Letters to the editor: 11-29-19

Living with decision made 5 decades earlier

If you have paid any attention to anything besides impeachment, TMT, or climate change recently, you would have found out that Hawaii still ranks in the bottom nationally on practically all measurements of prosperity. Included are business climate, unfunded liabilities ($25 billion), doctor shortages, homelessness, traffic gridlock, taxes, unaffordable housing, cost of living, etc.

Truth in Accounting. (tia.com) calls Hawaii a “sinkhole” state. The problems of today started arguably in 1962. Then President John F. Kennedy by executive order allowed for civil service to unionize, shortly thereafter politicians in Hawaii joined in the noble cause. Little did anyone know or could have predicted what all that would mean 50 years later.

That’s where we are now, living with decisions made five decades earlier.

Encouraged by a one party government with no political competition, the green light was on for rampant collusion, corruption, and conflicts of interest between employers (political class) and employees (unionized public workers). So the symbiotic relationship was easy and natural. “You vote for the hand that feeds you.”

Today, those 50 years of pay increases and promises of future benefits leads one to the question: is government now unaffordable?

Apparently that’s not a question for debate as our politicians wax eloquent and ring their hands over climate change, herbicides, straws, gender bathrooms, etc., all worthy causes no doubt, but only a vibrant growing economy that generates profits can afford to solve all the social issues that are the reelection priorities of the political class. It’s that simple: no money, no honey.

So the perfect storm exists for the taxpayers of Hawaii. An uncontrollable public sector leaves little every year to spend on expanding services. Not to mention the delays in fixing, upgrading, maintaining, constructing.

How about emergencies? For example, on the Big Island the aforementioned costs plus debt service leave only approximately 25 cents of every dollar collected for everything else!

No money, no honey.

To balance the budget there are solutions. Cut costs, raise taxes, borrow money. Creative accounting can temporarily disguise the seriousness of our problems but keep in mind our predicament comes during good times. Booming economy, record tourists, low unemployment etc. A slowdown someday, what then?

Ever hear a politician discuss Hawaii’s economy or “sinkhole” status? Don’t hold you breath. One thing is certain, taxes will go up, get ready.

James Higgins