January 6, 2010 :: Permalink
David wrote, "Hawai'i's senior U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye hit the nail on the head in his news conference last week when he said, The one thing that has deeply concerned me is that throughout the negotiations and discussions, very seldom do you hear the word 'student' being used."
Senator Inouye is fortunate to have a different vantage point on our local battle ... in his world they hold the national credit card to help them solve sticky problems.
We all agree we face this challenge due to the worst economy since the Great Depression. National legislators responded to the crisis by raising pay by 2.2% for federal workers and 3.4% for the military - all costs posted to the national credit card. The State of Hawai'i does not have this option. We play with real taxpayer money.
It's a simple proposition: hurt a small group of public workers with large pay cuts or hurt a large pool of voters with a small tax increase.
All rational thinkers and economists know the right or PONO answer is to spread the financial pain as widely and thinly as possible. One option would be to borrow from permanent funds where possible and add small tax increases to make up the difference.
Yet politicians use a different rationality calculus ... their ultimate goal is to keep their jobs. Angering voters in an election year isn't their preferred strategy. Thus they lean toward hurting the smallest group (of voters) possible.
Students??? Who said anything about students? Thus the question is shall we do what is right or what the Right wants?
On the other hand we can still punt by demanding federal assistance for this shortfall. What is $1.2 billion relative to $12.4 TRILLION and counting?
I recommend asking Senator Inouye for the national credit card. It's about the Keiki, remember?