Wage legislation — radical leftist or essential centrist?

In response to my previous column “Hawaii’s minimum wage needs to start at $17 and strive to be a living wage” bit.ly/2AA8W8D, a woman wrote to me saying “I have voted for you in the past but it seems you have moved too far to the left …” She then wrote about how she opposed “too much government” and about how increasing the minimum wage would cause “the price of everything to go up.”

I suspect this woman is strong on environmental issues and has supported me over the years because of my likewise strong positions on environmental protection and land use. I appreciate that support enormously. But let me ask that she — and others of a similar mindset — be open to thinking about the importance of economic justice as well.

It is interesting that some believe that requiring business to pay a living wage is a radical, left-wing concept. Remember, government has been requiring businesses to pay overtime wages, to provide workers compensation insurance and to provide a safe working environment for their employees for decades now. Most of us, I believe, consider these government mandates as part of our modern civil society and not radical concepts at all.

There are many places where the minimum wage is close to that of a living wage, and the sky has not yet fallen on those communities. In Australia, their fast food workers get paid $20 per hour. Yes, their burgers are probably considered expensive by some, but this has not put the fast food industry out of business.

Here today, according to the state’s own data, “40 percent of jobs in Hawaii pay below a living wage, and nearly half of all families do not earn enough to pay for their basic needs.” Star-Advertiser, Dec. 26, 2018.

How do we stand by and do nothing while our neighbors struggle in this way?

Yes, if the minimum wage is increased we may have to pay 25 cents more for a burger (which we don’t really need and is bad for our health anyway) and another dollar for the cheap big box clothing (which was probably made in China and which we probably don’t really need either).

But the flip side is that those employees cooking those burgers and selling us those cheap clothes, will now be able to participate in their children’s Parent Teacher Association (PTA), instead of rushing off to their second or third job.

Or maybe they will just go home and read a good book, or throw a ball around with the kids in the yard. These same employees will now perhaps even be able to go to dinner themselves, or buy their young son or daughter those running shoes they have been asking for.

For the record, I understand also that increasing the minimum wage is only one part of the formula necessary to support working people rising up out of poverty.

The Anne E. Casey Foundation describes what I believe is an all encompassing 3 part solution, they call Earn It, Keep It and Grow It. Increasing the minimum wage addresses only the “Earn It” component.

The other components involved increased asset building via affordable home ownership, and the strict regulation of “predatory lending” practices such as are now utilized by Pay Day Lenders, Credit Cards and private Student Loan Providers.

I, for one, don’t think it is a radical idea for those who have more, to be willing to pay more, so that those who have less will at least enjoy the fundamental basics all of us deserve. I don’t think it is “leftist” to believe that every person who works 40 hours per week should be paid a wage that is sufficient to provide basic shelter, food and health care.

To me, if anything this concept should be central to all of our values and thinking.

After all, we are all in this together. I am not a pious church-goer, but those who are will recall the Gospel message to feed the hungry and clothe the naked and yes, to give one of our coats to the man who has none.

So, believers and nonbelievers, environmental justice warriors and social justice champions should be able to find common ground in this effort to ensure a means of survival — just survival — for all working families in Hawaii. Don’t we call ourselves the aloha state?

Please visit Raise Up Hawaii to read the facts bit.ly/2GSIah5 that hopefully will counter the fear and misinformation perpetuated by the big box, fast food and big business interests that seek to keep wages and worker benefits as low as possible.

Happy New Year, one and all — and let’s work to make it so for ALL.


Gary Hooser formerly served in the state Senate, where he was majority leader. He also served for eight years on the Kauai County Council and was former director of the state Office of Environmental Quality Control. He serves presently in a volunteer capacity as board president of the Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action (HAPA) and is executive director of the Pono Hawaii Initiative.

