Time for a Citizen Legislature
Despite all the talk of serving the "greater public good", the Fono has diverted monies meant for several "needs" of their constituents to serve their own "wants". They have shifted taxpayer dollars from our children's education, protection, health and justice services in what was clearly an act of self-preservation. In their view, 100% increase in allowances and career service jobs come before the very things they've cut funding for.
Contrast this with private sector, where it's easier to see what you get for your money. If you pay a dollar or so, you get a double cheeseburger. Pay $5 extra, and you can get a super-sized combo meal. Pay extra in the private sector, you could get overnight shipping from DHL. Pay higher taxes to the federal government on the other hand, and all we get are higher salaries for U.S. Postal Service employees while our mail continues to sit at the Honolulu Intl. Airport.
When we pay more in taxes, do our toilets flush any faster? When they hike taxes, does our water run any cleaner? Do they pick up our trash any sooner? Will it mean that they will fill in potholes in a week instead of a year?
Observing how services are rendered in the private sector versus the government, it seems that it is the free market that is of, by and for the people.
If our leaders are wondering why they are losing our respect, the manner in which they expect it is a large reason why. Respect is a two-way street, not an obligation or a sacrifice required for the unconditional benefit of another regardless of title, age or status.
If they say we must pay taxes in order to get education, then give us quality education. We don't pay taxes only to see government/ Fono salaries and allowances go up, while the quality of needed services goes down. Giving us "value for value", being accountable and prudent with our money, is worthy of respect. Respect is not given freely; it is earned.
The Founding Fathers of the United States of America believed in a citizen legislature instead of a professional class of politicians. A few states such as Idaho and Wyoming carry on the tradition of having representatives come from their private sector jobs and "sacrifice" to represent their own and their neighbor's interests. In Idaho, legislators get $15,646 a year and $1700 for office expenses. Compare that with what we pay our professional politicians in American Samoa, whose population is 24 times smaller.
If our politicians and bureaucrats were required to live in the real world like the rest of us, perhaps they wouldn't be so quick to over-tax, over-regulate and over-spend everything, and begin to understand what it means to have a government of the people, by the people and for the people.