December 7th, 2009 :: Permalink
Anyone who has studied our military knows none of the members want war although the most ambitious realize they need war to prove their mettle.
We all know Governor Lingle didn't seek our current financial crisis yet it nevertheless offered her an opportunity to demonstrate her character. I rate her leadership as lackluster.
In a crisis people seek calmness, certainty and composure from leaders. In Linda Lingle we have witnessed chaos, confusion and uncertainty.
In a crisis leaders of quality make bold decisions and frequently must ask followers to take action they ordinarily would prefer not to do. The furloughs are a perfect example.
This crisis was not Hawai'i's fault. This is not disputed and the federal government pumped about $2B into our economy in response. Lingle could easily have demanded this be doubled and the state's budget crisis would have been delayed until such time that a rational scale-back could be accomplished. This would have given us some breathing room and allowed us to focus on designing a recovery for our private sector.
Governor Bill Richardson (D-NM) was featured in the NY Times last week asking his local residents to "spend $25 at each of two local stores this month, an initiative that could have a $27 million economic impact on the state in December." Richardson points out that 68 percent of spending remains in the local economy.
If we apply his formula to the public school issue of Furlough Fridays, which saves the state about $5M per day, each furlough day actually removes an estimated $3.4M from the local economy. This hurts local businesses, increases private sector layoffs (or delays new hiring) and further decreases tax revenues.
Looking at the BIG picture - as leaders must do - each furlough day disrupts and frustrates parents, irreparably hurts our Keiki's education, and reduces purchasing power in our local economy by $3.4M per day. Lackluster Lingle has been a disaster through and through.
There were many options available for a bold and enlightened leader. Lingle chose the easy and well-worn path and for this she will be remembered. Lackluster Lingle will be her legacy.
I would like to close with a quote from John Wooden, one of my key role models. I wish Ms. Lingle would have had the opportunity to train under one of America's greatest teachers.
Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.
Aloha Kolea ~
Excellent questions ... mahalo!
You asked, "How can the Governor of the small state of Hawaii 'demand' $2 billion from the Feds?" What is the definition of too big to fail? Is this nation only concerned about bankers and investment specialists on Wall Street? I can easily make a GREAT case why 1.3 million people are too important to be left to falter.
You asked, "What cards can she play?" Such a spending plan creates JOBS! This is a central mission of the Obama administration's economic plan. By providing stability within the public sector during a demand-crisis recession we create a bridge for the private sector. You and I have talked previously about Keynesian economics. What were the WPA or CCC except public sector programs?
Would anyone say the Hoover Dam is more important than our Keiki's education? Whether FDR put money in the hands of dam builders or Obama puts money in the hands of teachers, the positive stimulus to the economy is the same. Both create lasting benefits for society.
Further I have written extensively that I would turn the Rail project into a federal expressway, designated as H4. This would relieve struggling local families and businesses of about 90 percent of the financial tax burden and shift it to the federal government. The project would add less than $5B to Obama's ledger, which is pennies in their grand scheme, and another excellent way to create jobs from a Keynesian perspective.
Lackluster Lingle was unable to think outside the box - and unable to fight for her people in a crisis.
You added, "Add to the equation the way she went out of her way to be personally rude to to Obama ..." Quality leaders do not go out of their way to be rude to other leaders - we're on the same team!
Enlightened leaders reach across the isle because they put the interest of their constituents before their personal egos and ideological underpinning.
Aloha WooWoo821 ~
You wrote, "I wonder if the NYTimes is giving Gov. Richardson's plan the same treatment as it gave the Bush plan.
If you're referring to Bush's action after 9/11 to stimulate the economy by asking people to continue shopping, then yes, I agree Richardson's plan would be similar - and both are appropriate remedies under the circumstances. After 9/11 people were scared and holding onto their pocketbooks. Had this not changed Usama bin Laden would have won. In the current demand-crisis we are facing those who have available resources (including government entities) must spend. This is the only way we'll climb out of this hole.
You added, "Also, your Wooden quote in this context is puzzling ...
I am in agreement with Bongo who wrote, "Now every Lingle action is evaluated, not on it's merits, but how it can help Lingle and Aiona make their growing list of 'political enemies' look bad."
This demonstrates greater concern for reputation than character and why I selected Coach Wooden's quote.
Mahalo for your comments ...