  1. Ginger Doll January 2, 2019 3:38 am Reply

    Perhaps you should have asked the complaining lady how she would live on this island if her income was the princely sum of $17 an hour or a grand total of $34,000 a year.
    Rent? Food? Transportation and personal items?
    How long before there is a mass exodus to the Mainland because working class people can no longer afford to live here?
    The complaining lady may find herself flipping her own hamburgers.

    1. Jake January 3, 2019 5:05 am Reply

      Um, like, this is going to sting…..brace yourself.

      Leaving the Hawaiian Islands is EXACTLY what people, who cannot afford to live here, need to do…… NOW.

      See, in the Real World, if you live in an area where the cost of living is high, and there are few career opportunities other than working in the service industry, then you move to anywhere on the planet (CONUS is nice, but there is an entire planet out there). So, to break it down, you live where a 3/2 home costs ~$150K, you have 10 times the career opportunities, and the cost of living is low. It’s not that hard. The rest of the world does it all the time.

      Nope, can’t do that because there are monsters and dragons living off the Hawaiian Islands. You are on one of the most isolated islands on the planet, that produces NOTHING but sun, surf, and great weather. There are no incentives to any industry right now, to come to Hawaii and increase job opportunities. “We have to keep the islands pristine, reduce and eliminate building, prevent the death of even one mammal, and go back to the way Hawaii was when I was a child, with one light in Lihue”. There are consequences for your actions……..um, like doubling down on the Tourist Industry as your ONLY industry.

      And here you have another Government Elected official that does the EASY thing…..get elected on freebies (affordable housing, $20/hr minimum wage, limiting progress) and promising things that in the end will put your children and grandchildren paying off the bills. The hard thing……getting to the root cause of the issue, and making the hard decision that is in the best interest of the people that elected you, is avoided at all costs because that takes some critical thinking. Let’s keep taxing the common person to death so people that cannot afford to live here have SNAP, Section 8 housing, free Medical Care, and affordable housing (aka taxpayer subsidized housing). Stop the madness!

      1. Ginger Doll January 4, 2019 4:25 am Reply

        Mr. Jake,
        If the working class emigrates, who will be left to service the idle rich and tourists who come here to enjoy the sun, surf and year-round beautiful weather?
        The tourism industry earns billions in profits from our islands. Very little of those billions stay here. Surely our government can be clever enough to recognize its ability to collect a tariff from the profits derived from the sun, surf and weather you describe. No need to spread fears of more taxes for the common man. Our taxes are derived from the ability to pay.
        Your solution brings to mind the Trail of Tears, the sad tale of a series of forced relocations of Native Americans in the United States from their ancestral homelands.

        1. RG DeSoto January 4, 2019 3:18 pm Reply

          “If the working class emigrates, who will be left to service the idle rich and tourists who come here to enjoy the sun, surf and year-round beautiful weather?”
          Simple economics Ginger…if the supply of service industry labor is reduced (i.e. people move away), competition among employers will drive up wage rates. This will in turn attract more people into the labor market.
          Your Trail of Tears analogy is nonsense. Nobody has a gun to the head of people that want to move away for a better economic opportunities elsewhere.
          RG DeSoto

          1. Ginger Doll January 7, 2019 4:42 am

            Nobody has a gun to their head but if you are being starved out, you leave. When the last native Hawaiian departs, the settlers can create the island getaways they’ve always dreamed of. The low wage padarise serviced by immigrants from third world impoverished countries.

  2. Ken Conklin January 2, 2019 6:26 am Reply

    For the past couple months I’ve noticed that an awful lot of articles are authored by Gary Hooser. Maybe The Garden Island News should be re-named The Hooser Newser. It would be nice if the little blurb at the end of his articles describing who he is would also include something about Mr. Hooser’s relationship with the newspaper: Is he a paid staffer, such as a reporter or editor; or is he only a lobbyist for his far-left pressure groups who is astonishingly effective in getting his stuff into print?

