seat as the number employment industry once more.

The layer of what an uncle called “gagament” (government) kept piling up over the years. Today we have a republican form of gagament comprised of all three branches. It includes 29 legislators and their staff, two eggheads governing without a public mandate and their cabinet people, boards and commissions, superior and supreme courts and municipal governments and their staff. It comprises of more than 3,000 gagament employees!

What each citizen must begin questioning is the unusually huge size of gagament for a population of about 56,000 people. In brief, it boils down to our paying for each drone gagament employee’s salary, per diem and airline tickets for boards and commissions, etc. Moreover, we pay dearly for a bicameral Legislature of more than $6-9 million per year piled by legislative delegations that rest in their comfortable nest of “elite culture” conveniently ditching the interest of the people. Does it matter to you the taxpayer?

It seems we pride ourselves in the layers of gagament that has petered out a long time ago but cushion its existence for nepotistic employment purposes. Is this right and do we continue feeding their wild habit to milk us the death?

For instance, the seven-member 902 team was each given daily per diem of $250 plus an airline ticket of $2,000 for their recent shopping spree at Honolulu’s Hattie Mumu shop. It pans out to $5,250 for per diem for a total of $19,250. This doesn’t include the DC trip. You add the trip of the Tinian guys and it sure should cost more than $60,000! What’s the benefit to taxpayers?

With 3,000 gagament employees we should be able to see real efficiency in the delivery of public services. But it has deteriorated in more ways than one. And we the taxpayers are paying for their biweekly loot. Isn’t it time we demand for real accountability? It’s our taxes. Ai, da gagament lai!

On Connolly’s

It’s edifying having some healthy exchange of views on issues especially those raised in this column. Unfortunately, Mr. JB Connolly braved abstracting the concept of “elite culture” only to be trapped in self-deception what it entails. He ended up concocting a perceptual dog when the beast is about an elephant. Why does he sound like the Seven Blind Men?

He sees elite culture as “cultural,” a sophomoric analogy that confirms he misses the point completely. Mind you, it’s a dangerous concept that would completely eradicate the voice of “we the people” in favor of apathetic political demagogues. Why do you think I broke the beast down in “Dosage of Distance and Detachment?”It’s a dangerous phenomenon that divides people into two classes: the elite and ordinary. Must be eviscerated!

Tax disposition is governed by a set of laws. To hurl the adolescent query whether I’d return BSI’s tax payments is ridiculously ludicrous. Nah! I pray for more so that we could spare some to cushion the soon to be bankrupt Tinian Municipal Government, if not, already.

In a vicious contest of survival of the fittest, would you help your competitor knowing it would crush your existence before you blink for the second time? It’s called “vision” your esteemed Sen. F. Borja and Biktot Hokog never had as to derail the long-term economic future of Tinian and Rota! It’s all political braggadocio and expediency hardly the beneficiary of sober or deliberative discussion. Steer clear of this mindset!

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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