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VIDEO: High Cost of Housing Freaks out Gigantic Baritone Cat
By Grassroot Institute @ 2:14 AM :: 1644 Views :: Cost of Living


Grassroot videos on Instagram rack up more than 1 million views in October

Even cats are freaked out about Hawaii's high housing prices; also topical were tourism, living costs and the COVID lockdowns

The Grassroot Institute had some big viral hits Instagram during October, reaching more than 1 million views for the second month in a row.

The most viewed video, with 349,000 views and almost 20,000 likes, is a reaction to Hawaii's high rental, condominium and housing prices. It features a recently trending clip of a cat with a shocked expression and a dubbed voice.

Other top videos, all of which were posted during the month, were:

>> "POV: Looking for an affordable house in Hawaii," 274,000 views

>> "POV: Showing a tourist what living in Hawaii costs," 134,000 views

>> "What Hawaii felt like during COVID," 126,000 views

>> "Hawaii tourism numbers," 111,000 views

>> "Asking Hawaii lawmakers about Aloha Stadium," 49,600 views

Quick Hits:

>> Grassroot Communications Director Mark Coleman and Tax Foundation of Hawaii President Tom Yamachika talked about the recently concluded Kalima v. State lawsuit on the latest episode of "Talking Tax" on ThinkTech Hawaii, which you can see here. The case was filed 24 years ago and involved beneficiaries of the state Department of Hawaii Home Lands who claimed the department had breached its fiduciary responsibility to place them on DHHL lands in a timely manner. Yamachika, who is also a Grassroot Scholar, wrote about the case in his weekly column, which you can read here.

>> A new study by Qi Qi Amanda Ang, a Ph.D. student in economics at the University of Southern California, might have implications for Maui housing policy in the aftermath of the deadly Lahaina wildfires. Ang looked at the effect of population density on the prevalence of wildfires and concluded that limiting construction in areas prone to wildfires does not improve fire outcomes. However, she said, a tax on residents in risky areas combined with lifting building restrictions in low-risk areas could mitigate the rise in wildfire-related costs associated with population growth. Given Ang’s findings, it’s possible that strict housing regulation on Maui might have inadvertently heightened wildfire risk by not allowing development in areas that would have otherwise posed less wildfire risk. You can read Ang's paper here.

>> Recommended reading: "What People Who Own Land In Lahaina Think About Its Future," published Sunday and written by Honolulu Civil Beat investigations editor John HIll.

>> Another lesson for Hawaii? Economist Stephen Moore of the Committee to Unleash Prosperity noted in one of his recent daily emails that none of the major media news stories about Amazon moving its headquarters from Washington to Florida mentioned the tax angle. Moore said that when founder Jeff Bezos built Amazon in Seattle, Washington had no income tax, no estate tax and no capital gains tax. But now it has the highest estate tax in the country, has just adopted a 7% capital gains tax, and is debating a 1% annual wealth tax. Moore said Bezos has an estimated net worth of $150 billion, and could save as much as $1 billion a year by living in Florida. He said Bezos' decision to move reminded him of the old George Gilder saying: “High tax rates don’t redistribute income, they redistribute people.”

>> Need more proof that you can't turn an economy on and off like a light switch? According to the University of Toronto School of Cities' "Downtown Recovery Rankings" based on a sample of mobile phone data, human activity in Downtown Honolulu is only 76% of what it used to be prior to the COVID-19 lockdowns.


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