  3. Amused January 2, 2019 6:51 am Reply

    It’s not that you’ve moved too far left, Gary. It’s just that you’re a phony and a hypocrite who is hopelessly out of touch. You can’t live even on $17/hr in Hawaii. Not everyone has the luxury of a taxpayer-funded pension and skimming off undisclosed donations to a nonprofit, like you do.

  4. RG DeSoto January 2, 2019 8:07 am Reply

    “To me, if anything this concept should be central to all of our values and thinking.
    After all, we are all in this together. I am not a pious church-goer, but those who are will recall the Gospel message to feed the hungry and clothe the naked and yes, to give one of our coats to the man who has none.”
    The big difference is that the Gospel, Gary, is advocating for VOLUNTARY actions/charity. You, however, being the socialist progressive you are, advocate for government force to achieve these ends. In short, the Gospel asks that we freely & voluntarily give; you simply ask the state to put a gun to our head and steal what we’ve earned or force us to pay what you construe as a “living wage”.
    Again, I admonish you to learn some real economics and in the meantime spare us your socialist drivel. And to the politicians and bureaucrats: just leave us alone.
    RG DeSoto

  5. NaNaNa January 2, 2019 8:13 am Reply

    Gary, why do you present this as anything other than an economic argument? The only reason I can think of is that it doesn’t pass muster in terms of economics. It doesn’t in terms of social justice, either. Raising the minimum wage doesn’t help poor people–it hurts them and it hurts anyone making near the minimum wage. That woman making $18/hr today would surely see her earning power diminish with your plan.

    How about thinking in terms of earning power, rather than dollars? What you propose doesn’t increase anyone’s earning power, it just shifts wages and prices. Some folks might earn more, but can they afford the higher cost of living? Of course not. Things like housing will go up at the same rate as pay goes up. That’s basic economics.

    How about you spend time thinking on how to grow the economy, rather than just cause inflation? Create a real difference in the earning power of all Hawaiians. That requires education, opportunity, and an environment that caters to more than just tourism. Create incentives for new industries. Improve K-12 education and access to four-year degrees, so that Hawaii has a workforce that’s attractive to investment. Create some low-income housing, so that the poor have stability in the lives of their families. Make it so that the best and brightest youth doesn’t have to leave the islands in order to have a stable, fulfilling life.

    Do something real, Gary.

  6. manawai January 2, 2019 8:41 am Reply

    Economic justice = government price fixing. Next, Hooser will champion rent controls. He is against all forms of free market capitalism. Hooser is a modern day socialist that believes government should own or control all of the means of production…something that has failed every time it has been tried in history: 1930s Germany, the Soviet Union, North Korea, Venezuela, China (which went back to capitalism because it works and communism, a form of socialism, fails), etc. But Hooser thinks he can make government control over every segment of our lives actually work…and that we’ll like it. That’s Hooser’s dream. Mr. 1984! Hooser supports this because he failed in business here on Kauai. He pocketed tax money he collected from his customers. He even failed at working for the government, his personal socialist dream job, insulting other elected officials and losing his job as Majority Leader of the State Senate and failing in his run against Brian Schatz. And this guy advises other people how to get elected and be respected? Heck, he even deigns to tell you where to eat and what clothes to wear. How’s that for government control over your body? That’s Socialism…that’s Gary Hooser. The poor may like what he says…the old something-for-nothing trick that only makes other pay for what you want…but not need like Gary tells us. The rich don’t care because they have plenty of money. So it is the middleclass, our most productive citizens, which Gary punishes for their hard work and productivity. But he doesn’t get it because he actually believes his own propaganda…his not very original grand plan for failure which is pretty much all he knows. Remember, people are dying to get into this country because of our free markets and the desire to earn our minimum wage. But they’ll end up on welfare if Gary succeeds in convincing our economically ignorant lawyer legislators into raising the minimum wage above the productivity the wage-earner is able to deliver. Look, Gary! Fast food restaurants are automating and hiring less minimum wage earners because of your threats to force wages well above their level of productivity. Starter and training jobs are already going away because of these threats. Plus, people are buying more and more things over the Internet (like clothes from China*) because they’re cheaper (no minimum wage hikes there)! Gary, how about getting these people to stay in school to get a decent education, learn skills that businesses actually need, and earn some self-respect by dependence upon oneself and not the nanny state? Gary wants to reward and support dependence vs. growth and independence. The latter is the American way.

