Please stop hassling the tourists!
The tourists are as afraid of this virus as you are and they have done nothing wrong except to bring jobs and prosperity to Kaua‘i. Without tourists, most residents couldn’t afford to live on Kaua‘i. Anyway, most of the mainland tourists aren’t going to risk their lives by getting on an airplane these days and most lodging on the island is running on empty. We just need to show some aloha to whoever is on island.
I have owned a small vacation rental home on Kaua‘i since before most of the protestors were born. Every year, that one house brings in about $25,000 in property, excise, and transient taxes, pays the maid service about $8,000, pays the gardeners about $4000, helps pay for the salaries of everyone at Home Depot, Costco, Big Save, the water department, KIUC, Spectrum and many more. If it were up to the hotels and their high
prices, many of those tourists couldn’t come to Kaua‘i to help support you.
I have a maid cleaning the house for the last eight years who depends on the income from cleaning our house and others. She has a very sick teenage boy, an out-of-work daughter, and a granddaughter to support. Every tourist family that doesn’t come to Kaua‘i, every vacancy makes it harder for her to feed everyone. You all probably know someone financially affected by this virus also.
So let’s show some aloha so Kaua‘i does not get a black eye that keeps the tourists away once this is over. Don’t be so selfish about Kaua‘i.
Smedley Aberdeen, Koloa
Now is the time to work on food security
“People need to calm down!” my daughter texted, “God always has a plan!” Initiating better stewardship of natural resources could be one of them.
Coronavirus safety measures forewarn catastrophic possibilities in Hawai‘i. Worldwide travel poses a greater risk of exposure to the islands. What if Hawai‘i had to be quarantined?
Importing 90% of its food, Hawai‘i is especially vulnerable. People have valid concerns. Food and water are essential for survival. Hawai‘i has extremely limited supplies. Any number of reasons could restrict shipments or travel to the islands. Depending primarily on tourism could prove fatal economically.
Diversified agriculture would provide jobs and food security. With ranching and farming, each island could ensure adequate provisions.
Natural disasters disrupt supply routes. Lahaina is particularly vulnerable. Considered the “golden goose”, Maui’s Westside boasts one of the largest visitor counts in Hawai‘i. Densely populated residential and proximity to school facilities, growing food in Lahaina makes sense.
Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate’s 1200 acres in Lahaina could be a precious resource for food security. Besides farming, the area is an ideal location for food processing and distribution.
Now is a good time to work on strategic plans for an agriculture industry throughout the islands. Landholders and government officials need to consider highest and best use of natural resources for public safety. Preparing for the future, get kids advocating for their community’s food security.
With COVID-19 government shutdowns, time and energy could be expended toward solutions for a safer Hawai‘i. Hopefully something good will come from the coronavirus scare.
Michele Lincoln, Lahaina
It may be time to fish for stocks
The S&P 500 (with its index fund “SPY”) is a broad measure of our stock market. SPY closed at $240 on March 16th, a 29% drop from the high of $339 on Feb. 19th. Even after this huge drop, the market is still 12% ahead of the day before Pres. Trump was elected ($214 on 11/8/16).
No one knows where the bottom will be. However, for those with cash to invest who are also able to take a chance and invest long term, buying anywhere near the bottom is likely a good decision.
As of March 16th, the PE ratio of the S&P 500 is 18. This means a return of 5.5%. Normally earnings grow about 2% per year over the long term, implying the long-term return would be around 7.5%. This would need to be adjusted for any long-term effects of Covid-19.
Compare this to the 10-year U.S. Treasury Note, which currently yields 0.73%. Investors are parking their money in Treasuries, waiting for the stock market to stabilize. It seems only a matter of time before more investors will prefer a 7% stock market return over a 1% Treasury return. When that happens, the stock market will move higher than it is now.
In late 2018, the SPY dropped by 20%. There seemed to be no significant reason for it. The market just got spooked. It quickly recovered in early 2019. In 2008, the real estate bubble burst, leading to a major economic collapse. From peak to bottom, the SPY dropped 57%.
It seems likely that the Covid-19 stock market drop will be somewhere in between those other two drops. Our economy has been very strong, with millions of jobs available that had not been filled. People are now isolating themselves. But, once that stops, it may be back to normal.
The midpoint between these other two drops would be a 38% drop. You may want to aim for a little higher price than you think the bottom will be. It is hard to hit the exact bottom. With the current drop of 29% as of March 16th, we may be near the bottom.
There is no way to predict the future, so you will need to do your own analysis. I do not want to tell anyone what to do, but some of these numbers may be helpful. If you do invest, you may consider buying something like SPY or VTI, where you get the whole stock market in one stock.
Good luck fishing!
Mark Beeksma, Koloa