COVID Debt Spending Has Brought Capitalism to an End
Dear Editor, May 31, 2021
I am writing in response to Mr. Bob Tanaka's post in your letters department, (5/28/20), regarding his concern that Unemployment benefits pay to much and there is too much big government. It first strikes me as a parroting of Fox News and Republican talking points that are so warmed over at this point, that they have no real meaning anymore. While I share his concern regarding government corruption, and he is correct, it's ripe, I can smell the bananas.
Mr. Tanaka laments that businesses can not hire workers, well that's simply not true, of course they can, but they need to pay them a livable wage. You can either raise your prices or take lower margins, build an economy of scale, if all business owners did it, we could rebuild and re energize our economy. Right here in these pages today, (5/31/21), they said it now takes an income of $120,000 per year for a family of 4 to make a living in Hawaii. I would hazard a guess that there are not to many housekeeping, waiter - waitressing, bartending or janitorial jobs that pay that amount. Of course they can't but businesses can do better. Let's all face it, you can not live comfortably on between $7.25 and $9.35 per hour plus tips, not doable in my opinion. Waiter / waitresses earn about $12,000 to $35,000 per year in Hawaii, just not good enough. In 2020, CEO pay went up 16% vs. 1.8% jump for the average worker. You want people to get back to work...simple solution, pay them.
Government can do much better assisting businesses back on their feet as well. I would propose a 30, 60 or 90 days business tax holiday with no claw backs as a measure to let businesses stoke the fires again. However, as has been proposed in some new legislation, raising taxes on all of the tax channels a business owner has to deal with would be absolutely untenable.
Let's get back to unemployment benefits. They do not keep people from going back to work, it's been proven in several studies. Also for every $1 paid in unemployment benefits, $1.90 goes back into the economy, it is a stimulus. Why would you want to cut that in the economy we are in now? On a personal level, I have looked for work for 2 years and have 630 rejection letters to prove it. I am a professional, with 2 degrees, and can not find work in any of my fields. Before Covid 19, I took a part time warehouse job at $10.25 an hour out of desperation and I have zero interest in doing that kind of labor, for that amount of money at 65 years old ever again. One must realize and consider that not everyone has a support system or anyone to help, some are in very dire straits indeed, so cutting their benefits in this environment is simply cruel.
The global pandemic has virtually brought capitalism as we know it, to an end. We are in what has been termed, The Great Reset. With so much global debt, it will be difficult to rise again, we will, but a paradigm shift has to occur. The oligarchy mentality has to end.
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Unemployment Pays too Much
Dear Editor, May 28, 2021
I am really concerned about too much government and corruption with politicians and government employees. Of immediate concern to me is the problems employers are facing in not being able to hire employees for their businesses. My thoughts are as follows:
Initial government assistance to employees because of COVID 19 was a good idea.
Initial PPP and EIDL were also good.
Follow up unemployment, PPP and EIDL assistance is an overkill and should be discontinued immediately.
Unemployment assistance enables potential employees to make more income by not working.
Employers are not able to hire adequate staff to restore their businesses to pre COVID. Businesses such as restaurants are suffering.
Some employers are hiring employees on a cash payroll basis. This enables these employees to double dip. Get paid cash from their employers and collect unemployment benefits for government sources.
A lot of legitimate employers are aware of other employers conducting their business as above.
Someone should investigate and begin by interviewing legitimate employers. Hopefully legitimate employers will provide information on the employers that are not conducting legitimate business practices.
I sincerely believe that exposing and punishing those not conducting legitimate business practices will be beneficial to everyone, including but not limited to internal revenue service, state tax collection, legitimate employers and employees. May also discourage and minimize employers and employees from illegal cash business practices.
I sincerely hope that an investigation is conducted. Thank you very much for allowing me to express my thoughts and concerns.
A Concerned Citizen,
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Common sense modification to Safe Travels criteria
Dear Editor: May 26, 2021
Per the Star-Advertiser editorial today, urging planning ahead to update Safe Travels, why not immediately make a change to allow visitors (or returning residents) to escape from quarantine as soon as their negative test from an approved partner (such as CVS, Walgreens, or Kaiser for example) is uploaded to the site, even if that’s after they arrive.
Further, allow such arrivals to test immediately at an approve partner, or at the mobile lab at the airport (where there is a 3-6 hour turnaround time), and to escape quarantine as soon as the results are reported.
That should truly be a no-brainer!
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Without the Jones Act we Would Starve
Dear Editor, May 24, 2021
People in Hawaii do not understand transportation, (Waiver goodbye to the Jones Act?) and as always, will shoot themselves in the foot with their ignorance.
Why were the "Big Inch" and the Colonial Pipelines built? As a reaction to German subs sinking American tankers on the US East Coast in WW2.
I was a tanker ship officer from 1959 to 1965, while the Colonial was under construction. American tankers served perfectly and with flexibility. A ship loaded with heating oil moving North in winter could easily be diverted to wherever there was a product shortage. Heating oil in the pipeline is trapped in that pipeline route, regardless of shifting local needs. Many current US tankers operate on the West Coast, where there is no Colonial Pipeline. Few operate on the East Coast, except as special (small quantity) product carriers and can make deliveries to as many as 10 different locations. For a 4 day shutdown of the pipeline, no wavers should have been given.
Some foolish Hawaiians think that a short term, small cut in incoming shipment cost, is sufficient reason to expose themselves to total hunger. Consumer purchase prices would not go down if American ships left the service.
American ships MUST Continue the supply service from the West Coast to Hawaii. There is limited food storage in Hawaii. If those life support cargoes were transported by foreign flag ships, and some other operating service elsewhere in the world paid more money, those ships would depart immediately. No backup = hunger.
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Ala Moana Park bathrooms filthy
Dear Editor, May 16, 2021
When Caldwell was mayor, the most Diamond Head toilet/bath rooms at Ala Moana Park always had toilet paper and there was minimal effort to keep it "clean". The most Diamond Head shower was cleaned and the water drained "clean".
It appears, that as soon as he was no longer mayor, the toilet/bath room facilities have turned into trash.
Without warning, please ask a "volunteer" to visit that toilet/bath room facilities. Take pictures and make a report to the new mayor. I suspect the rest of the Ala Moana bath/toilet facilities are just as bad if not worse - How about the rest of those Island Wide. If you have ever been to Koko Head trail toilet facilities, you will see what a "clean" toilet facility is!
I swim almost every day for the past 10 years. It has never been this filthy.
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Legislators Must Fund 988 Suicide Lifeline
Dear Editor: May 15, 2021
May is Mental Health Month. By urging my public officials to prioritize suicide prevention, mental health, and crisis care, I am hoping to influence collective change to support #MentalHealth4All.
Right now, individuals in crisis are able to call 1-800-273-8255 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress and those that care for them. Soon, it will be much easier to remember how to reach the Lifeline as the number will be changing to "988" nationwide by July 2022.
Knowing this, it is critically important that states pass legislation NOW to reliably fund 988 and their state's crisis response system, just as we fund 911 and emergency services - through small fees on our phone bills. Reliable funding will help to ensure all 988 callers can reach a counselor in their own state who is familiar with and can connect them with local resources. Culturally competent support and local connections can better help all callers through their crisis and in their recovery.
I lost my brother Michael to suicide and this is why I am the Co-Chair of the Hawaii Chapter, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). I want people that are in crisis to get the help they need. Mahalo for your consideration and your support.
Join me this month in urging your public officials to fund 988. We all play a role in changing the culture around mental health. Together, we can ensure #MentalHealth4All.