Tuesday, October 3, 2023
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Friday, August 17, 2018
How to get more for our money
By Keli'i Akina PhD @ 11:57 PM :: 3933 Views :: Hawaii Statistics, Cost of Living

How to get more for our money

From Grassroot Institute, August 17, 2018

It’s the question that yields the very definition of “the cost of living”: How far does your dollar go where you live, compared to other places?

In Hawaii, most people know the answer: It doesn’t go far. But do you know exactly how our state stacks up against the rest of the country?

The national Tax Foundation recently released a report detailing the value of $100 in every state. In some states, your money goes farther, meaning that you can buy more goods with it than in other states. Elsewhere, goods are more expensive and you can’t buy nearly as much for the same amount of cash.

In Mississippi, $100 is worth $115.74, compared to the national average. As the Tax Foundation points out, this means in practical terms that the residents of Mississippi are 15 percent richer than their incomes suggest.

Unfortunately, Hawaii is at the opposite end of the spectrum, ranking last out of all 50 states. The real value of $100 in Hawaii is $84.46. That’s not only less than it was in 2016, when the real value was $85.62, but it’s also less than California ($87.41) and notoriously expensive New York ($86.51). If Mississippi residents are 15 percent richer based on their nominal incomes, then Hawaii residents are 15 percent poorer.

This isn’t news to the citizens of Hawaii. Along with high taxes and lack of opportunity, the state’s high cost of living is often cited as the reason so many families and young people are fleeing to the mainland. It’s also connected to other social woes. As has long been the case, Hawaii struggles to recruit and retain public school teachers, even going to the mainland to convince recent college graduates to come teach in the state. But holding on to those teachers once they move here is a challenge because of our cost of living.

Some may use the real-value issue as an argument for raising the legal minimum wage. But that misses the forest for the trees. Not only do minimum-wage laws cause other economic problems, including fewer available hours for those whom the laws are supposed to help, they don’t address the underlying problem.

To reduce the cost of living in Hawaii, we need to reduce the size and intrusiveness of government. That means lowering taxes, eliminating red tape and adopting business-friendly policies that will promote investment and opportunity.

We also need to modernize the federal Jones Act, which limits freedom of choice in cargo shipping and makes importing goods to Hawaii more expensive. And we must increase housing affordability, not by capping prices or introducing more regulation, but by reducing the many barriers to housing development.

If we want to increase the real value of our money and improve the standard of living for everyone in Hawaii, we need to embrace economic policies that will reduce our cost of living.

Ehana kākou! (Let’s work together!) 

Keli'i Akina, Ph.D.


Related: Hawaii: $100 Worth Only $84.46


TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


808 Silent Majority

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center


Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Back da Blue Hawaii

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii


Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute


Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Matters

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together



Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Moms for Liberty

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

July 4 in Hawaii

Kakaako Cares

Keep Hawaii's Heroes

Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui


Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii


National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport


OHA Lies

Opt Out Today


Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Practical Policy Institute of Hawaii

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii



Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

ReRoute the Rail

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

School Choice in Hawaii


Sink the Jones Act

Statehood for Guam

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

UCC Truths

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

VAREP Honolulu


West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii