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Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Hawaii Leads Nation in Making Welfare More Attractive than Work
By Grassroot Institute @ 1:37 AM :: 6441 Views :: Hawaii Statistics, Labor

Hawaii Leads Nation in Making Welfare More Attractive than Work

Grassroot Institute President Akina calls for strengthening system to improve employment incentive

News Release from Grassroot Institute

HONOLULU, Hawaii -- August 19, 2013 -- Hawaii leads the nation in making welfare more attractive than work according to a recent report by the CATO Institute. The white paper report "The Work Versus Welfare Trade-off: 2013" says:

  • Hawaii ranks first among the fifty states in several categories which produce a disincentive for welfare recipients to leave welfare or reduce their benefits for employment.
  • An average Hawaii welfare recipient would need to earn $60,590 in pre-tax wages in order to earn the equivalent of his or her welfare benefits.
  • Hawaii also ranked first in the hourly wage equivalent of welfare benefits per recipient with an average of $29.13.

Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, a public policy think tank, is making the report available to Hawaii policy makers and businesses.

According to Keli'i Akina, Ph.D., President of Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, "The CATO report does not suggest that Hawaii's welfare recipients are lazy or lack a desire to work.  Rather, it pinpoints the problem that our state has created a system which rewards people for not working.  This interferes with the functioning of a healthy economy in which a growing labor sector is a key factor in productivity and economic vitality." Grassroot Institute and the CATO Institute are affiliated with the State Policy Network's coalition of free market think tanks.

The CATO study also shows that Hawaii is ranked number one in the nation for providing welfare recipients with a cash-value of benefits that exceeds the median entry-level salaries of teachers, secretaries and computer-programmers. 

Dr. Akina further states, "In a state facing unsustainable levels of unfunded liabilities for pensions and health-care, we should be looking for ways to put as many people to work as possible."

A full-copy of The CATO report, entitled "The Work Versus Welfare Trade-off: 2013," may be found at


About the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii:

Grassroot Institute of Hawaii is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research institute dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, the free market, and limited, accountable government throughout Hawai`i and the Asia-Pacific region.  Read more about us at

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About Keli'i Akina:

Dr. Akina is a recognized scholar, educator, public policy spokesperson, and community leader. In2012, he was a candidate for the non-partisan position of Trustee in the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.  Akina has decades-long experience leading non-profit organizations including Youth for Christ Hawai`i and the Center for Tomorrow's Leaders. An expert in East-West Philosophy, he has taught at universities in China and the United States, and continues as an adjunct instructor at Hawai`i Pacific University and the University of Hawai`i at Mānoa. Read more:

About CATO:

In 1995, the Cato Institute published a groundbreaking study, The Work vs. Welfare Trade-Off, which estimated the value of the full package of welfare benefits available to a typical recipient in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Since then, however, many welfare programs have undergone significant change. A new, updated version of this study examines the current welfare system in the same manner as the 1995 paper, and finds that welfare benefits continue to outpace the income that most recipients can expect to earn from an entry-level job.

"The Work versus Welfare Trade-Off: 2013," by Michael D. Tanner and Charles Hughes


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