    * It’s funny that Gary says we shouldn’t buy cheaper clothes from China yet howled when Trump raised the duty on such goods. Hypocritical? Yup! Typical!

    1. Pete Antonson January 2, 2019 1:42 pm Reply

      Blah blah blah Venezuela blah blah blah Socialism blah blah blah Welfare blah blah blah Illegals blah blah blah Venezuela blah blah blah Dependence blah blah blah Socialism blah blah blah Venezuela Socialism Venezuela Socialism Venezuela Socialism Illegal Illegals blah blah blah!

  7. RG DeSoto January 2, 2019 9:08 am Reply

    Gary…as a follow-up. Minimum wage laws have an ugly history tied in with the eugenics movement from those of your ilk-progressives. Ryan McMaken writes:
    “From a book written by Princeton scholar Thomas C. Leonard. Illiberal Reformers: Race, Eugenics & American Economics in the Progressive Era:
    ‘The minimum wage issue is especially interesting from an economic perspective, since the fact that the minimum wage destroys jobs was once its main selling point. That is, it was designed to destroy jobs for undesirable poor whites and alleged non-white racial inferiors. The whole concept of the “living wage” was once a benchmark used to evaluate the worth of a human being. That is, if you couldn’t earn a living wage, you were ripe for sterilization. The minimum wage was thus a convenient way of weeding out the undesirables from the more valuable human beings. In other words, in pursuit of the Progressive ideal of “racial hygiene,” the minimum wage was a key part of the agenda.’

    “But don’t expect this inconvenient history to be a problem for the Progressive movement. Those Progressives weren’t real Progressives, we’ll be told. Peter St. Onge explains in The Affluent Investor this week:
    ‘Progressives’ slickest trick is that every time their policies fail they claim ‘No, that wasn’t ‘real’ Progressivism.’ It’s the ‘No True Scotsman’ fallacy. The fallacy that ‘your people’ would never do something bad and, if they ever do, well those weren’t really your people. ‘Exculpatory sub-grouping,’ in psychologist Aiden Gregg’s phrase.
    We see this fallacy repeatedly from the socialists: it’s never ‘real’ socialism from Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot, North Korea, Cuba, or Venezuela. However passionately every one of these regimes believed themselves to be socialist, every time they fail the propagandists write them out of the movement.”

    You can crow all you want about living wages and minimum wages, Gary, but what you are not addressing is the other half of the equation: the cost of goods and services which determines what someone’s nominal wages can purchase. The state of Hawaii contributes heavily to the in-affordability of living here. Why don’t you address that?
    RG DeSoto

    1. Pete Antonson January 2, 2019 1:33 pm Reply

      Despite the weak effort to fend off critics, the words “Progressive” and “Progressive Era” (1890 – 1920) had completely different meaning a hundred years ago than it does today. It was initiated and championed by Theodore Roosevelt and his Republican Party then somewhat usurped by Democrats like Woodrow Wilson and William Jennings Bryant. Eugenics was NOT a consensus factor and You know it! This is like saying “Some Republicans don’t like bananas, therefore all Republicans don’t like bananas!” It deliberately adds to the widespread confusion in the same way as mentioning “Venezuela” in every 5th sentence. BTW, since you do that too, how about finding one significant politician who is actually advocating any specific policy identical to any domestic policies of Venezuela. You can’t and you won’t because the real goal here is to join hands with Stormtrooper Radio, Media, and Social Media and create confusion!

      1. RG DeSoto January 3, 2019 9:05 am Reply

        “…how about finding one significant politician who is actually advocating any specific policy identical to any domestic policies of Venezuela.”

