Take from property owners, not others
"We can get rid of property taxes" by Charles Prentiss (Insight, Star-Bulletin, June 10
) proposes the most regressive Hawaii taxation -- excise taxes. This tax on purchases of food, shoes, medicine, pencils and other necessities will harm those who can't afford to buy homes and spend most of their income on such needs.
The greatest benefit of replacing property taxes by excise taxes will be for owners of multimillion-dollar estates. Like the proposed fixed-rail system, it will be paid for by excise taxes levied mainly on low- and middle-income residents. Another benefit for the wealthiest and another penalty for the rest of us.
Jerome G. Manis
With all our problems, why target chickens?
At a neighborhood board meeting some months ago, a lady stood up and made a big stink about chicken noise. I was dumbfounded. Innocent people are dying in Iraq and detained at Guantanamo. We still have no curbside recycling and public libraries don't even have Wi-fi. There are more houses with swimming pools than solar panels. The bus is always late. Of the hundreds of complaints this woman could have made, her crisis was ... chicken noise.
There aren't even that many chickens here to begin with. I haven't heard one crow in years. Of all the noise in this city, why is the focus on chickens? Does the loud beeping and hissing every time the bus employs its pneumatic system not annoy you? Don't those whiny mopeds make brains scramble and eardrums implode? Hasn't anyone else lived next-door to a freaking parrot?!
How exactly would a ban be enforced, anyway? Will police be able to get a search warrant if they hear a "bok" in your backyard? If we trap and kill them, isn't that nearly as inhumane as cockfighting? Will we ship them to the mainland with the city refuse?
To ban an entire avian species that was around before the state even existed because a few people can't handle the "noise" would just make our city look like a giant pansy.
Workers need better injury compensation
Imagine you're hurt so severely on the job that you need painkillers to get by and the doctor prescribes surgery to correct the injury. Hawaii's work compensation law requires that your employer carries insurance, to provide prompt treatment to cover work-related injury. In exchange for this coverage, workers gave up their rights to sue their employers for any work-related injury.
No problem, right? Wrong! Many businesses use Hawaii Employers Mutual Insurance Company, which they co-own. It's simple economics -- the less HEMIC spends on injured workers for treatment and compensation, the smaller the premiums to the employers, while dividends are greater.
To maintain this economic model, HEMIC has a deny and delay injury claims strategy, which the pro-business executive branch of the state of Hawaii supports. This un-American, fascist tactic often leaves workers in pain for years, unable to work, leading to homelessness.
Will our legislators correct this tragic conflict of interest or on this July 4, do workers mourn the loss of another freedom (right)?
Other so-called 'rights' became unacceptable
Society has many examples of a small minority of its citizens who rabidly defend their supposed "rights" to the detriment of the rest of the population. Such issues as the "right" to own slaves, the "right" to employ children to work in factories, the "right" to deny women the vote, and the "right" to drink and drive are just a few notable examples of practices that have been banned in our society.
The "right" to smoke in multifamily dwellings is just one more instance of a recalcitrant minority trying to impose their socially unacceptable habits upon an unwilling public and it needs to go the way of all those other supposed "rights."
Don't ignore perils of supply-side economics
How could George Will ("Dogma aside, the middle class is not under attack," June 10) write about our economy since Ronald Reagan without once mentioning the federal debt of $9 trillion? Since he didn't mention it, I must assume it is insignificant to our economy. So, I suggest before President Bush leaves office he turn that insignificant debt into an insignificant surplus.
Cutting taxes without also cutting spending is placing a bet on private enterprise with public funds. If this bet paid off in a better economy, as Will claims, what happened to the promised tax funds? Instead, Reagan tripled the debt and Bush has doubled it again. After an 0 for 2 performance like that, I hope the public is finally suspecting that Will is a snake-oil salesman, and that supply-side economics is the act of temporarily stimulating your economy by rolling your taxes onto the backs of your children. But, hey, they don't vote, do they, George?