Letters for Thursday, October 23, 2008

• Carvalho won’t micro-manage

• Walk the walk

• Let’s play the blame game

Carvalho won’t micro-manage

I am voting for Bernard Carvalho because:

He is honest. He understands the concept of teamwork. He is compassionate. He understands the needs of the people. He is not a person who would micro-manage his administration because he will gather good people to serve with him in his administration. 

There are those who criticize his lack of experience, but experience is just one criterion for being a good mayor. I would rather have a person like Mr. Carvalho, who has the qualities listed above, than a person who will micro-manage the administration like the other candidate who is opposing Mr. Carvalho. I know because I was micro-managed when I served the county of Kaua‘i. 

For those who do not know me, I served the county of Kaua‘i for some 25 years. I served in the capacity of the mayor’s administrative assistant and the Kauai Civil Defense agency administrator. 

Recovery during the aftermath of Hurricane ‘Iniki was a disaster because of the lack of leadership and wrong decision-making. 

I will be voting for Mr. Carvalho and I speak for my family. I am urging my relatives, friends and neighbors to join me in having Mr. Carvalho elected as our next mayor for the next two years.

• Cayetano Gerardo, Lihu‘e

Walk the walk

How can Bernard Carvalho announce on his latest four-color handout “Bernard Carvalho- Together we can!” that he’s got all this union support when he probably got his brochure printed at a non-union shop?

One of the real tests of candidates running for office with union support is to get a printer’s union label on it. This shows that the material was produced by men and women protected by a union contract that guarantees them a liveable wage with decent benefits and protections. This handout doesn’t have it. 

As a unionized public worker in the state sector, we will soon be facing wage freezes and possible cutbacks to our benefits by Republican Gov. Linda Lingle. 

Will Mr. Carvalho, if elected mayor, who has the backing of Hawai‘i’s top Republicans like Lingle, try to freeze the pay, chip away at their hard won benefits or even lay off some of the county’s unionized public workers?

• Raymond Catania, Lihu‘e

Let’s play the blame game

Blame greed. Blame the free market. Blame capitalism. Blame Republicans. Blame Wall Street. Blame de-regulation. Blame oil companies. Blame Wal-Mart. Blame the rich. Blame your uncle or your auntie’s cat. Blame this one or that one or the one over there.

Everyone and his or her pet monkey absolutely knows the reasons for the mess we are in. But is that so? Maybe the monkey knows, but gauging from what one reads on these pages written by people mad as hell about something, they don’t know, but only think they know and think it with a vengeance.

A phrase often said these days is this one: Do facts matter? The quick answer is “no.” Mark Twain observed that “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”

First, government spends money it doesn’t have and government grows under every administration whichever party is in control to the point that presently every dime of personal income tax goes just to pay the interest on the national debt.

Secondly, the notion that there are not enough regulations flies in the face of fact when there are tens of thousands of them governing every corner of business and our personal lives. Have they prevented financial calamity at any point in history and would more of them do so?

Thirdly, Democrat Sen. Barney Frank and president Bill Clinton were instrumental in getting Fannie and Freddie to make loans to people who were not properly qualified. In 1992 a majority-Democratic Congress “mandated that Fannie and Freddie increase their purchases of mortgages for low-income and medium-income borrowers.” Under Clinton a great pressure from the federal government was put on banks to grant mortgages to the poor. The Federal Reserve threatened lawsuits against banks in demand that they treat welfare payments and unemployment benefits as valid income sources to qualify for a mortgage. Fannie and Freddie spent $200 million on lobbying in the last 10 years.

Who were at the top of the list for getting that lobbying money? Democrats Congressman Barney Frank, Sen. Chris Dodd, and Sen. Barack Obama, each of whom supported Fannie’s and Freddie’s management in their drive to earn multi-million dollar bonuses for buying as many poorly documented mortgages as possible.

Fourthly, the Federal Reserve kept interest rates below the rate of inflation for years (one-percent!) and that gave millions of people an incentive to buy houses. Furthermore, tax policy gave further incentive through mortgage deductions and a huge exclusion from taxes on the capital gain on a house. People started buying and flipping on a wholesale level, a bubble ensued, and now a devastating devaluation and world of defaults, bankruptcies, and bailouts. And don’t forget the chairman of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan, who advocated people getting adjustable rate loans, the very loans that are now causing so much havoc.

Fifthly, all mortgage lenders came to believe the government would bail them out. They were right, but it is not government socialism that is blamed but instead the free market, which would have prevented all of this, and did right next door in Canada where loose standards were never demanded by that government.

This is nuts. But things are going to get more nuts as we are about to elect the most left-wing, big-spender politician in Congress. Not that McCain would be any better. Big government is bad for your financial health and it is high time it got reined in. Pensioners are being killed by inflation and are forced to reach for higher rates of return, but in doing so are risking ruin. But what can they do?

Then the politicians attack Exxon, for example, which company earns considerable income. Who gets that income? The U.S. government takes in an average year from Exxon $27 billion, an amount equal to what the bottom half of all taxpayers pay. Exxon pays 41 percent of its income in taxes while the bottom half of taxpayers pays 3 percent. But who gets the remainder of Exxon’s income? Pensioners in large part. Teacher’s unions, mutual funds, 401ks, etc. are big investors in Exxon. Government takes and business gives. Big, big difference.

The socialist countries never prosper and in capitalistic countries poverty is always least and people’s lives are a blessing in comparison. Yet, we are and have been making a beeline right for socialism as if we had no sense whatsoever. 

• Michael Meek, Princeville

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