        Well Pete, you can find hundreds of them (politicians and other economically illiterates) advocating for hiking minimum wages or the so called living wage. So, check this out:
        “CARACAS/PUNTO FIJO, Venezuela (Reuters) – Yusbell Arcaya used to earn more than seven times the minimum wage as a human resources analyst at a university in western Venezuela, but socialist President Nicolas Maduro’s economic reforms changed all that.
        Last month, Maduro unexpectedly ordered a 60-fold increase in the minimum wage to compensate for runaway inflation alongside a 96 percent devaluation of the bolivar currency. That left employers across Venezuela struggling to afford the new minimum wage, let alone the higher salaries once paid to more senior employees….”
        The Fed inflates the money supply via credit creation which always leads to general price increases (real incomes fall) this is a policy advocated by many US politicians (it guarantees that they can continue deficit spending). It is also a policy that afflicts Venezuela and absolutely trashes their real incomes.
        Strict land use laws are common in USA and Venezuela. You can always find US politicians that are for further restricting the use of private land.
        Gun control is another area where many US politicians are in lockstep with Venezuela’s Control of Arms, Munitions and Disarmament Law.
        As I’ve said before…get a grip, Pete.
        RG DeSoto

        1. Pete Antonson January 3, 2019 1:36 pm Reply

          Nothing in your comment about Venezuela has anything at all to do with the United States of America. It is sad that a failed economy in South America is making lots of people suffer; but, it has nothing to do with the USA. Additionally, nobody being taken seriously in the USA is in “lockstep” with any gun control policies anywhere else or economic systems in South America. Unfortunately, that won’t stop you from the name calling (socialist) agenda of confusion that you’ve embarked on for anything that doesn’t reward the wealthy for being wealthy (winners deserve to win philosophy). What you’re doing is like throwing shark chum in the main tank of the Monterrey Aquarium. It may be entertaining; but, it’s not what was intended!

          1. RG DeSoto January 4, 2019 3:29 pm

            You posed a challenge regarding politicians & policy similarities between the US and Venezuela; I gave you examples. I can’t help it if you are blind to the obvious parallels. Have you not read anything that Ocasio-Cortez and her ilk are crowing about, like a 70% marginal tax rate for the reviled wealthy?
            Your counter arguments are just little rhetorical smoke screens employed to obfuscate your missing the mark.
            RG DeSoto

          2. Pete Antonson January 5, 2019 2:16 pm

            First of all, Venezuela’s tax on the wealthy is 40%, so there is no connection. Second, and more important, Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez is not a significant politician, or leader, in the Democratic Party……..yet. She is a famous politician because an attractive, ethnic, outspoken female in her twenties being elected for the first time has set off the white male privilege alarms of every aging, potbellied, right wing listener to neonazi Rush Limbaugh! This ridiculous category of morons was offended by an 8 year old college video of the congresswoman dancing despite the fact that THEIR first lady was a nude model and probable escort! You guys are making her famous. That’s not the same as significant!

        1. Pete Antonson January 3, 2019 1:05 pm Reply

          First, look up the word “consensus.” You won’t find “widespread” anywhere on the same page.
          Second, look at my comment again, it says “…NOT a consensus factor” in specific regards to Progressive Movement of 1890- 1920 and not the general time period.
          Third, consider that “widespread is a vague and inexact term; but, that. in this case, I don’t even have to argue over it!

          1. RG DeSoto January 4, 2019 3:31 pm

            Ditto my remarks above. You are stumbling over semantics and hoping to win via obfuscation.
            RG DeSoto

          2. Pete Antonson January 5, 2019 1:51 pm

            You have offered nothing to connect the movement of 1890 – 1920 and a current political movement other than the identical spelling of the word “Progressive.”
            I have exposed your failed effort as I will with any and all vile efforts inspired by neonazi Rush Limbaugh and his “ilk.”

