Slider
Slider

|

Slider

Editorials 2020-January-31

Editorials & Columns
Typography
  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

No such thing

AS in the past, today’s biggest news stories are mostly about what critical agency and/or program needs more government funding, and why there’s not enough funding at the moment.

Then and now, government spending on medical referrals is way more than the allotted budget, but this time, the administration and the Legislature are working with a private company to streamline the medical-referral process and reduce costs which is a good thing, if it happens.

However, because a lot of voters consider government as Santa Claus and everyday is, therefore, Christmas, there is no such thing as government “savings” — “savings” is what government calls the funds it will spend on something else.

So yes, the administration and the Legislature should be commended for finding ways to control medical-referral costs, and we hope they continue to do the same with other “problematic” expenditures. But let’s face it. Government spending will never be enough for public education, public health, public safety, public works, etc., etc. because these are never-ending obligations, and the voters’ demand for them is seemingly bottomless.

Moreover

THERE is no once-and-for-all “solution” to government’s financial woes — only hard choices, and they have to be made by politicians based on what they think a majority of voters want. It is probably safe to assume that not a lot of them would vote for “solutions” they know will make their lives harder.

But there must be spending cuts, you say. It’s the only way, you say.

Sure.

But today’s complaints about “big government” and “redundant” departments/agencies/offices have been heard since the TT days, and we will probably continue hearing them in the future. In Jan. 1983, the NMI Democratic Party’s response to the Republican governor’s State of the Commonwealth Address included these forceful statements of fact:

“We must move away from the MORE GOVERNMENT to the LESS GOVERNMENT philosophy, from GOVERNMENT AS THE EMPLOYER OF FIRST RESORT to the GOVERNMENT AS EMPLOYER OF LAST RESORT thinking. In short, as a people, we should begin to learn to stand on our own two feet, as individuals and as private organizations, and not depend on the government for everything. The government should be there to make rules and be the referee, an arbiter, but we believe that it is the individuals who should be in the game.”

And that was what the Democrats were saying about the government (when they were not in charge of running it).

On March 18, 1983, Variety’s top news story was “How Big is the NMI Deficit?” We reported that the CNMI government was projected to “run out of funds by May at the current rate of expenditure.” Also in the news: “Flu Epidemic Swamps Hospital Staff” — about 100 to 150 cases were being seen daily at the Dr. Torres Hospital on As Terlaje Hill (NMC’s current location). The House of Representatives, for its part, adopted a resolution urging the U.S. government to provide the CNMI with more federal education funds because, as the education superintendent, would put it: “We need more money.”

Local economic growth is the key to alleviating many of the government’s financial troubles, but today, the local economy is still limping, and is now expected to be kneecapped by the novel coronavirus outbreak in one of the world’s major sources of outbound tourists. Unless a new major source of revenue can be tapped soon, there will be cuts in CNMI government spending. Where exactly, how much, and for how long? These will have to be determined by politicians — in an election year.

Good day, and good luck to all of us.

previous arrow
next arrow
Shadow
Slider

Read more articles

Visit our Facebook Page

previous arrow
next arrow
Shadow
Slider