AFTER shutting down poker arcades, the government now wants them to pay, on time, the $6,000 license fee for each of the machines that they can’t operate. Robbers have to threaten deadly force to get what they want. The government will just send you a notice. To paraphrase Kevin Williamson, not a lot of people in government understand what it takes to run a successful business, but they do know how to get in the way, how to hold up one hand and say “No!” while holding out the other hand and saying “Pay!”

Among its vendors, the government is not known for making prompt payments. (Retirees had to take it to the federal court.) But you’ll be in big trouble if you fail to pay the government promptly.

In any case, complaints about the existence of poker arcades have been aired since, it seems, the beginning of time. Elected officials and voters themselves can, if they really want to, ban poker arcades (like littering, and drug trafficking, and corruption…). And yet poker arcades still exist.

Here’s what the government should do now:

Either extend the deadline for the payment of license fees or tell the poker operators not to bother because the government will shut them down permanently.

Do it yourself

REGARDING the never-ending controversy over government-paid travels — which usually flares up in an election year — there is an existing law (enacted in 2007) that is supposed to prevent what is still happening. So the “solution” is more laws? More “investigation”? More hearings? More reports? More “looking into” reports? What if we make the AG an elected official? Wait. Voters have done that already. The current elected AG ran unopposed less than two years ago to win a second term. 

We think that the “problem” is the belief that due process and the justice system should be ignored if they stand in the way of what the online lynch mob “people,” at this moment, believe is “true” or should be “true” because, you know, common sense!

Anyway, if the opposition is truly outraged by this travel travesty, then why wait for the AG to “do something”? What about a taxpayer lawsuit then? Is it possible? Asking for a friend.

More relevant

WHILE the politicians on Capital Hill continue to confuse intent with result (and words for deeds), the CNMI’s more useful sector — the business community — is inviting elected officials to a Small Business Open Town Hall Forum on Aug. 5th to discuss ways to prevent the total collapse of the local economy. To be sure, there are some folks who believe that a return to the TT days —  like subsistence farming and outlawing long hot showers — is a glorious thing. But others disagree, and they are looking forward to hear recommendations and ideas that can help turn things around, prevent an exodus of local residents, and a further deterioration of the islands’ living standards.

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