  8. rg January 2, 2019 1:44 pm Reply

    Gary conveniently avoids the very real question about what to do with all the small businesses that will fail if this becomes law. I guess these erstwhile entrpreneurs can greet at Wal Mart for $17 per hr. ?

  9. Oingo boingo January 2, 2019 3:41 pm Reply

    Great article Gary…
    Rent on this island is ridiculous
    Hotel room prices are outrageous
    Restourants are busy from all the tourists flocking to the island.
    Why not let them share a piece of the Pie.. oh yeh…i forgot “All for the rich and none for the poor”
    Am I right..?

  10. Knowitall January 2, 2019 3:42 pm Reply

    Of course a retired government employee is going to think a minimum wage should correlate to a “Living Wage”. At what point do we strive to achieve more in our lives? At what point do we take responsibility for our own actions?
    Yes you may have to relocate to the mainland for education or work experience. With smart life decisions you can invest in yourself and gain enough knowledge to return to Kauai and get much more than a “living wage”. You could be successful, a home owner, a business owner an entrepreneur!
    As a small business owner, I can tell you that running a business on Kauai is much more difficult than working for someone. You have rent or mortgage for a location. Employees, payroll, benefits, health insurance, business insurance, high utilities. You can lose money for many years to cover these costs. Once you make a profit you have a very high tax rate. The State of Hawaii isn’t considered a small business friendly state for a reason. “If” your business survives these hurdles you turn a profit. It typically takes many years of hard work.
    Now you’re gonna require every restaurant owner pays the bus boy a “living wage”, every dish washer a “living wage”? A living wage is certainly over 50k or more on kauai. The only employer on Kauai that could afford to pay this much is the government.
    Obviously Gary knows a lot getting paid by the government. When the government runs over its budget they simply raise taxes, create new fees (also taxes). A business owner goes bankrupt! A business owner cannot raise the price of a burger by 50 cents to cover the cost of the ridiculous “living wage” concept.
    Let me do you a favor. If you don’t like your job then find a career that pays better! Or continue your education! Apply to a trade school! Go into sales and work your tail off for commission.
    If your going to sit back, be lazy, party through your twenty’s and take no action to improve yourself you have only yourself to blame!

  11. manawai January 2, 2019 5:00 pm Reply

    What YOU advocate is a slippery slope, Commie Pete. No worries, you’ll get there with your leftist philosophy of government control over everything including our bodies. Is that why you moved to the Philippines…because you were productive enough and couldn’t afford to live here? It’s much cheaper in those underdeveloped countries? Kawawa ka naman.

    1. Pete Antonson January 4, 2019 2:29 pm Reply

      Great name calling there, mendacious manawai, I’m sure you’ve elevated the respect people have for you at the same time countered all that I articulated in paragraphs with one simple word! Well done! Actually, besides knowing where I spend part of the year, You know absolutely nothing about me, my political viewpoints, my connections to Kauai, my business interests, or a lifetime of achievement and community service. You seem to know just as little about most issues as well!
      You can correctly state that you, in 2019, have Presidential level language skills!

      1. manawai January 8, 2019 8:34 am Reply

        Your elitist drivel, P.A., for years has revealed anyone with a brain where you stand. And I love how you whine about name calling when, in typical leftwing hypocritical fashion, you’ve used on this page alone the words: mendacious, neonazi, vile, potbellied, morons, stormtrooper. You are certainly talented in “calling the kettle black”.

        1. Pete Antonson January 8, 2019 5:33 pm Reply

          There’s a big difference between namecalling in general like Stormtrooper Radio, or a well known person like neonazi Rush and calling someone commenting here a name. My doing that to you was a sarcastic response to you calling me a name; which was wrong. This was one of those exceptional cases were two wrongs actually made me right on!

