SOUR GRAPES

Why we celebrate Liberation Day

Unlike current revisionist history ideas floated ceaselessly these days as fact, Liberation Day is not about celebrating the NMI’s “liberation” from legitimate Japanese rule under a League of Nations Trusteeship* by American armed forces.

No, the day is a celebration that commemorates the release of the whole local population from U.S. military-run concentration camps some two years after the island was declared secure after the American Invasion of Saipan. No one was gassed, none were stood before firing squads so maybe the nicer, friendlier term of “interment” camp could be used….but make no mistake, the entire local indigenous population was held, against their will, in Camp Susupe. They were locked up inside this camp until July 4th 1946. Remember the US Military Commander declared Saipan “secure” and under U.S. control as of July 9, 1944.

That is what this celebration is all about. That is why this is the 75th anniversary of the Invasion of Saipan while it is the 73rd anniversary of Liberation Day. Please remember this while you are whirling around on the Ferris wheel or eating a barbecued tataga from Palau or some amazing chicken kelaguen. Yeah, I know, no Ferris wheel this year.

*The League of Nations ceased to exist in April 1946. The United Nations vested the U.S. with control of the trust territories (including Saipan) in July 1947.

Great idea! Let’s expand it
The minority bloc has come up with an idea (H.L.B. 21-23) to impose a 10-percent net profit tax on the sole licensed casino business here and another bill that singles the same company out and doesn’t allow it to write off bad debts, unlike every other company in the CNMI. Both of these bills will generate revenue for the starving central government but why single out only one company?

Hey, Tina, revise that bill to include other businesses you don’t like: 10 percent tax on deep-fried chicken, because it’s unhealthy and leads to obesity. Stick that 10 percent tax on the net profit of all donut shops and anyone who sells sugary soft drinks. Exhaust is bad for the air so cram that tax atop the gasoline industry. In fact, why stop there? If you want fairness and transparency just revise your bill to impose the 10-percent tax on everybody’s net profits. That way there will be plenty of loot lying around to redistribute to those pet projects you and the other Legislators want to er…pet. Also, be sure to keep the tax on gross revenue in addition to the new one on net profit. That way you are taxing what is left after taxing total income of a business (including what turns out to be bad debts, i.e., money never collected but taxed anyway). What could be fairer than double taxation? Triple taxation. They’re working evenings on that one.

I’m thinking why only 10 percent? Why not take a page out of the new-wave Democrat Party presidential candidates’ playbook and smack ‘em with a 70-percent tax or 90 percent or heck, take it all. Let’s have 100 percent slaves instead of 70 percent slaves.

Imagine, dear reader, how you would react if the government taxed your paycheck with a payroll tax but then called for a 20-percent drop in your pay (sound familiar, government workers?) but continued to payroll tax you for the whole amount, even those dollars that you never got. That is precisely the kind of unfair tax that Rep. Yumul wants to single out and impose on Imperial Pacific. He wants to tax them, and only them, on money they never even received. It sounds as ridiculous as imposing a $20,000 “luxury” tax on that new Rolls Royce you didn’t buy.

Sablan, Yumul, and Propst seem to say, “Sorry, IPI, I don’t like your business, so I’ll throw in a tax on you that other businesses don’t have to pay and I’ll not let you write off such obviously legitimate deductions as bad debts, just because I wish you weren’t here.” (Although I don’t know how we would have paid the CNMI’s bills and spent so lavishly over the past few years without you being here). Hint: read Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand to find out the answer.

What would cause otherwise seemingly rational people to rail against a business (IPI’s casino in this case) and try all sorts of nefarious schema to kill it off, then turn around and complain that it is not supporting the government tax base enough and propose to double tax it even though it has paid more by far in taxes since its inception than any other businesses in the CNMI? The answer that they hate casinos is too simple. They do, but that is not their only motivation. I think some in the U.S. want to see the CNMI be subservient and beholden to and grovel before the U.S. for its daily economic bread rather than reach financial independence. Sadly, some of these “independent” lawmakers serve as unwitting lackeys to those policymakers who would keep the population here poor and barefoot while the U.S. gains a few more of the precious few islands we have so they can bomb the bejezus out of them. I think some of the Indys will be surprised and sad to learn the true end result that is anticipated by those policymakers they support.

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Thanks for reading Sour Grapes! Next time we will look at the proposed Garapan revitalization.

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For those who read War with the Ayatollah? earlier this week:

There is, indeed, nothing in all this world that can match war for popularity. It is, to at least nine people out of 10, the supreme circus of circuses, the show beyond compare, it is Hollywood multiplied by 10,000. It combines the excitements of a bullfight, a revival, a train wreck, and a lynching. It is a hunt for public enemies with a million Dillingers scattered throughout the woods. It is the dizziest, gaudiest, grandest, damnedest sort of bust that the human mind can imagine.
—H.L. Mencken

What is the difference between a taxidermist and a tax collector? The taxidermist takes only your skin.
—Mark Twain

Bruce Bateman (Special to the Saipan Tribune)
Bruce A. Bateman resides on Saipan with a wife, a son, and an unknown number of boonie dogs. He has owned and operated a number of unusual businesses and most recently worked as the marketing manager for MVA. Bruce likes to read, travel, tinker with bicycles, hike, swim, and play a bit of golf. He is opinionated and writes when the moon is full and the mood strikes.

Bruce Bateman (Special to the Saipan Tribune) Author

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