A friend sent me an article from The Guam Daily Post last week with the comment, “we’re F’d.”
It seems that with nearly half of the Guam economy being based on tourism, the local economy is headed for a serious depression. Think Great Depression, maybe worse. The reason for this is that your leading families, Camacho, Calvo, etc. ... are very rich and simply take turns at governing you while they own the basic means of wealth creation or extraction from you (think grocery stores and insurance companies). They have no interest in the rapid growth of the economy but will give you every reason that they cannot change anything. They have houses in the mainland and Europe where you can’t see their wealth, while they tell you to be proud of being CHamoru and poor.
Guam has been looking through the wrong end of the telescope. You think of yourselves as second rate and dependents on the U.S. or even worse, all while feigning pride in being CHamoru. Turn the telescope around and see that you should be, and can be, the Hong Kong of America. Even better yet, why don’t you just decide to be Hong Kong? If your leaders bothered reading the international news, they would see that China is done with subtleties and is making bold moves to subjugate the citizens of Hong Kong. Hong Kongers are some of the smartest, hardest working, English speaking, and richest people on earth – and now they need a place to go. Two-thirds of all of the foreign direct investment going into China each year goes through Hong Kong. The Hong Kong bankers and businessmen have been directing this firehose of trillions of dollars over the last 30-odd years. They know all of the players in the world and have most of them on speed dial. They are scared and need a place to go. President Trump is talking about giving them visas. If Guam is smart, it will ask Trump to give a couple of hundred thousand – yes that many – green cards to people from Hong Kong if they come to Guam and set up their home and business on the island. Give them citizenship if they stay for five years and are not convicted of any crime. Tell them to bring their money and their know-how, and their contacts, and build "America’s New Door to Asia."
Guam has a lot of U.S. military. These are not U.S. defense installations; they are forward offensive bases facing Asia. Guam should be America's forward business base, America’s door to Asia. You have more than a billion people within 2,500 miles. For crying out loud, you have one of the eight hubs for United Airlines, and that is a big deal! These planes can carry more than tourists; they can carry bankers and stockbrokers and real estate developers, merchants and investors. People who create jobs and opportunity for your kids and who pay LOTS of taxes. Sit down with United and ask them what they need in the way of laws, fees, and regulation changes to make it work for them. You have the U.S. District Court for rule of law, a good port, and high-speed internet. Change the tax code! You have the power to change your tax code, and you should just adopt Hong Kong’s. Why? Because it is the tax code for people that want to GET RICH. The top rate is 17% and it goes down from there.
What you need to do is just decide to get in the game. You can do it. You can compete on the world stage if you put aside your fears and inhibitions. Yes, it is scary to invite in new competition instead of just staying home on the couch and saying that you can compete with anyone, and Uncle Sam should send more money. But there is no place in the United States and its territories that has the potential of Guam. You have to want it though. You have to build the prosperity, and this is your great chance. Demand the opportunity from your leaders and fire them if they fail. Do not take excuses any longer.
Otherwise, you better start gathering coconuts and work on your personal fishing skills because really dark days are coming.
Matt McCall is a businessman in the health care field and concerned lover of Guam.