  12. I saw a Vampire once January 2, 2019 5:21 pm Reply

    Socialist countries where left wing politics originated probably has something to do with the fact I can have what you have also, not just only for the rich. In a more progressive country, equal for everyone. I can dig that. It will make everyone equally welcome to buy a ticket at a Guns & Roses Concert, than it would be only to the middle income to poor class buying a ticket. If you are from the richer income, you certainly could purchase a ticket from the upscale as the rest of them.

    And I agree. Equal service to those who want it, as well as those who just want to enjoy the service. The EEOC can vouch for that. They’ll say equal rights to equal pay. Though not necessarily the same buying power to all citizens.

    I think it is great they have this type of service to all. Especially in the USA. We all can enjoy a fun time out. It won’t bother anyone.

  13. I saw a Vampire once January 2, 2019 6:32 pm Reply

    I think Gary is writing to the other county council members. They can’t even afford to have fun and pay $500 dollars for a Guns & Roses concert. Aloha stadium. Honolulu. Why not? Basically because they are too dumb and poor. What is up with the minimum wage laws legislation? Are any of you making salary? I don’t think so. So better say it like it is. We have a poor county council men or mens again. Deal with it.

  14. james joseph murphy January 2, 2019 6:56 pm Reply

    If minimum wage goes up by 6-7 dollars an hour, then my LPN wage should go up by at the least the same. I have more education and more legal risk to do my job.

  15. I saw a Vampire once January 2, 2019 7:16 pm Reply

    Basically, you don’t know what you’re doing. County Council. Again!

  16. Marie January 2, 2019 10:40 pm Reply

    I owned a business for 28 years and just because you own a business it does not mean you are rolling in money. When I had to pay a new person more money to start, it took away from my employees that had worked for me longer. because the cost had to come from somewhere. In the long run it hurt my longer term employees. The more skilled you are, the more experience you have, or more education, you usually earn more than at an entry level or unskilled job.
    You hurt the employees that have worked at a place longer or have more experience because all of a sudden they are at or near the bottom of the pay scale again, but the costs of things have gone up, so your earnings don’t mean as much.
    And if you really want to help people, consider improving the schools and encouraging college or learning a trade at high school level or right after. Hopefully before you decide to take on the expense of a family. Graduating from either improves your income over your life instead of always working at a job that requires no skills and no true path of getting ahead.
    Sure Australia has raised their wages and their burgers are dollars not cents more expensive because of it. And now you are saying you can go without that burger or clothing, that takes even more money away from the businesses in less sales which means layoffs of employees. I guess those employees will have time to go back to college.

  17. Charlie Chimknee January 3, 2019 12:02 am Reply

    Gee Gary what wages were you paying your workers the year you skipped out on $80,000.00 of Excise taxes you never paid…?

    When other small business owners work 12-15 hours a day 7 days a week…and pay their business taxes. $80K is a huge income you must have earned so why you went out of business. That must have taken you many years of failing to pay your taxes to owe $80K.

    And then you suggest small business pay higher wages and what end up like you out pf business?

    Hard enough to keep a business open without jokers like you mouthing off.


  18. Ginger Doll January 3, 2019 4:19 am Reply

    Why is it that many writers here view the “living wage” proposal as a threat to their standard of living? One of the biggest threats facing our country is income inequality. It is more than a local issue.
    Government has a role in this. Minimum wage sustains those at the bottom. Government “safety net” programs were created to help citizens endure hard times.
    But over the last few decades, economists on the right have promoted “trickle down” solutions. President Bush 41 correctly labeled them “Voodoo Economics.”
    Witness the Republican tax cuts of a year ago that overwhelmingly favored the weathy while leaving the rest of us with trillion dollars deficits.
    It is government’s responsibility to level the playing field. The U.S. Income Tax was implemented based on the “ability to pay.”
    Rather than spreading the fear of turning the U.S. into Venezuela or the Soviet Union, look to the Scandavian countries where the tax rates on highest incomes exceed 50% providing the highest standard of living to all its citizens.
    Capitalism is the greatest engine for the creator of wealth known to mankind. Citizens embrace it everywhere as long as they are able to get their share of the pie. But beware. Those living at the lower rungs of the income ladder are feeling unbearable pain. Unaffordable housing. Astronomical college costs. Increasing health care costs. The shame of needing charity and food banks for survival.
    Beware of the growing number of citizens who believe the system does not work for them.
    Is the system rigged? Beware of the citizens who may be coming with pitchforks.

  19. manawai January 3, 2019 1:10 pm Reply

    Hawaii is already one of the highest taxing states in the country and our clueless liberals want to make it even worse! Why? Because they are either unproductive themselves and pay no taxes or are under productive and chose occupations that are more like hobbies (like videographers, ocean picture takers, or boat hands, busboys, natural resource thieves, or tourist lookout costume posers) that they like or are easy to do and require zero talent or skill…then expect others to support them in their selfish little lives. Get an education, speak decent English, make yourself a desirable and productive employee and then look for a decent “living” wage. Eventually, you will find it…that is if you have the stomach for solid work and don’t give up and go on the take like so many have.

  20. Craig Millett January 4, 2019 8:56 am Reply

    You selfish folks who tell people who grew up here that because you don’t want them to have a decent wage they should just go raise their kids in Detroit because it’s cheaper there don’t get that you too will be in this same situation sometime because the real problem is run-away oligarchy. No man is truly “worth” a billion dollars. That money is the result of skimming the true worth of real working people and hoarding it for themselves and their indolent progeny. The greatest expansion of the U.S. economy occurred when the highest tax bracket paid 90% in taxes.

    1. RG DeSoto January 4, 2019 3:41 pm Reply

      Nice, irrational Marxist labor theory of value (aka:drivel), Craig. That nonsense was put to rest (debunked) decades ago by the great economists Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek, among others.
      When you don’t know what you’re crowing about, it’s better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.
      RG DeSoto

      1. Pete Antonson January 9, 2019 2:29 pm Reply

        “It is better to remain silent at the risk of being thought a fool, than to talk and remove all doubt of it.” is from the work of Maurice Switzer, “Mrs. Goose, Her Book,” Page 29, Moffat, Yard & Company, New York (1807) and should at least be in quotation marks – although Proverbs 17:28 may have beat him to it
        BTW, it is falsely, and often , attributed to both Abe Lincoln and Mark Twain.

        1. Pete Antonson January 9, 2019 2:30 pm Reply


  21. Jake January 4, 2019 2:56 pm Reply

    Um, no sir. Just because you are “born and raised” on the Hawaiian Islands does not give you the divine right to demand the US Government provide you and your family your desired standard of living……this is the standard mantra and 6th Grade mentality that drives the “I can’t afford to live here, but I’m going to complain, blame the transplants, the visitors, for all my problems”. Let supply and demand determine wages, and standard of living. There is a whole planet out there waiting to be explored for better opportunities, jobs, lifestyle, schools, wages, etc. Expecting to live your lifetime in Paradise, at your perceived standard of living, just because you were “born and raised”, is extremely childish…..and these island produce many, many children.

    It is painfully clear that those raised on the islands, demand the Government provide them the means to remain on the islands, and provide them with their desired standard of living.

    Do I believe CEO’s are overpaid? Certainly. “If you envy what others have, but don’t have the ambition to earn it yourself……….then you are probably a Bernie Sanders Fan”. Go out and make it happen. Leave the islands, get a better career, save money, take care of your family, and once you have saved enough money, and if you want to return, then return.

    Detroit? Really? Try any place in Texas. You can’t avoid tripping over a good career opportunity and a great standard of living.

  22. Suzan Kelsey Brooks January 6, 2019 10:47 am Reply

    During the 50s, 60s, and 70s, the top tax rate did not go below 70%. That top tier was dropped in the 80s and has been, overall, dropping ever since, despite decades of war and an exploding deficit. Were we better off in those earlier years? Better off since? Does that depend on whom–and how many of us– we consider “we”?

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